The 20th Century Book Tag

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here but I also make YouTube videos about books. You can see my latest video below.

The 20th century book tag is a tag where you choose a book for each decade of the 20th century.

The books I chose are:

A little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1905)
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1911)
The Diviners by Libba Bray
Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild (1936)
1984 by George Orwell (1949)
Lord of the flies by William Golding (1954)
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (1966)
Carrie by Stephen King (1974)
The handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (1985)
Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman (1995)

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Review: Beauty Queens

052Title: Beauty Queens
Author: Libba Bray
Genre: YA
Number of pages: 396

The fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane had another idea, crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner.

I recently finished rereading Beauty Queens for the third time and was reminded of just how much I love it. Beauty Queens is an unusual book because it manages to tackle some serious issues while also being quite light hearted and at times silly (in a good way). It’s also pretty good satire with its commercial breaks from the corporation and characters like Ladybird Hope and MoMo B. ChaCha.

Beauty Queens is the story of 12 girls who survive a crash landing on to a desert island. It follows them as they learn to survive and think for themselves away from society.

The book has not one but a dozen female protagonists, each with their own individual story and issues, and the narrative switches between them. This isn’t a problem though because the story is told in the third person. My favourite character changes every time I reread and right now it’s Tiara.

I’ve been trying to work out why I love this book so much and I think it’s because of the way the characters develop throughout the book. They get to know themselves and make friends outside of a society that is always telling them how to be and what to act like. My favourite part of the book is the bit were they are all sitting around a fire talking about girl con and what they do and don’t miss from home.

Libba Bray uses this book to tackle issues like: disability, being LGBTQ, the objectification of women and being comfortable with your sexuality. And she does it well. I really recommend that you read this book.

Classics

As you can see this post is going to be about classics. I thought that I would talk about some of my favourites and least favourites.

Favourites

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

The first time I read this book I actually hated it, probably because at the time I was 14 and being forced to read it by my teachers.  About two years after that I had to read it again at school and I realised just how good it actually is. Steinbeck writes in a way that really makes you connect to the characters and understand their situations, like how George always has to look after Lennie because he is a danger to himself and others.  The only character in this book that I dislike is Curley because he’s creepy (the whole glove Vaseline thing is gross), petty and treats his wife like crap. Of Mice and Men is a great book despite how sad it is.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

I only read this book recently and I was surprised by how timeless Orwell’s writing is. The book was written in the 1950’s but the language and style of writing could have come from any modern novel. Animal farm tells the story of a farm where the animals overthrow the farmer and begin ruling themselves. I really love the characters of Boxer, Benjamin and Clover. The book also contains one of my least favourite characters in literature, Squealer.  Squealer is one of those rare characters that make me want to throw the book across the room (the other is Umbridge in Harry Potter and the Order of The Phoenix), I just hate the way he manipulates the other characters.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice had been on my to read list forever but I always put off reading it because I don’t really like loves stories or books that feature romance. Anyway The Lizzie Bennet diaries finally convinced me to read it last September and I really enjoyed it. When I was reading it i didn’t really like it for the first half because I found Lydia and Mr Collins annoying. But then the bit with the letter happened and I really wanted Lizzy and Darcy to be together.

I actually find it kind of mind blowing how a book which was written 200 years ago is still being picked up and loved by new readers.

Least Favourites

(I finished this list and then realised that all the ones I dislike seem to be plays)

A view from the bridge by Arthur Miller

This is another book that I was made to read at school and unlike most of the others we had to read I hated it. I just didn’t find the plot interesting and I found the characters really annoying (especially Eddie). Also I don’t think that my teacher picking the slowest readers in the world to do the parts of the different characters helped.

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

I don’t get why people think that Romeo and Juliet is such an epic love story. It’s not, it’s the story of two stupid teenagers (seriously Juliet is supposed to be 13 and who isn’t stupid at 13) who fall in lust, get married and end up killing about six people including themselves. Also don’t get me started on the film, if you’re going to set a film in the modern day have them speak modern English not Shakespeare English.

What is your favourite or least favourite classic?

The Elephant House

I spent the first 3 days of last week in Edinburgh and while I was there I visited The Elephant House. For anyone who doesn’t know The Elephant House is the cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book.

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When you go in it just seems like a slightly fancy cafe, there are only a few pictures of J.K Rowling on the wall. The food is decently priced, I got the Pesto and Mozzarella panini which was nice although a bit fancier that what I would normally eat.

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But then when you go in to the toilets, it is floor to ceiling covered in ‘graffiti’: messages from Harry Potter fans of all ages, from all over the world, quoting the books, films, a very potter musical and leaving thank you messages to J.K Rowling.  I spent a good 10 minutes reading them and taking pictures of my favourites and of course I had to sign the wall myself. I drew a Deathly Hallows symbol and beneath it I wrote my initials & the date. Below are some of the pictures I took, they’re a bit blurry because I took them on my I-pod. (I may do another post showing them all)IMG_0151

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Ron’s Emotional Range

What I wrote

What I wrote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If  you ever get the chance to visit The Elephant Cafe I recommend that you do.

April Rewind

In April I read 5 books. They were:

A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
How to be a woman by Caitlin Moran
Shadows of the Workhouse by Jennifer Worth
Though Thick and Thin by Gok Wan
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

I enjoyed A Clash of Kings, I found it a lot easier to read than the first one.  In the last month or two I’ve been reading more Non-fiction and I really liked Shadows of the Workhouse by Jennifer Worth and Though Thick and Thin by Gok Wan.

However I really disliked How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran, I thought it was really problematic. I’m trying to write a review of it but I keep getting annoyed at things in the book and stopping.