Review: Misogynation by Laura Bates

This afternoon, I went for a walk. There’s some trees by my house with a path that runs through them to the main road. The road is paved but the trees are quite thick and its quite dark. I automatically went to high alert, put my phone away and put my keys in my balled up fist, just in case.

As I walked around my local area, three separate van drivers beeped their horns at me. The first time was a man laughing at me. The second time was three men making jeering noises. The third was a man staring intently.

On my way back to my house, I walked past a carpet shop. Three men were outside loading the van. They all stopped what they were doing to stare at me. One of them made a comment (I’m not sure what he said); the others laughed. 

This was all in the space of an hour. It is absolutely typical of what happens to me every time I leave the house. 

I know a lot of people don’t think that street harassment is a serious issue. I’m continually told that a wolf whistle or someone beeping their horn at me is a compliment. I’m told that men telling me to “cheer up love” are just being friendly. I’m told that men grabbing my bum, slapping me on the arse or just having a quick grope on a night out is “just a joke” or that its OK because the person doing it was drunk. If I complain, I’m told to lighten up, to stop being a feminazi, to understand that it was done as a bit of a laugh. 

Frankly, I’m tired of it all. I’m tired of being expected to play along. I’m tired of being intimidated. I’m tired of people making excuses to shift the blame to me – I’m wearing makeup, I’m wearing a skirt, men can’t help themselves. I’m tired of policing my own behaviour – I can’t walk through those trees, I can’t go into a pub on my own, I can’t talk to a man without it seeming like I was flirting, like I was leading him on, so what did I expect when he pinned me against the wall and tried to ram his tongue down my throat?

Until fairly recently, I’d felt completely powerless to stop men from treating me like this (I know it’s not all men, but a woman has never harassed or sexually assaulted me – despite being friends with lots of gay and bisexual women and often going to gay clubs when I was a student). The problem is partly that harassment of women is so commonplace that an isolated incident is never going to seem that serious. But that’s the thing – it’s never just one isolated incident. Its the repeated comments, the constant judgement, the myriad ways in which society tells us, over and over, that women are to blame for their treatment by men.

So thank god for Laura Bates, the founder of the Everyday Sexism project. By asking people (not just women) to tell her about their experiences with low level harassment, sexism and intimidation she’s managed to shine a light on what many of us have struggled to put into words – how persistent, low level sexism not only affects every single woman I know (and a decent proportion of men) but how the frequency and scale of the issue forms a foundation for sexism to pervade every echelon of our society.

Misogynation is a collection of Bates’ Guardian articles that were based on the thousands of personal testimonials received by the Everyday Sexism Project website. Bates has taken some of the main themes (street harassment, stereotyping, being patronised, gender pay etc.) and investigated further, pulling in some extrodinary facts and figures to back up her claims. Despite the seriousness of her work, she’s made the book really lighthearted, with plenty of tongue-in-cheek comments and ironic metaphors. I thought that this worked really well to get the message across whilst remaining engaging and accessible. 

I’m not sure how Bates/her editor/the publishers decided on the order of the essays but I did feel that they were a bit all over the place. It would have been nice to see them grouped by topic (although I did find there was quite a lot of repetition) – perhaps the book would have worked better if the essays had been amalgamated or summarised by topic into individual chapters? Although this would have involved actually writing a book and not just re-publishing articles that have already been put into print (something that always feels to me like a bit of a cop out). 

I did like the fact that because the essays were short you could dip in and out of the book – it’s an easy one to read if you’ve got another book on the go. I found that despite how hilarious it was, the facts and figures (along with some of the comments which showed the general attitude to what she was writing) could quickly get depressing so it’s great that you can read it in tiny chunks without losing your way. Some of the best parts were the clapbacks to sexist behaviour that people had sent in on twitter – one girl loudly narrated how a man was trying to feel her up on the tube, one girl, when asked if she was on her period replied that if she had to bleed every time she found someone annoying she’d be anaemic by now, and my favourite -a woman who was loudly harassed by builders from a rooftop who, after asking them to stop and receiving a barrage of nasty threats simply took their ladder away. 

I also loved the element of hive mind support – there were many examples of other people offering practical solutions to problems that others had written in about. I personally felt far less alone in my experiences and more supported in speaking out against misogyny. 

Overall, I thought that Misogynation was a good, empowering read that really opens your eyes to all of the low level, unreported behaviour which goes on every day. The fact that every story is real and is backed up by hundreds of others all saying the same thing really adds weight to all of Bates’ arguments. The content of the book could have been better defined but I loved the humour, ingenuity and resilience shown by the contributors. I thought it was a great way to showcase an issue that’s so often brushed off or minimised by society. 

Rating: 3.75 burnt bras out of five (incidentally, did you know that feminists burning their bras is a myth? Thanks, patriarchy!)

Empowering, eye opening and often hilarious but with a serious message that comes across beautifully.  

Please note that I read this book for free via Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks Netgalley! 


Review: 12 Years A Slave by Solomon Northup

Where do I even begin with this book? Harrowing, inhumane, terrifying, unjust…a true story that shows both the cruelty of mankind and the perseverance of the human spirit.

Twelve Years a Slave is the incredibly shocking autobiographical story of Solomon Northup, an American black man from the “free” Northern States in the mid 19th Century. Solomon has a wife and family and appears to live a totally normal, happy life – until he’s illegally captured and sold into slavery in the Southern States (where slavery is both legal and commonplace). He then spends the next twelve years working on cotton plantations, being sold like a commodity and worked almost to the point of collapse before Solomon’s ingenuity and intelligence finally allow him to connive his way back to freedom. It’s an incredible education into the daily life of a slave plantation and one that I think everyone should be aware of.


Having recently read “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself” by Harriet Ann Jacobs it’s hard not to compare the two books – both are own voices novels of life as a slave, both are incredibly sad, difficult reads and neither book holds back on the sheer brutality of slavery. Unfortunately, I found Twelve Years a Slave is just not as engaging as IITLOASGWBH. There seems to be a distance between the narrator and what is going on around him and unlike IITLOASGWBH, there is far less emotion and connection to what is happening. Twelve Years a Slave maintains this distance of perspective throughout – at times where there were detailed descriptions of methods of cotton picking or rationing food it felt more like an anthropological study than an autobiography. As such, I found it harder to connect with Northup. Perhaps this is because he wasn’t born into slavery, or because he knew that he wasn’t actually a slave but his calm observations belied what must have been an incredibly painful and stressful period of time. I can’t say that I didn’t empathise with him – of course I did – but Harriet Ann Jacobs wrote from her heart and it was her selflessness and the sacrifices that she made for her children that touched me on a much deeper level. 

Despite being a little on the clinical side, Northup really does manage to depict the unbelievable treatment that he and his fellow slaves were subjected to without anny sense of self pity. I simply could not get over the sheer difficulty and pace of the physical work that the slaves were expected to perform day after day, even whilst ill or injured. I found it completely terrifying that people were treated in such a way only a relatively short period of time ago.

Unbelieveably, there was a sense of hope in Twelve Years A Slave that I found really compelling. Despite the continuous setbacks, Northup never stops believing that one day he will be freed and will see his family again – perhaps because he already knows that this life exists. I was rooting for him at every turn and found his determination not to give up really inspirational.

Sadly, I think it’s important to remember that slavery continues to this day and that the abuse of people is happening in our own countries – probably not far from where we’re living – right now. This is a terrible injustice and I can only hope that by continuing to talk about the errors of our past we can build a better future.

Rating: 3.5 harrowing details out of five.

Shocking, upsetting but ultimately an inspirational story of faith in not giving up. An important book to read.

Please note that I read this novel as part of the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2017 #24 Read a book where all the POV characters are people of colour. 


Review – Women by Chloe Caldwell

Have you ever read a book that you absolutely loved but you don’t think that many other people will get it? That’s exactly how I feel about Women. This short, stripped down story of a relationship just…spoke to me. It’s honest and raw and funny and sad and managed to give me all of the feels. It felt like I had stolen someone’s diary and was illicitly gobbling up the details of their life – a bit like when you come across someone who over shares everything on social media and you fall down a rabbit hole stalking  learning everything about them. 
I don’t usually like books that are either self published or haven’t had a lot of money spent on them because you can just feel the cheap – the oddly worded sentences, the rubbish cover page and the super obvious title (not to mention the typographical errors and misprints). I don’t know what it is exactly, but Women somehow feels like it fits into this category. Despite scoring a cover quote from Lena Dunham (I personally have nothing against her, but if you do then don’t let it put you off) it’s obviously not going to be a bestseller and it definitely has an air of “debut author/limited budget” about it. However, that all seems to form part of it’s charm and actually enhances the appeal of the book rather than detracting from it.

I think it’s the quality of the writing. Chloe Caldwell writes with the most unflinching honesty and has elevated the tale of a fairly short lived, obviously doomed relationship from one of navel-gazing self pity to raw exploration of human emotion. I loved that all of her characters were so flawed and that they acted in completely illogical ways because it made them real. I loved the detail, I loved the depth, I loved the characterisation. I even loved the sex scenes because again, they felt so honest. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where the sex is detailed but not titillating, relatable but not comedic, orgasmic but not euphemistic. It’s so rare to see a character with unshaven legs and half her clothes still on having incredible sex and it’s this unashamed female gaze/queer perspective that makes this book stand apart. 

Overall, I loved this novella so, so much that in pretty much devoured it all in one go. Like watching a car crash in slow motion, I just couldn’t tear myself away. I can’t wait to see what Chloe Caldwell comes up with next. 

Rating: Five gut wrenching cries (lust, anger, joy, frustration and crazy monkey sex) out of five.

Passionate, realistic #ownvoices realistic lesbian fiction. Finally.

Please note that I read this book for free via Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks Netgalley! I also read this novel as part of the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2018 #15 Read a one-sitting book.


Review: Bring Me Back by B. A. Paris

Dolls in general are pretty creepy, right? The glass eyes that follow you round the room, the oddly child-like features, the ones that talk…especially the ones that talk…*shudders*. So if you were going to write a book – a thriller, no less – where you were creating a omnipresent sense of foreboding, a potential back-from-the-dead plotline, a character exerting their power to possibly ruin your life you might think that creepy dolls would fit into the plot nicely. I certainly thought so.
But which creepy doll would you choose? A Stephen King style clown toy? A terrifying Victorian creation? A crudely made voodoo doll?

Or the most adorable, not even slightly creepy Matryoshka (or Russian dolls – you know, the super cute brightly painted type that nest inside of each other). 

Yeah, I probably wouldn’t go for that. But B. A. Paris did!

Bring Me Back is the story of Finn, a 40 something financy type person (something to do with stocks and shares portfolios – it’s a bit vague). He’s living with Ellen, the sister of his missing girlfriend Layla and has just asked her to marry him, which is weird but you know, whatevs. We know from the offset that Finn is hiding something about Layla’s disappearance at a service station in France years before but we’re not sure of details or even if Layla is still alive. However, Russian dolls start appearing in random places (relevant because Layla always carried one with her) and Finn starts receiving mysterious email correspondence regarding his previous life. What really happened? Is Finn to blame? Is Layla alive or is it an elaborate hoax? Where do Finn’s loyalties lie?

OK, so back to my Matryoshka issue..

Now, I’m not so thick that I can’t see the metaphoric relevance to the storyline (which I’m not going to elaborate on because spoilers) of using darling little Russian dolls as supposed harbringers of doom. However, when the explanation for them appearing is Layla always carried one with her, is that metaphor needed? Is it relevant? Wouldn’t a mangled Barbie have done a better job?

I think it’s time to let it go…

So, on to my other issues with the book:

1. The Characters
Finn is pretty much the only character that you get to know i.e. has any sort of personality, except for the character who may or may not be Layla. Ellen is the perfect sexy lamp of a girlfriend, not asking questions or doing anything other than watching her weight or getting her hair done. However, unlike so many female characters with no agency, this was clearly an intentional choice by the author and made sense when you found out the ending – but this meant that for 90% of the book Ellen may as well have been a cardboard cutout. The lesser characters are pretty interchangeable and are just there to react to the action.

Wait – did you say didn’t ask questions? Isn’t she dating the last person to have seen her missing sister alive – the guy who is most likely to be involved somehow in her disappearance? 

Yes, dear readers, yes she is. Also the guy who, if she’d bothered to ask any of his friends, had to escape from Ireland because his “temper” aka abusive/violent tendencies had led to him having quite a few people after him. People that surprisingly didn’t come forwards after Finn was implicated (and was presumably the top suspect) in a massive media story about his girlfriend’s frankly bizzare disappearance. 


2. The World They Live In

Finn and Ellen live in a beautiful little village in Gloucestershire. Finn clearly earns a lot of money as a city trader and Ellen – well, Ellen is an illustrator but irrelevant so we know she earns enough to get her hair and nails done every month.

Wait – did you say city trader? Like the financial district in London which is…how many hours away from Gloucestershire?

Yes dear readers, yes I did. But, like so-freaking-many books written today both Ellen and Finn work from home, thus allowing them to ditch work and get involved in activities that push the storyline forwards at the drop of a hat. I’m not sure that’s what happens in real life – especially as Finn is meant to be pulling off million pound deals and managing a huge share portfolio. I’d guess that’s a pretty pressurised job and would require more than a couple of hours a day at a computer screen? And quite a lot of time in meetings?

Yeah, but don’t worry – he drives in to the office a few times.

Wait – he drives into central London? From the other side of the country? 

Yeah. Also the line “text me when you leave London, then I’ll know what time you’ll be back”. Because there’s never any delays or variable amounts of traffic driving out of London on a weekday afternoon. 

But – trains?

Just – I don’t know, I didn’t write it.

3. The Ending

…was bullshit. Due to my promise of a delightfully spoiler free review I’m not going to say much more but seriously? It has to be one of the most unbelievable endings of all time. 

4. The Fact That Despite All Of The Plot Holes and Various Other Bits Of Nonsense, I Quite Enjoyed It (Until The Ending)

This book is an absolute page turner. I could forgive all the incongruous details, the wooden characters (it’s mostly Finn’s perspective so they don’t feature that heavily), the girlfriend-who-is-constantly-watching-her-weight-but-tootles-off-for-a-fry-up-at-a-moments-notice (not to mention an almost daily pub lunch), the wedding that’s in a couple of months but still doesn’t have a reception venue booked and the initial insta-love between Finn and Layla – not to mention (for those of you who’ve read it) the dog thing all because the plot goes at such a pace and has so many twists and turns that you become completely absorbed in the story almost instantly. I’d convince myself that I’d worked it all out, only to find out on the next page that I was completely wrong. I loved all the red herrings and the way that the intrigue was drawn out across the entire novel. I also liked the sort-of love triangle between Layla, Finn and Ellen and the way that Finn’s emotions played out, as it added another layer of interest to the overall storyline. That ending though…
I really don’t know how to rate this book. It’s a fast paced, exciting read but there’s no substance to it – the constant incongruous details, the supporting cast of personality deprived characters and that ending hugely detract from it. If the story had finished with something plausible then this would be one of those books that you whipped through then instantly forgot about but unfortunately I think I’ll remember it for all the wrong reasons. 

Rating: 3 interchangable supporting characters (Harry? Peter? David?) out of five.

For sheer readability and intrigue this book has dragged itself back from the brink of a one star review. Perfectly enjoyable if you don’t think about the details too much. 

Please note that read this shit book for free via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks, Netgalley!

Review: Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

Or…the YA novel that made me realise I AM TOO OLD FOR THIS SHIT.

Maya Aziz is a typical teenager. She hangs out with her friends, goes to school and dreams of moving to New York to study film making at college. The only problem is her Indian Muslim super conservative parents are more interested in Maya meeting A Suitable Boy and getting married. Maya, however, is too busy giggling, blushing and hair twiddling at boys (Suitable and Unsuitable) to pay much attention to what anyone else wants for her and blindly follows her own path, regardless of the consequences. 

You see, this book is all about the cute. It is a magical sparkle pony of adorable rainbow puppies on a candy floss cloud of glitter. It is super cute boys meeting a super cute girl and falling in love with blushes and nose scrunches and flippy shiny flip hair. It is so saccharine it could give you diabetes. Luckily, the sugar coated lipgloss gloop is tempered with a storyline about – you guessed it – terrorism. 

Yeah, no – really.

And actually – it kind of worked. Had the book continued in the “he’s so cute! I want to stroke his hair!” vein, then it would have been a definite DNF. I hate fluffy romances and the main character Maya seemed to fall in insta love at the drop of a hat. However, because she’s Muslim (ish – more on that later) she’s subjected to horrible abuse. It’s awful to say, but it was the violence and borderline psychopathic hatred from some of her fellow students that kept me reading. This is an #ownvoices novel and I really got the impression that the Islamophobia represented in the book came from previous experience. Some of the scenes where Maya is targeted were upsetting but brilliantly written and gave the novel some depth.

As a character, Maya seemed quite two dimensional when it came to her emotions. She really fancied someone – then she didn’t. Then she decided it was because she liked another boy that the first one had to go. Then she became insta-friends with the first boy. Urgh. Who can turn their emotions on and off like that? Maya’s relationship with her parents was basically pretty uncaring – she spent an awful lot of time sneaking around behind their backs with absolutely NO GUILT whatsoever. Now, I can remember what it was like to be seventeen (just) and “staying with friends” when I was actually going to parties with boys and getting drunk but I always felt guilty about it, especially if I had to lie to their faces (in fact, there was no point because my mum would know instantly that I was up to something). Maya, however, gives no fucks. Bikini on, off to secluded swimming ponds with a boy from school, staying out overnight regardless of her parents getting crazy worried. Surely even the most self-centered teen would feel some kind of remorse? Even to my liberal western values she was way out of line.

This leads me to the cultural and religious representation depicted in the novel. Now, I am neither Indian nor Muslim so I can’t really say if the representation was realistic or not but as someone looking in the depiction of many of the characters, including Maya’s parents felt somewhat stereotypical. They literally only seemed to care about her getting married – I get that that’s still a big cultural issue but it’s not the only thing that Indian parents are about. Oh, and they liked to eat samosa and pakora and roti and why were these foods italicised like they were some exotic new thing that no-one has ever heard of? Is it because I’m British and Indian food is so widely available here, but not in the US? Answers on a postcard…

The other thing I found weird about the MayaBot is that if she hadn’t explicitly mentioned being a Muslim, you’d never know. Religion just isn’t part of her life – but then she’s shocked when a fellow Muslim drinks wine. It felt utterly incongruous to be so judgemental towards others but also completely guilt free about some of the things she’d been up to. It would have been nice to see a little bit more about religion within the book, especially to see how second generation immigrants blend their beliefs and cultural heritage with a more western lifestyle. 

Overall, I thought that Love, Hate and Other Filters was a pretty trashy quick read saved by the more hard hitting elements about Islamophobia and terrorism. Parts of the book were terrible, whole swathes of text were average-forgettable with just a few bits that were brilliant. 

Rating: An average two and a half lovestruck dumbass teens out of five.

Saccharine cute fluffy nonsense underpinned with tales of hatred and terrorism made this novel just about palatable. 

Please note that I read this book for free in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks Netgalley! I also read this novel as part of the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2018 #10 Read a romance novel by or about a person of colour.  


TL;DR February Review

*I really must make a proper graphic for this

**I have no idea how one goes about doing such a thing

Hello Lovely Readers!

How are we all coping with The Beast from the East? (For anyone not UK based, that’s the sub zero weather and two inches of snow that’s ground the entire country to a halt). I hope you’re all staying warm inside ☺.

February has been and gone like a whirlwind (or rather, blizzard) and with it my birthday, which I spent in the pub with family (unknowingly spreading my Killer Cold germs) and antiquing with the non-hubs (where I acquired this beautiful copper jardinière):

We’ve also made quite a lot of progress on our house renovation project. The electrics are finished, the plastering is almost done and we’ve added a stone hearth ready for the fake (it is going to be a rental property) wood burner. This has meant lots of nights in an unheated property during the coldest winter for years, but it’s been worth it ☺. 

Due to catching consumption (oh ok, just a bad cold) I’ve been a bit quiet on my blog. I did hit 200 followers, which was great and I’ve discovered quite a few new things, from the meaning of 1337 (thank you for the explanations nerdy tech friends), to the importance of water in a garden for attracting wildlife (thank you Sarah, I can’t believe what a difference it’s made – I now have a Robin who thinks I’m his bitch) and the difference between the super difficult (more boring) US Amazon 100 books to read in a lifetime and the UK version – thank you Liz for noticing this!

Quote of the month goes to The Orangutan Librarian for “that’s not a spoiler you can’t spoil a shit book” as mentioned in The Nope Tag. I also highly recommend reading her series of classic literature recommendations where we debated my hatred of anything with the “classic” label attached to it and she made me realise I was being totally irrational and I should just go and read Emma.

I reviewed five books this month (even through I read lots more) – in case you missed them here’s the TL;DR (in order from best to worst – you’re welcome):

White Teeth by Zadie Smith. A sprawling, majestic opus of a book. Would definitely recommend. Three and three quarter stars. 

Fingers in the Sparkle Jar by Chris Packham.Flowery language, oblique references and a timeline that was all over the shop detracted from the novel but it was still a good read and an interesting #ownvoice look at autism. Three and a half stars.

The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale. An amazing premise pretty much ruined by following a random sub plot. Such a shame as this could have been brilliant. Three stars.

The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantu. A really honest look at the border between the US and Mexico but mundane dialogue ruined it somewhat. Two and a half stars.

The Taste of Blue Light by Lydia Ruffles. What even was this book? Just a bit shit, really. Two stars.

So that’s February wrapped up! I’m really looking forwards to March, as it’s when I get going properly with vegetable planting and gardening. I’ll also be able to crack on with decorating and hopefully might even have a new bathroom fitted (or at least on order) by the end of the month. Exciting!!! 

How was your February? What will you be up to next month? Are you as cold as me? Let me know in the comments!

Much love,

Lucinda xxx

Amazon 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime – the UK version

Hello Bookworms!

A couple of weeks ago I did the’s 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime and I was quite surprised at how few books I’d read.

“I’m a reading failure!” I cried. “Will Netgalley take my special virtual badge off me?” (I’m really attached to that badge – I think this is the third post where it’s had a mention).

Thankfully, the wonderful Liz@travelinretrospect saved my bacon by pointing out that the list is weirdly…easier? More relevant? More reflective of UK reader’s tastes? Whatever, I’ve read more novels on this slightly sinister, nudge theory approach to getting you to buy more books (from a company with a terrible history of employment legislation infringements) so with the caveat that EVERYONE SHOULD SUPPORT LOCAL INDEPENDENT BOOKSELLERSAND LIBRARIES…off we go!

1. Include a link back to Amazon’s official 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime (I sense this might come back to haunt me in some dystopian future)
2. Tag Perfectly Tolerable, the creator of this meme
3. Tag the person who nominated you
4. Copy the list of books and indicate which titles you have read.
5. Tally up your total.
6. Comment on the post you were tagged in and share your total count.
7. Tag five new people and comment on one of their posts to let them know.

Let’s get on with the list:

1984 George Orwell (oh the irony)

A Brief History of Time Stephen Hawking

A Fine Balance Rohinton Mistry

A Game of Thrones George R R Martin

A History of the World in 100 Objects Neil MacGregor

All Quiet on the Western Front Erich Maria Remarque

American Gods Neil Gaiman

American Psycho Bret Easton Ellis

Artemis Fowl Eoin Colfer

Atonement Ian McKewan

Bad Science Ben Goldacre

Birdsong Sebastian Faulks

Brideshead Revisted Evelyn Waugh

Bridget Jones’s Diary Helen Fielding

Brighton Rock Graham Greene

Casino Royale Ian Fleming

Catch 22 Joseph Hellier

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Roald Dahl

Cider with Rosie Laurie Lee

Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoevesky

Dissolution C J Sansom

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep Philip K. Dick

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Hunter S. Thompson

Frankenstein Mary Shelley

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything Stephen D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

Goodnight Mister Tom Michelle Magorian

Great Expectations Charles Dickens

Gulliver’s Travels Jonathan Swift

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone J K Rowling

High Fidelity Nick Hornby

In Cold Blood Truman Capote

Knots and Crosses Ian Rankin

Last Orders Graham Swift

Little Women Louise May Alcott

Lolita Vladimir Nabokov

London Fields Martin Amis

London: The Biography Peter Akroyd

Long Walk to Freedom Nelson Mandela

Lord of the Flies William Golding

Midnight’s Children Salman Rushdie

My Man Jeeves P G Woodhouse

Never Let Me Go Kazuo Ishiguro

Norwegian Wood Haruki Murakami

Notes From A Small Island Bill Bryson

Noughts and Crosses Malorie Blackman

One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit Jeanette Winterson

Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen

Rebecca Daphne Du Maurier

Stormbreaker Anthony Horowitz

Tess of the d’Urbervilles Thomas Hardy

The Book Thief Markus Zusak

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas John Boyne

The Colour of Magic Terry Pratchett

The Commitments Roddy Doyle

The Diary of a Young Girl Anne Frank

The Enchanted Wood Enid Blyton

The English Patient Michael Ondaatje

The Fellowship of the Ring J R R Tolkien

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Stieg Larsson

The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck

The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Gruffalo Julia Donaldson

The Handmaid’s Tale Margaret Atwood

The Hare with Amber Eyes Edmund de Waal

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams

The Hound of the Baskervilles Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat Oliver Sacks

The Mill on the Floss George Eliot

The Old Man and the Sea Ernest Hemingway

The Picture of Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde

The Poisonwood Bible Barbara Kingsolver

The Road Cormac McCarthy

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Sue Townsend

The Secret History Donna Tartt

The Selfish Gene Richard Dawkins

The Sense of an Ending Julian Barnes

The Stand Stephen King

The Story of Tracy Beaker Jacqueline Wilson

The Tale of Peter Rabbit Beatrix Potter

The Tiger Who Came to Tea Judith Kerr

The Time Machine H G Wells

The Worst Witch Jill Murphy

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy John Le Carré

To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee

To the Lighthouse Virginia Woolf

The Wasp Factory Iain Banks

Trainspotting Irvine Welsh

Venice Jan Morris

Watchmen Alan Moore

Watership Down Richard Adams

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Helen Oxenbury

White Teeth Zadie Smith

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China Jung Chang

Winnie the Pooh A A Milne

Wuthering Heights Emily Brontë

Much better; 42 books out of 100. Yay me!

There’s quite a few books on here that I can’t remember if I’ve read or not (Pride and Prejudice – did we study that at school? Lord of the Flies – I have vague recollections but I could be thinking of any number of films/tv series. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt – did I read that to my cousins when they were little?) I haven’t included them, just in case. Also, I never know whether to include The Gruffalo – I’ve seen the animated version where the book is literally read out – does that count?

Favourites on the list included Rebecca, 1984, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Oranges are Not the Only Fruit, Harry Potter, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and A Game of Thrones. I also have very fond memories of reading The Worst Witch, Goodnight Mr Tom, Peter Rabbit, Little Women and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as a child.

Books that bored me to tears (despite being very well written) include The Hare With Amber Eyes, American Gods (despite my undying love of Neil Gaiman and everything else he has written), One Hundred Years of Solitude, Midnights Children (controversial), Lolita (not so much bored as utterly disgusted and angry – I would actually recommend reading this but be warned) Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Atonement (found it a bit meh).

Books I’m in the middle of reading/on my immediate TBD include Watchmen, the Handmaid’s Tale, The Diary of a Young Girl, Birdsong and The Poisonwood Bible.

Books I’ve started and not finished (but will do at some point) include Crime and Punishment (heavy going but really good – I must get a copy that isn’t printed in a font designed for hawks) and Tess of the D’Urbervilles (think I was too young the first time I tried to read it).

Books I’ve started and will very definitely not finish include Winnie the Pooh (he’s not wearing trousers! All kinds of wrong) The Stand (too scary) and Trainspotting (what are they saying?)

It would be really interesting to see if any US readers fare better with this list than the one – is there really that much difference between us?

I tag everyone that’s had a go at the list!