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Books from 11th April to 8th May
67. Regeneration by Pat Barker - Re-read for my book club. A great story based on Siegfried Sassoon's stay at Craiglockhart Hospital during the First World War. Some great descriptions of shellshock and the soldier's experiences during the war.

68. The War Poems by Siegfried Sassoon - Collection of his poems written during and about the War. I really like his style, and his poems are very "wordy" so you get a really good description of what he's trying to say. Some very emotional poems.

69. In Time of War, edited by Anne Harvey - a compilation of war poems, I think aimed at a young (teenage) audience. I think after reading this I definitely prefer the poems of the First World War. A good collection though.

70. A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood - This was quite disappointing, I'd seen the film and it was amazing, but this just didn't really have even half the emotion of the film. A rare case of the film being better than the book!

71. Breaking the Silence by Diane Chamberlain - this was similar to Jodi Picoult's style, about a woman who's child becomes mute after seeing her father kill himself, and then the woman trying to find out why, plus another story to do with an old lady who has alzheimers and some secrets in her past - better than I thought it would be.

72. Quartet by Jean Rhys - About lovers in Paris. It was ok, but I didn't really feel much emotion about the characters or anything.

73. The Client by John Grisham - a crime thriller, can't actually remember what its about...hmmm...a boy and he knows where a body is hidden I think? It was ok.

74. The Eye of the Red Tsar by Sam Eastland - A great thriller set in Russia, about the location of the Tsar's jewels after his murder.

75. The Killing Floor by Lee Child - crime thriller about a small town where people start getting murdered and its all to do with money laundering. It was ok.

76. The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass - I haven't read such a boring book for ages, I almost didn't finish it, but I forced myself to..about a dwarf and his drum, and how it affects him through all his life. It was quite interesting, but it went on and on...could have been about 2/3 shorter!

77. Great Apes by Will Self - About a man who wakes up and discovers that the rest of the human race has been turned into chimpanzees. It was really clever as it put chimp characteristics into an otherwise human world, for exmaple it was a "gamemale" instead of the "gameboy" as they didn't have boys! A good book

78. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys - The story of Mr Rochester (from Jane Eyre)'s wife before she came to England and became mad. Gave a good background for it, and at the end there was a nice link to Jane Eyre - I want to read that book again now.

Currently reading The End of the Affair by Graham Greene, which is quite good so far. And currently watching An Education, which is a really excellent film!
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Hmmm well I've started with this Dreamwidth thing as Livejournal has been a bit dodgy recently, and I don't want to lose everything I write! It seems like you can import everything you've written in Livejournal to here, so I will do that too, just for a back up! And hopefully this will be crossposting to Livejournal as well (which is probably where people are reading this, if anyone is reading it!) Dreamwidth seems almost identical to Livejournal at the moment though, which is nice.

I'm going to carry on with short reviews of the books I've been reading. These have all been from the library, so thats good, I like to support the library - even though it didn't have half the books I wanted to get! But I did manage to get 8 books which are on the "1001" list, so that was ok.

Books Read from 27th March - 10th April

62. Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey - set mainly in Australia, about two people, their lives and how misunderstandings and people not saying what they really mean can really change people's lives...it was quite good.

63. Troubles by JG Farrell - I really enjoyed this and will definitely be reading more books by this author. About a huge crumbling hotel in Ireland, about a visitor there and the residents, mixed in with something about the "troubles" in Ireland. I found this really interesting as I haven't really read much about Ireland before.

64. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner - really disliked this book. I think it was about a family and how they lived, but I didn't get any sense of a narrative, it was just a series of conversations, without anything which really drove the story on.

65. The Collector by John Fowles - this was an excellent book - definitely am going to get more of his books! About a man who stalked a girl and then kidnapped her, with tragic consequences. You really felt like you were able to get into their heads (both the girl and the kidnapper) and knew how they felt. The ending was excellently written.

66. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell - this was another good book, about a young woman and her family moving from the country to an industrial town in the 19th century, and how the change of place affected them. There were lots about the rights of workers and things, which I liked.

I'm currently re-reading "Regeneration" by Pat Barker, for my book club. I'm really interested in what other people think of this book, as I really enjoy it.

I've got some gigs to write about, and some really fun weekends I've had (Resistanz Festival in Sheffield was excellent!!), but I think I'm going to go and do some more Open University work at the moment - I'm on the last but one essay of my current course, yay, and have signed up for another course which is just psychology, so I'm really looking forward to reading the textbook for that. Its weird though - in my current course they've given a week to read the chapters and do the associated activities, but in the next course they've given 2 weeks per chapter, when the chapters don't seem to be any longer! So I think I might have this one done rather quicker than they expect!
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Book Twenty Three – The Great Silence by Juliet Nicholson )

Book Twenty Four - The Reader by Bernhard Schlink )

Book Twenty Six - Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw )

Book Twenty Seven - Cautionary Verses by Hilare Belloc and Now We Are Sixty by Christopher Matthew )

Book Twenty Eight - Digging to America by Anne Tyler )

Book Twenty Nine - The Birthday Party and other plays by Harold Pinter )

Book Thirty - Fantastic Mr Fox and The Witches by Roald Dahl )

Book Thirty One - The Iceman Cometh by Eugene O'Neill )

Book Thirty Two - The Mennyms by Sylvia Waugh )

Wow, well this year I’ve read more so far than I read in 3 months in 2009…haha. Although I do feel like I’m “cheating” a bit as most of them have been either children’s or poetry! But no matter how long it takes me to read I suppose its still improving my mind and giving me greater knowledge about things, so that’s all good. I’m really enjoying reading the children’s books again, as they were so great when I was younger and are mostly still great now! I’m currently reading “The Plague” by Albert Camus, which so far is much easier to read than I thought – I thought it would be a bit dense and philosophical – but luckily its not, and its really good.

I’ve also got one book (a fantastic collection of poetry!) 6 films (oops, bit behind on those! Might just do short film reviews this year as I’m reading so many books!) and a gig review to do, will come back and do those soon….
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Books Fifteen to Nineteen, and Twenty Five – Poetry

I have never really read much poetry before in such an intense way, although we have several compilations of poems, and my mum has some lovely books in which she’s written her favourite poems, I’ve never really consciously gone through one poet’s work in particular. I have enjoyed it though, and am definitely going to read more in the future.

My Thoughts on the poems and poets I have read so far )

23 / 120 books. 19% done!

If anyone reading this knows of any other poets and poems I should look into, considering the ones I do and don’t like, please let me know! :)
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I'm going to review the poetry I've read in a separate post, so thats why the book numbers are out of sequence!

Book Fourteen - Fingersmith by Sarah Waters )

Book Twenty - Folk Devils and Moral Panics by Stanley Cohen )

Book Twenty One - Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh )

Book Twenty Two - Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day by Winifred Watston )

17 / 120 books. 14% done!

Currently watching the Australian Open Final...Murray will probably lose, but if he could just have one set that would be nice!! :)
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Book Thirteen – The Master by Colm Toibin

Source: Library
Challenges? 1001, Author Surname (T)
Decade published?
Rating: 6 / 10

This book is a fictional account of the life of Henry James, the people he knew, the places he lived and the inspirations for his books. It describes how he moves around to various places, after being born in America he moves to various places in Europe, Venice and then to the Isle of Wight. It describes his relationships with his family, and with his friends, including some bits which I assume are mainly fictional regarding his relationships with various men that he knew – yes relationships in that way! To be honest that annoyed me a bit, because how do we know he was that way inclined? There were apparently some letters which suggested it, but its just all speculation. But I suppose that’s the point of the book really! It was quite a good book, the individual episodes were good, including some interesting commentary on the American Civil War, but the structure was a bit all over the place, and it went back and forward in time and place, which was a bit confusing, and I didn’t really find it very easy to get through due to this

13 / 120 books. 11% done!
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Book Nine - Matilda / The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl )

Book Ten - The Illustrated Mum by Jacqueline Wilson )

Book Eleven - When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six by AA Milne )

Book Twelve - George's Marvellous Medicine and The BFG by Roald Dahl )

12 / 120 books. 10% done!

I've read one other book, and two lots of poetry, and have two films to review (one of them was SO brilliant, but so emotionally draining, hence the "sad" mood thingy on this!), but that'll do for now :)
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Book Three - The Suitcase Kid / The Story of Tracy Beaker by Jacqueline Wilson )

Book Four - The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters )

Book Five - Esio Trot by Roald Dahl and Mary Poppins by PL Travers )

5 / 120 books. 4% done!

Currently reading a really boring book, and watching a really boring film...will probably come back tomorrow to review them!
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Books One and Two )

2 / 120 books. 2% done!

Films One to Five )

I watched a really lovely programme about Pixar on BBC3 last night. It was called Pixar's best 25 moments, but it also had about how the company developed, how they thought of the ideas, and had lots of interviews with people who have done the voices about how Pixar works and has developed. It was really lovely, and really showed how highly respected Pixar's work has become. Just lovely! Its available on the Iplayer now, watch it! :)
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Sorry if I'm posting too much, but I keep finding things to post about...heres some book questions! :)

The first book you read this year: The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

The last book you finished this year: The Liar by Stephen Fry

The first book you will finish in the new year: Elizabeth Costello by JM Coetzee. Not sure what I thought of it, but my opinion isn't particularly favourable...

Your favorite "classic" you read this year: Dracula by Bram Stoker. My favourite "modern" classic was The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

The book series you read the most volumes of this year: The Matthew Shardlake series by CJ Sansom, I read Dark Fire and Revelation (which I gave 10 / 10 to)

The genre you read the most this year: Probably historical fiction

The book that disappointed you: Double Fault by Lionel Schriver (it was boring and the characters were horrible, disappointing because We Need To Talk About Kevin was so good), Life of Pi, Catcher in the Rye, Middlesex, The Finkler Question and A Liar I thought were going to be good but weren't!

The book you liked better than you expected to: Gone with the Wind - after hating Scarlett O'Hara I didn't expect to like the rest of the book, but it was still really good despite her!

The hardest book you read this year (topic or writing style): Naked Lunch, as I found it really boring and just rubbish!

Funniest book you read this year: Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now, by Andrew Collins (about his life at art school, and being a goth, haha, in the 80s), and Dear Fatty by Dawn French

The saddest book you read this year: The Forgotten Voices of the Great War - a record of soldier's memories of the First World War, and The House of Special Purpose by John Boyne.

The shortest book you read this year: Graves and Graveyards, which was short 1970s book about graveyards, written for school children I think, but it had some quite interesting bits! :)

The longest book you read this year: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, or World Without End by Ken Follett

A book that you discovered this year that you will definitely read again: The Road by Cormac McCarthy

A book that you never want to read again: Naked Lunch by William Burroughs, or The Average American Male by Chad Kultgen. Both horrible books!!

And finally, make a New Year's Resolution: Read more books from the 1001 books to read before you die - last year I only read 13, and in previous years I've read about 50 of them, so I'm determined to do better this time :)
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I've just finished typing my book list into excel, so I can work out all the statistics for it, so here goes! :)

  • This year I've read 117 books (although my reviews on here number 118, and I have no idea why!)
  • This means I've read a total of 546 books since September 2005.
  • The first book I read this year was The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. I gave it 8.5 out of 10, and enjoyed it as there were similar ideas to in The Secret Garden (and Frances Hodgeson Burnett turned up in the story at one point!) and thats one of my favourite books.
  • The last book I read was The Liar by Stephen Fry. I gave this 5 out of 10, and was quite disappointed as it was very confusing.
  • I read 37 non-fiction books - 9 of which I rated 8 / 10, and only one which I rated above that - The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat by Dr Oliver Sachs. I didn't rate any non-fiction books below 5 / 10.
  • I read 80 fiction books, 9 of which I rated 10 / 10 :

  • World Without End - Ken Follett
    The Final Reckoning - Sam Bourne
    The Road - Cormac McCarthy
    Blood Red, Snow White - Marcus Sedgewick
    Gone With the Wind - Margaret Mitchell (see note below!)
    Room - Emma Donoghue
    The House of Special Purpose - John Boyne
    Veronika Decides to Die - Paulo Coelho
    Revelation - CJ Sansom

  • Note about Gone With the Wind - I hated Scarlett O'Hara more than I had ever hated any character ever before!! But apart from that, the book was wonderful, and fully deserves 10 / 10!

  • I rated one book 0 / 10 - The Average American Male by Chad Kultgen, and actually threw it away after I read it! It was so bad, it was little more than a porn film script. I gave Naked Lunch by William Burroughs 1 / 10, as I was impressed that he'd managed to write so much of the rubbish that made up the book. I also gave 4 / 10 to four books: Then We Came To The End by Joshua Ferris, Double Fault by Lionel Schriver and On The Road by Jack Kerouac and The Other Side of You by Sally Vickers. This rating was mainly given as they were boring and had unlikable characters. I was also really disappointed by the Lionel Schriver book as We Need to Talk About Kevin was so brilliant.

    I'm not sure if I can recommend just one book from what I've read this year - but I think everyone should read The Road, Room and Veronika Decides to Die.

    My book plans for this year (2011)

    This year I plan to read at least 120 books, and to read more books from the 1001 list. Also I'm going to get more books out from the library - at least 6 a month. I'm also thinking of doing some "book challenges" - I'm looking at a "round the world" one and one about reading authors with names beginning with all the letters in the alphabet, so that should be interesting!

    I might also do this for all the films I've watched this year, but need to get them into a list first, as I've just got them as reviews on here so far.

    I hope everyone enjoys reading my reviews - thanks to everyone who reads them, and everyone who has added me as a friend in 2010! :)
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    Book One Hundred and Eighteen - The Liar by Stephen Fry

    I was really disappointed with this book. I was looking forward to reading it as I think Stephen Fry is great, but this book was really confusing and didn't seem to have a very good storyline. It seemed to go back and forth in time - and as I think the main character was supposed to be the "liar" of the title, I wasn't sure which was his "real" life and which bits he just made up (although obviously it was all fiction! I just wasnt sure if he was supposed to be making up part of his life or not). It started quite well, about a boy at school, and then I thought it was about him going on to university, but then I wasn't sure as it just got all confusing. And as you can tell by this review, I can't even really say what it was about, or what the conclusion was! I hope his autobiography is better, as I got the second volume for Christmas and still need to read the first one! I don't really recommend this book, unfortunately! 5 / 10

    Thats it for this year then - just two books off my target of 120 - which I realise I wasn't even going to aim for this year, just looked back at what I wrote before I started doing these reviews, and I just aimed to read "over 100 books"! So I have done quite well really - I'll probably leave next years goal as the equally vague "at least 120 books", and hope that I reach it! :D
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    Book One Hundred and Fourteen – Dear Fatty by Dawn French

    This is Dawn French’s autobiography, written by her in a series of letters to various people in her life (and various popstars, haha!). Its just a normal autobiography, going from childhood, to adolescence, to how she began to be famous, to how her life is now. I enjoyed this book, the style was good, and it was interesting to read about her background and how her experiences shaped her. It was nice how she wrote letters to her school friends, previous boyfriends, and her teachers and things, it was a nice tribute to them. It was a bit sad in places as well, as her father committed suicide when she was 19, and then towards the end of the book she talked a lot about Lenny Henry and how much she loved him, but they’ve split up now, which is sad. I would recommend this if you like Dawn French, and reading about how her comedy career started. Its not as good as her book A Tiny Bit Marvellous, but its still amusing. 8 / 10

    Book One Hundred and Fifteen – “Found” by Davy Rothbart

    This is basically a collection of notes and pieces of paper that people have found in various places and sent in to the “Found” magazine. I did think it might be cheating a bit to include this book, as its mainly pictures, but on the found things there was writing, so it did include some reading! Some of them are great, some of them are terrible, haha. Great for people like me who are a little bit nosy! There are ones from children, ones from adults, serious ones, funny ones, and some which make you feel sad that the person they were intended for never read them! I would recommend this, it’s a nice little book. I think there is a website as well! 7 / 10

    Book One Hundred and Sixteen – As Easy as Pi by Jamie Buchan

    This is one of those gift-y books you get around Christmas, which we bought for my grandad. It’s a book about numbers – the significance of them in popular culture (e.g. Catch 22), mythology and religion (e.g. the fear of the number 13) and other places. It was really interesting actually, and quite an easy read, as for most of it it was just about the numbers, not the calculations behind them – but there was a bit of maths at the end which was a bit over my head, haha. It was good though, and included the type of trivia which I really like. Recommended for a quick read! 7 / 10

    Book One Hundred and Seventeen – A Mind to Murder by PD James

    Luckily this was a lot better than the last PD James book I read! You can definitely tell how her style has changed / improved though, as her newer books are a lot more detailed, this is her second or third book and its quite straightforward. It starts with the murder of the administrative officer at a psychiatric clinic, and describes her relationship with the other people who worked in the clinic, and what motives they all might have for her murder. I like PD James’ books as they give you little clues all the time, and go through each person setting out the reasons why they might have wanted to kill her. It got a tiny bit confusing at the end – it turned out it was something to do with blackmail, which hadn’t been mentioned in the book until that moment! – but it was still good. PD James is definitely one of my favourite crime writers. 8 / 10

    Only a couple of days to go now until the end of the year...will I make 120??? Probably not, to be honest! I'm currently reading one of Stephen Fry's novels, which is good but I probably won't finish it quick enough, haha. I got 10 books, (TEN books! woo! :D ) for Christmas though, so I want to get this finished so I can start them! I am planning to go to the library more next year though - I shockingly haven't been for at least a year!!!!!! which is really terrible! Its just because I have too many of my own books to read, but its still bad! I also only read 13 of the 1001 books to read before you die, which is also terrible, so going to the library should make that total go up too! :)
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    Book One Hundred and Twelve - Schott's Almanac 2010 by Ben Scott

    To start with, I found the title a bit misleading, as the book is actually about September 2008 - September 2009, so I think it should have been labeled as 2009, but thats only a minor thing! I love these kind of books, with lists and lists of all kinds of trivia about year (well, between the dates mentioned above!) It had all about major news events which happened in the year, studies which had happened, discoveries made, awards given, all kinds of things. Would be perfect for a pub quiz! I really liked the style as well, one of the reviews called it "eccentric", but I liked the font and the layout. Recommended if you're into trivia! :) 9 / 10

    Book One Hundred and Thirteen - Unnatural Causes by PD James

    I usually love PD James' books, but I wasn't so sure about this one, I'm not sure if its an early one or something. Luckily it was only short! It starts with Adam Dagleish going away for a holiday to a small coastal village, to stay with his aunt. Its a small village where everyone knows each other, so they all know he's there. Once he gets there someone gets murdered, and even though he's not officially part of the investigation, he spends some time trying to find out who did it. I must say this was a very good and well thought out plot to find who did it, but the way it was revealed and came across in the book was just too slow. Also the characters were annoying! Not one of my favourites, but it won't make me never pick up a PD James book ever again - I've just remembered I have Children of Men to read soon, which is hopefully good! 6.5 / 10
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    Book One Hundred and Eleven - Widow for One Year by John Irving

    This book started really good, but I found the ending a bit disjointed and not as good as the rest of it. It is the story of Ruth (who is aged 4 at the beginning of the book) and her parents Marion and Ted. Marion and Ted also had two older sons, who have died in a car crash before the beginning of the book, and there are lots of photos of them around the house. It is also the story of Eddie, who comes to work with Ted, who is a writer, for one summer and has an affair with Marion. He's only 16 and she's a lot older, so its a bit like one of those "sexual awakening" type affairs, and it starts his obsession with older women. Then one day Marion disappears, leaving Eddie, Ted, and Ruth. The book then jumps forward in time, and Ruth is a successful writer, and its about how she is living her life and has started to not worry about where her mother is. Eddie is still worrying about it and hopes that she'll come back. Then theres a long bit about when Ruth goes to the red-light district of Amsterdam, and witnesses a murder, has this obsessive fan, and then her father commits suicide, after having had an affair with Ruth's best friend. Ruth then gets a husband and has a son, and then her husband dies, so she gets married to the policeman in Amsterdam who worked out that she was the witness to the murder.

    As I said, it started well, the bit about Marion, Eddie, Ted and Ruth when they were younger was excellent, but then the book got a bit mixed up, and it was almost like John Irving had lots of different ideas for short scenes and wanted them all to be in the book. I would have preferred the story of Eddie and Ruth in the intervening years, how Eddie's experiences with Marion changed him, and how Ruth grew up without a mother. Maybe it was good for what it was, but I wanted to read the other story! :) I'm not sure how I feel about John Irving, I really like The World According to Garp, but really dislike A Prayer for Owen Meany, and then theres this one which I like and dislike at the same time! I think he's also written The Cider House Rules, which is apparently good, so maybe I'll try and read that one next. Not sure if I recommend this one. Yes because it is good, but its not the best book in the world, so maybe no! :) 6.5 / 10

    Currently reading Schotts Almanac 2010 - which is not actually about 2010 at all, its about September 2008 - September 2009, but so far its good, its got all the little bits of trivia which I like to read about! :)
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    Book One Hundred and Eight – Revelation by CJ Sansom )

    Book One Hundred and Nine – The Quickening Maze by Adam Foulds )

    Book One Hundred and Ten – The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson )

    ...and thats my book reviews up to date :) I'm currently reading "Widow for One Year" by John Irving, which is good so far. I've also found a list of my New Years Resolutions from last year, and I noticed that the book one just said "Read more than 100 books", not 120 books as I thought...so I have achieved that, woo! :D
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    Book One Hundred and Six - The Drowning Girl by Margaret Leroy )

    Book One Hundred and Seven - Graves and Graveyards by Kenneth Lindley )

    I've just finished watching the third episode of "Any Human Heart", which I didn't watch last week, in preparation for watching the final episode tonight. Its a really good series, I'm really enjoying it. I haven't read the book, but the characters are so well drawn, and you feel so much sympathy for Logan and what he's been through -even though at times he is horrible so I'm not sure whether you're supposed to! I definitely want to read the book now I think.
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