Sunday, January 10, 2016

Back to the Classics 2016 Reading Challenge



Back to the Classics 2016 Reading Challenge
Books and Chocolate (sign up)
January - December 2016
I hope to read at least six books.

What I want to read for the challenge:

1) A volume of classic short stories: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. First published 1892. The copy I have was published by Penguin Random House in 2014.  [Source: Bought]

2) A 19th Century classic: The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. First published 1894. The copy I have was published by Penguin Random House in 2014. [Source: Bought]

3) A classic by a woman author: Murder On the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. First published 1934. The copy I have was published by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperColllins Publishers in 2011. [Source: Bought]

4) A fantasy, science fiction, or dystopian classic: The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien. Published posthumously by Tolkien's son, Christopher Tolkien, in 1977. The copy I have was published by George Allen & Unwin (Publishers) Ltd in 1977. [Source: Borrowed from the Library] Was considered both Tolkien's first work and his last, meaning, he could have written it before he died, but Christopher had to pick up the pieces.

5) Re-read a classic you read in school (high school or college): The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. First Published 1939. The copy I have was published by the Houghton Mifflin Company in 1989. [Source: School Book Review book].

6) A classic in translation: The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux. First published in serialization in La Gaulois from September 23, 1909 to January 8, 1910. Published in English in 1911. Originally published in French and titled Le Fantôme de l'Opéra. [Source: Borrowed from the Library]

7) An adventure classic: The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis. First published by The Bodley Head publishing company in 1955. [Source: Childhood Gift]

8) A classic detective novel: A Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie.

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The Catagories:

1. A 19th Century Classic - any book published between 1800 and 1899.

2. A 20th Century Classic - any book published between 1900 and 1966.
Just like last year, all books MUST have been published at least 50 years ago to qualify. The only exception is books written at least 50 years ago, but published later.

3. A classic by a woman author.

4. A classic in translation. Any book originally written published in a language other than your native language. Feel free to read the book in your language or the original language.

5. A classic by a non-white author.  Can be African-American, Asian, Latino, Native American, etc.

6. An adventure classic can be fiction or non-fiction. Children's classics like Treasure Island are acceptable in this catagory.

7. A fantasy, science fiction, or dystopian classic. Dystopian could include classics like 1984, and children's classics like The Hobbit are acceptable in this category also.

8. A classic detective novel. It must include a detective, amateur or professional. This list of books from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction is a great starting point if you're looking for ideas.

9. A classic which includes the name of a place in the title. It can be the name of a house, a town, a street, etc. Examples include Bleak House, Main Street, The Belly of Paris, or The Vicar of Wakefield.

10. A classic which has been banned or censored. If possible, please mention why this book was banned or censored in your review.

11. Re-read a classic you read in school (high school or college). If it's a book you loved, does it stand the test of time? If it's a book you disliked, is it any better a second time around?

12. A volume of classic short stories. This must be one complete volume, at least 8 short stories. It can be an anthology of stories by different authors, or all the stories can be by a single author. Children's stories are acceptable in this category also.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Doctor Who: Apollo 23

Apollo 23. (Doctor Who). Justin Richards. Based on the TV series created by Sydney Newman, C.E. Webber, and Donald Wilson. 2010. BBC Books. Pages: 248. [Source: Bought]

"Houston - we have a problem."
An astronaut in full spacesuit appears out of thin air in a busy shopping center. Maybe it's a publicity stunt.

A photo shows a well-dressed woman in a red coat lying dead at the edge of a crater on the dark side of the moon - beside her beloved dog 'Poochie'. Maybe it's a hoax.

But as the Doctor and Amy find out, these are just minor events in a sinister plan to take over every being on Earth. The plot centers on a secret military base on the moon - that's where Amy and the TARDIS are. - back cover.

Did I love Apollo 23? Not really, but I did like it. The characterization was beautifully done, whenever the Doctor spoke I could practically hear his voice speaking the words in my mind's ear. It was enjoyable and well thought out.

But there's a problem. I found the story to be quite slow at first. It wasn't until Chapter 10 that the action really began to pick up, while the first 9 chapters were focused on setting the scene. I've been studying how to set up the first few chapters of a novel when you are writing it, and I've found that the best way to catch a reader's attention is to ask questions, make them feel as if there's something not right with the situation, which would make them want to read more so that they can have their questions answered.

Yes, I had questions - but not enough questions. I often felt that the only reason why I kept reading was because I knew the characters and I wanted to read/see the 11th Doctor again (he's since regenerated into the 12th Doctor). I guess Doctor Who novels are not to my taste.

But the science-fiction-y, suspense, and boarder-line jump-scare was!

[This novel counts towards what I've read/watched for the 2016 Sci-Fi Experience that runs until the end of the month :) ] Geronimo!