Tag Archives: a tale of two cities

WWW Wednesday

4 Dec

W…W…W…Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should be Reading. 

TO PLAY ALONG, JUST ANSWER THE FOLLOWING THREE (3) QUESTIONS:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

_________________________________________________________________________________

What are you currently reading?

I am just about to start And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini tonight! One of my favourite books of all time is A Thousand Splendid Suns by Hosseini so I’m really excited to read his latest, as I also loved The Kite Runner too.

And The Mountains Echoed - Khaled Hosseini

What did you recently finish reading? 

I’ve finished three books since my last WWW WednesdayA Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving; A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens; and All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque which I will be reviewing later this week. Take a look at the other 2 reviews to see what I thought of those.

A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving

A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

All Quiet on the Western Front - Erich Maria Remarque

What do you think you’ll read next?

The next book on my list is The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak. I’ve heard so many amazing things about this book so I can’t wait to read it.

thebookthief
I would love to hear your thoughts on any of these books, although no spoilers please for the ones I haven’t read yet!

-H-

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#25 A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens

4 Dec
A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens

Goodreads rating: 3.73/5 (438K+ ratings)

My rating: 5/10

First published: April – November 1859

Genre: Historical Fiction, Classics

The end was good!

I could almost leave the review at that. It took me FOREVER (as in 4 months) to read. Which for me is a very long time. I don’t think it’s taken me that long to read a book ever in my life. This was a) my first of the Classics that i’ve ever read, and b) my first Dickens novel.

Set in London and Paris, before and during the French Revolution, A Tale of Two Cities revolves mainly around a Doctor, Dr Manette, his daughter Lucie, her husband Charles Darnay, and barrister Sydney Carton. It literally is a tale of two cities involving these protagonists. The opening line is a very famous one, i’m sure you’ve heard it (even I had!)

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…

I found it really difficult to read for the first 3 quarters. I found out later that this is probably because the 45 chapters of A Tale of Two Cities were originally published in 31 weekly instalments. Which makes sense as the whole story – up until the last third – feels really disjointed. I couldn’t remember who was who, and it wasn’t until quite a way into the book that you found out how people are connected. I think I’ll need to re-read it one day now that I know the ending, which will probably make the rest of the book more enjoyable.

From what I’ve heard as I’ve been moaning to various friends, family members, and colleagues about how long it was taking me to read this book, this was not the best Dickens to start with. Many people have told me that Great Expectations is a better Dickens story – and I currently have that sitting on my shelf to read in about 10 books time!

Even though I gave this a 5/10 I would still recommend the story. The ending is absolutely perfect, and I’d recommend you read it solely for that reason.

Notable quotes

She was the golden thread that united him to a Past beyond his misery, and to a Present beyond his misery: and the sound of her voice, the light of her face, the touch of her hand, had a strong beneficial influence with him almost always. – Doctor Manette

The time was to come, when that wine too would be spilled on the street-stones, and when the stain of it would be red upon many there.

I am desperate. I don’t care an English Twopence for myself. I know that the longer I keep you here, the greater hope there is for my Ladybird.  – Miss Pross

Far and wide lay a ruined country, yielding nothing but desolation. Every green leaf, every blade of grass and blade of grain, was as shrivelled and poor as the miserable people.

Death is Nature’s remedy for all things, and why not Legislation’s? Accordingly, the forger was put to Death; the utterer of a bad note was put to Death; the unlawful opener of a letter was put to Death; the purloiner of forty shillings and sixpence was put to Death; the holder of a horse at Tellson’s door, who made off with it, was put to Death.

-H-

Teaser Tuesday

8 Oct

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Should Be Reading.

Rules
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Teaser

Book: I know it’s been forever since I have updated, and unfortunately i’m still going on ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ by Charles Dickens, almost 2 months later. I’ve only managed to read another 100 pages since my last teaser, and am now up to page 164. My teaser is from page 248.

Not before dark night did the men and women come back to the children, wailing and breadless. Then, the miserable bakers’ shops were beset by long files of them, patiently waiting to buy bad bread; and while they waited with stomachs faint and empty, they beguiled the time by embracing one another on the triumphs of the day, and achieving them again in gossip.

A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens

-H-

Teaser Tuesday

20 Aug

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Should Be Reading.

Rules
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Teaser

Book: So, as usual, i’m still going on the same book as last Teaser Tuesday – A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. I haven’t got much further, I was up to page 22 last time and am now up to page 71. My teaser is from page 151.

Sydney was none the livelier and none the soberer for so much application. It had taken a deal of extra wet towelling to pull him through the night; a correspondingly extra quantity of wine had preceded the towelling; and he was in a very damaged condition, as he now pulled his turban off and threw it into the basin in which he had steeped it at intervals for the last six hours.

A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens

-H-

Teaser Tuesday

6 Aug

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Should Be Reading.

Rules
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Teaser

Book: FINALLY i’m up to a new book, and therefore a new teaser! I’ve just started A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. This is the first Dickens book i’ve read, and i’m struggling to get into the way it’s written but slowly getting there! I am up to page 22, and my teaser is from page 127.

The half-dozen who were peering at the chain were still among the wheels, like sheep; the wheels turned so suddenly that they were lucky to save their skins and bones; they had very little else to save, or they might not have been so fortunate.

A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens

-H-

WWW Wednesday

26 Jun

W…W…W…Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should be Reading. 

TO PLAY ALONG, JUST ANSWER THE FOLLOWING THREE (3) QUESTIONS:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

_________________________________________________________________________________

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. It’s taking me a while to get through, which usually happens with books that have really long chapters because I find it harder to concentrate on books. It’s enjoyable though and i’m interested in the story line, and it’s written in a digestible way.

A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving

What did you recently finish reading? 

I’ve finished two books since my last WWW Wednesday – A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, and A Judgement in Stone by Ruth Rendell. One I loved, one I didn’t – check out the reviews to find out which was which.

A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry

A Judgement in Stone - Ruth Rendell

A Judgement in Stone – Ruth Rendell

What do you think you’ll read next?

The next book on my list is A Tale of Two Cities  by Charles Dickens – a classic which I haven’t read!

A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens

I would love to hear your thoughts on any of these books, although no spoilers please for the ones I haven’t read yet!

-H-

Stories Sitting on the Shelf

23 Mar

I know lots of people like seeing other people’s ‘To Read’ lists. My list is over 2000 books long, so instead of sharing that, I like to show you some of the books currently sitting on my shelf to be read. I’m a bit odd, and read books I currently own alphabetically by title. I have about 30 books on the shelf at the moment to read, but here I’ll just show you the next 14 that are coming up. Sorry for the poor quality image!

Stories Sitting on the Shelf

Stories Sitting on the Shelf

A Clash of KingsGeorge R R Martin: Time is out of joint. The summer of peace and plenty, ten years long, is drawing to a close, and the harsh, chill winter approaches like an angry beast. Two great leaders—Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon—who held sway over and age of enforced peace are dead…victims of royal treachery. Now, from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns, as pretenders to the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms prepare to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war. Read my review of the first ‘A Song of Ice & Fire’ novel here

A Fine Balance Rohinton MistryWith a compassionate realism and narrative sweep that recall the work of Charles Dickens, this magnificent novel captures all the cruelty and corruption, dignity and heroism, of India. The time is 1975. The place is an unnamed city by the sea. The government has just declared a State of Emergency, in whose upheavals four strangers–a spirited widow, a young student uprooted from his idyllic hill station, and two tailors who have fled the caste violence of their native village–will be thrust together, forced to share one cramped apartment and an uncertain future.

A Judgement in StoneRuth Rendell: On Valentine’s Day, four members of the Coverdale family–George, Jacqueline, Melinda and Giles–were murdered in the space of 15 minutes. Their housekeeper, Eunice Parchman, shot them, one by one, in the blue light of a televised performance of Don Giovanni. When Detective Chief Superintendent William Vetch arrests Miss Parchman two weeks later, he discovers a second tragedy: the key to the Valentine’s Day massacre hidden within a private humiliation Eunice Parchman has guarded all her life.  A brilliant rendering of character, motive, and the heady discovery of truth, A Judgement in Stone is among Ruth Rendell’s finest psychological thrillers

A Prayer for Owen Meany John Irving: John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany is the inspiring modern classic that introduced two of the author’s most unforgettable characters, boys bonded forever in childhood: the stunted Owen Meany, whose life is touched by God, and the orphaned Johnny Wheelwright, whose life is touched by Owen. From the accident that links them to the mystery that follows them–and the martyrdom that parts them–the events of their lives form a tapestry of fate and faith in a novel that is Irving at his irresistible best.

A Tale of Two CitiesCharles Dickens: After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille, the ageing Doctor Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England. There the lives of two very different men, Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat, and Sydney Carton, a disreputable but brilliant English lawyer, become enmeshed through their love for Lucie Manette. From the tranquil roads of London, they are drawn against their will to the vengeful, bloodstained streets of Paris at the height of the Reign of Terror, and they soon fall under the lethal shadow of La Guillotine.

All Quiet on the Western FrontErich Maria Remarque: Paul Bäumer enlisted with his classmates in the German army of World War I. Youthful, enthusiastic, they become soldiers. But despite what they have learned, they break into pieces under the first bombardment in the trenches. And as horrible war plods on year after year, Paul holds fast to a single vow: to fight against the principles of hate that meaninglessly pits young men of the same generation but different uniforms against each other–if only he can come out of the war alive.

The Book ThiefMarcus ZusakNarrated by Death, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a young foster girl living outside of Munich in Nazi Germany. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist – books. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever they are to be found.

Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant Daniel TammetThis unique first-person account offers a window into the mind of a high-functioning, 27-year-old British autistic savant with Asperger’s syndrome. Tammet’s ability to think abstractly, deviate from routine, and empathize, interact and communicate with others is impaired, yet he’s capable of incredible feats of memorization and mental calculation. Besides being able to effortlessly multiply and divide huge sums in his head with the speed and accuracy of a computer, Tammet, the subject of the 2005 documentary Brainman, learned Icelandic in a single week and recited the number pi up to the 22,514th digit, breaking the European record. He also experiences synesthesia, an unusual neurological syndrome that enables him to experience numbers and words as “shapes, colors, textures and motions.” Tammet traces his life from a frustrating, withdrawn childhood and adolescence to his adult achievements, which include teaching in Lithuania, achieving financial independence with an educational Web site and sustaining a long-term romantic relationship. As one of only about 50 people living today with synesthesia and autism, Tammet’s condition is intriguing to researchers; his ability to express himself clearly and with a surprisingly engaging tone (given his symptoms) makes for an account that will intrigue others as well.

Breakfast at Tiffany’sTruman Capote: In this seductive, wistful masterpiece, Truman Capote created a woman whose name has entered the American idiom and whose style is a part of the literary landscape. Holly Golightly knows that nothing bad can ever happen to you at Tiffany’s; her poignancy, wit, and naïveté continue to charm.

The Bride Stripped BareNikki GemmellA woman disappears, leaving behind an incendiary diary chronicling a journey of sexual awakening. To all who knew her, she was the good wife: happy, devoted, content. But the diary reveals a secret self, one who’s discovered that her new marriage contains mysteries of its own. She has discovered a forgotten Elizabethan manuscript that dares to speak of what women truly desire, and inspired by its revelations, she tastes for the first time the intoxicating power of knowing what she wants and how to get it. The question is: How long can she sustain a perilous double life?

The Bridge to Holy Cross – Paullina Simons: The Bridge to Holy Cross is a powerful story of love and hope — a passionate and epic love story from the Russian-born author of The Bronze Horseman. The world at war …two people in love. Tatiana is eighteen years old and pregnant when she miraculously escapes war-torn Leningrad to the West, believing herself to be a widow. Her husband, Major Alexander Belov, a decorated hero of the Soviet Union, has been arrested by Stalin’s infamous secret police and is awaiting imminent death as a traitor and a spy. Tatiana begins her new life in America. In wartime New York City she finds work, friends and a life beyond her dreams. However, her grief is inescapable and she keeps hearing Alexander calling out to her. Meanwhile, Alexander faces the greatest danger he’s ever known. An American trapped in Russia since adolescence, he has been serving in the Red Army and posing as a Soviet citizen to protect himself. For him, Russia’s war is not over, and both victory and defeat will mean certain death. As the Second World War moves into its final violent phase, Tatiana and Alexander are surrounded by the ghosts of their past and each other. They must struggle against destiny and despair as they find themselves in the fight of their lives. A master of the historical epic, Paullina Simons takes us on a journey across continents, time, and the entire breadth of human emotion, to create a heartrendingly beautiful love story that will live on long after the final page is turned. Read my review of the first Tatiana & Alexander book here.

Cocaine BluesKerry Greenwood: This is where it all started! The first classic Phryne Fisher mystery, featuring our delectable heroine, cocaine, communism and adventure. Phryne leaves the tedium of English high society for Melbourne, Australia, and never looks back. The London season is in full fling at the end of the 1920s, but the Honorable Phryne Fisher–she of the green-grey eyes, diamant garters and outfits that should not be sprung suddenly on those of nervous dispositions–is rapidly tiring of the tedium of arranging flowers, making polite conversations with retired colonels, and dancing with weak-chinned men. Instead, Phryne decides it might be rather amusing to try her hand at being a lady detective in Melbourne, Australia.

The Colour of MagicTerry PratchettOn a world supported on the back of a giant turtle (sex unknown), a gleeful, explosive, wickedly eccentric expedition sets out. There’s an avaricious buy inept wizard, a naive tourist whose luggage moves on hundreds of dear little legs, dragons who only exist ifyou believe in them, and of course THE EDGE of the planet…

Cross StitchDiana Gabaldon: In 1945, Claire is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon in Scotland. Innocently, she walks through a stone circle in the Highlands, and finds herself in a violent skirmish taking place in 1743. Suddenly she is a Sassenach, an outlander, in a country torn by war and by clan feuds. A wartime nurse, Claire can deal with the bloody wounds that face her. But it is harder to deal with the knowledge that she is in Jacobite Scotland and the carnage of Culloden is looming. Marooned amid the passion and violence, the superstition, the shifting allegiances and the fervent loyalties, Claire is in danger from Jacobites and Redcoats – and from the shock of her own desire for James Fraser, a gallant and courageous young Scots warrior. Jamie shows her a passion so fierce and a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire, and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

I think that this is an exciting mix of books, and I’m looking forward to reading (and reviewing) them all! If you’ve read any of these, I’d love to hear your thoughts – although please don’t spoil them for me!

Descriptions taken from Goodreads, as I obviously haven’t read the books yet!

-H-

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