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Ben's Book Bonanza, 2013.

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So I assume you don't have any of his books on your TBR pile then? I honestly think that, like you said, it's just a matter of time when I pick up the book, and I will enjoy it :) I'm not sure, are you doing the 1001 Books challenge or the Rory challenge? If so, The Buddha would be a convenient place to start :) But I think that my friend liked all of his books so I guess you would be good to go with any of them.

 

Haven't at the moment but like I said I wouldn't mind doing so. :smile2: I'm doing the Rory challenge and the 1001 is on a document somewhere so although I'm not actually doing it I'm ticking one's off now and again (even if I'm not focusing on it as such). The Buddha sounds like a perfect place to start, shall add it to my wishlist.

 

Have you watched all of the GG seasons yet, by the way? I keep losing track, we've recommended the TV series to so many people it's sometimes impossible to remember who of you have started and finished with it :)

 

Incredibly, no, I still have Season 7 to watch. I ended up putting it off for one thing and another and then eventually never watching. Shall definitely do so soon, though (although it might have to wait until I'm back at uni as I've not got my DVDs with me at the moment).

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Haven't at the moment but like I said I wouldn't mind doing so. :smile2: I'm doing the Rory challenge and the 1001 is on a document somewhere so although I'm not actually doing it I'm ticking one's off now and again (even if I'm not focusing on it as such). The Buddha sounds like a perfect place to start, shall add it to my wishlist.

 

I think it's as good as any, as I can't recall my friend recommending one of his books more than the other :)

 

Incredibly, no, I still have Season 7 to watch. I ended up putting it off for one thing and another and then eventually never watching. Shall definitely do so soon, though (although it might have to wait until I'm back at uni as I've not got my DVDs with me at the moment).

 

Cool beans! I think you got to watching the show in 2012 (?) so bearing that in mind you've gone through it quite quickly, overall! Enjoy the last season! (sigh, why did they quit with the show in the first place... mega sigh!)

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Cool beans! I think you got to watching the show in 2012 (?) so bearing that in mind you've gone through it quite quickly, overall! Enjoy the last season! (sigh, why did they quit with the show in the first place... mega sigh!)

 

Indeed I think it was 2012. For some reason it seemed like I've been putting off the one for ages, but in reality you're right - it hasn't been that long. Thanks, I'm sure I will. I think they could have had a few more seasons, it's great. :smile2:

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I'm up to season 6. I feel like I've been watching GG non-stop for days - it's great! I wish I could watch them all again for the first time. <sigh>

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I'm up to season 6. I feel like I've been watching GG non-stop for days - it's great! I wish I could watch them all again for the first time. <sigh>

 

When I got back to uni this year me and one of my house-mates rattled through four seasons in barely any time at all. It was bliss, but then the reality of actually having to study hit us and we didn't get any further with them than that. She was a fan though, so I feel like I've at least brought the series to one person's life. :doowapstart:

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I've been thoroughly reading my T.S Eliot Selected Poems in the past day or two, and I must say I really do love his writing. I confess; for the most part his referencing is so obscure that 90% goes right over my head, but as I'm going to be actually studying the poems in detail and university, I've been doing some research as I go along (hence making me understand them and appreciate them a lot more).

 

His poems are, in essence, right up my street: often dark and melancholy; reminiscent of years past, rather than filled with optimism of the present and the future. You may have noticed that I myself frequently write dark, negative poetry, rather than happy positive ones. For this reason then, something in Eliot's poetry certainly strikes a cord with me. The Waste Land in particular; although littered with references which can at times disrupt the flow, the language is beautiful in its darkness.

 

The more I read and re-read these in the coming months, and I start to understand more clearly the layered meanings and metaphors, I'm sure my appreciation of T.S. Eliot's works will grow even more. For now, though, I would certainly recommend to anyone wanting to discover some marvellous verse. Just one request: if you're going to read these, you will only do them true justice, by reading aloud.

 

4/5.

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Oh, this thread is already starting to look a little neglected compared to my fast first couple of weeks of the reading year - but it is intended. In the past week or so, I have taken a little hiatus from reading; I went away, stayed with some friends, and did some other things (went to see The Hobbit, went to a lovely Indian restaurant, watched DVDs, the snooker, relaxed, etc.) I have to say it was a much needed break. I don't normally need time off from reading but I think I'd become immersed a little too much in my reading list for university, and thus needed to put it aside.

 

I am now rearing to go, and will attack it with gusto in the coming couple of weeks before I start another semester. In any case, yesterday I finished White Teeth by Zadie Smith which I found very enjoyable. It's an entertaining story of three closely interconnected families, and their everyday lives, that are anything but ordinary. The author weaves the narrative cleverly through history, and explores how even in the same family people can have radically different beliefs. A tale about belonging, about journeys, and with a neat twist at its conclusion, Smith's début novel is certainly well worth a read.

 

4/5.

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Hi Ben, glad to hear you had a good break. I've not read White Teeth but I have read On Beauty which I loved, although it got a mixed reaction from my library reading group, but maybe it was because I'm a fan of Howard's End, the E. M. Forster book it was inspired by.

Edited by chesilbeach

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Hi Ben, glad to hear you had a good break. I've not read White Teeth but I have read On Beauty which I loved, although it got a mixed reaction from my library reading group, but maybe it was because I'm a fan of Howard's End, the E. M. Forster book it was inspired by.

 

Thanks, Claire. I was looking at On Beauty actually, as I would be interested in reading more of her books. Interesting that it's inspired by the Forster novel; I've still only read A Room With a View of his works - and I really enjoyed that. I'll be reading A Passage to India soon, as it happens.

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Next up: Caryl Philip's novel A Distant Shore - the last of my 'contemporary British literature' module.

 

Synopsis:

The English village is a place where people come to lick their wounds. Dorothy has walked away from a bad thirty-year marriage, an affair gone sour and a dangerous obsession. Between her visits to the doctor and the music lessons she gives to bored teenagers, she is trying to rebuild a life. It's not immediately clear why her neighbour, Solomon, is living in the village, but his African origin suggests a complex history that is at odds with his dull routine of washing the car and making short trips to the supermarket. Though all he has in common with the English is a shared language, it soon becomes clear that Solomon hopes that his new country will provide him with a safe haven. Gradually they establish a form of comfort in each other's presence that alleviates the isolation they both feel.

 

Haven't heard of this one before, but seems fascinating from what I've read so far..

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Your wish is my command. :giggle:

 

Thoughts:

A Distant Shore is a cleverly written novel which tells the story of two people who, in all fairness, couldn't be any more different, but who finally find something in each other, after the awful trials and tribulations they have suffered throughout their lives. The author writes with deceptive simplicity; the prose is far from ornate, but its matter-of-fact manner is effective, and strikes a chord with the reader.

 

The novel is structured in a somewhat different fashion, beginning with what perhaps could be described as the dénouement, before taking the reader back through the characters' histories in a series of flash-backs. The narrative is sprawling, jumping from one perspective to the next as we see that their is much more to Solomon; the quiet, well-mannered man who takes care of his car with unfaltering resolve.

 

Caryl Phillips writes of a small English village, out of the way, which seems peaceful and quaint. Yet as the narrative progresses, it becomes clear that even out here village politics, affairs and prejudices are rife. Slowly, Phillips reveals to us the events surrounding Solomon's and Dorothy's arrivals in Stoneleigh, the new housing development on the hill; the place in which those have come to escape their demons.

 

A Distant Shore is a tale of death, obsession, and deception. The author explores prejudice, discrimination; a man's impossible fight to rid himself of the past, and woman's steady frustration as people begin to misunderstand her motives. Phillips cleverly weaves together the lives of our two main characters, creating a beautiful exploration of human emotion; which, if all the pieces of the puzzle weren't slotted into place perfectly, would definitely have left me wanting more.

 

4/5.

Edited by Ben

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Starting Crick Crack, Monkey by Merle Hodge, another book on my African diaspora module.

 

Synopsis:

When Tee wins a scholarship she has to say goodbye to her hilarious aunt Tantie. She must leave her home with all its warmth and spontaneity for the pretentious middle-class society of Aunt Beatrice. Alone and alienated, Tee struggles to understand the world she now inhabits. Her acceptance of Aunt Beatrice's values would mean rejection of the people that she knows and loves.

 

At only a hundred or so pages this will be a quick read, but will be interesting to see how it compares to Achebe's Things Fall Apart and Ngugi wa Thiong'o's The River Between.

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Glad you enjoyed White Teeth, i have this on my TBR and am not too sure if i'll like it or not but having read your thoughts has made me want to try it now :D

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Mwahaha I have the power :lol:

 

Great review - It does sound good. I'm going to add it to the wish list :)

 

:haha: You do indeed. Glad you liked the review, and I hope you love the book if you eventually get around to picking it up. :smile2:

 

Glad you enjoyed White Teeth, i have this on my TBR and am not too sure if i'll like it or not but having read your thoughts has made me want to try it now :D

 

Thanks! It's definitely had mixed reviews but I certainly enjoyed it. Look forward to hearing your thoughts when you get around to it. :smile2:

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So I finished Crick Crack, Monkey by Merle Hodge, and I was a bit disappointed. I mean, it was good, and I can understand how it's a good portrayal of life in Trinidad, and an exploration of a young girl's struggle for identity in two different, conflicting worlds. Yet there was just something about it that didn't have me hooked. I think it was the lack of plot more than anything; nothing much obviously happens, even though I understand it's all about the subtitles of the descriptions; the exploration of different classes, different families.

 

Overall it was a decent read, but I think I'll get more out of it when it comes to discussing it in class, and I learn about the context. In comparison to the other books I've read from this module so far, and it's probably my least favourite behind Ngugi wa Thiong'o's The River Between and Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart respectively. I'm definitely enjoying reading these different types of books that I wouldn't usually though, and I think it'll be interesting to explore the different cultures more thoroughly.

 

3/5.

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Making a start on Toni Morrison's Beloved.

 

Synopsis:

It is the mid-1800s. At Sweet Home in Kentucky, an era is ending as slavery comes under attack from the abolitionists. The worlds of Halle and Paul D. are to be destroyed in a cataclysm of torment and agony. The world of Sethe, however, is to turn from one of love to one of violence and death - the death of Sethe's baby daughter Beloved, whose name is the single word on the tombstone, who died at her mother's hands, and who will return to claim retribution.

 

Sounds interesting from the synopsis, hoping it's a good un'. :smile2:

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I believe Toni Morrison is Barack Obama's favourite author - just a little fact for you.. :)

 

Haha nice! Thanks for that chaliepud. :grinhat:

Edited by Ben

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Going to make a start on A Passage to India by E. M. Forster because Beloved seems to be coming along rather slowly and I want to keep my reading moving.

 

Synopsis:

When Adela Quested and her elderly companion Mrs Moore arrive in the Indian town of Chandrapore, they quickly feel trapped by its insular and prejudiced 'Anglo-Indian' community. Determined to escape the parochial English enclave and explore the 'real India', they seek the guidance of the charming and mercurial Dr Aziz, a cultivated Indian Muslim. But a mysterious incident occurs while they are exploring the Marabar caves with Aziz, and the well-respected doctor soon finds himself at the centre of a scandal that rouses violent passions among both the British and their Indian subjects.

 

Read A Room with a View last year and really enjoyed it, so looking forward to this one.

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Hope you enjoy Sherlock Holmes, I've got the complete collection in one volume.

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Well, my goodness, all the promise and expectation that I started this thread with seemed to dwindle quickly. It looks like my poor thread has been left lonely and bereft of updates.

 

Alas, despite my poor attendance here, and a woeful early slip in February where I didn't get through anything at all, I have not been entirely idle. March has seen a mini return to form, particularly in the last couple of weeks, and I can thankfully say that I have not fallen too far in the pace for my target this year (100 books). I only need three more to get back on track, and have two weeks off for Easter now to try do so.. 

 

I am going to try be more regular with my posts here in future, so expect comments on books that are going to take my fancy in the coming months. I'll probably leave off promising full reviews on past books, or even future ones, just because I don't know how much time I'll have. Yet if anyone is interested in knowing how I got on with something that's in the first post just let me know, and I'll no doubt at least post some bookish thoughts now and again.

 

So, that's that.. sorry I've been so quiet recently (blame this pesky second year course) and I hope to be getting about everyone's book threads again soon enough. I hope you've all been having a good reading run. :friends0:

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Hi Ben would be interested in your thoughts on Beloved  Toni Morrison as its on my pile  :smile:

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Hi Ben would be interested in your thoughts on Beloved  Toni Morrison as its on my pile  :smile:

 

Hey Kidsmum.

 

I think Toni Morrison is one of those authors where you have to be in the right state of mind to read her novels. Granted, I've only read Beloved and none of her other works, but from what I've heard of other people's opinions, this seems to be the general consensus. Her themes are serious, raw, emotional, and certainly Beloved wouldn't appeal if you were in the mood for a quick or light-hearted read.

 

At times it is a struggle; the nature of its focal point (slavery and all the brutalities, unspeakable deeds, and hardship that come with it) juxtaposed with a tricky, non-linear narrative, makes it hard work for sure. Yet I think if you can sit down and get through the difficulties and think about the message behind the story, it's an absolutely gripping read. Thought-provoking to the last page, you just might need to sit down and digest for a while afterwards..

 

So, I guess all in all I'd definitely recommend it, but just know what you've let yourself in for. I see that my thoughts seem somewhat overly negative for the most part, but I can safely say that I'd read her other work, and that it is an absolutely fascinating novel. If you do ever get around to it, let me know how you got on - Beloved definitely made for a fascinating discussion for us in class.

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