British Books Challenge 2014: The round up!

The British Book Challenge was set up to show support for British Authors. By signing up I promised to read at least 12 books by British Authors. That’s equal to one book a month.

It’s safe to say that I exceeded this challenge this year.

Advertisements

Talking About ‘The Lie’ with Bibliobeth

18712884

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Beth!

Synopsis:

A young man stands on a headland, looking out to sea. He is back from the war, homeless and without family.

Behind him lie the mud, barbed-wire entanglements and terror of the trenches. Behind him is also the most intense relationship of his life.

Daniel has survived, but the horror and passion of the past seem more real than the quiet fields around him.

He is about to step into the unknown. But will he ever be able to escape the terrible, unforeseen consequences of a lie?

CHRISSI: What do you see as “the lie” of the title?

BETH: I’m going to try and answer this question quite vaguely as I don’t want to give away any spoilers! Basically, I think there are quite a lot of lies in this novel made by more than one character. Our main character Daniel has a huge secret about the war that he played a part in but I feel he is also lying to himself about not only the kind of person he is, but how he is coping with life after the Great War i.e. re-adjusting to being a civilian, and that he hasn’t fully dealt with the loss that he experienced while at war. Felicia is also living a lie, pretending that she can cope by herself, alone in a big house with a small child to look after. There are other lies too which seem small at first but have consequences for our characters, basically the title of this book sums it up quite well!
BETH: The story is set over a few time periods in Daniel’s life – pre-war, during the war, and post-war (the present time). Which one did you enjoy the most and why?
CHRISSI: I found it interesting to read from different time periods in Daniel’s life. I think my favourite time to read about was post-war because it was intriguing to see how Daniel’s life experiences affected his present day life.
CHRISSI: The book uses different forms of media i.e. poems. Do you think this worked?
BETH: I was actually pleasantly surprised to see poetry in this novel, as I wasn’t expecting it. Some of the poetry that Daniel can quote by heart is really beautiful and did actually make me want to look up the original work. Before each chapter we also had a paragraph of text with advice for the soldiers of World War I which I found quite moving to read when you consider the amount of men that had to die for the world to be at peace.
BETH: What did you think of the relationship between Daniel and Frederick?
CHRISSI: I really liked that Daniel and Fredrick were such good friends despite their different social standing, they don’t realise the difference between them. I thought Daniel and Fredrick’s relationship became laced with guilt and incredibly affected by the war. I’m trying not to say too much as I don’t know what would spoil it, but Daniel is definitely affected by what happened to Frederick. I wondered if Daniel believed it should never had happened because Fredrick was ‘better’ than him.
CHRISSI: Discuss Daniel’s state of mind throughout the novel.
BETH: Poor Daniel! I really felt for him in this novel after everything he had seen in the war and losing people that he loved the most. Not only this, but he is carrying around a heavy guilt that does not lift but is indeed exacerbated by being in contact with Felicia, the sister of his dearest friend. He is experiencing vivid hallucinations and even smells associated with that terrible period in his life, and often has to re-live certain experiences that have long since passed. When we consider that they did not really recognise or treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the early part of the 20th century, there must have been a number of young men suffering in silence. Daniel’s state of mind, which seems to be getting progressively worse as the story continues, was almost inevitable after the trauma of war.
BETH: Was the ending what you expected?
CHRISSI: I think I began to anticipate that this story wasn’t going to be a happily ever after story. It’s not often that war stories end in a joyful way. It was hard to watch everything unravel, but I do think that the ending was the right ending for this story.  The lies that have been told were never meant with malice, good intentions were at the heart of the lie.
CHRISSI: Did this book live up to your expectations?
BETH: Strangely enough, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this novel. I enjoyed The Greatcoat by Helen Dunmore, which is also a war-time novel, but I think I actually enjoyed this one more. Certainly after answering these questions, and remembering/re-analysing the story, I enjoyed it even more than I thought I did when I finished it, if that makes any sense? It’s definitely one I’m still thinking about.
BETH: Would you read another book by this author?
CHRISSI: Like you, I’ve read The Greatcoat and enjoyed it, so the answer is yes! I really like Helen Dunmore’s writing, so I’d definitely look into reading more of her work. She is a beautiful writer.
Would we recommend it?:
BETH: Of course!
CHRISSI: Yes!

Ten Books I Almost Put Down But Didn’t

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the wonderful The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s list is Ten Books I Almost Put Down But Didn’t. Again, I’m thanking Goodreads. I’ve scoured my read shelf to help me. For some reason I’ve found this week’s list rather hard.  I think it’s because most of the time, if I’m thinking of putting it down, I usually do! I’ve learnt that life is too short to read something I don’t enjoy. I would pick it up again, if someone told me it gets better, but more often than not, I don’t pick up or keep going with a book I’m not enjoying.

In no particular order… (click on the book image to get to the Goodread’s page!)

288557

I was initially put off by the size of The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. It’s quite a chunky book. I thought I was going to put it down soon after starting, just because I found the size quite overwhelming. But I persevered and I’m glad I did, because I thought it was a great story.

13111441

It took me a while to get into this book, but I’m glad I continued to read it, because I ended up liking it. I think this may have been a book club read which is why I kept going.

13497818

I’m one of those people that thought The Casual Vacancy by J.K Rowling was okay. I wasn’t blown away, I didn’t love it. It’s not very memorable though. I’m glad I read it because I wanted to read something else by J.K Rowling that wasn’t Harry Potter.

893136

I very nearly gave up on The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. That was purely down to the fact that I took a while to get into it. I found it quite confusing at the start. I’m glad I continued though, as it really is a spectacular story, told in a very beautiful way.

16116963

Regular readers of my blog may be surprised to see The Bone Dragon by Alexia Casale on here. However, its inclusion on this list is because my copy (an ARC) had really bad formatting issues. I nearly gave up and waited for the book to be published. I kept on going though, and I’m glad I did because I felt like I could talk about the book and create some buzz amongst my friends for a very unique read.

9361589

I have some issues with this book. I really, really wanted to like it, but the hype monster got me. I just could not understand why people were raving about it so much. However, I really did appreciate the beautiful writing, which is why I’m pleased I carried on reading it. Sorry if you’re a fan of The Night Circus but it just wasn’t for me.

12665819

It may be a surprise to regular readers of my blog to see Another Little Piece on this particular list as well, because I love this book. But it utterly confused me. I didn’t know what was going on at all most of the time.  But the story and the writing was haunting and descriptive. It’s such a unique book. I’m pleased I didn’t give up.

12788061

I was really conflicted by this book. I love books about dance, so I thought Dance of Shadows would be right up my street. It’s good, but wasn’t amazing. Yet, I’m still pleased I gave it a chance!

rebecca

For me, Rebecca took a while to get going. Once I’d got past that though I was thoroughly enjoyed the book and it remains to be one of my favourite classics.

14050

I really enjoyed The Time Traveler’s Wife. I thought I was going to be giving up with it, as the jumping around in time began to confuse me, but once I got used to it, it was fine and enjoyable!

What are your ten books that you’re glad you didn’t give up on? Did you find this topic as hard as I did? Please feel free to leave your links to your Top Ten posts and I’ll stop by!