Do you recall that wonderful list I drew up last April with 30 things that I wanted to achieve by 30?
Well I feel it is time for an update.
The first challenge on my list was to read the BBC Top 100 books.
This has proven to be a tough challenge. I do not have enough time in the day to do all the reading this requires so I'm reading two books at a time and alternating when necessary. Thankfully I have read some of this magnificent pieces of literature before and I am flying through those books quickly.
So far I have read/re-read:
One of my favourite stories ever. Before I read it I always just assumed that Heathcliff was Mr. Romance. How wrong was I? He is a vindictive, possessive bastard who has been horribly treated by the true love of his life so somehow, and don't ask me why, he becomes a misunderstood, romantic lead. I hate him, I love him no, it is more than that I am infatuated by him. As for Catherine, well, don't get me even started on that hussy.
I have a love for Jane Eyre that probably arises from the fact I had to read this book about 30 times for my Leaving Cert English. It is a comfort book for me. I adore Rochester and that moment under the Oak tree causes butterflies in my stomach. Like Heathcliff I have no hesitancy in forgiving his flaws and secrets. He was a man tricked. Despite the goodness of his character I despise St. John Rivers for no obvious reason other than I don't think he has the right to Jane, when in fact he is just a lonely man looking for a wife (even his way around the matter is clunkier than an elephant wading through marshmallow). We all know who her true love is even if there is the whole mad wife issue.
And then, that last chapter where Jane addresses us the Reader, you know that line (but to repeat it would ruin the story for those who haven't read the book), it makes my heart soar and sing with joy. Really it does. It makes me that happy.
Da Vinci Code
I first read this book before the hype and I adored it. I really did. I found the backlash when it became a bestseller fabulous and loved that people took this work of fiction to possible be more than the result of a very fertile imagination and an interest in religious conspiracy theories. This time round my mind was tainted with a)the movie, which while I adore Audrey Tautou and Tom Hanks, was not how I imagined the plot line first time round and b) comments made about the book while I read it. I'm not one to generally let people's opinions sway me but I just lost interest in the book second time round as I found I couldn't make it my own. Saying that, I do love the conspiracy aspect of it and Dan Brown did write a wonderful book that I would recommend reading, if that is you can bury yourself in a dark corner away from the world while you read it.
Again another book that the movie undersold in my opinion. The story of Amir and Hassan, while set in Afghanistan in a setting far removed from anything that most of us can relate to, is a story with undertones of friendship and loyalty that are relevant to us all. The story is one of anguish, a little joy and a lot of soul searching. I enjoy it but I don't think I can do it justice in a paragraph. It is one I would recommend but have your cup of tea or glass of vino ready as it will suck you in and you may never want to get sucked out of it again.
You've heard of it. I know you have. If you haven't read it. Read it. It is small but my gosh is it super. Nothing else to add.
I am currently reading Ulysses (and not doing too badly though it is VERY time consuming) and To Kill a Mockingbird. I have the Bill Bryson on the go too for a little light relief! So you know, I'm getting there. Thankfully a lot of the books on my list are currently on sale 3 for a fiver in The Works so it isn't as costly as it could be and I am rebuilding my library quite contently.
I entered a photography competition. It was for a local calendar. So i took some photos of the area and sent them in. Fingers crossed at least one is picked! The prize is a copy of the calendar but it would also be a Christmas pressie for everyone at home!
I am working on a short story for the Merriman writing festival in County Clare. The story is more or less written it just needs to be edited!
So the progress is slow but I'm getting there. Give me another six months and my accomplishments will be a lot more impressive!