Book Challenge, Joyce’s Ulysses

James Joyce’s Ulysses is one of the greatest pieces of literature ever written, or so I’ve heard. I had been trying to read it and last year I managed to get quite far into it, but for some reason I got distracted and started reading other books, books that didn’t make my head hurt as much. Since I hate not finishing what I’ve started, I decided to give myself a little¬†book¬†challenge.¬†

Read one chapter of Ulysses a day

There are eighteen chapters, so hopefully in eighteen days and according to the 2008 edition of the novel I will have read according to Antony Burgess in the Observer,

The greatest novel of the century”

(Joyce, J., Gabler, H.W (Ed) (2008) Ulysses. London: The Bodley Head).

So, here my journey begins. Feel free to join in, tag me on social media (see below for links to my social platforms). Or just continue reading my blog, my thoughts on Ulysses will be posted soon so stay tuned.

Also if you have any book suggestions / challenges or books you think I may be interested in, leave a comment, thanks! Happy reading!

Twitter: @sundeepkaur4

Instagram: @loveliterature1

 

The 100 Day 21 – Kass Morgan

The 100 Day 21 is published by Hodder & Stoughton.

In Kass Morgan’s Day 21, a sequel to The 100, she¬†follows the story of the hundred who have¬†landed on Earth. It’s been 21 days since their landing on Earth, they think they’re the only humans on Earth. They are wrong. The hundred are facing an unknown enemy. After the tragic attack in¬†The 100¬†Wells tries to keep the group together, Clarke tries to search for the colonists and Bellamy is determined to locate his sister. On the¬†ship, Glass has to make a choice between love of her life and life itself. This is¬†story about the struggle to¬†survive¬†(Hodder & Stoughton).

If you’re looking for a story about resilience, strength, determination and survival this book is definitely for you.¬† Although I would recommend you read The 100 before you read Day 21. I particularly liked how¬†Kass Morgan’s¬†uses different narrators. It works well and tells the story from different¬† characters perspectives.¬† I really enjoyed the way¬†she explores the relationship between Bellamy and Clarke,¬†Luke and Glass and Bellamy and Wells.¬†[SPOILER] I was surprised about to learn that Bellamy and Wells are half brothers.

The story has left me craving me for more and curious about whether or not the rest of the Colony will survive the dropship landing and if they survive how will they react when they find out about the Earthborns?

If you’re familiar with the TV series¬†also called The 100 (shown on E4 in the UK)¬†and you’re expecting the books to be similar I’ll¬†just tell you this¬†now, prepare to be delighted and¬†surprised¬†. The books are different from the TV series. If you’re a Bellarke fan, rooting for¬†them for the¬†past¬†four seasons then you’ll be extremely happy with this book. It’s definitely a wish come true for all you¬†Bellarke fans. The books also feature different characters that haven’t been included in the TV series which is very interesting. Kass Morgan’s Day 21 has managed to keep me engaged, throughout the entire book I was engrossed in the story, I’m invested in the characters¬† and their future, I’m craving to know more about their journey.

Overall¬†I really enjoyed this book.¬†¬†I’m really¬†looking forward to reading the next two¬†books in The 100 series, ¬†Homecoming and Rebellion.

Let’s talk about D.H. Lawrence.

D.H. Lawrence is¬†well-known for writing about sex but that isn’t the only thing he wrote about. Although when you ask people about Lawrence they usually say, “Ah yes, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, a bit steamy that” and some¬†of even¬†describe Lawrence’s works¬†as “a¬†bit naughty” and¬† say he’s the man who “wrote those rude books”. His work was called obscene,¬†¬†his novel The Rainbow was banned two months after being released in 1915 and Lady Chatterley’s Lover, published in 1928 was banned in England and America (Penguin Random House, 2017).¬†However for many people in the East Midlands¬†he is one of the finest writers’ the region has produced.¬†¬†¬†

In many of his works Lawrence explores the complexity¬†of relationships whether that’s between lovers or¬†family relationships.¬† His novels capture what¬† life was like for many¬†living in 20th¬†century¬†Nottinghamshire, when mining was the major source of income for many families. There¬†were many¬†other opportunities for the educated¬†but for many¬†of the¬†poor mining was the only job prospect. In his novels¬†Lawrence¬†has explored the evils of alcohol and abuse.¬†It’s his ability to talk about these issues¬†has¬†enabled¬†his work to live on and especially explore the complexities of life is what has enraptured audiences until this day.

My own experience with Lawrence began in college when someone mentioned him to me. I’d heard about Lawrence before, how could I not have? This was the first time someone had directly¬†asked me if¬†I’d read anything by¬†Lawrence, luckily for me someone had interrupted¬†me. I ran straight¬†to the library after class to find something by Lawrence¬†to read.¬† I could only find Women in Love, I borrowed it and since then I’ve read all of his books. His books are worth the read, there is so much more to them than just sex.

If you’re interested in reading¬† books by D.H. Lawrence you should start off with The Rainbow.

 

If you want to know more about D.H. Lawrence:  Brief Biography of D.H. Lawrence

 

 

 

 

 

Random thoughts about reading.

Reading a book can change the way you think about everyday things. It can help you grow as a person, improve your grammar, spelling and even help you think about every day relationships. They can be quite thought provoking, make you cry, laugh and smile. So why not read? You can immerse yourself completely into another world, escape reality for a couple of hours, so why not?

We all have a specific pattern of books that we read, quite recently I was going through my books on my shelf and I noticed a startling¬†¬†pattern in my reading habits.¬† The amount of fiction and poetry I own is incredible. I think out of over a hundred books I only own¬†four non-fiction books. The question is, why do I own so much fiction? Although to be honest I think I own at least three different editions of Persuasion by Jane Austen. Why? I don’t know. I have seem to have developed a habit of collecting books.¬† I have a weird attachment to books. Apparently I get all sentimental and overly attached. Some books were gifted to me. They will be treasured like precious memories.

I need to balance it out, so if anyone wants to recommend me a good non-fiction book could you please leave me a comment. I will then blog about it to let you know what I thought of it.

Thank you in advance and have a lovely day.

The Women of The Cousins’ War

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Simon & Schuster UK (2011)

The Women of the Cousins’ War is described as ,

“The extraordinary true stories of three women who until now have been largely forgotten by history”.

It focuses on Jacquetta of Luxembourg, Elizabeth Woodville and Margaret Beaufort.

In the last couple of years people have become more¬†aware of Elizabeth Woodville and Margaret Beaufort thanks to Philippa Gregory’s book The White Queen¬†, ¬†the BBC series adaptation with the same title¬†and her BBC documentary called The Real White Queen and Her Rivals.

After coming across these works I decided to learn more about these women. That’s when I came across The Real White and Her Rivals.

In the introduction of the book Philippa Gregory clearly outlines why women have been excluded from history and why it’s important to tell the stories of the women from such a turbulent time.

The following chapters on Jacquetta of Luxembourg ( Philippa Gregory), Elizabeth Woodville (David Baldwin) and Margaret Beaufort (Michael Jones) are very informative.¬† I managed to learn a lot more about these women. In particular¬†how they were able to overcome some of the most challenging of¬†circumstances. I found these chapters extremely interesting and I was immediately captivated by the journey of these women. In particular Margaret Beaufort, she had to overcome so much loss¬†in her life at such a young age. I can’t help but admire her patience and her political mind.

I’m definitely inspired by these women and I will be trying to find out more about them.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about The¬†Cousins’ War (also known as The War of the Roses)¬†or anyone interested in strong women throughout history. The chapters are well written and the information is easy to understand.

Lord of the Flies

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Faber & Faber (1997)

I remember being told by several people that I should read Lord of the Flies by William Goulding. Over the years I have felt guilty about not reading it, so last year I added it to my reading list.¬† Just as I started to read it, I had the pleasure of going to a dinner party. At least I thought it was going to a be¬†pleasure. Until¬†someone (who shall remain nameless) decides to reveal in mid-conversation¬†what happens to a certain character in the book. I was approximately¬†96 pages in. Was I irritated by this? Of course. I was absolutely livid. As any book lover would be.¬†I really wish people would ask, “Have you read this book?” before revealing details or spoilers. So,¬†if you haven’t read Lord of the Flies I suggest you stop reading this post and read the book before¬† you read this. I really don’t want to spoil this book for you.

Lord of the Flies opens with a plane crash and a group of boys find themselves stranded on an island. It’s quite intriguing, as the first thing you think, “how are these young boys going to survive?”. There is quite the struggle for power between Ralph and Jack who both want to be Chief. Jack is pretty much that bully that everyone encounters at some point during their childhood. Ralph eventually¬†evolves from being sort of dismissive towards Piggy into respecting him and valuing his opinion and seeing him more of a friend.¬† Which¬†Ralph figures out after Piggy’s death. Yes he dies

Golding also explores instinct, animalistic¬†ones,¬†hunting¬† & killing for example.¬† Jack’s¬†desire to¬†kill and hunt borders on obsessive, particularly with the chanting.

Lord of the Flies is so influential that it’s managed to inspire a lot of individuals and quite a lot of references in today’s culture would suggest it is influential. Evidence of this can be found in TV shows such as LOST¬†, the opening scene¬†of the TV series is quite similar to the first chapter in Golding’s book.¬†¬†Was JJ Abrams inspired by Golding’s work? Probably.

Even in¬†other works¬†of fiction¬†such as¬†James Dashner’s The Maze Runner series, you can find evidence of Dashner being inspired by Golding’s book. It’s obvious why an entire generations of people would be fascinated and invigorated by Golding’s work. After all, the idea of being stuck on an island has occurred to us all. Would we give into our animalistic instincts in order to survive?¬† Let’s hope we never have to find out because that’s actually quite scary thing to think about.

Did Golding¬†develop on previous ideas from¬† Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe or Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island ?¬† After all these tales also explore similar concepts that Golding develops throughout his novel.

I did enjoy this book and I would definitely recommend this to anyone who hasn’t read it.

Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad

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Penguin Random House

“Conrad’s narrator Marlow, a seaman and wanderer, recounts his physical and psychological journey in search of the infamous ivory trader Kurtz: dying, insane, and guilty of unspeakable atrocities. Travelling upriver to the heart of the African continent, he gradually becomes obsessed by this enigmatic, wraith-like figure. Marlow’s discovery of how Kurtz has gained his position of power over the local people involves him in a radical questioning, not only of his own nature and values, but also those of western civilisation. The inspiration for Francis Ford Coppola’s Oscar-winning film Apocalypse Now, Heart of Darkness is a quintessentially modernist work exploring the limits of human experience and the nightmarish realities of imperialism.Part of a major series of new editions of Conrad’s most famous works in Penguin Classics, this volume contains Conrad’s Congo Diary, a chronology, further reading, notes, a map of the Congo, a glossary and an introduction discussing the author’s experiences in Africa, the narrative and symbolic complexities of Heart of Darkness and critical responses to the novel”

(Penguin Random House, 2017)

¬†Whoever wrote that book blurb at Penguin Random House kudos because that’s very accurate. I have to admit while reading this¬† book I was both enraptured but also horrified. Imperialism and colonisation¬†are real but every time I read about it whether it’s ¬†in a fictional context or a historical¬†one I still feel horrified and shocked. I was shocked at the amount of¬† racial and derogatory language used to¬†describe the natives of Africa and the way they’re treated. I kept reading this book simply because I had to know¬†more about¬†Kurtz, the development of the ivory trade (a subject which i feel passionately about, no elephant should have their tusks taken away) and because of¬† language passages such as this one:
“There were moments when one’s past came back to one, as it will sometimes when you not a moment to spare for yourself; but it came in the shape of a unrestful and noisy dream, remembered with wonder amongst the overwhelming realities of this strange world¬† of plants, and water, and silence. And this stillness of life did not in the least resemble a peace. It was the stillness¬† of an implacable force brooding over an inscrutable intention. It looked at you with a vengeful aspect.”
(Conrad, 2007)
Would I read this book again? In all honesty I don’t know, maybe. I have mixed feelings about this piece of Conrad’s work. I will read it again at some point (so this blog post might change). Until then, stay tuned.
If you have read Heart of Darkness before or a fan of Conrad’s other works¬† and are looking for something that’s similar but not written by¬†him¬†I would recommend¬† Voltaire’s Candide or Optimism?¬†
References:
Conrad, J.  (2007) Heart of Darkness.  London: Penguin Random House.
Penguin Random House (2017) ‘Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad’. ¬†Available at: https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/60414/heart-of-darkness/ [Online] (Accessed on: 24 January 2017