Day 977 – #7 Complete the BBC Big Read Top 100 Books – FINISHED!

warFanfare please!  I have finally finished War & Peace and as such have completed all 100 books from the BBC Big Read project.  It turned out to be a bit of a mammoth undertaking in the end.  Mainly because some of the books were just huge.

War & Peace was better than I expected.  It took some getting into, mainly because of the huge number of characters.  But once I had those figured out I quite enjoyed the story.  As Tolstoy tends to do, there was a lot of unnecessary opinion on wars in general and how they should/shouldn’t be fought.  But it was nowhere near as tedious as the farming methods in Anna Karenina!  Don’t be put off by the size of the book (I read it on a kindle in the end as it was less depressing!  Although – it was 12 pages, roughly, for each percentage of the book….)  It’s a good story and you do end up caring about the characters.  Particularly Pierre – he was my favourite.

Understandably I didn’t like all of the books.  Some in particular I cannot believe that people seriously believe are the best book ever written.  (Catch 22 I’m looking at you!)  But I loved some that I would never have picked up normally.  Clan of the Cave Bear was a particular favourite.  Although it wasn’t covered in this blog I adored the Shell Seekers and am now a huge Rosamund Pilcher fan.  I loved Brideshead Revisited, A Town like Alice, The Woman in White – loads of them.  There are some cracking books on that list so maybe give it a try?  You might just be surprised… 🙂

 

Day 901 – #7 Complete the BBC Big Read Top 100 books

gormenghastOh yeah!  That’s the penultimate book on my list.  I bought the whole trilogy and read Titus Groan first.  I’m glad I did (although that was massive too!) as it meant I knew the background to all the characters.  I think I would have been mightily confused if I’d only read Gormenghast.

This continues Titus’ accession as the heir of Gormenghast and the threat to the House of Groan.  Luckily for Titus he has a host of people looking out for him and the honour of the house and they all come together to defeat the threat amongst them.

It’s a great book actually and I will read the third book in the series when I get a spare moment.  But for now…… War & Peace!

Day 974 – #7 Complete the BBC Big Read Top 100 Books

choleraAnother one down!  Only two to go now 🙂
I really wasn’t looking forward to this one.  I read 100 Years of Solitude and hated it.  I found it really tedious and I thought this one would be similar.

In actual fact I actually quite enjoyed it.  I found the lack of chapters annoying though.  It felt like I was just cutting off part way through the story and it felt quite disjointed.

Having said that, I was interested in the story.  Fermina Daza was a strong female lead and although I didn’t particularly like her, I found her character intriguing.  I wanted to keep reading and find out how the triangle with Juvenal Urbino and Florentino Ariza played out.

I wouldn’t read it again but it was worth reading once.

Day 935 – #7 Complete the BBC Big Read Top 100

tale of twoAnother Dickens novel off the list.  I enjoyed this one much more than Bleak House (maybe because it was a quarter of the size?!) and got into it a lot more quickly.

Set against the backdrop of the French Revolution it flits between happenings in Paris and London.  The characters lives are woven between the two cities in a story of increasing tension and peril.

It’s a lot less waffly than Bleak House and the pace of story telling is a lot better.  You actually *want* to keep reading on…  to find out if the Doctor has as much influence as he thinks, to see if Madame Defarge gets her comeuppance and to find out if Evremonde, called Darnay manages to keep his head….

Great book.

Day 915 – #7 Complete the BBC Big Read Top 100 books

midnightAnother book ticked off my list!  I read this one mostly while we were away and flew through it.  It was very, very easy to get into (despite the Indian words).  Saleem’s narrative was chatty, witty and engaging and I wanted to keep going and find out what happened next.

I didn’t know much about India’s history before I read this book and so it was interesting to find out how the historic events around the separation were woven into Saleem’s own story.

It’s not a short book but it’s well worth reading.

Day 914 – #Complete The Big Read – Top 100 Books

persuasionNow that’s more like it – a classic that I could get into right from the start!  I absolutely whizzed through this one.  I’ve not read a huge amount of Jane Austen but I do enjoy them.

Anne Elliot is the somewhat put upon second daughter of the feckless Sir Walter Elliott.  His favourite is the eldest daugher Elizabeth and the youngest, Mary, is already married.  Sir Walter despairs of what to do with Anne.  Anne herself is quite happy doing her own thing, until she meets up with the man to whom she was previously engaged (Captain Wentworth).  The quick version of the tale is that they have to both work out whether they made a mistake is splitting up in the first place…..

I love the fact that Austen’s books are easy to read and I find them very funny.  I’m glad that I’d overlooked this one earlier in the list to give me a bit of light relief towards the end!

Day 902 – #7 Complete the BBC Big Read Top 100 books

bleakFinally!  I’ve finally finished this damn book.  Don’t get me wrong.  I like Charles Dickens normally.  I watched the whole series of Dickensian on TV – brilliant.  But this book!  God, it’s heavy going.  My Dad kept encouraging me, saying what a great book it was and how it would all come together.  I suppose all the threads did resolve themselves but it could have done it in about 300 pages rather than the 800 odd that I struggled through.

Sorry Dad, not a fan 😦