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Orlando by Virginia Woolf.

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Orlando: A Biography is quite possibly my favourite novel by Virginia Woolf. It was first published on 11th October 1928, and it is (among other things) a 'mock biography' of Vita Sackville West, Woolf's one time lover. It was described (by Nigel Nicholson, Vita's son) as "the longest and most charming love letter in literature".

The idea was born on the 5th October 1927. In her diary, she wrote, And instantly the unusual exciting devices enter my mind: a biography beginning in the year 1500 and continuing to the present day, called Orlando: Vita, only with a change about from one sex to another. She then wrote to Vita (9th October), Yesterday morning I was in despair.... I couldn't screw a word from me; and at last dropped my head in my hands: dipped my pen in the ink, and wrote these words, as if automatically, on a clean sheet: Orlando: A Biography. No sooner had I done this than my body was flooded with rapture and my brain with ideas. I wrote rapidly ti…

2014 Challenges.

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On Saturday I officially wrapped up the Russian Literature 2014 Challenge, and now, with only two full days left of 2014, it's time to wrap up the rest!
This year I only joined in with three challenges because I wanted to focus mainly on my Classics Club list (which I finished in July). The three were The Chunkster ChallengeAdam's TBR 2014 Challenge, and the aforementioned Russian Literature. Here's how I did:
The Chunkster Challenge: I aimed for ten and managed 25!
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo.Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol.Metamorphoses by Ovid.Of Human Bondage by William Somerset Maugham.Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence.Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope.Adam Bede by George Eliot.Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope.In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust.The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles.August 1914 by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie.The Magus by John Fowles.Lorna Doone by R. D. Blackmore.The Wings of the Dove by Henry James.The…

The End of Year Book Survey.

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I think it's time for the End of Year Book Survey! This is hosted by Jamie and it is the monster of all 'year of books' review! 

2014 Reading Stats
Number Of Books Read:  114
Number of Re-Reads:  44
Genre You Read The Most From: Classics
Best in Books
Best Book You Read In 2014?
Jean Santeuil by Marcel Proust.
Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn't?
New Grub Street by George Gissing.
Most Surprising (in a good way way) Book you Read in 2014?
Metamorphoses by Ovid. I thought this would be a real struggle, I never expected I would love it!
Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read In 2014?
I attempted to push Germinal by Émile Zola on to anyone who stood still long enough :)
Best series you started in 2014? 
The Chronicles of Barsetshire by Anthony Trollope.
Favourite new author you discovered in 2014?
W. Somerset Maugham.
Best book from a genre you don’t typically read?
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. I rarely like crime fiction, but this I loved.

Mo…

Russian Literature 2014 Wrap Up

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As we approach the end of 2014 it's time to start wrapping up the challenges. Russian Literature 2014 was my own - I wanted to encourage myself and others to read more Russian Literature in 2014, and I don't think I did too badly! 
There were, if you recall, four levels:
Level one: 1 - 3 books Level two: 4 - 6 booksLevel three: 7 - 12 books Level four: 12 + books I aimed for Level 3, and here's what I read: 'The Russian Point of View'by Virginia Woolf (from The Common Reader First Series) (not a book, I know!).Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol.Eugene Onegin by Aleksandr Pushkin.Oblomov by Ivan Goncharov.Poor Folk by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.The Village of Stepanchikovo by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.August 1914 by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.The Master and the Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov.The House of the Dead by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.So, how did everyone else do? Let me know by leaving a comment or link to your own blog if you do a post there. 
I hope everyone who joi…

Boxing Day.

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What a cold Boxing Day this is! We've had no snow, but all day there's been a frost, heavy mist, and grey skies. It's actually been rather beautiful, and the chill was somehow peaceful. Today I've been reading a lot, dozing, and eating too many chocolates. It's incredible - 2015 is less than a week away. I've got a lot I want to do in that time - tidying (can't start the new year in a mess), laundry (I hate taking such dull tasks from one year to another!), and blogging - I've got four posts planned before the new year: tomorrow I'll wrap up the Russian Literature 2014 Challenge, then a review of the other challenges, book stats (a fun post, but it always takes forever to compile!), and a review of Orlando by Virginia Woolf. Naturally, as I'm sure is the case with most people, this is a rather reflective week - what is past, what is to come. No doubt I'll share some thoughts before the year is out. 2015 is so very close. It'll be interes…

Merry Christmas!

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It's Christmas Eve! I love Christmas Eve! I still have a few things to do - a Christmas cake to ice, and presents to wrap, but that is mainly it. I'm looking forward to a very quiet night of relaxing with a glass of Baileys and watching A Christmas Carol (starring George C. Scott). 
So, I wish you all a very merry Christmas, and I leave you with my favourite Christmas illustrations of all time - Arthur Rackham's illustrations from the 1915 edition of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I have reviewed A Christmas Carol before on this blog and I stand by what I say: it is as important and as relevant as ever, and it's message of hope and redemption is very much needed.
Once again - Merry Christmas! :D