As much as I love Roald Dahl's story (and this audiobook, read by Kate Winslet, was so fun), the movie of Matilda will always be my favourite. PerfectAs much as I love Roald Dahl's story (and this audiobook, read by Kate Winslet, was so fun), the movie of Matilda will always be my favourite. Perfection....more
I finally came back to this, years after reading it for school. I had been meaning to re-read A Christmas Carol and listening to the audiobook was a fI finally came back to this, years after reading it for school. I had been meaning to re-read A Christmas Carol and listening to the audiobook was a fantastic choice. I appreciate Dickens' writing much more now than I did as a teenager. It was fun to revisit this well-known story last Christmas. ...more
WHEN I Discovered This Classic I wasn't aware of George's Marvellous Medicine until I bought my beautiThis post is part of the 2016 Classics Challenge.
WHEN I Discovered This Classic I wasn't aware of George's Marvellous Medicine until I bought my beautiful Roald Dahl box set three years ago. I've been slowly (obviously!) making my way through it and it was George's time.
WHY I Chose to Read It Much like with Agatha Christie, it was time for my annual dose of Dahl.
WHAT Makes It A Classic It's one of Roald Dahl's lesser-known novels – a short and eccentric story about what happens when you get a taste of your own medicine.
WHAT I Thought of This Classic George's Marvellous Medicine was super fun! What happens when an 8-year-old boy tries to kill his horrible old grandma (who he believes is a witch) with a home-made concoction? Chaos!
Most of the story is made up of George brewing his inventive medicine, throwing in anti-freeze, horse tranquillizers, engine oil and much more. I enjoyed seeing what George was going to add next – and I couldn't help feeling a little terrified! If you did drink his medicine, it would almost certainly kill you. But it was fun seeing what happened when George tried to replicate his potion... including his grandma turning into a really tall chicken. It's not my favourite Roald Dahl so far, but it was short and sweet.
"Never grow up...always down."
WILL It Stay A Classic I'm sure Roald Dahl's stories will be read for many years to come!
WHO I’d Recommend It To People who have only read Roald Dahl's most popular books. People who love short, quirky stories....more
8-year-old Roald Dahl loves sweets. He loves liquorice and sherbet and every other wonderful delight found in the sweetshop he passes on the way to sc8-year-old Roald Dahl loves sweets. He loves liquorice and sherbet and every other wonderful delight found in the sweetshop he passes on the way to school. But one day, with his best friends, he decides to do something a little cheeky. He plays a mean trick on the nefarious old shop owner and puts a dead mouse her jar of gobstoppers. The Great Mouse Plot was a delightful short story about young Dahl. I'm loving working my way through my Roald Dahl box set and this made me want to pick up Boy: Tales of Childhood even more!
Mary Clive's Christmas with the Savages was the perfect children's classic to read in December. It's about Evelyn, an 8-year-old who much prefers theMary Clive's Christmas with the Savages was the perfect children's classic to read in December. It's about Evelyn, an 8-year-old who much prefers the company of adults to other children. Evelyn is dismayed when she is sent toTamerlane Hall, a large Edwardian house in the countryside, where she finds more children than she's ever experienced before – the Glens, the Howliboos, and the Savages.
Christmas with the Savages was a delightful festive read, full of humour. It's based on Mary Clive's own experiences growing up – and it was lovely to be transported into this eccentric family's holiday celebrations. All the children are left to roam the house and gardens, so it's full of hilarious escapades and antics. I loved Evelyn's prim and proper opinion on just about everything, from the youngest of children to the Nannies, who can't quite cope with all 13 children!
Christmas with the Savages is a classic I only discovered this year and I'm so very glad I did. If you're participating in the 2016 Classics Challenge, be sure to consider this one for December!
“Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures,This post is part of the 2016 Classics Challenge.
“Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink; for thirst is a dangerous thing."
Suffering from every malady in the book except housemaid's knee, three men and a dog decide to head for a restful vacation on the Thames. Anticipating peace and leisure, they encounter, in fact, the joys of roughing it, of getting their boat stuck in locks, of being towed by amateurs, of having to eat their own cooking and, of course, of coping with the glorious English weather.
WHEN I Discovered This Classic I can't quite remember but it might have been when I first got my Kindle back in 2011. I downloaded a whole bunch of out-of-copyright classics for free and this was one of them. But it wasn't until I started the classics challenges that I actually decided to read it.
“We must not think of the things we could do with, but only of the things that we can't do without.”
WHY I Chose to Read It I wanted a short, light read and this seemed like the perfect classic! I came across the audiobook on Spotify, and started listening to it on the way to work.
WHAT Makes It A Classic It's one of the oldest books I've read – 127 years old! (That's 100 years older than myself).
"I don't know why it should be, I am sure; but the sight of another man asleep in bed when I am up, maddens me.”
WHAT I Thought of This Classic Three Men in a Boat was a thoroughly enjoyable classic – and I don't say this lightly. It helped that I was listening to the audiobook narrated by Hugh Laurie, who was perfect for the story. It's told with typical British humour that I forget how much I enjoy until I hear it – witty, hyperbolic one-liners told in a serious tone. I rarely laugh at any book, but this one had me trying not to giggle on the way to work.
Three Men in a Boat is exactly what it says on the tin (or should I say, cover). George, Harris, narrator Jerome, and a fox terrier called Montmorency (a fantastic name!) take a two-week boating holiday from Kingston upon Thames to Oxford and back again. Even though much of the story is about the everyday experiences of the river journey – from washing one's clothes to making a pot of tea – it's made much more enjoyable by Jerome K. Jerome's expert understanding of the things that tie us all together; it's like a 100-year-old version of Very British Problems.
WILL It Stay A Classic Yes – even though it's over 100 years old, it still feels funny and fresh. I could quite believe that it was only published this year.
WHO I’d Recommend It To People who enjoy British humour. People who want to read older classics. People who want to give classics audiobooks a try.
“But who wants to be foretold the weather? It is bad enough when it comes, without our having the misery of knowing about it beforehand.”
“Like many other much-loved humans, they believed that they owned their dogs, instead of realizing thThis post is part of the 2015 Classics Challenge.
“Like many other much-loved humans, they believed that they owned their dogs, instead of realizing that their dogs owned them."
Cruella de Vil is enough to frighten the spots off a Dalmatian pup. But when she steals a whole family of them, the puppies’ parents, Pongo and Missus, lose no time in mounting a daring rescue mission. Will they be in time to thwart Cruella’s evil scheme, or have they bitten off more than they can chew?
WHEN I Discovered This Classic Likely when I first watched the Disney adaptation in the 90s. I'm much more of a cat person, but I've always loved the film and adored Dalmatians!
WHY I Chose to Read It You picked my December classic and The Hundred and One Dalmatians won (27.32% of the vote). It was included in the poll because I wanted to read this newly-published edition, illustrated by Alex T. Smith.
WHAT Makes It A Classic It is written by I Capture the Castle author Dodie Smith, a much-loved children's classic and author.
WHAT I Thought of This Classic I was hooked on The Hundred and One Dalmatians from the beginning. I loved discovering all the little differences from the story I grew up with and was surprised to discover that our courageous couple is not Pongo and Perdita, but Pongo and Missus. I was pleased to see that all of the animals in the story still had distinct, lovable personalities.
The Hundred and One Dalmatians is written in a wonderful style. It's told almost conversationally, and in a way that is incredibly enjoyable to follow. I read it as if I were floating down a calm river or on a quiet jaunt through the countryside. But combined with the tense – and at times quite frightening – scenes that make Cruella de Vil one of the most notable villains in children's literature, it becomes a brilliant canine adventure. It's also beautifully accompanied by Alex T. Smith's gorgeous illustrations, particularly of the puppies!
Even though I adored the story, I was a little disappointed by the attitude towards some of the female characters and the perpetuation of traditional gender roles, even if it was originally published 60 years ago. I was also intrigued by the description of Cruella de Vil (“She had a dark skin, black eyes with a tinge of red in them, and a very pointed nose.") compared to how she's usually imagined – as a lady with pale skin. If you Google 'Cruella de Vil' and 'dark skin', you get zero results. Why is this?
Even if a little old-fashioned at times, The Hundred and One Dalmatians is still an incredibly charming classic that I thoroughly enjoyed. It was a delightful end to the 2015 Classics Challenge.
"Nanny Cook slept dreaming of Dalmatian puppies dressed as babies, and Nanny Butler slept dreaming of babies dresses as Dalmatian puppies."
WILL It Stay A Classic It's difficult to think of the book without thinking of the film. Would it still be a classic without Disney?
WHO I’d Recommend It To People who love illustrated fiction, puppies and children's books.
“Dogs can never speak the language of humans, and humans can never speak the language of dogs. But many dogs can understand almost every word humans say, while humans seldom learn to recognize more than half a dozen barks, if that.”
"A stodgy parent is no fun at all. What a child wants and deserves is a parent who is SPARKY".
Danny thinks his dad is the most marvellous and exciting father a boy could wish for. Life is happy and peaceful in their gipsy caravan, until one day Danny discovers his dad has been breaking the law. What's more, soon Danny has to join his father as they attempt to pull off a daring and devilish plot against their horrible, greedy neighbour, Mr Victor Hazell.
WHEN I Discovered This Classic It came in my lovely Roald Dahl box set, full of 15 wonderful Dahl novels. I didn't know anything about it at all, except that it was my friend Caitlin's favourite Dahl story.
WHY I Chose to Read It I've enjoyed reading Roald Dahl novels over the past couple of years. I haven't read one this year, so I thought it was about time. I chose Danny the Champion of the World because it's one that a lot of people seem to adore and yet is completely new to me, compared to some of the previous stories I've read, like The Witches and Matilda. I also haven't read any classics with illustrations this year, so I was looking forward to spending time with Quentin Blake's brilliant pictures.
WHAT Makes It A Classic Roald Dahl's stories are like being inside a child's brain. They're full of humour and adventure. They're full of incompetent adults and loving adults. They're full of wonderful things to remember, like the quote at the top of this review. As I discovered when I first read Matilda, Roald Dahl's stories can also be enjoyed immensely by adults.
"Most of the really exciting things we do in our lives scare us to death. They wouldn't be exciting if they didn't".
WHAT I Thought of This Classic It's different to Roald Dahl's other stories in that it feels more contemporary compared to the fun and whimsical stories I've come across so far. I adored that Danny's father would tell him stories, referencing Roald Dahl's other work, like The BFG and Witches. As I've read both of these, I enjoyed it very much. I remember there being a lot of chat about fictional fathers this year on Father's Day, and Danny's popped up as being one of the best dads in fiction. I can see why – he's a brilliant father. He's protective and yet will send Danny on exciting adventures. He tells wonderful stories and is incredibly intelligent. Danny's a happy child. His life isn't full of expensive things or luxury, but it's full of interesting and fulfilling experiences, and a lot of love, all down to his dad. Although Danny the Champion of the World isn't one of my Dahl favourites, it was a joy to read. I was ready for awful Mr Hazell to get his comeuppance!
WILL It Stay A Classic I think it'll be a terrible year, the year that Roald Dahl's novels stop being read. I cannot imagine that this will ever happen.
WHO I’d Recommend It To People who love children's stories, funny stories and heartwarming stories. People who haven't yet read a Roald Dahl novel and are a little wary about delving into the more eccentric stories. People who are young at heart.
WHEN I Discovered This Classic I read Rebecca in early 2012 and adored it, so it was about time to picThis post is part of the 2015 Classics Challenge.
WHEN I Discovered This Classic I read Rebecca in early 2012 and adored it, so it was about time to pick up another Daphne du Maurier! Virago got in touch to offer copies of Rebecca, Frenchman's Creek or Jamaica Inn as part of the blog tour to celebrate the new adult (left) and young adult (right) editions of the books.
WHY I Chose to Read It I have already read and reviewed Rebecca. As for Frenchman's Creek, I don't know how I feel about pirates. But it has received such as glowing response on the blog tour that I might now be persuaded to try it. I enjoyed the quiet suspense of Rebecca, and Jamaica Inn sounded closest to that – a thrilling mystery set on the Cornish moors. Who can resist a dangerous world of smuggling and murder?
WHAT Makes It A Classic Daphne du Maurier writes Gothic fiction full of mystery and suspense. She takes common themes from the classics and makes them feel a little more invigorated, even though it's set in the 1820s – and with even more drizzly treacherous moors than in Wuthering Heights. In Jamaica Inn, the gloomy, foreboding atmosphere is as prominent as the bleak events that occur, as Mary Yellan struggles with the problem of her uncle Joss and his dangerous company.
WHAT I Thought of This Classic Jamaica Inn was deliciously dark; much darker and violent than I thought it would be, even with the promise of smuggling and murder! I adored our protagonist Mary, only 23 and incredibly determined. She's instantly undeterred by her terrifying uncle, Joss. And I unexpectedly found myself understanding why Mary was drawn to his young brother, Jem, even as she says: He stood for everything she feared and hated and despised; but she knew she could love him. But perhaps I don't love Gothic literature as much as I thought I did. I did not find myself rushing to get back to the story, similar to my experience of reading Northanger Abbey and the (second half of) Wuthering Heights earlier this year. Perhaps I find that the tension works much better for me with visuals on screen? But nonetheless, the twists kept me interested right up until the explosive ending.
WILL It Stay A Classic I forget how old Daphne du Maurier's books actually are. Her prose is so accessible that her stories could have been published for the first time this year. Jamaica Inn was published nearly 80 years ago and it is still as readable as ever, so I can see Daphne du Maurier's novels still being read years from now. Hopefully the new YA editions will enable teenagers to discover her too! I'll still be checking out more novels from her.
WHO I’d Recommend It To People who love Gothic stories like Wuthering Heights,Northanger Abbey and Jane Eyre. People who love adventure, mystery and romance. People who want to read accessible classics. People who love bad boys!