Whoops I’ve got my days wrong again, I honestly thought it was Tuesday today until I posted a book review earlier today.
Welcome to this weeks Top Ten Tuesday. Originally created by The Broke & The Bookish, which is now hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week it features a book or literary themed category. This weeks prompt is:
Books Written Before I Was Born
(These can be books you’ve read or want to read!) (submitted by Davida Chazan @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog)
Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
First Published 1819, Not read yet, I have a copy printed in 1900 which was my Grandmothers.
Synopsis: Ivanhoe (1819) was the first of Scott’s novels to adopt a purely English subject and was also his first attempt to combine history and romance, which later influenced Victorian medievalism. Set at the time of the Norman Conquest, Ivanhoe returns from the Crusades to claim his inheritance and the love of Rowena and becomes involved in the struggle between Richard Coeur de Lion and his Norman brother John. The gripping narrative is structured by a series of conflicts: Saxon versus Norman, Christian versus Jew, men versus women, played out against Scott’s unflinching moral realism.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
First Published 1847, I read this book while on holiday in Spain in 1992.
Synopsis: Wuthering Heights is a wild, passionate story of the intense and almost demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine’s father. After Mr. Earnshaw’s death, Heathcliff is bullied and humiliated by Catherine’s brother Hindley and wrongly believing that his love for Catherine is not reciprocated, leaves Wuthering Heights, only to return years later as a wealthy and polished man. He proceeds to exact a terrible revenge for his former miseries. The action of the story is chaotic and unremittingly violent, but the accomplished handling of a complex structure, the evocative descriptions of the lonely moorland setting and the poetic grandeur of vision combine to make this unique novel a masterpiece of English literature.
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
First Published 1859, I’ve read this book and Wilkie Collins is one of my favourite authors.
Synopsis: ‘In one moment, every drop of blood in my body was brought to a stop… There, as if it had that moment sprung out of the earth, stood the figure of a solitary Woman, dressed from head to foot in white’
The Woman in White famously opens with Walter Hartright’s eerie encounter on a moonlit London road. Engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie, Walter becomes embroiled in the sinister intrigues of Sir Percival Glyde and his ‘charming’ friend Count Fosco, who has a taste for white mice, vanilla bonbons, and poison. Pursuing questions of identity and insanity along the paths and corridors of English country houses and the madhouse, The Woman in White is the first and most influential of the Victorian genre that combined Gothic horror with psychological realism.
Matthew Sweet’s introduction explores the phenomenon of Victorian ‘sensation’ fiction, and discusses Wilkie Collins’s biographical and societal influences. Included in this edition are appendices on theatrical adaptations of the novel and its serialisation history.
A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conon Doyle
First Published 1887, I haven’t read any of A Conon Doyle but I did live near his address in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Synopsis: “A Study in Scarlet” is the first published story of one of the most famous literary detectives of all time, Sherlock Holmes. Here Dr. Watson, who has just returned from a war in Afghanistan, meets Sherlock Holmes for the first time when they become flat-mates at the famous 221 B Baker Street. In “A Study in Scarlet” Sherlock Holmes investigates a murder at Lauriston Gardens as Dr. Watson tags along with Holmes while narratively detailing his amazing deductive abilities.
Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie
First Published , I read this book when I was at High School.
Synopsis: Newly-orphaned Anne Beddingfeld is a nice English girl looking for a bit of adventure in London. But she stumbles upon more than she bargained for! Anne is on the platform at Hyde Park Corner tube station when a man falls onto the live track, dying instantly. A doctor examines the man, pronounces him dead, and leaves, dropping a note on his way. Anne picks up the note, which reads “17.1 22 Kilmorden Castle”. The next day the newspapers report that a beautiful ballet dancer has been found dead there– brutally strangled. A fabulous fortune in diamonds has vanished. And now, aboard the luxury liner Kilmorden Castle, mysterious strangers pillage her cabin and try to strangle her. What are they looking for? Why should they want her dead? Lovely Anne is the last person on earth suited to solve this mystery… and the only one who can! Anne’s journey to unravel the mystery takes her as far afield as Africa and the tension mounts with every step… and Anne finds herself struggling to unmask a faceless killer known only as ‘The Colonel’….
Winnie the Pooh by A A Milne
First Published 1926, My parents read these books to me when I was a child and they used the copies that my father was give when he was a child.
Synopsis: The adventures of Christopher Robin and his friends in which Pooh Bear uses a balloon to get honey, Piglet meets a Heffalump, and Eeyore has a birthday.
Animal Farm by George Orwell
First Published 1945, I’ve read this book, but I have to admit that I really don’t remember much about.
Synopsis: Mr. Jones of Manor Farm is so lazy and drunken that one day he forgets to feed his livestock. The ensuing rebellion under the leadership of the pigs Napoleon and Snowball leads to the animals taking over the farm. Vowing to eliminate the terrible inequities of the farmyard, the renamed Animal Farm is organized to benefit all who walk on four legs. But as time passes, the ideals of the rebellion are corrupted, then forgotten. And something new and unexpected emerges…
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
First Published 1953, I’ve read this book many years ago and really enjoyed it. However I’m not sure I’d re read it.
Synopsis: Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.
Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television ‘family’. But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people did not live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.
When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known.
1984 by George Orwell
First Published 1953, This is such an interesting book and if you haven’t read it they I recommend that you do.
Synopsis: ‘It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.’
Winston Smith works for the Ministry of truth in London, chief city of Airstrip One. Big Brother stares out from every poster, the Thought Police uncover every act of betrayal. When Winston finds love with Julia, he discovers that life does not have to be dull and deadening, and awakens to new possibilities. Despite the police helicopters that hover and circle overhead, Winston and Julia begin to question the Party; they are drawn towards conspiracy. Yet Big Brother will not tolerate dissent – even in the mind. For those with original thoughts they invented Room 101 . . .
Nineteen Eighty-Four is George Orwell’s terrifying vision of a totalitarian future in which everything and everyone is slave to a tyrannical regime.
A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond
Synopsis: Mr. and Mrs. Brown first met Paddington, a most endearing bear from Darkest Peru on a railway platform in London. A sign hanging around his neck said, “Please look after this bear. Thank you” So that is just what they did.
From the very first night when he attempted his first bath and ended up nearly flooding the house, Paddington was seldom far from imminent disaster. Jonathan and Judy were delighted with this havoc and even Mr. and Mrs. Brown had to admit that life seemed to be more filled with adventure when there was a bear in the house.
Until next week.