ReaThis is just going to be a wrap up of my opinions on the books I read through the couple months of exams and revision, so I’m not going to go into a load of detail or give proper reviews but just random thoughts about each book.
Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone by JK Rowling (Audiobook – Stephen Fry Edition)
The Harry Potter series has always been a part of my life pretty much, but over the last couple years has become a really large part of it. I have met a lot of friends through the fandom and had a lot of fun because of it all. The Stephen Fry audiobook versions finally became available on Audible so I thought it would be a great way of being able to reread the series. I think that I last reread the series before reading the Deathly Hallows for the first time, which must have been about 7 years ago now, and there is just so much that I had forgotten and really appreciate now. The narration by Stephen Fry is amazing and I’m going to continue with listening to the series as I have some spare audible points saved up.
Everyman by Anonymous
So this is just a play that I had to read for university and it is basically just an old morality play where a character called Everyman is told that he is going to die and so has to go around and find evidence that he’s a good guy before he is then judged by God. I found this pretty hard to read because although the story is really simple, the language is hard to get through and the iBooks edition that I was reading wasn’t always clear about who was speaking.
Light in August by William Faulkner
This was another university book and I read it through the audiobook, and although I think that this is a good book, and has some really interesting messages, I did not like reading it. Basically, parts of it just made me uncomfortable, which I understand is kind of the point, but still just means it’s not fun to read, although I would still say it’s worth reading, just be aware of this.
Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare
Another university book, but I really like Shakespeare so it was fine, my only problem was that I had to revise both this and his other play The Merchant of Venice at the same time and so kept getting confused between the two. However, Measure for Measure is a comedy about a law forbidding sex outside of marriage, and so Isabella’s brother is going to be executed and she has to go prevent, it which basically means a bad time for her. It’s a pretty short play and I quite liked it, but I do prefer Shakespeare’s tragedies to his comedies.
The Book of the Courtier by Baldassare Castiglione
So this book was yet another university book and consists of 4 sub-books: book 1 is about what makes a great courtier in general, book 2 is about humour, book 3 is about what makes a good court lady (and stories of women being brave etc), then book 4 is what makes a good ruler and good politics. My favorite was book 3 which is strange because it also made me the most annoyed as some of the statements in this one from certain characters are pretty misogynistic, but then that just made it interesting in comparison to the rest of the book which I thought was mostly really dull.
The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Claire, Maureen Johnson & Sarah Rees Brennan
I loved this book! Obviously, this one is not for my university course but was just for fun, as it is a collection of short stories so was quite nice to read over a long time while revision was going on. Cassandra Claire has quickly become one of my favourite authors as I read the mortal instruments and infernal devices series, along with watching the film and first series of the TV show (which I am obsessed with and cannot wait for the next season). I thought this book was just great as it gave some brief background to Magnus’s life and I liked the later stories especially, but don’t want to really say any more about that here because of spoilers about the mortal instruments series. Basically to avoid spoilers in any of Cassandra Claire’s books make sure you read them in the order that she wrote them because the series all overlap, which is a lot of reading but so worth it!
The Faerie Queene (Books 1&2) by Edmund Spenser
Back to university books I had to read the first two books of this, and so due to the language being so tricky I had the audiobook on while I read the physical book which worked pretty okay. Shmoop has amazing summaries for each canto if you need to study this, but I really didn’t like this book. It’s meant to be a great English epic about knights and quests etc. but I feel like a lot of the plot is repetitive and then, in the end a lot just comes down to fate/chance.
The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli
So this one is really similar to The Book of the Courtier as they can be seen as handbooks for how to be a good prince/courtier. Again, I’d say this was pretty dull, but was good to use in comparison with Castiglione in an exam.