Sunday, 11 September 2011

30 Days of Books Meme (Part 4)

I thought I hadn't updated in ages, but apparently it's only been about ten days. Weird. Anyway, here are days 10-12 of the 30 Days of Books. You can see details of the full list by clicking the thingy on the right.

Day 10 - Favourite classic book

I have a surprisingly high tolerance for classic books. Well, it surprises me, anyway. I'll be honest, I didn't read "North and South" by Elizabeth Gaskell until after I'd watched the BBC's adaptation. I'll be honest, I only watched the BBC's adaptation because it starred Richard Armitage.

Margaret Hale has lived a comfortable life in the south of England, doing what all relatively well off country girls did in those days - frolic in fields and read books. But then her father, a reverend (I think) decides to leave his parish on philosophical grounds (it's been a long time since I read the book, I'm hoping this is right) and so the entire family relocates to the North. The Grim North. Honestly, the way Margaret reacts is as if she's been handed a one-way ticket to Hell, but she goes along with it and is determined to put on a brave face for her mother. Just as she is starting to truly loathe the North, mill-owner John Thornton appears and makes life a lot more interesting.

It's a great book, but I would probably recommend watching the series first, and not just because of the wonderful Richard Armitage (who by the way does a damn good job of portraying Thornton) but because there's a lot of quite heavy-going political stuff which I think I would have been put off by if I hadn't seen the programme first. It's not overly complicated, but occasionally you might find yourself skimming some of the lengthier political debates and accidentally miss something important.

And I believe Elizabeth Gaskell wrote the novel/s that the series "Cranford" was based on as well, though don't quote me on that because there's a strong chance I've just made it up.

Day 11 - A book you hated
This was a hard one. There are so many. I love books, but I've hated a lot of them, too. However, when I was drawing up this list, the answer became obvious. Regular readers of this blog will have read all about my opinions of the interminable "Wolf Hall" by Hilary Mantel. Irregular readers of this blog can find it by scrolling down the side and choosing the book reviews tag.

I had to read this book for a class, and though I expected to dislike it for that reason alone (I like to pick my own books), I had hope. The Tudors are interesting. That's a fact. How Mantel managed to suck all the life out of such an colourful array of characters astonishes me. What astonishes me more, however, is that she won the Booker Prize for this ghastly piece of sort-of-true-but-really-fiction.

Day 12 - A book you used to love but don't anymore

I picked a series for this one. Because I can. Most people will laugh at me for saying I used to love "The Princess Diaries" books by Meg Cabot, but I doubt any of them have actually read the books. If you've seen the film and hated it, I can tell you that it is definitely one of the worst film adaptation's that I've ever seen. If you've seen the film and loved it, I have to ask what's wrong with you.

Mia is a regular fifteen-year-old high school student, living in New York with her artist mother and fat cat. And that's an actual fat cat, not a metaphorical one. Her somewhat estranged father reveals, after having had an operation that makes having more kids a little tricky, that Mia is in fact the heir to the throne of Genovia.

Okay, so I'll admit that the premise is a bit iffy, and that I hated the diary format at the start, but they're actually very readable books. I think I got as far as number seven before I decided I'd outgrown them and stopped buying them. They're not classic literature, no, but as a fourteen-year-old girl, I loved them, and there's nothing wrong with that.

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