Saturday, December 19, 2015

2015 | Book Challenge No.8

With finals week came a spare five day gap in between tests where, along with studying, I was able to cram in quite a bit of reading.

further reading: intro / part 1 / part 2 / part 3 / part 4 / part 5 / part 6 / part 7


36. A book with a number in the title - Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
I first read this classic comedy in my Shakespeare class freshman year - though I have of course watched She's the Man many times - and decided a re-read was in order. Also known as "What You Will," "Twelfth Night" centres around a set of twins, Viola and Sebastian, who are separated in a shipwreck. Viola disguises herself as a man and works for a duke, whom she falls in love with, yet the duke is in love with a countess, who falls for Viola, who the countess thinks is a man. Sebastian enters partway through the story, further mixing up identities, and all the confusion makes for a hilarious tale that few could pull off as well as Shakespeare.


37. A book you were supposed to read in school but didn't - The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
I usually liked assigned reads and never skipped any during school, so I picked a book I knew others at different schools had to read. Hinton started writing her 1967 novel when she was 15 and published it three years later. Her coming-of-age novel follows two rival gangs, the Greasers and the Socs, and the consequences of an accidental murder between the groups. The Outsiders is not my preferred type of novel and thus I wasn't very into it, but it's a good, short read for those who like gritty books.



38. A book with a love triangle - Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
I typically detest books with love triangle plots so I picked one where the triangle was barely developed. Brooklyn is set in the 1950s and follows an Irish girl named Eilis who moves to Brooklyn, NY for a job and falls for an Italian plumber. After receiving sad news from home she must return to Ireland, and starts seeing a boy from her childhood. Although highly critically acclaimed, I was disappointed by this book. All of the plot points were cliche and predictable and I didn't like the Italian boyfriend as he was, in my opinion, clingy and annoying. Despite its shortcomings, I am interested in seeing the film as I feel like this kind of story translates well onto the big screen.


39. A book set in the future - The Circle by Dave Eggers
I was immensely disappointed in The Circle, especially after seeing it praised by so many others. Set a few years in the future, The Circle tells of a young woman named Mae who begins working for a firm called The Circle, a group working toward a transparent world where information is free and no secrets are hidden. The book functions as a good warning against the invasion of privacy, but the tone is odd - it felt like it was written as YA literature but it's too explicit in language and content. Additionally, the writing was not good, like it hadn't been edited before being published, and the main character was too naive; she went along with everything that happened without questioning it. It also runs far too long - right at 500 pages - and felt like it could have been cut in half and still have made its point.


40. A book set during Christmas - A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
For a book set at Christmas I obviously had to go with a classic. Everyone knows Dickens' 1843 short but significant tale of an old miser named Ebenezer Scrooge who is transformed into a kindly soul after being visited by four ghosts, and it remains one of Dickens' novels I genuinely enjoy reading. For those who have only ever seen film versions, I highly recommend reading the original book as it's such a short piece and is well worth reading in the original language.


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