Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Typically British Reading Challenge 2010

To keep up my interest in the list, I thought it would be fun to partake in a challenge. I've picked the 'Typically British Reading Challenge 2010' that is hosted by Book Chick City: Typically British Reading Challenge 2010

I'm going to go for the 'Cream Crackered' level which is 8 books that are written by British writers. I haven't decided what books I'm going to pick yet but I will try and make the next 8 books that I read from the list British ones. I won't start until after I've finished Tess, and will start with the next book I read.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

The Yellow Wallpaper- Charlotte Perkins Gilman

I have started Tess, but this short read came towards me and I finished it off over a lunchtime. At 6000 words it's one of the shortest stories on the list.

The book is narrated by an unamed wife. Her and her husband have taken a house whilst the narrator recovers from nervousness after giving birth (more than likely attributed to Post-natal depression). Their room, once an old nursery is decorated with the yellow wallpaper of the title.

The narrator feels bound to her husband wishes-he is a doctor-and follows his wishes of isolation from her baby, her family, and the outside world. She disagrees with this and makes her own wishes known in her journal which she secretly writes in.

Unfulfilled she sits and stares at the wallpaper which she takes an immediate dislike to. The wallpaper is faded yellow, with patches and rips.

As time goes on the narrator starts to see female human shapes, chaotically strewn throughout the paper. She wants to help them escape, a symbol of her own wanting to escape from the mundanity of married life. From first wanting to leave the room, she soon becomes attactched to it and devotes her days to trying to escape the women she sees from the paper. In her mind she knows that the shapes represent her own desire to escape and this is shown in the way that the wallpaper starts to take on a new life of its own.

Her husband sees her physical state better as her mental state worsens. Her husbands best wishes are actually worsening her condition and she appears as normal as she can to her husband so as not to appear ungrateful.

After reaching the end of her stay in the house, the narrator locks herself in the room and starts to peel off the paper intent on releasing the women from within. Her husband faints on seeing his wife in a room stripped of the paper, and stripped of him.

This is the only book of Gilman's I've read and I'm surprised that it was written so long ago. Gilman has a quite a modern take on feminism and PND which was not a condition that had been discussed at the time. An almost autobiographical tale, Gilman was visiting the real-life Weir Mitchell at the time of writing who was curing her of her own depression.


Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Poor Bloggie

I feel that I've let the blog down, I've been ever so busy with other stuffs that the blog has fallen to the way side. For nearly a year and a half. Ooops.

Also, I've been trying hard not buy books. Not at least until I finish the growing case of books I had.

I downloaded the brilliant 1001 spreadsheet and have now filled it out so it looks nice and shiny. Since I haven't done an update in a while I'll do a new list. And an old list. See, back in 2008 a second edition of the book was done and a whole host of books were removed to make way for new ones so here we go:

The current list:

The Sea- John Banville
Cloud Atlas- David Mitchell
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time- Mark Haddon
Atonement- Ian McEwan
White Teeth- Zadie Smith
The Virgin Suicides- Jeffrey Eugenides
The Wasp Factory- Iain Banks
The Color Purple- Alice Walker
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie- Muriel Sparks
To Kill a Mockingbird- Harper Lee
The Catcher in the Rye- J.D. Salinger
Brideshead Revisited- Evelyn Waugh
Animal Farm- George Orwell
Rebecca- Daphne du Maurier
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn- Mark Twain
Great Expectations- Charles Dickens
Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen

The Removed Books:

Never Let Me Go- Kazuo Ishiguro
Amsterdam- Ian McEwan
Memoirs of a Geisha- Arthur Golden
Persuasion- Jane Austen

21 in total so we're going along at a snails pace, but I see the weather picking up which is when my reading picks up again. It's nice to be able to walk to work whilst reading a book, something I can't do in the wind, rain, or snow.

I've got Tess of the d'Urbervilles in my bag so that's next up. Hopefully, I can post again soon with a review.