Sunday, 21 April 2013

10 Day You Challenge - 4 Books

Hello readers!

Today's part of the 10 Day You Challenge is a good one: 4 Books. Although having to choose just 4 is really difficult; I love books too much! I'm going to choose 4 books that have made an impression on me through life and my studies and share them with you...

1. Tennessee Williams - A Streetcar Named Desire and Other Plays. I studied this in my final year at school and discovered the brilliance of Tennessee Williams. His plays are absolutely brim-full of imagery and symbolism and focus on the death of Southern values in America. My favourite is A Streetcar Named Desire, but I'd recommend reading any of his plays. If you're feeling particularly lazy, there's a film version of A Streetcar Named Desire starring Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh which is really great.


“I don't want realism. I want magic! Yes, yes, magic! I try to give that to people. I misrepresent things to them. I don't tell the truth, I tell what ought to be the truth. And it that's sinful, then let me be damned for it!”

2.  On Beauty - Zadie Smith. This was one of the novels I wrote about for my dissertation and it follows the lives of the Belsey and Kipps families. It focuses on issues of race, the clashes between liberalism and conservativism and also looks at what we consider beautiful. I loved reading it, made my dissertation (slightly) more enjoyable.

“Stop worrying about your identity and concern yourself with the people you care about, ideas that matter to you, beliefs you can stand by, tickets you can run on. Intelligent humans make those choices with their brain and hearts and they make them alone. The world does not deliver meaning to you. You have to make it meaningful...and decide what you want and need and must do. It’s a tough, unimaginably lonely and complicated way to be in the world. But that’s the deal: you have to live; you can’t live by slogans, dead ideas, clich├ęs, or national flags. Finding an identity is easy. It’s the easy way out.”

3. Lanark: A Life in Four Books - Alasdair Gray.  This is one of the best novels to come out of Scotland, and it's bit realist and a bit dystopian fantasy. The books are out of order in the novel; we start with Book 4, then books 1, 2 and 3 follow. Books 3 and 4 focus on Lanark, who exists in a dystopian fantasy city called Unthank, while Books 1 and 2 focus on Duncan Thaw, an artist living in Glasgow (The idea is there's supposed to be parallels between the 2 characters and their stories.

“You suffer from the oldest delusion in politics. You think you can change the world by talking to a leader. Leaders are the effects, not the causes of changes.”

4. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte. This is my favourite romance novel, in that it's not very romantic in a lot of ways. Mr Rochester is a total arse for large parts of the book and before Jane finally stands up for herself I found myself shouting at her: "Say something! Speak up ya big jessie!" But that's the joy of a great book, it pulls you in and makes you feel strongly about what happens to the characters. Jane's passionate speech to Rochester is one of my all-time favourite scenes in literature.


“Do you think I am an automaton? — a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! — I have as much soul as you — and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh: it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God's feet, equal — as we are!”

Gets me every time. P.S. Don't watch the film Jane Eyre, the Michael Fassbender one. It's awful. If you want to watch a decent adaptation, the BBC adaptation with Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens is brilliant and has me in tears every time.

Are you like me and have 4 books that mean something to you? Share them with the world!

Christina xo


  1. That's my absolute favourite passage in Jane Eyre too and Ruth Wilson is my favourite screen Jane :)

  2. I love Jane Eyre, so glad to find another fan :) xo