30 Day Book Challenge – #30 Favourite Coffee Table Book

So I’ve reached the end of my 30 day book challenge and what better way to end than a book that every book-lover MUST own! ‘Books’ by Martyn Lyons is a beautiful hardback book, which recounts the history of the book from the very beginning. As well as being an incredibly interesting read, the book is also crammed full of glossy photographs of original manuscripts, illustrations and artefacts, which have come to form books as we know them today. This book makes a fantastic ‘coffee table book’, as the lovely images will draw people in and they cannot help but pick up an interesting fact or two as they flick through the pages!

Now I am at the end of my challenge, I have listed the criteria below for anyone else who would like to give it a go. I have also linked the pages to my previous posts in case anyone has missed any or needs some inspiration for tackling the challenge themselves!

30 Day Book Challenge Criteria

Day 1: Favourite book
Day 2: Least favourite book
Day 3: Book that makes you laugh out loud
Day 4: Book that makes you cry
Day 5: Book you wish you could live in
Day 6: Favorite young adult book
Day 7: Book that you can quote/recite
Day 8: Book that scares you
Day 9: Book that makes you sick
Day 10: Book that changed your life
Day 11: Book from your favorite author
Day 12: Book that is most like your life
Day 13: Book whose main character is most like you
Day 14: Book whose main character you want to marry
Day 15: First “chapter book” you can remember reading as a child
Day 16: Longest book you’ve read
Day 17: Shortest book you’ve read
Day 18: Book you’re most embarrassed to say you like
Day 19: Book that turned you on
Day 20: Book you’ve read the most number of times
Day 21: Favorite picture book from childhood
Day 22: Book you plan to read next
Day 23: Book you tell people you’ve read, but haven’t (or haven’t actually finished)
Day 24: Book that contains your favourite scene
Day 25: Favourite book you read in school
Day 26: Favourite non-fiction book
Day 27: Favourite fiction book
Day 28: Last book you read
Day 29: Book you’re currently reading
Day 30: Favourite coffee table book


30 Day Book Challenge – #29 Book You Are Currently Reading

This is the second time I have got round to reading ‘Room’ by Emma Donoghue, as I only read thirty pages last time and gave up. After a break however, I picked up where I left off and I absolutely fell in love with it. I am currently half way through the book and I can’t put it down! I think that when I started reading the first time, I found it difficult to comprehend Jack’s world inside Room – the only place he has ever known, as his mother was kidnapped when she was a teenager and kept in ‘Old Nick’s’ shed. I was finding it difficult to see how the plot could progress, but once Jack becomes aware of the world outside of Room, reading his thought process of comprehending a world outside his four walls is incredibly interesting. Donoghue has also captured the voice of five-year-old Jack incredibly well.

As soon as I have finished the book I will be posting a full review so keep your eyes out!

30 Day Book Challenge – #28 The Last Book You Read

Author: Lynda La Plante
Genre: Fiction/Crime
First Published: 1994
Pages: 467

Alcoholic Lieutenant Lorraine Page loses her job, her family and her reputation as she plummets into a downward spiral of drinking and prostitution. But when she is viciously attacked, she becomes the vital witness in the hunt for a serial killer. 

Lieutenant Lorraine Page has a fantastic reputation within the police force, a loving husband, two beautiful daughters and a drinking problem. When he shoots an innocent young boy dead she loses her job, and as her drinking spirals out of control, her family is next to leave. She lives the next six years in a hazy, drunken stupor; selling herself to make just enough money to buy her next bottle. After being hit by a car, she is taken into hospital, then a rehabilitation unit, where she meets recovering alcoholic Rosie. Seeing an opportunity to get herself out of hospital and to her next drink, Lorraine convinces Rosie to take her in under false pretences. While the pair struggle to see eye to eye, they slowly begin to work out a routine to suit them both, helping each other through relapses and financial troubles, with the help of Rosie’s sponsor, Jake.

One day, Lorraine is picked up from a street corner. Desperate for money and a drink, she is prepared to sink back into her old ways. When the man almost kills her with a hammer, she is suddenly drawn back into the police system, aiding their enquiries as they attempt to track down a serial killer. Suddenly, Lorraine has a reason to get herself back together, and with the help of Rosie, the pair undertake their own investigations with some dangerous consequences.

I had never read a Lynda La Plante novel before, and it isn’t something I had ever considered picking up. I read this one as one of my Dad’s colleagues send it as they thought I might enjoy it. Initially, the plot seemed very interesting. It opened right in the middle of Lorraine’s shooting incident, and started to discuss her decline straight away. I found this interesting as it differed from the regular opening of crime novels. However, the character of Lorraine was unlikable; her compulsive lying to those who are trying to help her is almost unbearable. Even during the police investigation, the reader is aware that all of the characters are withholding information from one another and it is infuriating as you cannot help but think that they would progress much quicker if they were more open with each other.

Another issue I had with the book was the sheer volume of characters and their complicated relationships with each other. The plot revolves around a complicated web of blackmail that is almost impossible to grasp, meaning that it is very difficult to remember who is who in the story. I also disliked the twist at the end of the book, as you are given the sense of closure that is accepted by the reader and not questioned, when Lorraine rips the whole case open again, and offers another complex network of blackmail that once again loses the reader. Although Lorraine does appear to have redeemed herself at the end of the book and becomes slightly more likable, her character is still irritating and deceptive.

Unfortunately I didn’t really engage with this book beyond half way. While I think Lorraine’s decent into alcoholism is an intriguing and new approach to the stereotypical detective character, the second half of the book is unnecessarily complex and hard work to comprehend. Many of the characters lack the sense of being fully formed, and begin to merge into one, and the ending that initially seems satisfactory is further complicated unnecessarily. Ultimately this book wasn’t for me, which was disappointing after such a promising opening; however, the opening was wonderfully done, which is why I have decided to settle for an average rating, as what the second half lacked, the beginning made up for.

Favourite quote: ‘Rooney felt inadequate. This big-eared windmill of a man, after just a few days’ thumbing through their files, was throwing out mind-blowing stuff.’ (p. 146)

Rating: 4/10

30 Day Book Challenge – #27 Favourite Fiction Book

After having already answered ‘Favourite Book’ and ‘Book From Your Favourite Author‘ finding another favourite fiction book is proving tricky! So as not to repeat myself I have decided to think of another ‘favourite to add to the list!

‘Lolita’ by Vladimir Nabokov is one of those books that you almost feel like you shouldn’t like because of the content, but you cannot help finding it so interesting. The novel is narrated by the protagonist, middle-aged professor Humbert Humbert. He is obsessed with the young girl Dolores Haze, whom he calls Lolita. After marrying her mother, Humbert becomes sexually involved with Lolita. After her mother is killed in an accident, Humbert leaves with Lolita as they travel around America and continue their love affair.

One of the reasons this book is so interesting is because of the controversial subject matters of paedophilia and incest. Humbert’s narration is grotesque and disturbing, but at the same time  attempts to gain sympathy from the reader. This complicated mix of prejudice and emotions manages to confuse the reader, so Humbert almost gains our sympathy until his frank confession at the end. I have heard many mixed opinions on this book but it is one that I enjoyed reading although it is difficult to pin down why exactly. The sophisticated language aids Humbert in his plea for sympathy, which also makes the book a pleasure to read. For anyone brave enough to read it, ‘Lolita’ is a rewarding book, and gives a bizarre insight into some of the most controversial subjects of the century.

30 Day Book Challenge – #26 Favourite Non-Fiction Book

I absolutely love this book! Not only is it beautiful to look at but it also has some fantastic projects inside to make that are incredibly easy but look stunning. I had never attempted appliqué before but I fell for the projects in the book and I knew that I had to give it a go! I decided to work on a few projects at the same time, which meant that I got the most out of my fabrics so that nothing went to waste. I chose to work on the appliqué lampshade because it looks so beautiful, and the appliqué cushion so the designs on them matched and I could get more out of the fabric designs that I am using. I also decided to make the fabric flowers because they looked really unique and used up any left over fabric I had well. These were also very easy and a great place to start, as all I had to do was press a circle into a petal stitch then do a running stitch and pull it tight.

Keep your eyes peeled for a later blog when I will have photos of my finished projects (as soon as I have finished them!)

30 Day Book Challenge – #25 Favourite Book You Read in School

I never realised how much I enjoyed reading plays until I did this challenge! So here’s another one! I read J. B. Priestly’s ‘An Inspector Calls’ when I was doing my GCSEs and I absolutely loved it. The story takes place on one night in the home of the middle-class Birling family. Set in 1912, the action is initiated by the arrival of an Inspector Goole, enquiring about the suicide of a working-class woman, Eva Smith (aka Daisy Renton). Goole interrogates the family until they are forced to reveal to each other how deceitful and detestable they really are. But there is a ghostly twist at the end of the play, that shocks the unexpecting audience.

I loved this play so much simple because it combines my favourite genres – crime and ghost stories – and offers a plot that constantly twists and turns in unexpected directions, so the reader/audience is always surprised at what comes next.

30 Day Book Challenge – #24 Book That Contains Your Favourite Scene

This was another one that had me stumped for a while, until I considered it literally and thought, “what is my favourite scene?” The answer then became pretty obvious, as my favourite scene from a play is Lady Macbeth’s sleepwalking scene from William Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’. So I dug out my leather bound ‘Complete Works of Shakespeare’ and tracked down Act Five, Scene One.

‘Macbeth’ is the story of a Scottish Thane, who encounters some witches on his way back from battle. They promise him titles beyond his belief, particularly when they predict that he will be king. He is shortly informed that he has been awarded the position of Thane of Cawdor, a title the witches had promised. As the predictions come true, Macbeth and his scheming wife become ambitious and plot to kill the King. Once they have done this, Macbeth receives the crown as the witches promised – but the guilt is too much to live with.

In Act Five, Scene One, Lady Macbeth is sleepwalking and talking, and reveals the crime her and her husband committed to a Doctor and a maid.

‘Yet here’s a spot. Out, damned spot! out I say!…The thane of Fife had a wife; where is she now? What, will these hands ne’er be clean!’

I’m the least likely person to ever be an actor, but if I did act for any reason, the one part I would play would be Lady Macbeth. I love the way this scene depicts her mental decline due to the guilt she feels. It is definitely my favourite scene – from any play or novel. I love the way it reads and how successfully it can be performed. It is such a haunting and atmospheric scene.

30 Day Book Challenge – #23 Book You Tell People You Have Read, But You Haven’t (or Haven’t Actually Finished)

During term time I struggle to read anything that isn’t on my reading list so I do have several unfinished books! I don’t think I ever tell people I have finished them though.

Some of my unfinished books include:

  • A hardback copy of ‘The Host’ by Stephenie Meyer (which still has the receipt in it as a bookmark from 2008!)
  • A copy of M. R. James’ ‘Collected Ghost Stories’ that I am eager to finish at some point!
  • A copy of ‘The Adventure of English’ by Melvyn Bragg that I borrowed from my Grandpa before I started University!
  • ‘The Great Gatsby’ which I tell people I don’t like because I gave up after thirty pages but I am determined to see it through to the end this time!

30 Day Book Challenge – #22 Book You Plan to Read Next

I am being as dedicated as ever to my reading list that I posted last month, and I have read the first five of my ten books I was planning on reading. The next one on my list is ‘Room’ by Emma Donoghue. I would have started this one already but a colleague of my Dad’s leant me a book that she thought I might enjoy, so rather than making her wait ages to get it back, I thought I would read it in the middle of my reading list.

‘Room’ is a story narrated by a five year old boy who is born into isolation, as his mother was kidnapped and raped. The only world he has ever known exists in the lone room he has been brought up in. I started this book a while ago but only got thirty pages into it before I gave up. Since then, however, I have read several reviews that suggest that though the beginning is tedious and difficult, it is well worth seeing it out until the end. As I don’t like leaving books unfinished, I am hoping after my break from it I will be able to pick it up again with renewed vigour!

30 Day Book Challenge – #21 Favourite Picture Book From Childhood

For this one I didn’t have to think at all! I fondly remember reading this book over and over again when I was younger – and not just at Christmas!

This book is so memorable because each page contains a Christmas letter or parcel to one of the characters, which can be opened and examined by the reader. For this reason, it is unlike any other book I can remember from my childhood. As well as being unique in this sense, the beautiful and colourful pictures also make this book fantastic. It is such a lovely read for any child or adult – I want to dig my copy out again now!