Sunday 13 July 2014

A Book a Day in July: 7th-12th

It's time for my second Book a Day post!  As you may recall from the first instalment, this is based on a Twitter project called #bookadayUK, where bookish types can tweet their responses to a series of daily prompts.  After it proved a success in June, it was taken up by Doubleday UK, who have continued it into July.  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.  Onwards!

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 7th: Most chocolatey novel - it's National Chocolate Day!
Well, this one's a no-brainer.  The clue's in the title - it's got to be Chocolat by Joanne Harris!  I'd already fallen in love with the film (and still prefer the movie, I think) but the book has more of a magical feel, and the descriptions of food (especially chocolate!) are just mouthwatering.  Definitely not one to read without a stockpile of sweet treats on hand to indulge your cravings...
July 8th: Favourite Great War novel
I don't think I've ever read one, though I've definitely got a couple on my shelves, including All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, which I've heard is amazing.  I have read novels set in World War II though, my favourite of which is probably Atonement by Ian McEwan.  That book ripped my heart out, stomped on it and gave it back, and had a bit of everything in there - romance, family, war at home and abroad...  Robbie's narrative, in particular, was so evocative of the endless days of fear and exhaustion as the army retreated to Dunkirk - it was amazing. (My review)
July 9th: Most irritating character in a novel
Absolutely no contest here - it's got to be the vile Dolores Umbridge from the Harry Potter series.  I just... ugh.  I hate her so much that I literally can't watch Imelda Staunton in anything else now without feeling a wave of revulsion.  But it's a different kind of hate to, say, Voldemort.  With him it's like, "Whoah, this guy's terrifying... I'm just gonna be over here hiding in a corner."  With Umbridge I felt more like when I was at school and a really nasty teacher would humiliate someone in class for no reason.  Definitely more a "THAT BITCH NEEDS TO GO DOOOOOOWN" kind of thing.  All that pink!  All those little coughs!  All that sickly sweet malevolence!  NOOOOOPE.

July 10th: Novel with the most memorable picnic for Teddy Bear's Picnic Day!
The Malory Towers books by Enid Blyton - and most other Enid Blyton series, to be honest!  I particularly remember that whenever parents came to visit the school, there would always be amazing picnics.  Sometimes the girls would go out with their families and friends for a picnic on the clifftop somewhere, or there'd be a Strawberry Tea held at the school for everyone to enjoy.  Let's face it, all Enid Blyton books are MADE by the picnics - bottles of ginger beer, hard boiled eggs with twists of salt, apples, slabs of cake and gingerbread, thick slices of bread...  Okay now I've made myself hungry.
July 11th: The book that made you cry
Ohhhh, I'm a real book crier.  One of the worst offenders for me has to be Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows...  I mean, I knew going into it that it was probably going to be bad, but I ended up having my heart ripped out over and over again as the pages went by.  I sobbed and sobbed, and then sobbed some more, and I gave myself a crying headache, and had to take naps because I'd exhausted myself.  **SPOILERS** The losses with the strongest emotional ties got me hardest - Fred, obviously, because of leaving a twin brother and a close-knit family behind, and Lupin and Tonks, lying side by side in the Great Hall.  I think that one was bad because they'd finally found happiness, they'd got baby Teddy, AND you didn't see them die, it was just one more wretched twist of the knife at the end as the battle's full body count was revealed.  OH JO HOW COULD YOU?!  Anyway, this is the reason I haven't reread all the books yet, and also why I haven't seen the Deathly Hallows movies.  I need to be feeling strong before I go there.  :'(
July 12th: Novel that best conjured a place for you
This was quite hard to choose, but I think the most recent example would probably be The Shining by Stephen King.  Because the Overlook Hotel is pretty much a character in its own right, King brings it alive so that you can almost smell the dankness of Room 237, the liquor in the bar and the wintry leaves of the topiary in the grounds; you can hear the dull echo of sounds in the corridors and the cold howling of the wind outside...  That hotel's definitely going to take some beating as far as vivid settings go. (My double review)
That's everything so far!  I'll be back soon with more...