Friday 25 July 2014

A Book a Day in July: 19th-24th

It's time for my fourth 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, Days 7-12 and Days 13-18.

Here we go!  And don't forget to head over to Twitter if you fancy taking part in the original project...
July 19th: Most memorable plot twist (no spoilers please)
The huge twist in We Need to Talk About Kevin would probably have been my most memorable if my sister hadn't spoilered it for me several years before I read it (not that it really ruined the book, it was still amazing) - so instead I'm going for The Bertha Revelation in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.  Hopefully that's vague enough not to spoiler anything for people who haven't stumbled across it before - but seriously, the book was published in 1847 and most people pretty much know the deal by now, right?
July 20th: Your Desert Island novel
It's got to be something long and rereadable, hasn't it?  I've already mentioned The Count of Monte Cristo in a previous prompt, so instead I'm going to take a gamble on a classic I HAVEN'T read yet, and go with Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.  That way I'd be able to enjoy it for the first time AND get rereading value out of it!

July 21st: The novel you expected to hate, but turned out you loved
This was actually quite a hard prompt to answer, because as a rule I don't pick up books I expect to hate.  Why would I read something if I think I won't enjoy it?!  The closest I've ever come is with my first Stephen King novel, Pet Sematary.  King's reputation for horror (which I'd never really read before) meant that when things started getting scary I panicked and decided I wasn't reading any more.  In the bright sunshine of the next day I realised I was being a bit ridiculous and carried on, and guess what?  It was excellent, and underneath the horror there was so much more to the novel that I would have missed if I hadn't kept reading.  I'm now a big Stephen King fan! (my review)

July 22nd: The novel you most like to give to friends
This is a tricky one because every friend is different, and something I would happily throw at one person might go down like a lead balloon with another.  My go-to recommendation for most of them (and therefore also the one I'm most likely to give them myself) would be The Secret History by Donna Tartt, just because it's got a bit of everything - it's bookish, beautifully written and teeming with murder and secrets, romance and academia, friendship and manipulation.  It's one of my favourites!
July 23rd: Favourite novel with exotic background
Hmmmm.  I can't really think of many, but one of the stand-outs is probably Nefertiti by Michelle Moran, a historical novel about Nefertiti's marriage to Akhenaten and the rise and fall of the city of Amarna.  Moran's such a wonderful writer that not only do these powerful historical figures come alive on the page, but the Ancient Egyptian setting, under the blazing sun on the banks of the Nile, almost becomes a character in its own right.
July 24th: A book that most reminds you of your English teacher
Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, in particular the Prologue, which we studied for our A-levels.  Our teacher, Ms Stanley, read it aloud to us in the most wonderful rolling Middle English, which made it somehow MORE comprehensible.  She also devised a class game to match up each of the pilgrims with their descriptions, which was a good way to help us get our characters straight.  The group was small, lively and full of clever, witty, enthusiastic students who got along with each other - and her - very easily, so every lesson was fun, no matter how hard we were working!
That's it for this installment!  My last #BookadayUK post will be up at the end of the month.