Guardian Challenge

Earlier this year, I bravely signed myself up for the Guardian Reading Challenge. And here I’m tracking my progress (or lack thereof).

November 2010

It is just as I feared. I have fallen way behind on the Guardian Reading Challenge, and it is almost time for a new year of challenges to start, some of which I will valiantly attempt.

Here is the update for November: so instead of doing the 3 rounds separately, I’ve decided to combine all three into 1. Any book that I read from the Guardian 1000 novels everyone must read list is getting counted. Here goes…

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

This book has gone on my all-time favourite list. Themes of censorship, television taking over our lives and such other dystopian themes are beautifully explored. I loved this book so much that I had to write a review for it. Read my review here.

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

To the Lighthouse

Edition: Vintage Classics

Another clear winner for me. Woolf’s style of writing is something I’ve always admired and in this book, she uses it beautifully. Unlike most other genres I read, in this novel the plot is not front and centre. The characters, the way they grow and change and their thoughts are what you’re left with. Woolf creates a whole story of past, present and future around a small, rather insignificant plan made by the family to take the boat out to the lighthouse. Definitely recommended for students of writing and of course for students of literature.

July 2010

I started this reading challenge in June this year, and so far it’s slow going. Here are the updates on what I’ve read so far. Don’t think I’ll do reviews for all of these, but some brief observations your way come!

Asterix the Gaul

Asterix the Gaul Cover

Publisher: Orion

Fun, light, lovely read. The word play and humour in this is amazing, especially the names. And I love that it is preserved even with the translation. This is the first of the series and it looks like the characters developed as it went along.

  • We get to see the Gaul camp through the eyes of a Roman spy and get an all round introduction to the people and how they live.

Will be collecting all the books in this series slowly but surely. Even Wolfman likes these, especially since he appreciates art work in a way that I can’t.

Madame Bovary

Edition: Kindle (more on me and e-readers later)

Quite by coincidence, this book was also originally in French and has been translated into English many times.

This book took me some time to get through. As with most classics, it’s wordy and filled with descriptions – of people, places, feelings thought processes. A little long-winded for this bite-sized era we live in. But it is a story that speaks to many even today, I’m sure. A “desperate housewife” – Emma Bovary is bored senseless by the quiet provincial life. She has silly dreams of knights and castles from the many romantic novels that she reads.

Her husband Charles Bovary is a doctor almost by accident. A simple country man with no aspirations, he is content in his life.

Emma, Madame Bovary, on the other hand wants adventure, parties and a man that she can respect and love for his sparkling personality. She falls in love with two other men and has affairs with them. Her large lifestyle and all the lies soon catch up with her with tragic consequence.

The story is not new, but Falubert takes the reader along into this world with flawed characters with expertise.

Here’s my list of books I’ve read so far.

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (Love)

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (Sci-fi & Fantasy)

Asterix the Gaul by Rene Goscinny (War and Travel)

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf (Family & Self)

See complete list of books in the Guardian 1000 novels everyone must read.


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