Friday, October 02, 2015

41/52 books read in the Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge

79% of the way finished and three books ahead of schedule.
I've just finished reading The Kite Runner by Khaled Husseini and feel mentally and physically drained; but I'll come back to that later, I really should bring the list up to date.

Carrying on from Go Set A Watchman........

The Little Prince by

Moral allegory and spiritual autobiography, The Little Prince is the most translated book in the French language. With a timeless charm it tells the story of a little boy who leaves the safety of his own tiny planet to travel the universe, learning the vagaries of adult behaviour through a series of extraordinary encounters. His personal odyssey culminates in a voyage to Earth and further adventures.

My thoughts; you know I can't recall ever having read this before. Surely I must have but then I think I would have remembered at least some of it, so perhaps I didn't. This is, I suppose, a book written for children but I have to say I thought it a wonderful story. It did however really move me and I admit to the shedding of a tear or two. It's described as a parable 'a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson' and I have to wholeheartedly agree with that.   

I rated it  ★★★★

The Godfather by Mario Puzo
The story of Don Vito Corleone, the head of a New York Mafia family, inspired some of the most successful movies ever. It is in Mario Puzo's The Godfather that Corleone first appears. As Corleone's desperate struggle to control the Mafia underworld unfolds, so does the story of his family. The novel is full of exquisitely detailed characters who, despite leading unconventional lifestyles within a notorious crime family, experience the triumphs and failures of the human condition. Filled with the requisite valor, love, and rancor of a great epic, The Godfather is the definitive gangster novel.

My thoughts; I think everyone must know this story, if not from reading the book then by watching the film. I've discovered I have quite an eclectic taste in what I read. I have to say I loved the book as much as I enjoyed the films. Time to get them out on DVD I reckon, it's an offer I can't refuse.
I rated it  ★★★★

The Imaginary by A.F. Harrold

Only Amanda can see her imaginary friend – until the sinister Mr Bunting arrives at Amanda's door. Mr Bunting hunts imaginaries. Rumour says that he eats them. And he's sniffed out Rudger. Soon Rudger is alone, and running for his imaginary life. But can a boy who isn’t there survive without a friend to dream him up?

A brilliantly funny, scary and moving read from the unique imagination of A.F. Harrold, this beautiful book is astoundingly illustrated with integrated art and colour spreads by the award-winning Emily Gravett

My thoughts; I had no idea what to expect of this book, it was loaned to me by one of our book club ladies. I picked it up on  a rainy afternoon and read it from cover to cover.
What a gorgeous book, it made me long for my youth and the days of playing those wild imaginary games. I shed a few tears for those days at the end, why oh why do we have to grow up. Stunning illustrations by Emily Gravett too.
I rated it  ★★★★

I don't think I really need to keep writing the title and author underneath do I? You can see quite clearly what it is and by whom it is written.
A powerful, emotional memoir and an extraordinary portrait of three generations of Tibetan women whose lives are forever changed when Chairman Mao’s Red Army crushes Tibetan independence, sending a young mother and her six-year-old daughter on a treacherous journey across the snowy Himalayas toward freedom.
Kunsang thought she would never leave Tibet. One of the country's youngest Buddhist nuns, she grew up in a remote mountain village where, as a teenager, she entered the local nunnery. Though simple, Kunsang's life gave her all she needed: a oneness with nature and a sense of the spiritual in all things. She married a monk, had two children, and lived in peace and prayer. But not for long. There was a saying in Tibet: "When the iron bird flies and horses run on wheels, the Tibetan people will be scattered like ants across the face of the earth." The Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1950 changed everything. When soldiers arrived at her mountain monastery, destroying everything in their path, Kunsang and her family fled across the Himalayas only to spend years in Indian refugee camps. She lost both her husband and her youngest child on that journey, but the future held an extraordinary turn of events that would forever change her life--the arrival in the refugee camps of a cultured young Swiss man long fascinated with Tibet. Martin Brauen will fall instantly in love with Kunsang's young daughter, Sonam, eventually winning her heart and hand, and taking mother and daughter with him to Switzerland, where Yangzom will be born.
Many stories lie hidden until the right person arrives to tell them. In rescuing the story of her now 90-year-old inspirational grandmother and her mother, Yangzom Brauen has given us a book full of love, courage, and triumph,as well as allowing us a rare and vivid glimpse of life in rural Tibet before the arrival of the Chinese. Most importantly, though, ACROSS MANY MOUNTAINS is a testament to three strong, determined women who are linked by an unbreakable family bond. 

My thoughts; Augusts selection for the Book sharing scheme and with books of this kind I am often filled with trepidation. I really should stop worrying as I've not been disappointed yet with any of the memoirs read so far.
Fascinating, heartbreaking, inspiring. It certainly resulted in a lot of discussion within our group. So much so that we overran by nearly an hour and my other half was ringing around trying to find out where I was, hoping that I hadn't ended up in a ditch driving home in the dark! Read it, I urge you to.
I rated it  ★★★★

After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship, a solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild, blue Pacific. The only survivors from the wreck are a sixteen-year-old boy named Pi, a hyena, a zebra (with a broken leg), a female orangutan – and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger. The scene is set for one of the most extraordinary and best-loved works of fiction in recent years.

My thoughts;  Superb, if I could give it 10 stars I would. Brilliantly written, Yann Martel took me on a journey as incredible as Pi's. I think most people know of this book, if not then the film for sure, I have still yet to watch the film. I have it saved on MySky and I'm scared to watch it as I don't want to be disappointed even though I have been told many times the film is brilliant too, so perhaps I should just bite the bullet and do it
I rated it  ★★★★

 Young Willie Beech is evacuated to the country as Britain stands on the brink of WW2. A sad, deprived child, he slowly begins to flourish under the care of old Tom Oakley - but his new-found happiness is shattered by a summons from his mother back in London.

My thoughts; Not the first time I've read this book and certainly not the last, to me it's up there with some classics. I love this book so much, it was very tempting to just start reading it all over again even though the last two chapters were difficult to read through the tears.  A beautifully written and at times heartbreaking story, be careful it might make you cry, it did me but then I cry a lot :-D

I rated it  ★★★★

 Amid the mayhem of the Civil War, Virginia plantation wife Iris Dunleavy is put on trial and convicted of madness. It is the only reasonable explanation the court can see for her willful behavior, so she is sent away to Sanibel Asylum to be restored to a good, compliant woman. Iris knows, though, that her husband is the true criminal; she is no lunatic, only guilty of disagreeing with him on notions of justice, cruelty, and property. On this remote Florida island, cut off by swamps and seas and military blockades, Iris meets a wonderful collection of residents--some seemingly sane, some wrongly convinced they are crazy, some charmingly odd, some dangerously unstable. Which of these is Ambrose Weller, the war-haunted Confederate soldier whose memories terrorize him into wild fits that can only be calmed by the color blue, but whose gentleness and dark eyes beckon to Iris. The institution calls itself modern, but Iris is skeptical of its methods, particularly the dreaded "water treatment." She must escape, but she has found new hope and love with Ambrose. Can she take him with her? If they make it out, will the war have left anything for them to make a life from, back home? Blue Asylum is a vibrant, beautifully-imagined, absorbing story of the lines we all cross between sanity and madness. It is also the tale of a spirited woman, a wounded soldier, their impossible love, and the undeniable call of freedom.

My thoughts; Gone with the Wind meets North and South meets One flew Over the Cuckoos next.
Book sharing scheme choice for September. I read it from cover to cover without a break, loved it. 

I rated it  ★★★★ probably really ★★★★ but I felt generous at the time.

One of the greatest love stories ever told, beautifully repackaged for a modern teen audience Loved TWILIGHT?Then you'll adore Pride and Prejudice! Love isn't always at first sight. When Elizabeth Bennet meets Mr Darcy, it's fair to say he doesn't make the best first impression. Arrogant, condescending and aloof, he is everything the spirited and clever Elizbeth despises - and that's before he breaks her sister's heart. But why, then, do her thoughts turn to him again and again? Slowly, Elizabeth starts to realise that her first impression may have been wrong. But by then, it might just be too late!

My thoughts; Okay so I'm a little late coming to the ball where this novel is concerned and I feel I've been depriving myself all these years. I have of course watched the TV adaptation with Colin Firth as Mr Darcy....I can tell you I was undone, although I don't actually recall that line in the book or the scene of him coming out of the lake all dripping wet either. I for one am all for keeping that scene in even though I hate it when they don't get it right in films!!
I rated it  ★★★★ how could I give it anything less.

The Kite Runner of Khaled Hosseini's deeply moving fiction debut is an illiterate Afghan boy with an uncanny instinct for predicting exactly where a downed kite will land. Growing up in the city of Kabul in the early 1970s, Hassan was narrator Amir's closest friend even though the loyal 11-year-old with "a face like a Chinese doll" was the son of Amir's father's servant and a member of Afghanistan's despised Hazara minority. But in 1975, on the day of Kabul's annual kite-fighting tournament, something unspeakable happened between the two boys.

My thoughts; I finished this little over an hour ago and I'm still reeling from it. I don't know how to describe it really, it's harrowing, heartbreaking, shocking and at times an uncomfortable read. With the stories in the news of refugees fleeing Syria this book really hit home for me, if any of those people witnessed anything like the atrocities  in the book then I can only hope that they find peace somewhere. That said however don't be put off reading this book it's so much more than a refugee story and a very worthwhile book.
I rated it  ★★★★

And that's all up to date now and looking back up the list I see ★★★★ all the way, a good couple of months reading there. Maybe my renewed love of reading and joining the Book Discussion Scheme has made me more appreciative of different genres, so many more to come.

Talking of books to come, in the last two months of book reading there have been a couple of Op shopping days and a Book Fayre where, as a result, my pile of books got bigger.....

I reckon that'll do ya for now eh! 

PS I've just had a quick read through on the preview and there seems to be different fonts, sorry about that no idea why it's done that, I'm not going to change it now either.


  1. Wow, you've done a lot of reading! I'm not even at half that amount. Although, I only read when I go to bed. If I read during the day I'd never get anything done, ask me how I now!! I really enjoyed (not sure that's the right word) the Kite Runner and have several of the books in your "stacks".
    Pretty soon you'll be so busy in your yard whereas we are coming into fall, so less outside activities. We are having typical fall weather tomorrow.Today is 20 degrees, tomorrow is supposed to be a high of 3 degrees and we're supposed to have rain, snow and wind. Oh joy!!

  2. I'm a fast reader, depending on the book I can read between 50 to 100 pages in an hour or so. But sometimes a single paragraph can be read 5 times and still not sink in, why does that happen hahha. The book Blue Asylum I read in and afternoon, it took as long as it took Joe to watch 3 rugby games :D xx

  3. So many books!! I definitely have to put Pride & Prejudice on my list. I can' believe I haven't read that one.


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