Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists! Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers. 10 is just a suggestion to aim for if you can hit it -- do a list of 3 or 5 or 20 on your list. Your post, your choice!

Today's Topic: FREEBIE WEEK -- topic of your choice or go back and do one you missed!

For today's post I've chosen to do a Top 10 Books You Could Read in a Day list :) All of the books on this list are either very short (at around 200 pages long) or very gripping or both so they could all be easily read in the space of a single day.

1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (or Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone if you're an American reader!) by J.K. Rowling. The first book in the Harry Potter series which I absolutely adore! This series was a major part of my childhood: I was 11 years old when my parents bought me the first three books as a Christmas present back in 1999 (thank you mum and dad!) and by the time the final book came out in 2007 I was 19. My favourite book in the Harry Potter series is actually the third book The Prisoner of Azkaban but all of the seven books in this series are brilliant and even its companion novels (The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them) are great fun! The humour in these books is amazing (I have quite literally cried with laughter while reading them!) The characters are complex and engaging and completely unforgettable. The worldbuilding is fantastic and its themes (friendship, love, courage, sacrifice, etc) are deep and powerful. The books are also thoroughly gripping and suspenseful and, although I know some have criticised Rowling's prose, I really love her descriptions and think that she's a wonderfully visual writer. This series completely lives up to its hype! :)

2. William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, a New Hope by Ian Doescher. If, like me, you're a massive fan of both Star Wars and Shakespeare then this book is an absolute must-read! This book is the first in an officially licensed series that rewrites the dialogue of the Star Wars films into Shakespearean iambic pentameter. Now some of you might be thinking that this is an awful gimmick and a horrible idea but this series is actually quite wonderful! Not only are the books hilarious and laugh-out-loud funny, they're also extremely well-written, are full of meta, and really make you appreciate just how Shakespearean the Star Wars films actually are (e.g. the themes of fate and destiny). At this moment in time Ian Doescher has written retellings of all of the current Star Wars films with the exception of The Force Awakens but he seems confident that he'll be given the chance to take that on at a later stage (yay!)

3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. The first book in the YA dystopian trilogy, I read The Hunger Games back in 2012 just a few weeks before the film adaptation came out. I'd heard a lot of good things about the series so I was pretty confident that I'd like the book but even so I was taken aback at how much I enjoyed it. I could not put this book down! The Hunger Games is such an intense, suspenseful, and powerful read and is a very clever satire on reality television, with Collins also drawing inspiration from Greek mythology and the Roman gladiatorial games. The second book in this trilogy, Catching Fire, I also thought was brilliant and almost as good as the first book although I must admit that I found the final book Mockingjay to be rather disappointing. I still consider myself to be a huge fan of the trilogy overall though and I think it's about time that I gave it a re-read...

4. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle. I'm moving onto cover some classics now. The Hound of the Baskervilles was the first Sherlock Holmes story I ever read and it's still my favourite out of the Sherlock Holmes novels. It's full of suspense and spooky gothic creepiness, has some highly eccentric and memorable secondary characters, and is a particularly great story for John Watson (who gets lots to do in this one). If you're a fan of any of the Sherlock Holmes adaptations and are wondering which of the books you should start off with then this is the one that I would most recommend.

5. Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. I remember being shocked at how short this play was given the length of its famous musical adaptation My Fair Lady! Inspired by the Pygmalion and Galatea story in Greek mythology, Pygmalion is such a delightful and charming play and I hope I'll eventually get the chance to see it live some day. The play is extremely witty and a lot of fun and yet it has so much social commentary. If you've seen My Fair Lady the story and much of the dialogue for Pygmalion is essentially the same but it has a completely different ending which I vastly prefer!

6. A Room with a View by E.M. Forster. I feel like I go on about this book a lot and my regular readers are probably starting to get tired of hearing about it but I am quite a fan of this one. I read it for the first time last year and I was so surprised because I really wasn't expecting it enjoy it as much as I did! This book is hilariously witty, its characters are full of depth, it has deep themes, and it's partly set in Italy (one of my favourite countries!)

7. Summer by Edith Wharton. Edith Wharton is best known for her New York high society novels (e.g. The Age of Innocence, The House of Mirth) but she actually spent most of her adult life in France and this highly underrated book of hers is a novella that's set in rural New England with characters who are considerably lower down the social scale than the characters in her more famous works. Wharton's descriptions of the countryside are so lush and atmospheric in this book and I found it to be a deeply fascinating read. This book was also rather scandalous when it first came out due to its exploration of female sexuality (you go, Wharton!)

8. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson. One of the Persephone Classics titles (I keep meaning to read more of their stuff!), this is such an adorable, sweet and warm-hearted book. It's kind of like a modern (well, 1930s) Cinderella-esque fairy tale. Also the entire plot of this book actually takes place over the course of 24 hours so I think reading it in the space of a single day would be extremely fitting!

9. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I read The Great Gatsby for the first time back in 2011 or 2012 (I can't quite remember which year) and it's definitely due for a re-read. This book is beautifully-written and poignant and has profound themes and a fascinating setting (New York City and Long Island during the Jazz Age).

10. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I often find myself thinking about this book so you could say that it's left quite an impact on me! I'll be watching the news or reading an online article or whatever that will suddenly make me think "OMG that is so Fahrenheit 451!" This classic dystopia is still so eerily, uncannily relevant to today and is such a powerful read. The book is also extremely thrilling with beautifully-written prose that's full of symbolism.

So what are the books that you would consider to be great one-day reads? :)

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Bookish and Not So Bookish Thoughts

Bookish and Not So Bookish Thoughts is a weekly blogging event hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. It allows book bloggers (and non-book bloggers) to write about pretty much anything, bookish or otherwise (i.e. share exciting plans for the weekend, rants on things they've encountered during the week, etc).

1. Hello again, dear readers! :) Usually I start these posts off by talking about the particular book that I'm reading but I'm actually reading not one but three books at the moment! It's rather unusual for me but I think I might turn this into a regular thing. At the moment I've just started reading J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst's S  but I've also been dipping in and out of a book of Pablo Neruda's poetry for a while in addition to listening to a non-fiction audiobook called The Theater of War - read by Adam Driver - on my way to work.

2. I've recently joined Instagram! I used to think that it was mainly photography buffs and people who take selfies a lot who used the site but I started to get interested in it when I found out that it has quite a large "Bookstagram" community. Do feel free to follow me on there if you have an account, I'd very much appreciate it :)

3. A few weeks ago I bought a complete collection of Shakespeare's works (the hardback RSC edition with footnotes) and Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote. When I then uploaded a picture of the two books on my Instagram page, I was both very shocked and delighted when Craig Pearce (the screenwriter of Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby) liked it!

4. After completely falling in love with the TV show Avatar earlier this year, I've now started to go through its sequel show The Legend of Korra and have just finished its first season. LoK definitely isn't as good as Avatar but it's still enjoyable and is better than most things on TV. I'll talk more about the show when I've finished it or have almost finished it.

5. I've started to go to yoga classes once a week with my mother. A new centre has opened up that's literally around the corner from our house so it's extremely handy!

6. As I'm going away to New York this November (I still can't believe that this is happening!), I won't be going away on holiday this summer. I went on a day-trip to Stratford with some friends recently though and I'm hoping that I can have one or two more trips out...

7. If you've been reading my other Bookish and Not So Bookish Posts you'll know that I've been doing some baking in my spare time. This is a picture of a Carrot Cake that I made not so long ago :)

8. I'm getting more and excited about J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Cursed Child! I'm not seeing the play live - if only I were so lucky! - but I have pre-ordered the script which is due to be published next month. Up until fairly recently I'd been more excited about Rowling's Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them project since it sounded more intriguing to me - wizards in Jazz Age New York! - but now that I've been thinking some more about what I'd actually like to see in a Harry Potter sequel my enthusiasm has gone up considerably. Since the epilogue to The Deathly Hallows implies that Harry's son Albus is a Slytherin I'd love for the play to follow through on that by having Albus sorted into Slytherin House. I imagine Albus would then feel under pressure to prove to everyone at Hogwarts that he isn't the black sheep of his family and I think it would be pretty awesome if he then ended up becoming friends with Draco Malfoy's son Scorpius. I would also love for Scorpius to then have a romance with Ron and Hermione's daughter Rose because oh my goodness can you imagine how Ron would react to that?! Comedy Gold! :D So that's what I'm personally hoping for with this Cursed Child play but even if that isn't actually what Rowling has written I'm still hoping that I'll love it anyway. I'm also taking it as a very good sign that the play had its first preview the night before last and that the audience absolutely loved it! I'm just hoping that I'll be able to avoid any spoilers until I read the play...

9. I've seen a couple of films recently. The first of those was Disney's new adaptation of The Jungle Book. I love both Rudyard Kipling's Mowgli stories and the 1967 Disney film very much but I wasn't a huge fan of this new version. It certainly wasn't bad - I still found it enjoyable overall - but it was definitely over-hyped for me. All of the actor's voices seemed weirdly disconnected from their characters and Idris Elba's Shere Khan didn't do anything for me. George Sanders' performance as Shere Khan from the original film is so much more charismatic and menacing. The other film that I saw recently though was Studio Ghibli's Only Yesterday and I loved that one! Only Yesterday was my fifth Studio Ghibli film - I've also seen Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke and My Neighbour Totoro - and its story is so simple but so beautiful, tender, beguiling and poignant. It's a "slice of life" story done incredibly well as it's much less fantastical than all of the other Studio Ghibli films that I've seen and is clearly a film that's more for adults than children. It reminded me a lot of Jane Austen's Persuasion as it has a very mature and contemplative feel to it and, just like Anne Elliot, the heroine in Only Yesterday, Taeko, has to reconnect with her past in order to move forward. The film has such a wonderful story that really spoke to me, it's incredibly beautifully visually, and the voice acting in it is great as well. I saw the English language dubbing for this film which I was so happy about because I didn't think it was going to be shown in the UK for a while. Usually I much prefer to watch foreign films with subtitles rather than dubbing but I really wanted to see the dubbing because of its cast. Taeko was voiced by Daisy Ridley who gave a very lovely, warm performance and did an excellent American accent (well it sounded excellent to this British girl's ears anyway). It also starred Dev Patel, Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka Tano from Star Wars: The Clone Wars), and Grey DeLisle which made this Avatar fangirl very happy. DeLisle did the voice of Azula in the show.

10. Just before I finish this post, I thought I'd talk about the upcoming films that I'm thrilled about seeing. One of these is the new adaptation of Jane Austen's Lady Susan called Love and Friendship. Apparently it's got rave reviews and it will be my first time seeing an Austen adaptation on the big screen so that's going to be fun. I was hoping to see the film later this week but I don't think I'll be getting to see it until next Saturday now. Another film that I'm thrilled about is Ophelia which is an adaptation of a YA novel by Lisa Klein that retells the story of Hamlet from the perspective of Ophelia and will be starring Daisy Ridley and Naomi Watts as Ophelia and Gertrude. I adore Hamlet and these actresses so, yep, I'm very excited about it - I think I need to use more synonyms for "excited", lol - and also about the new Beauty and the Beast! :)