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50 Books in a Year > Em's List

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message 151: by Em, Moderator (new)

Em (EmmaP) | 2283 comments Mod
Yes, a great book!


message 152: by Liz, Moderator (new)

Liz | 1562 comments Mod
BTW How are you getting on with Dracula? I found it surprisingly funny - I do wonder if it is meant to be tongue in cheek...

I loved the chapters set at the castle and enjoyed the Whitby setting too.


message 153: by Em, Moderator (last edited Sep 29, 2010 01:46PM) (new)

Em (EmmaP) | 2283 comments Mod
I'm enjoying Dracula so far, about 300 pages into it. The start was pretty eerie and that was the tone I was expecting but you're right, alot of it does seem tongue in cheek. There has been a particular element to the story, which is extremely farcical and really quite funny in a sligthtly dark way.


message 154: by John (new)

John | 15 comments I just reread Dracula for the first time since I was 13. What struck me was that at 13 I'd been reading it the same way the Victorians did: unaware, consciously, of the sexual undertones--not so deep under. I'm pretty sure Stoker was unaware of them as well. I found Helsing's mangled English tedious, and the endless references to the 'holy' Madam Mina eye-glazing. Very period. But the Whitby setting was good and it certainly provided a glimpse into an anglo-Irish mindset around 1890.


message 155: by Em, Moderator (new)

Em (EmmaP) | 2283 comments Mod
Did you like it better when you were 13 John?

Both Lucy and Mina seem to be praised to the high heavens by all the men present, it's a bit much I confess, how perfect could they be? There's alot bubbling under the surface about sexuality - in particular that of women and you think Stoker was unaware of it - blimey! At first, I was undecided about the voice of Van Helsing but after a bit of exposure I can hear the dutch accent and imagine the person and character, I think I've grown to quite like it.


message 156: by John (new)

John | 15 comments I adored it when I was 13!

Yes, I suspect Stoker was unaware of the sexual undertones. Have you ever read Christina Rossetti's 'Goblin Market'? Years ago I was reading it aloud (it's very dramatic) to a girlfriend ten years younger than me. Suddenly, toward the middle of the poem, she fell on the ground, laughing helplessly. I stopped and asked her what on earth was the matter. She said, 'Don't you get it?' I hadn't! I'd been reading the poem in the mindset of a Victorian, and had missed the sexual content--the allegory, the metaphors--which to a modern reader is overwhelming.


Stuart (Asfus) | 138 comments Liz wrote: "BTW How are you getting on with Dracula? I found it surprisingly funny - I do wonder if it is meant to be tongue in cheek...

I loved the chapters set at the castle and enjoyed the Whitby setting ..."


I wondered myself whether it was tongue in cheek, or is that his style of gothic horror has been parodied, especially in film.


message 158: by Liz, Moderator (last edited Oct 01, 2010 05:10AM) (new)

Liz | 1562 comments Mod
John wrote: "I adored it when I was 13!

Yes, I suspect Stoker was unaware of the sexual undertones. Have you ever read Christina Rossetti's 'Goblin Market'? Years ago I was reading it aloud (it's very dr..."


It does seem rather obvious, but then we do live in a very different age! And yes, Mina is just a bit too good to be true - but then virtuous Victorian ladies were placed upon pedestals that I'm sure most found hard to live up to.

A friend of mine gave me a copy of Goblin Market a few years back - it's great, full of voluptuous, sensual imagery. Christina Rosetti must have known what she was writing, surely? Her brother was a Pre-Raphaelite and they were supposed free-spirits...


message 159: by John (new)

John | 15 comments It's an interesting question, Liz. Did Rosetti know what she was writing? Apparently at one time in her life she was a volunteer at some kind of shelter for 'fallen' women, and as you say her brother was a pre-Raphaelite. However, she herself was a deeply devout Christian who may have turned down two proposals on the grounds that her suiters were not sufficiently religous!


message 160: by Em, Moderator (new)

Em (EmmaP) | 2283 comments Mod
51. Malia & Teacup: Awesome African Adventure by Molly Barrow

A book I won on a Good Read giveaway, it's an enjoyable, exciting adventure story for children with a strong moral message. I will be holding on to this one as at six I think it's a little bit too old for my children but I think it would be fantastic for about 8-12 year olds.


message 161: by Em, Moderator (new)

Em (EmmaP) | 2283 comments Mod
Aimee has read Mr Creep the Crook (Ahlberg, Allan. Happy Families,) by Allan Ahlberg for school and gave it 10 out of 10! There's whole series - thank goodness! I could use a break from Tiara Club books - I think there's a thousand in the series (certainly feels that way!)

Both girls have been reading and loving the Winnie the Witch series by Korky Paul and Laura Owen


message 162: by Em, Moderator (new)

Em (EmmaP) | 2283 comments Mod
52. Devil May Care by Sebastian Faulks

A Bond thriller, written in the style of Ian Flemming. Now, I remember reading Chitty Chitty Bang Bang I liked that story and I think I borrowed a couple of 007 books from the library but I was probably only about 12 and I don't think they grabbed me at the time though I loved watching the films on TV with my Dad! I have a bit of a preconception that this type of book would score high on plot but less so on character, style and description but I admire Sebastian Faulks so that's what encouraged me to select this book. Having read it, I found it exciting and quite gripping and not one dimensional in the slightest, it seems I may be wrong about this type of novel and I am interested to give Ian Flemming another try as a result.


message 163: by Em, Moderator (new)

Em (EmmaP) | 2283 comments Mod
53. Dracula by Bram Stoker

I've been meaning to read this for some time and I'm glad that I have at last got around to doing so. I did enjoy the book but found that while I was completely engaged for the first half of the book I seemed to loose my way for a large section of the second half. A bit too much pontificating by Van Helsing!! Then I re-gained interest towards the end so it all ended on a high.


message 164: by Em, Moderator (new)

Em (EmmaP) | 2283 comments Mod
54. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Good, always enjoy Jane Austen but liked this a little less than some of her others!

55. The Zahir by Paulo Coelho

Interesting... raises some good points and some potentially controversial ones about love, obsession, inspiration, happiness and relationships which I think means it'll work well at book group this week.


message 165: by Liz, Moderator (last edited Nov 02, 2010 09:14PM) (new)

Liz | 1562 comments Mod
Em wrote: "54. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Good, always enjoy Jane Austen but liked this a little less than some of her others!

55. The Zahir by Paulo Coelho..."


I've never read anything by Paulo Coelho. In fact I've gone out of my way to avoid The Alchemist - don't know why I'm suspicious, so many people seem to have loved it....

So, is he any good? Should I give him a go & stick him on my TR list?


message 166: by Em, Moderator (last edited Nov 03, 2010 07:21AM) (new)

Em (EmmaP) | 2283 comments Mod
I've only read this one and Eleven Minutes, based on these two I would say that I find Paulo Coelho very readable and I zipped through both books. Personally, I would read others however I do have reservations and I can't say I'd recommend him to everyone. I think his books are philosphy veiled as a novel and with both books there are themes and issues which interest me but just don't represent how I feel or think so in a way I'm out of the loop. I have found myself reflecting on his books a long time after finishing them so I think on that level they're a success, thought provoking! So to answer your question, I'd add him to your list, give him a try and see what you think - why not?

Why are you avoiding The Alchemist? Was it the hype?


message 167: by Liz, Moderator (new)

Liz | 1562 comments Mod
Yes, I think the hype around The Alchemist definitely put me off - same reason I've never read The Da Vinci Code - plus I really don't think Dan Brown needs the cash ;)


message 168: by Em, Moderator (new)

Em (EmmaP) | 2283 comments Mod
No, and I didn't think The Da Vinci Code was all that good so no need to add that one to your list.


message 169: by Liz, Moderator (last edited Nov 07, 2010 04:36AM) (new)

Liz | 1562 comments Mod
Em wrote: "No, and I didn't think The Da Vinci Code was all that good so no need to add that one to your list."

Good to hear I really haven't missed out....!


message 170: by Em, Moderator (new)

Em (EmmaP) | 2283 comments Mod
56. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

The last of the Hunger Games trilogy - I have really enjoyed these books! Well plotted, great characterisation and completely gripping. I'll look forward to whatever Suzanne Collins comes up with next!


message 171: by Em, Moderator (new)

Em (EmmaP) | 2283 comments Mod
57. Monarchy: England and Her Rulers from the Tudors to the Windsors by David Starkey

As far as history goes I found David Starkey to be very readable and accessible - this is great for an overview of the institution of the Monarchy, it doesn't delve too deep but remains informative and interesting throughout.


message 172: by Em, Moderator (new)

Em (EmmaP) | 2283 comments Mod
58. The Beloved Son by Jay Quinn

I picked this book up at the library mainly because I wanted to read a Q for the A-Z Challenge and I had no idea what to expect, haven't come across the writer before or spoken to anyone else who has. I had a pretty long train journey earlier this week and didn't think I could take 4 hours of On the Road so took a chance I'd get on better with this one. The book explores family relationships and includes themes such as aging parents, having adult chidren, gay siblings and the journey and challenges of marriage/longterm partners. I found it very readable, well written although some of the emotional conversations and exchanges felt a little bit "Oprah" (iykwim) and perhaps for that reason didn't quite ring true for me.


message 173: by Em, Moderator (new)

Em (EmmaP) | 2283 comments Mod
59. On the Road by Jack Kerouac

I am glad to have finally read this book after meaning to read it for quite a few years now. I thought I would love it but in the end, although certain reflections or descriptions leapt at me and were inspirational or philosphical (not to mention very quotable) there was a lot of writing in between which just didn't hold my attention. I'm going to sound a bit like my Mum now but there's an inordinate amound of drunkeness and drugs and I kept thinking - this isn't self discovery its just partying! Hehehe...


message 174: by Em, Moderator (new)

Em (EmmaP) | 2283 comments Mod
60. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

I'd recommend this book, I admire Sarah Waters skill as a writer and felt that she set the scene of post war Britain and the crumbling aristocracy in a vivid and believable way. An interesting array of main and subisdiary characters are well depicted, even the grand house of Hundreds feels almost personified. I love the way that tension and mystery is gradually built and then subsides a little before again increasing - well paced and I even liked the ending!


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