Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • Hayley

      Something Wicked This Way Comes...   10/09/2019

      The Autumn Supporter Giveaway!       Welcome to the very first of the seasonal BCF supporter giveaways! This month also marks one year since I took on the forum, so I want to say an extra huge thank you to all of you for keeping this place going. I have a little bit more to say about that later but, for now, let's get to the giveaway!     The Autumn Giveaway winner will be getting two Penguin Little Black Classics, The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe and To Be Read At Dusk by Charles Dickens. Both of these little books contain three atmospheric short stories, perfect for autumnal evenings. The winner will also get Mary Shelley tea (a lavender and vanilla black tea) from Rosie Lea Tea's Literary Tea Collection (https://www.rosieleatea.co.uk/collections/literary-tea-collection) and a chocolate skull, to really get that spooky atmosphere .   and...   A special treat for a special month. The winner will choose one of the following recent paperback releases from the independent bookshop Big Green Bookshop:       The Wych Elm by Tana French A House of Ghosts by W.C. Ryan Melmoth by Sarah Perry The Familiars by Stacey Halls  The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White   The winner will be chosen via the usual random selection process in one week. Patreon supporters are entered automatically. If you aren't a patreon supporter but you'd like to join in with this giveaway, you can support here: https://www.patreon.com/bookclubforum.   I really hope you're all going to like this introduction to the seasonal giveaways. It's been a lot of fun to put together. Other chocolate skulls may have been harmed during the selection process…     
Hayley

Hayley's Book Bundle Challenge

Recommended Posts

I'm so glad you liked Paper Towns! I better get on with reading it.

 

I haven't read Look to Windward yet so I can't comment on it (I think others on here might have, though).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a couple of days late posting this, I've been having a pretty hectic week. I finished The Watcher in the Shadows a couple of days ago. It was really good but I won't review it here since it's not part of the challenge. I looked back through my bookshelf and decided to try Cell by Stephen King as my next challenge book. I don't know why but I find scary books much more frightening than scary films. I think I find it harder to get into films, so I end up thinking practical things like 'I wonder how they got that effect', or quite a lot of the time 'why on earth would the character do that!?' But I suppose when you read a scary scene in a book it becomes as frightening as your imagination can make it. The Watcher in the Shadows was pretty freaky, so I thought I would be well prepared to start some Stephen King :D  (although the cover suggests this is a thriller, rather than horror, I can confirm there are some pretty horrific images just in the first couple of chapters!)

 

Blurb for Cell...

 

The event which propels civilization into its second dark age is known as The Pulse. The virus is carried by every cellular phone operating in the world. Within hours, those receiving calls will be infected.

Clayton Riddell, a young artist, knows he has to reach his son before the young boy switches on his phone.

And time is running out...

 

I'm not that far into the book yet but so far it's good. It's quite like a 'zombie apocalypse' theme. I think what makes Stephen King so good is that he writes genuinely believable worlds, which stay believable even when crazy things start happening. This one is a fairly thick book so it might take me a while to finish, but I'll update before then anyway :smile:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's great to hear, Hayley! I have Cell on my TBR. I hope you enjoy it all the way through :).

Edited by Athena

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got a bit side-tracked from my challenge again :blush2:  I was having a bit of a stressful couple of weeks so when I spotted Terry Pratchett's Dodger in the library, I decided that would definitely cheer me up :D

 

I am enjoying Cell though. Not even half way yet so I won't give any kind of review, but it has been really interesting, and not quite what I expected :smile:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've got Dodger on my TBR, I'm glad you enjoyed it :). I'm also glad you're enjoying Cell, I've yet to read a Stephen King book that disappoints me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dodger was great Athena, I'm sure you won't be disappointed when you come to read it :smile:  It feels a bit weird at first when there are real historical characters introduced, but it's really well written (of course!) and you get used to it pretty quickly.

 

I just checked (using goodreads) and I'm apparently 51% through Cell. I did think I'd have finished it (or at least nearly) by now but I've been doing a lot of non-fiction reading for my thesis which has taken up a lot of my reading time. Luckily the really short chapters in Cell make it easy to read in short bursts. For example I just read a chapter while my laptop was starting up  :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've finished Cell now and I'm happy to say I really enjoyed it. I've seen negative reviews where people say it's just a zombie apocalypse novel, and in a way it is but at the same time it's much, much cleverer than that. There are quite a few really gruesome parts, but they don't dominate the story at all, the fear for most of the novel comes from how realistic King makes it feel. There are a couple of things, towards the end that I thought... ok it's pushing it with the realism now, I don't think that's very believable... but I would say 95% of it is. And the characters were really good, likeable and believable, you do feel as though you care what happens to them at the end. On a more serious note it's an interesting view on how quickly the world would change if we were to loose our communication systems, and on how we would behave towards each other once survival instincts kicked in. Overall it was a really enjoyable book, even if it did freak me out a bit at times :hide: but I would recommend it :smile:

 

I've just started To Kill A Mockingbird which, based on its classic status and Ben's very enthusiastic recommendation, I have high expectations for :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds good! I hope you enjoy To Kill a Mockingbird, I read it for my English class and enjoyed it at the time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've just started To Kill A Mockingbird which, based on its classic status and Ben's very enthusiastic recommendation, I have high expectations for :D

 

I always thought Cell was pretty good, too. I can't wait to hear what you think of To Kill a Mockingbird. I eagerly await your thoughts. :smile2:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I read Cell when it first came out, and I remember loving the first half (especially the very beginning - some parts I still remember quite vividly), but struggling a bit with the second part. Might give it a re-read at some point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds good! I hope you enjoy To Kill a Mockingbird, I read it for my English class and enjoyed it at the time.

 

Thank you :smile: My sister read it at school too and liked it but my year did different books (I can't actually remember which was my GCSE one, I think it was Enduring Love)

 

I always thought Cell was pretty good, too. I can't wait to hear what you think of To Kill a Mockingbird. I eagerly await your thoughts. :smile2:

 

I've had a bit of a crazy week (deadline combined with a series of weirdly unlucky events, like the side mirror randomly dropping off my car in the middle of the road...) so I haven't been able to spend much time reading To Kill a Mockingbird but I'm about half way through and it's really good so far, but I'll say more once I've finished! :smile:

 

 

I read Cell when it first came out, and I remember loving the first half (especially the very beginning - some parts I still remember quite vividly), but struggling a bit with the second part. Might give it a re-read at some point.

 

I agree that the first half is better...

 

 

I thought giving the phone crazies the ability to levitate was a little bit too unrealistic. Particularly the scene where they're levitating in rows past the bus, it just didn't feel right in the context of the rest of the book to me.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always thought Cell was pretty good, too. I can't wait to hear what you think of To Kill a Mockingbird. I eagerly await your thoughts. :smile2:

 

Sounds good! I hope you enjoy To Kill a Mockingbird, I read it for my English class and enjoyed it at the time.

 

Ok you were both right, I loved To Kill a Mockingbird! Such an incredibly heartfelt message, delivered beautifully by Scout's narrative voice which also gives it a wonderful simplicity. The child's perspective is done so well it really makes you feel just how ridiculous the prejudiced norms and values of the adult world can be. I particularly liked Dill's conclusion.... “There ain’t one thing in this world I can do about folks except laugh, so I’m gonna join the circus and laugh my head off.”

There are a few things about the book I'd really like to discuss but I'm sure we probably have a thread for this book so I'll post them there :smile: 

 

I think I'm back round to best sellers now so I'm going to try Fludd by Hilary Mantel, the blurb for which is....

 

Fetherhoughton is a Northern mill village, remote, backward, veiled from the twentieth century by moorland fogs. Father Angwin, its parish priest, presides over the souls of its brutish tea-swilling inhabitants. He has lost his faith and replaced it with a strong desire to be left alone - especially by the new-broom bishop. In the convent, the nuns work away at their tapestry, depicting the plagues of Egypt. The young Irish nun, Sister Philomena, yearns for freedom and a good meal, while the demonic Mother Perpetua plots her downfall.

One night, a visitor appears at the priest's house, wrapped in a  cloak and carrying a black bag. His conversation is learned and his table manners mysterious. Who is this Fludd? The new curate? The bishop's spy? A practitioner of dark arts?

He has come to introduce the art of coffee making; to stir up dead passions; to force confrontations. 'I have come to transform you,' he says. 'Transformation is my business.' 

 

To be honest I just picked it because it was first on my bookshelf, and it's nice and short. It's not a book I would have bought for myself, and it definitely doesn't seem like anything I've read before but we'll see :smile:  :readingtwo: 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm glad you enjoyed To Kill a Mockingbird :). It's been so long ago for me, I don't remember the details of the story. I hope to re-read it some time in the future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll just pop in here to say I told you so... :P

But seriously, I'm very glad you enjoyed it. It's such a beautifully written novel.

Edited by Ben

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm glad you enjoyed To Kill a Mockingbird :). It's been so long ago for me, I don't remember the details of the story. I hope to re-read it some time in the future.

 

Thank you Athena :smile: It definitely seems like a re-readable book, I'll be keeping my copy for the future too!

 

 

I'll just pop in here to say I told you so... :P

 

But seriously, I'm very glad you enjoyed it. It's such a beautifully written novel.

 

:giggle2:  Thanks Ben. I think there's always that fear with such a popular 'classic' that it can't possibly live up to expectations, but this one certainly did :smile:

 

I don't know how my next read is going to live up to it though. I've only read the very beginning, but between the (seemingly) alcoholic priest and the frizzy-haired, nosy housekeeper, I feel a bit like I'm reading an episode of Father Ted... but not a funny one. It wouldn't be fair to judge it this early but it doesn't really have me gripped from the start.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I finished Fludd... 

 

To be honest I found it a bit odd. The blurb confused me for a start. The three things that seemed important to me in the blurb were the tapestry, the 'art of coffee making' and the theme of transformations. Both the tapestry and coffee are mentioned once, and not at remotely important times, and it's really not about transformations. I found it difficult to get into the book. By the time I got to chapter five I completely lost motivation to continue because I felt like nothing had really happened. The last few chapters are a bit more exciting, but then the story took on another weird trait. There's a really odd thread of supernatural in the text which just baffled me. I think I worked out what the ending was meant to mean...

 

 

That Fludd and the tobacconist (I've already forgot his name... I think it was Judd?) were actually angels, not devils as is hinted earlier in the book. And that it's actually the people in positions of power in religion (the Bishop and Mother Perpetua) who are the evil ones. And therefore it is personal belief and doing what's right that is more important than the opinions of those in positions of power 

 

 

But if I'm right there are still a lot of things that don't make sense.

Those of you who have goodreads will notice I rated it as 'ok', which is because technically I thought it was well written, and there are some parts I thought were done very well. I can see what the appeal might be to others, but overall I just didn't enjoy it that much. It just felt a bit muddled and didn't grip me enough.

 

I think I'm actually going to take a couple of weeks break from my challenge since I'm going on holiday soon and I already have the books planned that I want to read while I'm away. I'm thinking of starting 'The Blade Itself' when I get back, but I might have changed my mind by then so I'll wait and see :D  

Edited by Hayley

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought I should come back and point out that I haven't abandoned this challenge! I started reading both 'Raising Steam' by Terry Pratchett and 'Possession'  by A.S. Byatt while on holiday and Possession just seems to be taking forever to read (although I stopped reading Raising Steam to try finishing faster). I'm quite close to finishing it now and it never takes me long to finish a Pratchett book so I should be back to the challenge soon! :smile:  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok definitely time to update this! :blush2:

 

I finished Possession and Raising Steam a while ago now but I've had a LOT of work to do for uni, including a lot of reading which has taken up most of my time. A few days ago though I picked out The Fog by James Herbert as my next book for this challenge (partly because it was one of the shortest ones I have left in the sci-fi/ fantasy category :D ). 

Blurb...

 

The peaceful life of a village in Wiltshire is suddenly shattered by a disaster which strikes without reason or explanation, leaving behind it a trail of misery and horror. A yawning, bottomless crack spreads through the earth, out of which creeps a fog that resembles no other. Whatever it is, it must be controlled, for wherever it goes it leaves behind a trail of disaster as hideous as the tragedy that marked its entry into the world. The fog, quite simply, drives people insane.

 

I did think originally that it might be a bit too far-fetched to get into, but having read the first couple of chapters it's actually quite addictive, so we'll see how the rest goes!

 

Edit: I just realised I haven't changed my 'Reading now' since I read The Spy Who Came in From the Cold... :doh:

Edited by Hayley

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've just finished The Fog, one more book from the list which is starting to seem much longer than it did at the start... :D

 

Overall I enjoyed reading it. It was easy to read, a grippingly action-packed plot and actually becomes a more feasible story line than the blurb suggests. I found the story actually had a few similarities to Cell, the main similarity being the theme of human instinct. In both books this is split into two different categories. One explores survival instinct, what a person is actually willing and able to do in the interest of self preservation, and the other explores what would happen if the human mind were completely stripped bare so that basic instinct and nothing else controls us. It's an interesting concept, certainly a thought-provoking one. I did have a couple of negative feelings about it though. Firstly, I found some of the content a bit unnecessarily disturbing. In particular there were a couple of occasions in which frankly paedophilic acts or thoughts were just mentioned and glossed over as though there was nothing unusual about them. I'm not really sure if this was intentional but it just felt a bit odd and unnecessary, none of them were in any way important to the plot. My other negative would be that there just wasn't anything really new or exciting about the story or the writing. It had me hooked because I wanted to find out what happened with this tragedy at the end of the book, but it's not something I would read again. 

 

Anyway that takes me on to my last classics section book, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Other Tales of Horror, which doesn't feel very festive but oh well :giggle2:  . I am going to re-read The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde because it's been a while since I did and I like it anyway. The other two stories included, 'Olalla' and 'The Body Snatcher', are new to me and I'm really interested to see how they'll compare. So I'll be back once I've finished :readingtwo:   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So I nearly forgot to review The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Other Tales of Horror... I actually finished it a few days ago :doh:

I suppose it didn't really feel like part of the challenge because it's exactly the kind of book I would read anyway.

 

I mentioned before that I had already read The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and enjoyed it and it was still great to re-read. The other two stories were much shorter but equally atmospheric. The Body Snatcher shares some of the psychological influence of Jekyll and Hyde and I genuinely wasn't expecting the ending which was brilliantly creepy. Olalla, while it has the same creepy atmosphere as the others, also has a genuine sadness which I felt was quite unique. One of the things I particularly like with all the stories, and was really glad to see in the two I hadn't read, is the influence of science you can see throughout. This is something I'm really interested in in Victorian literature, at a time when science was progressing so rapidly that its potential future was genuinely frightening.  

Ultimately they are a great trio and definitely a must-read for anyone interested in the Victorian period :smile:

 

I haven't picked my next book yet, there are a couple of fairly short books I want to read first before I carry on, but I'll pick one and update soon :smile:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm glad you enjoyed (re)reading the book :). I have it on my TBR but I'm not sure what the other stories in the book are other than the most famous one. I'd look it up but it seems the edition I have on GoodReads doesn't actually match mine, so I'll have to go to my bookcase to see which one it is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a couple of days late because I've been pretty busy but, feeling as though I really needed to get my reading motivation back, I decided to start Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. I've been looking forward to this one, I know a few of you have read and enjoyed it too, and it's certainly living up to expectations so far!

 

So more on that soon :readingtwo:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now



×