Category Archives: Top 10

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Would Classify As ALL TIME FAVOURITE BOOKS from the past three years

My reading in the past three years has been quite varied featuring classics, ya, contemporary, and children’s so it was quite hard to settle for just ten. The amount I’ve read has also been very varied; thirty in 2014, only fourteen in 2013 (don’t know what happened there!), and forty-seven in 2012. These are the books that I would be most likely to re-read and the ones that I had the most emotional connections to.

1. Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell-

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 If you’ve ran out of Austen’s to read then I’d heartily recommend Gaskell to you. Her writing has the same bite of humour while satirising society although I’d say Gaskell is a bit softer. Cranford is a town in which there are not very many men and so society is ran by a tight knit community of spinsters. Each character is wonderfully crafted; I felt as though I was also at their dinner parties trying to get the scoop on other neighbours. It really is a brilliant book so go and pick it up!

2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

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This ya novel follows Liesel a book thief living in Nazi Germany who is being taught how to read by her foster father and Max who is a Jewish man that they are hiding in the basement. Add in a foul-mouthed foster mother and Liesel’s best friend Rudy who wants to be Jesse Owens and you’ve got a cast of very interesting characters. Oh, and the book is narrated by Death.

3. Persuasion by Jane Austen – 

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Anne Elliot is the door mat of her family. She goes along with decisions to appease her family even when it costs her the love of her life. I loved reading as she started standing up for herself. Captain Wentworth and Anne will squeeze your heart until it can’t take any more. It’s one of the best romantic novels I’ve ever read while still retaining that essence of Austen.

4. The Casual Vacancy by J.K Rowling

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A lot of people don’t like this book but I loved it. I actually live in a town very much like Pagford which definitely added to the reading experience. I know people like Samantha, and Krystal, and Gaia so it all felt so real to me.

5. 1984 by George Orwell-

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 I did find some parts of the book a bit boring but I think it was supposed to be. Winston is constantly bored because Big Brother doesn’t allow him to have a personality. The whole story was just so disturbing especially because it felt as if it could actually have happened in the aftermath of  WWII especially with all the fear of the Red Button. Reading this book is an incredibly tense experience but a worthwhile one. Just stay clear of Room 101.

6. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

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This book explores just how powerful love can be and how it affects a persons life. In this dual narrative we have Alma Singer a forteen year old who is named after all the female characters in a book called The History of Love, and Leo Gurtsky an old man who is the author but doesn’t know that the book still exists. This book is truly beautiful and I often think about it and want to re-visit it. Krauss is a stunning writer.

7. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

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This is dark, disturbing, funny, and grotesque. I absolutely loved it. Wilde is also quite Austen-like with his humour but is a lot more forthright and cheeky, He rips late Victorian society to shreds whilst also seeming fond of it. All the characters in this novel are horrible but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

8. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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Viewing racism in the deep south of the US through the eyes of an eight year old was so effective at showing that prejudice has to be taught rather than it being engrained. This is one of the best books I’ve ever read; it’s beautifully written, so innocent and yet so sad and disturbing.

9. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green- 

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Hilarious and gut-wrenchingly sad. Hazel and Gus learn to see themselves and others beyond their cancer to just be normal teenagers. Their romance with each other and their friendship with Isaac is just lovely. I think it deals with cancer in a way that doesn’t make it gross tear-porn like a lot of other novels that feature characters with cancer and in many ways isn’t even about their illnesses.

10. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

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When I first picked up this book I was expecting a terrifying horror story but what I got instead was a character study on how society treats those who look physically different and who have mental disabilities. You grow attached to Creature even though he makes abhorant decisions whilst you feel disgusted at Victor who created and then abandons Creature. It feels like an epic story and one that I can’t wait to read again.

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Top Ten Tuesday- Best Bookish Heroines

This Tuesday the ladies at The Broke and the Bookish are celebrating the pluckiest of female heroines in literature. My picks are all young women that I’ve looked up to in various times of my life and star in some of my favourite books. I’d encourage everyone to read these novels.

1. Lyra Belacqua from the His Dark Materials trilogy

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She sets out to save her friend and ends up going on a massive adventure to save her world and ours. Despite not being especially equipped to do the saving she marches on because she knows it’s the right thing to do.

2. Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series

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The brightest witch of her age. As well as that she is a great friend and fiercely brave. She never abandons her principles and even makes her parents forget her in order to protect them. Others put her down and even Harry and Ron aren’t particularly nice to her but she always takes the higher ground.

3. Alma Singer from The History of Love

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She set out determined to make her Mother happy again and ended up improving the life of another person. Alma meets lots of obstacles and dead ends trying to find the man that she thinks will make her Mum happy but never gives up. I think that shows a lot for a fourteen year old.

4. Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice 

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Passionate and outspoken, Elizabeth Bennet wasn’t going to settle for just anyone. She knew that she couldn’t do much to change her situation but that didn’t stop her from letting people know what she thought. Her opinions of others weren’t entirely correct but she had the grace to apologise when she realised she was wrong.

5. Matilda from Matilda

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She was miserable in her home life but never took it out on others. Instead she developed a passion for learning through reading and used her knowledge to defeat Mrs Trunchbull and get her happy ending.

6. Scout from To Kill A Mockingbird

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Didn’t just take people’s word for it but worked out how she felt about the court case and race tensions in her neighbourhood. She always tries to be kind to others which is particularly prevalent in how much respect she gives the objects in Boo’s tree. Her behaviour isn’t always perfect as she’s only eight after all but she’s still pretty great.

7.  Sara CreweA Little Princess

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She had self belief and never became spiteful despite how badly others treated her. Her situation was pretty bleak but she still endeavoured to look on the bright side and continued to have faith that her Dad would come back for her.

8. Ginny Weasley from the Harry Potter series

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She was the baby of her family and constantly teased by her brothers (not maliciously), rejected by the boy she was in love with, and overcame the horror of being brainwashed by Tom Riddle’s diary.Despite that she became a strong, independent woman who stood up for what she believed in. She stood by Harry no matter how much it probably hurt and was always the bigger person. She grew on her own becoming intelligent, brave, an incredibly talented witch, and a professional Quidditch player.

9. Liesel Meminger from The Book Thief

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She saw beyond stereotypes and treated others with the kindness they deserved. Her relationships with others were very touching as was her little way of standing up against the holocaust and providing comfort to her neighbours during air raids.

10. Violet Baudelaire from A Series of Unfortunate Events

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She’s very clever and resourceful using her inventive mind to create things that will help her and her siblings escape whichever horrible relative they’ve been sent to live with. She loves and cares for her family and trusts them explicitly even when others try to break them apart and endures all the crazy plans Count Olaf comes up with to marry her to get to the family money whilst still overwhelmed with grief for the loss her parents.

7 Authors I Haven’t Read Yet

1. Neil Gaiman

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He is one of the kings of fantasy and everybody loves him. I’ve heard him speak many times and read one short story by him. There is no way that I won’t adore his work. It’s just a matter of getting them in my hands!

2. Patrick Ness

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I own the first book in the Chaos Walking series and can’t wait to get stuck in. I was spoiled over something a while ago which is probably why I haven’t started it sooner.

3. L.M Montgommery of Anne of Green Gables fame

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I’d never heard of this series until I was a late teenager but I know it was a lot of people’s childhood staple. I love novels like A Little Princess and I,Capture the Castle so this will be right up my street.

4. Catherynne M, Vilante

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The Fairyland series sounds amazing as does her other works. I adore Russian fairy tales and folk lore of which she incorporates beautifully in her books.

5. David Levithan

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I’m already a massive fan of John Green so I want to start with Will Grayson Will Grayson and then maybe Boy Meets Boy. 

6. Markus Zusak

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I finally, finally own The Book Thief which I’ve coveted for several years now. I knew I’d love it but I think I was scared that I wouldn’t love it as much as I want to but with the movie coming out soon I figured that now would be the best time to read it.

7. Margaret Atwood 

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I own The Handmaid’s Tale but just haven’t got around to it yet. I’m pretty sure that I’m going to love it. Atwood is a literature staple and I feel like it would be wrong not to give at least one of her books a go anyway.

This idea is from Ariel Bissett on Youtube. Go check her out!

Top Ten Books I Was Forced To Read (And Am Grateful for it)

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1. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (college)

2. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera (gift from teacher, not forced but felt compelled. I had a feeling it was especially for me. I might be wrong but I read that book at the right moment in my life and it helped me sort out my messed-up brain a bit)

3. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (GCSE)

4. An Inspector Calls by J.B Priestley (GCSE)

5. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (college)

6. The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter (college)

7. Animal Farm by George Orwell (year 7)

8. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (gcse)

9. Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian (year 6)

10. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (college)

Top 10 Movie Tie-in Covers That I Actually Like

1. A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood.

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Because Colin Firth. Duh.

2. Big Fish by Daniel Wallace

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I really like that the “G” looks like fish tails.

3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

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I love the colour, the composition… plus having Emma Watson on the cover doesn’t hurt either. The movie was pretty great but the book was utterly heartbreaking. I had to put the book down at one point because it physically hurt to see Charlie in so much pain. I’d definitely recommend both but I’m pretty sure everyone has seen and read it already!

4. Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian

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I adore the made-for-t.v-movie so much so I really like this cover. It just evokes great memories for me. This isn’t actually the one I own though.

5. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien 

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I’ve seen all three Hobbit movies which I liked but nowhere near as much as I enjoyed The Lord of the Rings trilogy. This book is tiny but the movies stretched it out as much as possible which is why a lot of the plot in the second and third movies was quite weak.  It will be really interesting to compare them once I’ve read the book.

6. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

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I received the one on the right for my birthday last year from my Uncle. While I was really happy that I now owned a copy I’d rather have the one on the left if I had to have a movie cover. I actually prefer this cover over any of the others. I think it’s beautiful and really captures that one happy day they had together.

7. Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

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Audrey Hepburn. Enough Said. I will warn you that the movie is quite different from the book. The book is quite a bit darker and a lot less glitzy. I still enjoy both but for different reasons.

8. Coraline by Neil Gaiman

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It’s dark but innocent and the button moon really completes it.

9. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safron Foer

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There’s just something powerful about that boy’s piercing eyes and the fact that he’s covering his mouth. I’ve yet to read this or see the movie but I have read Everything is Illuminated so I look forward to it.

10. An Education by Nick Hornby

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The film was beautiful so I don’t mind being reminded of it by the cover. Also Carey Mulligan.

What are your favourite movie covers? Or are you just plain against them? Let me know if you make a post like this, I’d love to read it!

Top 10 Series’ I Want To Start But Haven’t Yet

I tend to only really read standalone novels because I buy most of my books second-hand. However, I do love series’ when they’ve been done well as the world building can be much more expansive and I would like to start reading more.

Most of the series’ I’ve read was when I was a child or in my early teens such as Harry Potter, A Series of Unfortunate Events and His Dark Materials. I did read the Hunger Games series a couple of years ago but I think that’s the only one I’ve picked up in a while.

So here is a list, in no particular order of ten book series’ that I would like to dig into:

1.

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A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R Martin

I’ve only shown the first three in the series because there are about seven and that would take up too much room. I’m sure you all know about this series and it’s t.v show adaptation so I don’t think I need to give you the synopsis.

This series has intrigued me for a while. I love fantasy and the world building is said to be exquisite. The only reason I don’t own them, really, is because there isn’t any room for them on my shelf. One day though. One day…

2.

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The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi

This is the Completely Fantasical Edition. It’s a beautiful bind-up with the original illustrations in it and it would look gorgeous on my shelf. Each book in the series is only about one hundred pages so it’s not too time consuming which is a worry a lot of the time when it comes to embarking on a new series.

These books are about twin brothers; Jared and Simon who along with their older sister Mallory discover a Field Guide in the old mansion that they have just moved into. It turns out the guide shows them a parallel Faerie world in which they have many adventures!

3.

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Thursday Next by Jasper Fforde

As far as I’m aware this is a series of eight books split into two parts. It’s about a girl called Thursday Next who has to go and save kidnapped fictional characters such as Jane Eyre! It sounds so awesome and is said to be hilarious. Also who doesn’t love books about books?!

4.

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Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness

I actually own the first book in this trilogy already but I haven’t read it yet. This may sound silly but it is because I know that I’ll be addicted to it and immediately need to buy the next two when I’m trying to get through some of the many unread books that I already own. Hopefully when I get my bookshelf and have more room I’ll allow myself to get them. For now I’ll just have to stare longingly at it.

5.

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Ender Saga by Orson Scott Card

I’ve only shown the first three in the series but I believe that there are at least five. I actually don’t know that much about this series as it has more of a cult following so any information in the comments would be much appreciated.

I’ve been meaning to get into sci-fi novels and this is said to be the pinnacle so it seems like a great place to start!

6.

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Gemma Doyle by Libba Bray

I’ve heard good and bad about this series but I love the Victorian era, magic and boarding schools so hopefully I’ll enjoy it. I’ve not read anything by Libba Bray either and I think this was one of her first works so it might be interesting to see her writing develop.

7.

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The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

I received a bind-up of these for my birthday just before Christmas and I love the movies so I don’t have any excuses why I haven’t picked it up yet. These books are some of the best fantasy to ever exist and I can’t wait to dive in.

8.

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Anne of Green Gables by L.M Montgomery

I’d not even heard of these before the last year or so but I know that they are beloved to those that grew up reading them. I love children’s books and Anne seems like a great strong, cheeky heroine and I know that I would have adored them if I had grown up with them too.

9.

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The Hitchhickers’ Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

I’m contemplating getting a bind-up or these covers from Picador USA that I really like. These books are said to be really funny and they definitely seem like my cup of tea. I’ll have to hunt down the movie with Martin Freeman and Zooey Deschanel when I’m done too.

10.

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Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente

I believe that these are the only two out at the moment.

These books take on elements of Russian fairytales and folklore to produce a beautifully woven story of a girl called September who follows the Green Wind to Fairyland to help out.

I have several of this author’s books on my to-read list as her writing is just stunning.

Any of these series’ on your list? Let me know if you make a post like this or you could just tell me some you want to read in the comments. Also feel free to leave me some recommendations!

P.S. I’ve linked the first picture of each book series to it’s Goodreads page so that you can find out more if you so wish.

Top Ten Tuesday: Buzzwords and Attention Grabbers

These are the top ten topics and buzzwords that make me want to pick up a book immediately. You can see all of the other posts on this topic at The Broke and the Bookish over on blogspot.

1. WWII

eg. Anne Franks Diary, The Book Thief, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

I studied the Second World War in history a lot and I’m fascinated with that time. The fear, the sense of community and the bravery of people always makes me want to explore it further within fiction.

2. Castles
e.g. I, Capture the Castle, Harry Potter, The Castle

Castles are vast, imposing and grand. I love that they are full of history and I’m always intrigued about what characters will discover in them.

3. Magic
e.g. Seraphina, The Girl who circumnavigated FairyLand, The Magicians

Everyone loves magic. Fact.

4. Time travel

e.g. Ruby Red, A Wrinkle in Time, The Eyre Affair

I’m a massive fan of Doctor Who so I love time travel. The ability to go anywhere and any time is so compelling. It opens up endless possibilities for adventure and I’ll never get sick of it.

5. Child narrators
e.g. The Land of Decorations, Matilda, Charlotte’s Web

Child narrators can help to explore dark subjects without the story becoming too despairing. Their innocence in the way they interpret the things that go on around them can be very poignant and beautiful.

6. Fairy Tales
e.g. The Land of Stories, The Bloody Chamber,The Goose Girl

I love all fairy tales and the darker, sillier and obscure they are the better!

7. Road trip
e.g. Paper Towns, Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, Saving June

These are perfect summer reads. It’s like going on a holiday without leaving the house.

8. Boarding School
e.g Gemma Doyle Series, Looking For Alaska, Never Let Me Go

I don’t know why but I’ve always wanted to go to boarding school. I think it might be because I thought that it meant that I’d get to live in a castle. Or that it would secretly turn out to be Hogwarts… Anyway, reading about it is the next best thing.

9. Coming of age
e.g. To Kill a Mockingbird, A Catcher in the Rye, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

I love reading about characters who are going through difficult times and reflect upon it until they come out the other side. I found myself gravitating towards them more and more in my late teens and I think that they helped me a lot,

10. Parallel Worlds
e.g. Neverwhere, His Dark Materials, Alice in Wonderland

The contrast between the real world and the “other” one always piques my interest. I love anything secret and magical.