Top Ten Tuesday – Book quotes

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s top ten is favourite literary quotes. No particular theme to these – just my favourite quotes.

  1. “Better never means better for everyone… It always means worse, for some.” The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood.
  2. “The greatest patriotism is to tell your country when it is behaving dishonorably, foolishly, viciously.” Flaubert’s Parrot – Julian Barnes
  3. “Would you be so kind as to give a little thought to the question of what your good would be doing if evil did not exist, and how the earth would look if the shadows were to disappear from it?” The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov
  4. “Out of the frying pan into the fire! What is marriage but prostitution to one man instead of many? No different!” Nights at the Circus – Angela Carter.
  5. “She gave me a smile I could feel in my hip pocket” Farewell my Lovely – Raymond Chandler
  6. “They faced each other at opposite ends of an illusion” Dancer from the Dance – Andrew Holleran
  7. Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” 1984- George Orwell
  8. “The whole of life is just like watching a film. Only it’s as though you always get in ten minutes after the big picture has started, and no one will tell you the plot, so you have to work it out all yourself from the clues.” Moving Pictures – Terry Pratchett
  9. “Fuckin failures in a country of failures. Its nae good blamin it oan the English fir colonising us. Ah don’t hate the English. They’re just wankers. We are colonised by wankers. We can’t even pick a decent, vibrant healthy society to be colonised by. No.. we are ruled by effete arseholes. What does that make us? The lowest of the low, the scum of the earth. The most wretched servile, miserable, pathetic trash that was ever shat intae creation. Ah don’t hate the English. They just git oan wis the shite thev got. Ah hate the Scots.” Trainspotting – Irvine Welsh
  10. “I’m telling you stories. Trust me.” – The Passion – Jeanette Winterson

Top Ten Tuesday – Books on my Autumn TBR

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This weeks list is the top ten books on your autumn TBR.

Here are the next ten books that I intend to read this autumn.

  1. A Country Doctor’s Notebook – Mikhail Bulgakov
  2. Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge
  3. FIve Quarters of the Orange – Joanne Harris
  4. Live by Night – Dennis Lehane
  5. The Grass is Singing – Doris Lessing
  6. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
  7. The Notebook – Nicholas Spark
  8. Life Isn’t All Ha Ha Hee Hee – Meera Syal
  9. Rabbit Run – John Updike
  10. Shakey – Neil Young

I have five books to read for the Alphabet Soup Author Challenge including the book I’m reading at the minute which is Music and Silence by Rose Tremain. The others are Lolita, Shakey, and Rabbit Run. I’ve left myself a couple of fairly heavy books to read for the end of the year. I also still need an author for X so if anyone has any recommendations, I would be very grateful.

Top Ten Tuesday – Books I’d like to see adapted by Netflix

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Girl. This week’s topic is book you would like to see adapted by Netflix. I don’t have Netflix (I may be the last person in the world to be able to say this.) so I just thought about what I would like to see filmed. I do think that this is a more complicated topic than it might appear. Good books don’t always make good films (The Book Thief, for example) and bad books often make great films (The Bridges of Madison County, for example). Nonetheless, here is my top ten.

  1. Hag-Seed – Margaret Atwood
  2. Middle England – Jonathan Coe
  3. Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides
  4. Different Class – Joanne Harris
  5. Black Swan Green – David Mitchell
  6. Survivor – Chuck Palahniuk
  7. Contact – Carl Sagan
  8. Cloudstreet – Tim Winton
  9. Six Four – Hideo Yokajama
  10. Bridge of Clay – Marcus Zusak

Top Ten Tuesday – Most recent additions to TBR pile.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This weeks list is the ten most recent additions to my TBR list.

I’ve decided to list five actual books and five from my kindle. When I first bought the kindle, I tried to not let it happen – a TBR shelf. I only bought a book when I had finished a book. But that turned out to be unfeasible because it meant a bit of messing around before I could start a new book. Apart from anything, Amazon’s daily emails with potential bargain books soon saw to it that I had a lot of books waiting to be read. Of course, it doesn’t take up any physical space but still, there are books that have been waiting a long time to be read.

Five from my actual bookshelves – I’ve been buying a lot of modern classics lately so most of these are quite old. I’m particularly looking forward to I Robot as it has been on my meaning to buy / read list for a long time.

  1. I Robot – Isaac Asimov (1950)
  2. The Collector – John Fowles (1963)
  3. The Maltese Falcon – Dashiell Hammett (1930)
  4. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman (2017)
  5. Choke – Chuck Palahnuik (2001)

Five from my kindle – I try not to spend a lot on kindle books – there isn’t much point when you can get such a lot for 99p. It means that I often buy things that I wouldn’t buy at full price. Paris Echo is probably the next read here. I’ve only ever read Birdsong so it would be interesting to read something else by Faulks.

  1. Testament of Youth – Vera Brittain (1933)
  2. Paris Echo – Sebastian Faulks (2018)
  3. A House for Mr Biswas – V. S. Naipaul (1961)
  4. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain (1884)
  5. 20000 Leagues under the Sea – Jules Verne (1869)

Top Ten Tuesday – Books that were disappointing but you are glad you read.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. This weeks topic is books that you hated but are glad that you read. I changed that to books that were disappointing as I hate very few books.

  1. The Japanese Lover – Isabelle Allende. It had been a long time since I had read any Allende when I read this last year. I was expecting some beautiful piece of magic realism akin to Eva Luna. This just a fairly average romance / family saga.
  2. Mockinjay – Suzanne Collins. What a disappointing end to the Hunger Games. There are no games, for a start. The whole thing dragged and the ending was corny. Made me wonder why I had bothered.
  3. The Well of Loneliness – Radclyffe Hall. I know it’s a classic and really important in the LGBT canon but it really was a struggle. Stephen was a hard heroine to like and it all seemed woefully old fashioned.
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey – E.L. James. To be fair, I was never expecting this to be good. But despite the fact that it is terrible, I am glad to have read it. It makes me feel a lot better about my own writing.
  5. The Thorn Birds – Colleen McCullough. How this has got itself onto all those books you must read before you die lists is beyond me. It’s badly written, the characters are superficial and it is far too long.
  6. Wonder – R. J. Palacio. This was underwhelming for me. I guess I just have no heart but this genuinely left me cold. It was extremely corny as well.
  7. The Insurgent Series – Veronica Roth. Not quite sure why I persevered with these books. They certainly didn’t get any better.
  8. The Casual Vacancy – J. K. Rowling. Just not as good as Harry Potter.
  9. Hidden Figures: The UntoldStory of  the African American Women who Helped Win the Space Race – Margot Lee Shetterly – This was disappointing because I was expecting something different. I had just seen the film and thought that the focus might be the same but this starts much earlier and the focus is much broader. Not really what I was looking for.
  10. The Angel’s Game – Carlos Ruiz Zafron. I loved The Shadow of  the Wind and was very excited to read this. (Always going to lead to disappointment, being over-excited!) But this was not even in the same league. I haven’t bothered reading any further on in the series.

Top Ten Tuesday – Books I’ve Struggled With

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This weeks theme is Ten Books I Struggled to Get Into But Ended Up Loving or Ten Books That Were A Chore To Get Through or Ten Books I’ve Most Recently Put Down.

I don’t often finish a book because I really hate abandoning something that has already taken up some of my time but I do struggle sometimes especially when it comes to classics. This list is a mix of books that I have struggled with – some I thought I would love but didn’t, some I didn’t finish and some that I’m glad I persevered with.

  1. Lorna Doone – R. D. Blackmore. I thought this was going to be an exciting adventure. I’d seen an adaptation and that was very good. They must have just taken the best bits and avoided all the filler. Far too slow. I’d recommend the 2000 BBC adaptation with Richard Coyle and Aiden Gillen. Much more fun.
  2. Gateway to Fourline – Pam Brondos. The pace was too slow with this one. It is the start of a series so I think the author wanted to include a lot of background and information. The characters were a bit flat too. I won’t be reading on.
  3. The Mysterious Affair at Styles – Agatha Christie. I love a good detective story so I thought I’d give Christie a go. This wasn’t much fun though. The characters were unlikeable, the plot was cheesy and Poirot was so annoying I wanted to reach into the text and throttle him.
  4. The Short Drop – Matthew Fitzsimmons. This is a more modern text. It has a lot of five-star reviews on Goodreads but I have no idea why. It was obvious what was going to happen next and the plot was cliched. I finished it but it was not very satisfying.
  5. The Last Girl – Joe Hart. This was a struggle to finish. It was full of tortured metaphors and overblown language which distracted from the plot. Another series I won’t be continuing.
  6. The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne. I didn’t even get halfway through this one. I found the style impossible to get on with. A shame because it is an interesting idea.
  7. The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemmingway. It was a good job this was so short otherwise I’d never have finished it. I just didn’t see the point.
  8. The Thorn Birds – Colleen McCullough. There were a number of reasons that this was hard work. The plot was cliched and unrealistic. The conversations read as if written by someone who had never spoken to anyone before. It was melodramatic and Meggie was too much a martyr to inspire much empathy.
  9. Rob Roy – Sir Walter Scott. I did finish it and some of it was exciting and interesting but Scott’s habit of describing every single meal and conversation really made the pace drag.
  10. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy. This was quite a recent read. It took me five months and some days I could barely even look at it, never mind read it. However, I am glad that I finished it. Not just for the prestige of saying I’ve read it either. There are a lot of interesting characters and the relationships were well drawn. I was less keen on the war elements and the epic battles.

Top Ten Tuesday – Books that should be required reading

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Given the time of year, this weeks topic is Back To School Freebie: anything “back to school” related like 10 favorite books I read in school, books I think should be required reading, etc. I have decided to pick ten books that I think should be required reading.

  1. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood – I know that everyone is saying this but given the current political climate, this really is the most apt dystopian novel. Not only that, it makes you think about reproduction and women’s body’s in a new way.
  2. The History of the World in 10 and a 1/2 Chapters – Julian Barnes – This really explores the idea of what the novel can be. There are stories, histories and discussions about art, as well as the story of Noah’s Ark from the point of view of a woodworm.
  3. Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha – Roddy Doyle – Doyle successfully captures the thought process and speech of a young boy perfectly. A joy to read.
  4. If This is a Man – Primo Levi – Levi describes his time in the concentration camp in unflinching detail and without once ever showing any hatred or anger.
  5. The Life of Pi – Yann Martel – At the beginning of this text, Pi Patel claims that his story will make you believe in God. The following novel explores spirituality and psychology as he tells about his journey with the Bengal Tiger, Richard Parker.
  6. Like People in History – Felice Picano – A history of the gay movement from the 70s to the present day, told through the relationships of the narrator, Roger.
  7. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath – A feminist classic which shows the difficulties of depression.
  8. Jingo – Terry Pratchett. This is one of my favourite Pratchetts. A very clever satire about political assassinations and cleverly pointing the finger at who you would like to be to blame.
  9. His Dark Materials – Phillip Pullman – A much better series than Harry Potter. This explores spirituality and science as well as being a superb adventure story.
  10. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak – The narrator of this novel is death. He offers a different perspective on the second world war. It is about fascism and the difficulties ordinary citizens faced during that time. It might be aimed at children but it never once feels like it.

Top Ten Tuesday – Spring TBR list.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This weeks topic is Ten books on your Spring TBR list. So here is what I plan to read over the next few months. Although to be honest, it may take me the entire spring just to read War and Peace.

  1. The Noise of Time – Julian Barnes – I don’t actually possess this book yet but I love Barnes and I do intend to buy it as soon as possible.
  2. Room – Emma Donahue (Full House Reading Challenge – Borrowed book) I didn’t really fancy this book when it first came out but since then I have seen the film and I am keen to see how it would work as a book.
  3. Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides (Full House Reading Challenge – Diversity). I really enjoyed The Virgin Suicides so I’m looking forward to this one.
  4. The Immoralist – Andre Gide (Full House Reading Challenge – European Author) This has been one my TBR list for a long time although I have only just come into possession of a copy.
  5. Catch 22 – Joseph Heller (Full House Reading Challenge – published Pre 2000) I recently inherited a copy of this book which has also been on the list for a long time.
  6. After Alice – Gregory Maguire – I got this for Christmas a couple of years ago and really ought to have read it by now.
  7. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter – Carson McCullers (Full House Reading Challenge – On TBR Shelf for more than 2 years.) There was a lot of competition for this category. I chose this because it is a classic and I feel I should have read it by now.
  8. Even Dogs in the Wild – Ian Rankin – After reading a couple of this series that I’d missed from the middle, I am now going to read one from near the end. Who says you have to read them in the correct order!
  9. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy  (Full House Reading Challenge – More than 500 Pages.) This is next on the list once I’ve finished reading Big Brother by Lionel Shriver. I must admit, I’m a bit daunted but now that I’ve said I’m going to read it, I have to read it so that’s good.
  10. Fingersmith – Sarah Waters – This has been recommended to me a couple of times lately so I bought it for my kindle.

Top Ten Tuesday – Books I loved more or less than I expected.


Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s list is books that you loved more or less than expected. I’ve decided to do five of each.

Books I Loved More Than I expected:

  1. American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis I wouldn’t actually say I love this book. It’s not that sort of story. But it is compelling and it isn’t merely misogynistic violence towards women. Patrick Bateman is a tragic character who sums up the vacuity of modern life.
  2. Looking for Alaska – John Green I had previously read The Fault in our Stars and while I didn’t hate it, I did find it a bit annoying. I expected that Looking for Alaska would be the same. Instead, I found a sweet and tragic story with a lot fewer of the tics that makes Green so hard for me to read.
  3. The Song of Fire and Ice series – George R.R. Martin – Back before the TV series started, the first Game of Thrones book was reccommended to me by a pupil in one of my year 11 classes. I wasn’t really convinced- it was not the sort of genre I usually read – but she thrust the book into my hand and it seemed rude not to read it. I was immediately hooked.
  4. Some of Your Blood – Theodore Sturgeon – I had no idea what this was about or who Sturgeon was. I was expecting a trashy horror story. Instead, this is a psychological tale with many layers of horror.
  5. Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh – I don’t really do classics but I’m glad I picked this one up. It is beautifully written and was compelling all the way through.

Books that I loved less than I expected:

  1. The Heart Goes Last – Margaret Atwood Atwood is usually a given love for me especially her dystopian works. This isn’t a bad story and if it had been written by someone else, I probably wouldn’t have been so harsh. But it just didn’t live up to her other works.
  2. The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins I often don’t love what everyone else loves and that was certainly the case here. It was too obvious what was happening and none of the characters were convincing. Over-rated.
  3. Divergent Series – Veronica Roth While this is an interesting idea, it didn’t grab me like The Hunger Games did. I just couldn’t see how the world could have come about.
  4. The Secret History – Donna Tartt I read this relatively recently although it had been on my to be read list for a long time. It was a case of not knowing what all the fuss was about. There is nothing exceptional about the plot or the writing.
  5. Porno – Irvine Welsh I must admit that I haven’t really enjoyed an Irvine Welsh book for a while now. None of them live up to the early books and this certainly didn’t compare to Trainspotting.

Top Ten Tuesday – All About the Villains


Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is villains which is pleasing in a number of ways. We may all wish for the hero to survive but it is villains that really stick in the mind. A poor villain ruins a book much more readily than a poor hero.

Here is my ten – in alphabetical order because I couldn’t decide who was the most villainous.

  1. Joffrey Baratheon – Game of Thrones series by George R. R. Martin – There are many potential possibilities for the most villainous GofT character. Joffrey gets my vote because he is unequivocally bad. There is no ambiguity. And his death was perhaps the most satisfying in the whole series.
  2. Patrick Bateman – American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. This is not an easy read and is probably the most brutal book I have ever read. In the end, it may be that the killings are a desperate attempt by Bateman to create some sort of identity for himself in a world of designer labels and meaningless fashion trends.
  3. Big Ger Cafferty – The Rebus novels – Ian Rankin – Cafferty is Rebus’ nemesis in a number of the novels. Rebus has a suitably morally ambiguous relationship with the ageing gangster.
  4. Count Dracula – Dracula by Bram Stoker – Dracula is the archetypal vampire and upper-class villain. He has a mask of respectability that often slips when his plans are frustrated.
  5. Mr. Hyde – Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson – Mr. Hyde represents that part of all of us that would wish harm on people. Here the bestiality of man is given a free range with suitably horrible results.
  6. Hannibal Lecter – Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris. I’ve read the third book in the series but I didn’t like it so much. Lecter is fascinating in a way that makes you question your own morals. It’s hard not to imagine Anthony Hopkins but the books stand up well against the movie versions.
  7. Long John Silver – Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. Another morally ambiguous character, Silver constantly tries to judge which side is going to win and then place himself on that side.
  8. President Snow – The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins – It is hard to imagine Snow in the books without thinking of Donald Sutherland in the films. He manages to show exactly how creepy and controlling Snow was. A ruthless tyrant responsible for many deaths.
  9. Voldemort – Harry Potter novels by J. K. Rowling. There are other Potter bad guys but ultimately Voldemort is relentlessly evil throughout all  of the books.
  10. Annie Wilkes – Misery by Stephen King. Who will ever forget Paul Sheldon’s misfortune at being rescued by his number one fan, Annie Wilkes? I’m glad I had read this before I saw the film as Kathy Bates was even more frightening than the character in the book.