I can’t believe that this is the final post in this challenge! I’m going to assume that a ‘coffee table book’ is a book that you would leave out and hope that someone who was visiting would want to talk about. This is a difficult question for me, because I don’t do that.
If I did do it I’d probably put something like ‘A Game of Thrones’ by George R. R. Martin on the table, or any other book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Why? Firstly, because the books are now huge due to the success of the show. Chances are that a guest would have at least heard of the TV series and it wouldn’t be a complete blank slate. Secondly, the books are though provoking – I have lots of conversations about them. George R. R. Martin incorporates a lot of realistic things into his books – and you can compare some events to real history, so it makes for a good conversation. Finally, I think it would be a bit too personal to put a political or controversal book out to talk to guests about – you don’t want the conversation to become too deep and heavy, or end in a fight.
Maybe I’ve misinterpreted the question and a ‘coffee table book’ is a book with a pretty cover that makes your table look better. I don’t really admire book covers though – I like some of them, but as long as the book is good I’m usually okay with a less than beautiful cover. But I think that the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ books have lovely covers anyways, so they kind of double.
This is a pretty straight-forward question, so here’s my straight-forward answer. I’m reading ‘Bitten’ by Kelley Armstrong, the first book in the Women of the Otherworld series. It is a good book and I hope to do of a review on it soon. It follows the story of a pack of civilised werewolves that come under attack by a group of serial killer rouges or ‘mutts’ and how they deal with it. It is told through it eyes of the only female werewolf in the world, Elena which is interesting, because most of the time in novels like these the main werewolf is a man.
So as you can tell, I’m enjoying the book 🙂
The last book I read was ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ by E.L. James. I have considered putting a review of it up here, but I’m still not sure. It is huge at the moment, and that is what led me to read it – I wanted to know why it was big. I really enjoyed the book, but also came away from it feeling a bit confused as to why I liked it.
I don’t think that there is a point in providing a synopsis of it here. It’s so big that you would have to be living under a rock to not know the basic premise of the story. I will say that it was not what I expected, based on what I’d read online. I can kind of see both sides to the argument – both for and against the book. I went into it with an open mind and with a firm resolution to see it only as a fictional work and I think that was why I liked it. But like I said, I’m still a bit confused. It was fun and didn’t take a lot of brainwork to follow the plot. At times I felt a bit bored, at others I laughed and I will admit that when Ana was presented with the contract I wanted to her to morph into Sookie Stackhouse and start laughing at it. I don’t really see the harm in it, but I can see where some critics are coming from.
I also didn’t fall madly in love with Christian, unlike a lot of readers. He is kind of creepy and over the top, but I thought the romance was okay.
Like I said in my last post, I’m going to pick something for this post that was not mentioned in my favourite books post. I’ve done a bit of thinking and have decided that I’m going to pick a book that could be considered part of the ‘fiction’ genre – not a fantasy, or a historical romance, chick lit etc, but a work of fiction that is classed that way. I’ve decided to pick a book that would be part of the genre that books that get a lot of awards – mainstream, modern books that discuss an important topic.
I’ve decided to go with ‘The Help’ by Kathryn Stockett because it is a book that I would consider to fit the above qualities. I picked up this book on a whim, not knowing much about and not having seen the film beforehand. I didn’t think that it’d be to my liking, but I was pleasantly surprised. I really loved it, and even did a review on it. It was definitely one of my reading highlights of 2011 and I’m glad that I read it.
I’m not going to go into detail, because I’ve already reviewed it, but I will say that since I wrote that review, I have watched the film. If you’ve both read and watched ‘The Help’ you will know that there is one huge change in the film, and it really takes away from the book. I’m referring of course to the change in the colour of Constantine’s daughter. I felt really let down by that, because in the book it was a huge deal and made sense, whereas in the film it felt badly put together.
Seeing as I already put ‘Wild Swans’ by Jung Chang in my post on favourite books I’ve decided to do a post on a couple of other ones that I really liked instead.
1. The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices by Xinran
I read this book because I loved ‘Wild Swans’ and wanted to read similar. ‘The Good Women of China’ is vastly different from ‘Wild Swans’ though – it is essentially a collection of life stories, taken from women from different classes. Some of them are homeless, others living in a commune, or gay. It really opened my mind and by the end of the book I really admired the women in the book, and Xinran for their bravery. I think the bit that stands out to me the most is the women who live in the cave, which is really shocking. There are several stories that are really sad too, like the young woman who was raped and put in hospital. I dont’ want to spoil it for anyone who is thinking about reading it, so I’m not going to go into detail.
2. ‘Revolutions: Theoretical, Comparative and Historical Studies’ edited by Jack A. Goldstone
I read this for college, and I have to say that I think revolutions are the most interesting thing to study from a historical, or sociological point of view. You might just think that a revolution is all about anarchy, but it isn’t and this book proves that. Revolution is a complex topic. It makes a great read too. This book looks into different revolutionary waves and is a collection of essays on the subject. I think it is a must-read for anyone interested in history, and it is readable. A lot of academic books are written in a way that makes your eyes want to bleed, but this one isn’t.
I was one of those students that had a weird habit of liking the books that were on the curriculum. I don’t think I ever hated one that I had to read, except maybe ‘Jane Eyre’ that I’d already read by the time it came up. By ‘school’ I am assuming this means secondary level aka High School and not university level stuff here.
I love reading books that are old and different with interesting themes, and one that really stood out above the rest was ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee. I think what makes ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ unique is that so much is going on – it is famous for its race/discrimination theme, but it also deals with the difference between people of all classes, and mental illness. It is a very emotional book in a lot of ways and it isn’t always ‘happy’ but I remember falling in love with it because of that. It isn’t supposed to be simple or straightforward, despite being readable and I think that anyone who reads it will see something in it that connects with them.
If you haven’t read ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ (which is unlikely, because it is one of those books that are read in schools all over the world) I will say that it is about an alleged rape between a black man and a poor white woman, and is told through the eyes of the lawyer’s daughter (Scout). The black man – Tom Robinson is innocent, but society doesn’t see it as a case of innocence, and Scout’s father Atticus tries to fight this despite knowing that ultimately he can’t win. Scout and her brother Gem also deal with growing up and with Atticus’s help and guidance they show signs of being more mature than most of society, because they realise that everyone has a story and you can’t judge someone based on what you think you see. You have to look deeper.
My favourite scene in any book ever is in ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’ when Harry overhears professor McGonagall, Hagrid and Cornelius Fudge talking about how Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew had been best friends with his parents and that Sirius had killed Pettigrew and had been Harry’s godfather and betrayed his parents. I’m pretty sure that all happens in one go, but I know either way that it is my all time favourite scene – it always gives me the shivers.
On a side note, I’ve always been one of those Harry Potter fans who wants a prequel starring the Marauders. It would be really sad, but also really cool and funny.
This is a fun one. Nowadays, the only time I say I’ve read something when I haven’t is usually for college. I’m bad but I just can’t ever manage to you know, read everything on the book list. I read as much as I can. Enough about that though…
Years ago, way before the films came out and I was a precocious teenager I thought it would make me look good to say that I’d read the ‘Da Vinci Code’ by Dan Brown. I was about thirteen, maybe fourteen. I was weird and un-informed about what the book actually was about. I thought it was a book for smart people and that it was an intellectual debate on god and I was in an all-girl Catholic school so I thought it was a really cool thing to say that I’d read.
I did eventually try to read it. I loved ‘Angels and Demons’ (the prequel) but when I actually tried to read the ‘Da Vinci Code’ I didn’t like it. Compared to ‘Angels and Demons’ it was boring. I gave up on it and I’ve never looked back. I liked both of the films, but I think this is a good example of how ignorance is a bad thing – the ‘Da Vinci Code’ was not the book/film I expected it to be.
When I started this challenge I would have been able to give you a sure-fire list of books that I was going to read next. Now though? Not so much.
I know that I will eventually get around to reading ‘Fifty Shades Darker’ by E.L. James. Sue me, but I liked the first book and I don’t care if other people have a problem with it.
Other than that I have no idea. I remember reading a Katy Perry piece of news once and liking this quote:
“My sponge is so big and wide and I’m soaking everything up and my mind has been radically expanded… just looking into the sky.”
I think that it was about song writing or something, but I think it can apply to lots of things. So I’m applying it to my reading. My horizons are expanding, and I’m not really focusing on just one book or thing and I don’t really want or need a plan anymore.
I can’t really remember much about picture books, but I do recall reading the Rupert Bear ones by Mary Tourtel.
I can’t for the life of me remember what the books were about though. I also remember reading the ‘Benjamin Bunny’ books by Beatrix Potter.
I also probably read ‘Winnie the Pooh’ but I can’t remember. All pretty old-fashioned but I liked them.