Project: Big Read – update

So a little while ago I embarked upon a project to read all of Britain’s best-loved books. I started out having read 78 out of 200 hundred books. I’m now happy to report that I’ve reached 88 out of 200. The ten I’ve knocked off of the list are the eight books pictured above, Lady Chatterly’s Lover, and Winnie the Pooh.

Unfortunately I still haven’t gotten through Moby Dick, despite my intention to start with it. In point of fact I did start with it, I started it and I soon lost the will to continue. On occasion, between other books, I’ve gritted my teeth and ploughed another few pages on, but in general it sits like a guilt-inducing, useless lump of woodpulp on my bedside table.

Of the books that I have read most have been enjoyable. My least favourite was Lorna Doone, it was a pointless and predictable melodrama. I enjoyed The Day of the Jackal, although I had seen the movie and knew what to expect, the book kept me on tenterhooks throughout as the Jackal’s plot unfolded methodically and almost without challenge until the final moments. Others of the books I had read were spoiled my the fact I had seen the movie. In the case of Atonement because it had nothing to offer me in terms of story surprises I was left to rely upon the writing style and characterization – which I felt were lacking. For Emma, I had seen the movie Clueless, so I already knew the plot. Jane Austen’s writing style is good and engaging, but not my cup of tea. Also the heroine irritates me immensely – which was slightly distracting.

Next up: another crack at Moby Dick, and when that fails maybe Captain Corelli’s Mandolin will be next.


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