Saturday 19 July 2014

A Book a Day in July: 13th-18th

It's time for my third Book a Day post, based on a current Twitter project called #bookadayUK, where bookish types can tweet their responses to a series of daily prompts.  Talking about the books here on the blog instead means I don't have to worry about the 140-character limit, and I can group a few days together; click on the links to read my answers for Days 1-6 and Days 7-12!  This post is also the first to contain a 'lucky dip' day, in which Doubleday invites prompt ideas and then Tweets the chosen question on the day itself.  :)

Here we go!  Feel free to leave your recommendations in the comments, and head over to Twitter if you fancy taking part in the original project...
July 13th: Best title for a novel
In trying to come up with an answer for this prompt, I decided to consult this Goodreads list of 'most eyecatching or distinctive book titles'.  OH, IT'S WONDERFUL.  Some of my favourites include I Still Miss My Man But My Aim Is Getting Better by Sarah Shankman and Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off by Cara North - but the king of amazing novel titles has to be Robert Rankin.  His offerings include The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse, Armageddon: The Musical, The Sprouts of Wrath and Raiders of the Lost Car Park.  Ingenious.  I don't know why I haven't read any of them yet, except that when they came into the shop they sold again reaaaaally fast.  As for books on my own shelves, I'd have to say either The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (my review) or We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver.  They both have a nice cadence to them, and both perfectly sum up their contents without giving anything away: they're a tiny bit intriguing without being obtuse.  I LIKE THEM IS WHAT I'M TRYING TO SAY.  They're also both amazing books, obviously!
July 14th: For Bastille Day, your favourite novel about or set in France
Hands down, no contest, it has to be The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.  Not only was it the first book I ever reviewed on this blog, back in 2010, it's also one of my favourite novels of all time.  I read the crystal-clear Penguin Classics translation by Robin Buss, which I highly recommend, and found that once the story and characters were thoroughly built up - about halfway through - I was turning the pages faster and faster through the rest of the book, desperate to find out how everything would play out in the Count's painstakingly meticulous plot for vengeance.  Brilliant.  (My review)
July 15th: LUCKY DIP - The last book(s) you bought
Last time we went grocery shopping at our local Tesco I ended up buying three books.  I always tell myself I'll "just have a look to see what's out this week" - but I usually end up buying something because... well, that's how addiction works!  On this occasion I came home with How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran (new out in hardback - I've nearly finished it already), The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey (recommended by Katie) and Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan (a summer foodie novel).

July 16th: Favourite book to take to the beach
The last couple of years I've taken beach-or-ocean-related books on holiday, which has felt quite appropriate as packing has commenced each summer.  The most perfect one for sunlounger reading turned out to be On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves, which isn't the most well-written of novels, but which is PERFECT thematically.  It's about a young tutor and her teenage student who are stranded on an island in the Maldives for several years, learning to survive and eventually falling in love.  It's a real page-turner, and what better place to read it than during a sweltering day by the ocean?  I'll definitely be reading it again sometime!  (My review)
July 17th: Novel which surprised you most
One of the most memorable surprises for me was reading King Solomon's Mines by H. Rider Haggard, for Hanna's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen challenge in 2012.  It was one of the books I wasn't looking forward to that much - I expected it to be dry and dull and generally outdated - but as it turned out, it was a brilliant adventure novel that got gradually more and more gripping until it hit some amazing setpieces at the end that wouldn't have been out of place in an epic blockbuster movie.  Possibly directed by Peter Jackson.  It wound up being one of my absolute favourite reads of the year! (My review)
July 18th: Favourite crime novel of all time - it's the Harrogate Crime Festival!
Ummmm.  My favourite crime book is without doubt In Cold Blood by Truman Capote - but that's not really a novel.  One of my surprise favourites has actually turned out to be Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay.  I haven't read on with the series yet, but obviously the premise is intriguing (as anyone who has ever watched Dexter will know) and I found his inner monologue, with its playful menace, dark humour and flights of alliteration, to be quite addictive.  I still have six more books to read, and six more series to watch, so I've got plenty more Dexter Morgan ahead of me yet! (My review)
That's it for this installment!  I'll be back soon with more...