3. Hamlet – William Shakespeare (100 book challenge)

After the seriousness of Brave New World and the craziness of Hitchhiker’s Guide, I needed something a little more poetic and predictable. So the third book in my 100 book challenge was Hamlet, by none other than William Shakespeare.

Now, I’m going to be straight with you all: reading Shakespeare is hard. To me, it’s like it’s written in a completely different language. A language where I know the basics – how to order a coffee and ask for directions to the central train station – but where I have to fill the gaps with my imagination. Continue reading

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The way you squint your eyes (Friday Fictioneers)

Everyone says I look like her. You have your mother’s hair. I get sick of hearing it. Sure, there are photos. But they’re not the same. It’s the faces you pull. The face I only ever get to see in a mirror. The face that looks like the face I’ll never get to see. It’s the way your lips twitch. It’s the way you squint your eyes. It’s the way you play with your chin when you’re upset.

There’s only one person who deserves to tell me we’re alike. But she died when my memories were just beginning to form.

*************

Speaking of mirrors – check out the eBook on Amazon called ‘Mirrors: The Writing Workshop Anthology’ (you’ll see some familiar Friday Fictioneers authors in there)

In July this year I began my 100 book challenge, where I plan to read 100 classics in my lifetime.

See my recent reviews of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Brave New World and let me know what you think!

Friday Fictioneers is a challenge set by Rochelle Fields where writers around the world create 100 word stories inspired by the one image. For more information see: http://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/2014/09/10/12-september-2014/

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Desire by the fire (Friday Fictioneers)

image

PHOTO PROMPT -Copyright – Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Three of us are huddled by the campfire, nothing but our faces lit on this starless night.

Georgina’s between us and she’s laughing at Brad’s jokes. Jealously creeps up my spine.

But then a hand reaches across and holds mine. Instantly I relax. Georgina has chosen me!

‘I’m heading to bed,’ she says.

An invitation?

Her eyes will answer the question on my mind.

I turn to look at her and discover I’m looking deep into the eyes of Brad.

Georgina has already left.

Then whose hand…?

Brad’s own face turns from longing… to disgust.

And we never mention it again.

*************

In July this year I began my 100 book challenge, where I plan to read 100 classics before I die.

See my recent reviews of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Brave New World and let me know what you think!

Friday Fictioneers is a challenge set by Rochelle Fields where writers around the world create 100 word stories inspired by the one image. For more information see: http://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/5-september-2014/

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2. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley (100 book challenge)

In 1932, Aldous Huxley wrote a book about the future. It is a future where everyone is happy, everyone belongs to everyone else, children are decanted (not born) and society is split into a 5-part caste system where a person’s thinking capacity is limited depending on what job they are destined to perform.

82 years later, I sat down to read the book as part of my 100 Book Challenge.

The much-read book with the yellowing edges and distinct musty smell

Were these yellowing pages successful in predicting the future?

Brave New World is an absolute brilliant piece of work. It was surprisingly relevant still today and made me think on many different levels about the way we live and the choices we make. It took me on a journey beginning in awe of the utopian society, to questioning it, to loathing it. Unlike the previous book in the challenge it had a clearly defined beginning, middle and end. And it took me just a few days to read.

So how close was Huxley in predicting the future? Did he get it right?

Continue reading

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Right here, right now (ABC Open 500 words)

This month’s theme on ABC Open is ‘Right here, right now’ and since it was also the month that my son turned 1, I had to write this one about him.

It’s called Three Hundred and Sixty-Four Days and here’s the link:

https://open.abc.net.au/contributions/three-hundred-and-sixty-four-days-41vh9bd/in/contributors/jessie%20ansons

My precious 11-month-old Image by Brian Mottram

My precious 11-month-old
Image by Brian Mottram

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1. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams (100 book challenge)

On Thursday 5th May 1999, I dressed in a long white robe and a fake golden beard, put a home-made halo on my head, and went with my venturer scout group to ‘Science at the Pub – a night with Douglas Adams’. I was dressed as a character from Adams’ book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Funnily enough, I didn’t know what character I was dressing as. I didn’t even know who Douglas Adams was and I certainly hadn’t read the book. I was merely going because it sounded like an interesting night out and a guy from my scout group said I’d make a perfect golden-bearded angel.

As with most sci-fi gatherings held at a local worker’s club at 7:30pm on a Thursday, a lot of people were dressed in costume. Of course the organisers ran a best-dressed competition. And low and behold, this little angel with a golden beard won.

As I stepped up on stage to shake the hand of Douglas Adams and receive a personally signed copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide, I was the awe of every pair of eyes in that room.

And I’d never heard of the man.

My beat-up (but personally signed) copy of The Hitchhiker's Guide

My beat-up (but personally signed) copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide

Feeling a little embarrassed about my win, I got home and started reading. It was heavy-going for a 17 year-old and I soon decided I had more important things to do than struggle through a 590-page book.

So I put it aside for a few years.

Continue reading

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100 book challenge – my running tally

In July 2014 I set myself the challenge to finish 100 must-read books before I die. Here is the list of books and my ongoing tally.

  • Total books read: 3
  • Books to go: 97
  • Time passed: 3 months

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien

3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling

5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

6 The Bible

7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell

9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy

13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare

15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk

18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger

19 The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch – George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell

22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald

23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens

24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy

My beat-up (but personally signed) copy of The Hitchhiker's Guide

25 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams (1. finished 23 August 2014, 509 pages over 31 days, read my review here)

26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh

27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis

34 Emma – Jane Austen

35 Persuasion – Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis

37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres

39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden

40 Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne

41 Animal Farm – George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving

45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery

47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding

50 Atonement – Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel

52 Dune – Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen

55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens

Brave New World small58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley (2. finished 31 August 2014, 206 pages over 8 days, read my review here)

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding

69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens

72 Dracula – Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses – James Joyce

76 The Inferno – Dante

77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal – Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession – AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell

83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker

84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad

92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks

94 Watership Down – Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas

Hamlet Shakespeare cover98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare (3. finished 13 September, 337 pages over 14 days, read my review here)

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

(This list has been copied from here at List Challenges.)

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