WWW Wednesdays: What Am I Reading? (3)

WWW Wednesdays: What Am I Reading? (3)

WWW Wednesdays is a weekly meme that is hosted by Taking on a World of Words. The “rules” are simple – answer the 3 questions below:


1. What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading Finders Keepers by Stephen King, as well as The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy; if you’ve been following my other WWW posts you’d know I’ve been planning to read this particular Hardy book since February. I only have two books on the go at the minute, which is allowing me to get through both books at an excellent pace.

2. What did you recently finish reading?

If I remember rightly, I finished reading two reads: Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence, 11.22.63 by Stephen King. However, I’m sorry to say I’ve also given up on not one, but two books. I’ve abandoned To The Lighthouse by Woolf (in fact, I’m not at all sorry for giving up on this one, it was a disastrous book for me to try and get into) as well as The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. Whilst I had read some the stories and found them amusing, I just wasn’t engaged enough to want to commit top reading the entire thing just yet.

3. What do you think you’ll read next?

I honestly don’t know – at present I don’t have a burning desire for any other books in particular, but I’m sure that’s bound to change.


 What are you currently reading?

– Judith

Read and Review: The Eyre Affair

Read and Review: The Eyre Affair
  • Title: The Eyre Affair
  • Author: Jasper Fforde
  • Published: 2001

The Eyre Affair draws on a mix of genres, such as humour thriller, sci-fi, detective and fantasy. It tells the story of Thursday Next, a literary detective in an alternative 1985, where everyone is obsessed with literature. The real world and the “book world” overlap, quite literally bringing citizens’ favourite book characters to life, which is all fun and games… until Jane Eyre is kidnapped.

My favourite aspect of The Eyre Affair was its witty references to “pop” literature, such as the Dickens’ books – this reminded me of Dickensian, the BBC drama set within the fictional world of Dickens – or the Shakespeare/Marlowe conspiracy theory. At times, these references seemed a little heavy-handed, but I think this excess paid off, adding to the charm of the alternative reality.

I also appreciated how Thursday’s own narrative, in some ways, mirrored the narrative of Jane Eyre. This was a clever and well-executed idea, and I enjoyed the allusion to how Thursday’s intervention and “reconstruction” of Jane Eyre resulted in the Bronte story we know and love today.

Yet despite its title, The Eyre Affair took longer than expected to focus on its main plot, the Jane Eyre kidnapping.

A lot of time was spent building the world with at times clunky or (dare I say it) cheesy sci-fi abstract descriptions, and introducing characters who, to me, held no significant role in the narrative. Although world-building is a significant part of any series, I prefer books where this description and scene-setting is done more subtly, rather than a heavy exposition.

However, the time spent in The Eyre Affair background and character descriptions may reduce the level of exposition needed further down the line, and these characters may well be more significant in future books in the Thursday Next series, so I can’t complain too much.

Overall, despite my criticisms, I really enjoyed The Eyre Affair. Although he “relies” on existing texts and authors (to an extent) to construct his own story, he blends his own ideas and style with existing characters and texts well, and it was a fun, light-hearted read.

I’d love to read the rest of the Thursday Next series, as well as more books by Jasper Fforde, an author previously unknown to me.

– Judith

WWW Wednesdays: What Am I Reading? (1)

WWW Wednesdays: What Am I Reading? (1)

This is my first ever WWW Wednesday post!

WWW Wednesdays is a weekly meme that is hosted by Taking on a World of Words. The “rules” are simple – answer the 3 questions below:


1. What are you currently reading?

I try and keep my Goodreads ‘Currently Reading’ shelf as up-to-date as possible. This can be quite a task, as I have a habit of reading multiple books on the go! My current fiction reads are: The Eyre Affair (Jasper Fforde, 2001), 11/22/63 (Stephen King, 2011) and The Man In The High Castle (Philip K. Dick, 1962). I’m also reading some non-fiction Christian books, as well as some literary criticisms on the side. I’m certainly a busy bee.

2. What did you recently finish reading?

I finished reading Lady Susan (Jane Austen, 1871) – I plan on writing a blog post on this soon – but the other most recent text I finished reading was The Wife’s Lament, an Old English poem, about loss, love and lamenting (I wanted to alliterate). I recently published my “book review” of it too, which you can find here:

3. What do you think you’ll read next?

Hopefully next month I’ll have finished my mountain of current reads, and moved on to some other books. I’d like to read The Mayor of Casterbridge (Thomas Hardy, 1886) at some point.


Thanks for reading!

Have you read any of my choices? What are you currently reading?

– Judith

The Taylor Swift Book Tag

The Taylor Swift Book Tag

Recently, I’ve been listening to a LOT of Taylor Swift, a singer I’ve been an on/off fan of since being a young teen. Yet for some reason, I’ve been listening to lots of her songs, so this Tag Tuesday, the Taylor Swift Book Tag seemed like an obvious choice. Let’s answer some Qs with some As then!

1. We Are Never Ever Getting Backing Together: Pick book you were sure you were in love with, but then wanted to break up with

I really liked the Twilight series as a young teen – I read them all in less than a week. In hindsight, I’m not sure they were the best books ever written. Plus, the franchise on a whole gets a lot of criticism, so it can be a bit embarrassing to admit that I liked them. (So I’m combating this by telling 300+ people that I liked the Twilight books… sure)

2. Red: Pick a book with a red cover

I’d have to choose my beautiful edition of And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie (1939), which features the characters as portrayed in the 2015 BBC adaptation. If you haven’t read the book, you need to! If you haven’t watched the TV series, you need to! They’re both brilliantly made and very enjoyable.

3. The Best Day: Pick a book that makes you feel nostalgic

This question reminds me of my My Life In Books Challenge, where I talked about different books I read and loved as a child. I would probably have to say The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1911) because I loved it as a little girl, and I feel like I can connect to the book’s characters and events, given its Yorkshire backdrop.

4. Love Story: Pick a book with forbidden love

I really don’t read many love stories, and none with a sense of “forbidden” love. I’d probably have to choose the classic, Romeo and Juliet (1597) – which is also referenced in Taylor’s song!

5. I Knew You Were Trouble: Pick a book with a bad character you couldn’t help but love

There are so many! I love a good villain. I’d definitely say Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights (1847). I’d also say Count Olaf, from the Series of Unfortunate Events books, O’Brien from 1984 (1949) or Camille’s mother from Sharp Objects (2006). Then there’s always Macbeth and Lady Macbeth too…

6. Innocent: Pick a book that someone ruined the ending for

I’m notorious for avoiding spoilers at all costs (unless I accidentally find out something myself). My brother ruined a lot of books and films for me as a child, although no specific memories spring to mind. He probably told me a lot of the Harry Potter storylines before I’d been able to read them for myself…

7. Everything Has Changed: Pick a book character who goes through extensive character development

My knee-jerk reaction is Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice (1813). At the start of the book, Elizabeth is headstrong, but shows she can be sassy, judgmental and prejudiced (all three of which towards Darcy). In the same way, Darcy is proud, arrogant and reluctant to show his true feelings. Both characters learn to open up to each other, as well as other people, and they round out as characters towards the end of the book.

8. You Belong With Me: Pick your most anticipated book release

At the minute, I’ve heard Crystin Goodwin is working on a fourth book in her Blessings of Myrillia series. I’ve read all three and reviewed them (UnBlessed, Fire Blessed, Ice Blessed) and I really like the fantasy / young adult path Goodwin has taken the books down, and I can’t wait to read the next one!

9. Forever and Always: Pick your favourite book couple

I would either say Mr and Mrs Bennett from Pride and Prejudice (1813) because they’re such hilarious characters, or Henry and Clare from The Time Traveller’s Wife (2003) because they have such a wonderful, loving relationship.

10. Teardrops On My Guitar: Pick a book that made you cry

I don’t cry at books! I don’t cry at films either. I guess I’m just a cold-hearted, meanie of a blogger…

Those are my answers! Would you have picked different books?

That’s all for now!

– Judith

Read and Review: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Read and Review: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  • Title: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  • Author: Douglas Adams
  • Published: 1979

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a science-fiction comedy story. In it, we meet Arthur Dent, an ordinary British citizen who finds out he’s the last surviving man after the demolition of Planet Earth to make room for a hyperspace bypass. He’s rescued by his alien friend Ford Prefect, who is currently re-drafting The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, an electronic travel guide, and the two of them hitchhike onto a passing spacecraft. Arthur and Ford meet a variety of space creatures and Arthur gradually learns more about the universe than he ever has before.

I’m always a bit reserved when it comes to science-fiction; a lot of the fictional scientific jargon always goes straight over my head and I’m always concerned it’s a bit too geeky for me.

However, I really enjoyed reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy!

Firstly, it’s a book about a book – and I love books that include clever concepts like that – the plot is always being interrupted by “extracts” from the Guide, or references to the past or the future that don’t contribute to the story (and by Adams’ own acknowledgement, are not significant whatsoever).

Despite the scientific jargon (trust me, there’s a lot of made-up words in this book), this didn’t put me off. It gave me a sense of nostalgia, and reminded me of classic 80s shows* where robots are made of tin foil and spaceships are made of cardboard boxes and empty tins.

*Doctor Who (1963-1989) and Back to the Future (1985) spring to mind.

I also enjoyed Adams’ narrative style; he writes in a sarcastic and genuinely witty way that made me feel as if I was reading the script for a good sit-com.**

**The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was originally a radio comedy broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1978.

My favourite character has to be Marvin the Paranoid Android, a severely depressed robot that hates life, assumes everyone hates him, but actually ends up saving the day. Marvin’s dialogue was funny, without being offensive, and I felt both amusement and sympathy for the situations he found himself in.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is only one of many books in Adams’ series, and although, I’m not sure I’m ready to invest my time in reading the rest of the books just yet,  I can safely say I thoroughly enjoyed the first one and would love to listen to the radio show too!

Have you read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? What did you think?

– Judith

Learn to Love Challenge Day #3

Learn to Love Challenge Day #3

Welcome back! We are now halfway through the week. You can catch up on Day #1 and Day #2 if you missed my posts.

Today I have chosen to Learn to Love … science fiction!


Part 1:

1. Have you ever read texts from this genre before?

I don’t think so. I think sometimes fantasy and Dystopian novels can stray into the realms of sci-fi, but I haven’t read anything specifically labelled as science fiction before.

2. Why have you stayed away from this genre?

I think science fiction will be geeky, cheesy and too much for me to handle. I enjoy “pop” sci-fi, if there is such a term. I really liked Doctor Who, the Star Wars films, I’m a fan of The Big Bang Theory and the Star Trek films (the new ones!) were okay I guess, but actually reading sci-fi seems to be on a whole new level!

3. Why have you chosen this particular text?

I have chosen The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger because, like yesterday’s post, this book was sitting on my TBR pile and I featured it in a Book Haul, so I just had to read it! It’s described as a science-fiction / romance, which makes me nervous because I’m not a romance fan either!


Part 2:

1. What did you like?

Henry and Clare’s relationship was so moving and I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to be stuck in timelines that didn’t quite match-up and caused confusion and embarrassment. Their desperation for a child and the heartaches that came along with that were really emotional scenes. I also liked the introduction of Dr Kendrick, to try and create a cure for Henry.

2. What did you dislike?

The ending! It made me sad! In any book, it’s always difficult bringing up the inevitability of death but it’s even harder to deal with when you’re jumping around in history.


Part 3:

1.  After reading the text, would you say that you enjoy this genre?

Yes! This level of science fiction was more than tolerable; it was enjoyable and I would like to read more books like this which are less “aliens, spaceships and Spock” and more of a dilution of sci-fi ideas into the real world.

2. Have any of your preconceptions changed?

Definitely! When I think of time travel, I think of Doctor Who and Star Trek, but it was nice to read a science fiction book that dealt explicitly with the practicalities of time travelling without complicated scientific language and aliens and foreign planets.

3. Would you read more texts in this genre?

See Question 1! I also have The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams on my TBR so it will be interesting to read that and compare how different the novels are!


That brings us to the end of today’s Learn to Love Challenge post. If you enjoyed it, and want to read more posts like this, click ‘Follow’ and stay tuned for Days #4 and #5!

What are your opinions on science fiction? Do you have a preference? Share your opinions below!

– Judith

Learn to Love Challenge Day #1

Learn to Love Challenge Day #1

Like all readers, I have reading preferences, likes and dislikes, and a comfort zone where I can safely read what I enjoy most. For me, this means I stay in a bubble of classic novels, Gothic novels, horrors, thrillers and YA fiction. I want to become braver, as a reader, so I have devised the Learn to Love Challenge, in which I will sample a a variety of genres I tend to stay away from, and review my experiences along the way, and perhaps I will “learn to love” them.

Today I have chosen to Learn to Love … graphic novels!


Part 1:

1. Have you ever read texts from this genre before?
No.

2. Why have you stayed away from this genre?
Firstly, I think the term “graphic novel” is a fancy way of saying “comic book”. I think the stories will be too cheesy and too short for anything exciting to happen. I just can’t see the appeal of looking at pictures and hardly any writing.

3. Why have you chosen these particular texts?
As comics are so short, I thought it would be better to sample two texts than just the one. I have chosen the first The Walking Dead comic by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore because a little while ago, I started watching the AMC TV series, The Walking Dead and I really enjoy it. I thought it would be interesting to see how the comic and the show match-up.

I have also chosen the first X-Men comic by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby because I didn’t mind the X-Men films, and I thought it would be good to sample two different comics that are on completely different topics.


Part 2:

1. What did you like?
I much preferred The Walking Dead comic because the story appealed to me more and I thought the illustrations looked better. I can see instantly see why the series caught on, I was left wanting to read the next comic, despite already knowing the storyline!

I thought Kirkman’s explanation following the comic, describing how he didn’t want to create a horror, but a survivalist story which just so happens to occur at the time of a zombie apocalypse, was really interesting and explains at times why you can feel as if have been no recent ‘walker’ attacks.

I thought Lee’s idea of the X-Men was very creative, and I could see how it sparked films and TV shows and drew a wide fan base for lovers of science fiction, fantasy and superheroes.

2. What did you dislike?
I didn’t enjoy the X-Men comic as much; the storyline was okay but it felt so predictable and the use of bright colours made it seem very childish and cheesy. Also, I didn’t like the overuse of explanation marks for almost all thoughts and dialogue! It just didn’t seem real! Can you imagine if someone wrote a novel in that style! It would seem over the top and ridiculous! Continuously!


Part 3:

1. After reading the texts, would you say that you enjoy this genre?
Not really. I am still not convinced that the “graphic novel” is a form of literature comparable with novels, poems, plays etc. and I can’t say that my overall opinion has changed dramatically. The narratives in both comics were really brief and I felt like I’d only just learnt who the characters were or what was happening before the story was wrapped up and I was told to subscribe for the next edition to find out what happens.

2. Have any of your preconceptions changed?
I was surprised by how little words like BAM, ULP, CRASH, WOW, POW etc. were actually featured in either comic – stereotypical words I assumed were always worked into the narrative somehow.

3. Would you read more texts in this genre?
I wouldn’t mind reading more of The Walking Dead comics, as this might develop my understanding of the TV show. I certainly wouldn’t pay for them however; they do seem like an expensive purchase for so little content. Thankfully, the texts I sampled today, I was able to read them for free!


As always, I am more than willing to discuss opinions further in the comments, so please leave any thoughts you have down below. Do you enjoy graphic novels? What’s your favourite series?

Share your thoughts! Like this post! Click ‘Follow’ for more content and an excessive use of exclamation marks!  😉

– Judith