It’s time for a giveaway!
Well, I’ve officially come to the end of the university year and, unsurprisingly, I’ve run out of space on my bookcase again. So, I thought that it might be a nice idea to host a giveaway! All you need to do to enter is comment on this post, telling me which book you would be interested in. Then, I will use an online generator to randomly pick one lucky blogger, send them a message, and they will get a free book!
So, here’s a list of the books up for grabs:
#1 – The Cloud of Unknowing
This is a Christian read from the Medieval period, translated into modern English by A. C. Spearing. Personally, I couldn’t really get into it as religious literature has never really appealed to me, but this is only due to my own beliefs.
Evoking an abstract, transcendent God beyond human understanding, The Cloud of Unknowing is a unique and enigmatic masterpiece of medieval English mysticism. It calls for intense contemplation, motivated by love and stripped of all thought, as the way to the Divine. Yet the author’s powerfully concrete language is delierately at odds with this spiritual doctrine, creating a rich work full of intriguing contradictions that speaks to us with liveliness and wit today. This edition also includes three other works attributed to the same author, thought to be a priest and Carthusian monk: The Mystical Theology of Saint Denis, The Book of Privy Counselling and An Epistle on Prayer – blurb.
#2 – The Unfortunate Traveller
Thomas Nashe was writing during the time of Shakespeare, yet his writing is surprisingly easy to understand. This is an anthology more than anything else, filled with stories such as The Unfortunate Traveller, Pierce Penniless, The Travellers of the Night and The Choice of Valentines. There are some annotations in this one, as I had to read the first part of Pierce Penniless as part of my degree, but it is otherwise untouched.
Thomas Nashe, a contemporary of Shakespeare, was writing in the 1590s, the zenith of the English Renaissance. Rebellious in spirit, conservative in philosophy, Nashe’s brilliant and comic invective earned him a reputatuon as the ‘English Juvenal’ who ‘carried the deadly stockado in his pen’. In its mingling of the devout and bawdy, scholarship and slang, its bruality and its constant awareness of the immanence of death, his work epitomizes the ambivalence of the Elizabethans. Above all, Nashe was a great entertainer, ‘his stories are told for pleasure in telling, his jokes are cracked for the fun of them, and his whole style speaks of a relish for living’ – blurb.
#3 – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
This Shakespearean comedy is arguably one of the most famous of all of Shakespeare’s plays. There is love, drama and magic, along with in-depth explanations of the play provided by Harold F. Brooks.
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” William Shakespeare’s most popular comedy, was written around 1594 or 95. It portrays the adventures of four young lovers and a group of amateur actors, their interactions with woodland fairies and a duke and duchess. Taking place in a mythical Athens and an enchanted forest, there is a handsome fairy king, a misguided parent, star-crossed lovers, a weaver who’s transformed into a half-donkey, wood sprites and elves. This work is widely performed around the world, and no wonder – it’s about the world’s most popular pastime, falling in love. But as Puck knows, falling in love can make fools of us all – Midsummer Night Film.
#4 – Lyrical Ballads
This poetry book provides many of the poems written by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, two of the most renowned Romantic poets. There are a couple of minor annotations written around “Cristabel”, but this is all.
Lyrical Ballads (1798-1800) constituted quite a poetic revolution, both in its attitude to its subject matter and its anti-conventional language. Those volumes and Wordsworth’s and Coleridge’s other major poems were central to the Rmantic perod and remain classic texts in our own time. Wordsworth focuses on ‘the essential passions of the heart’ and achieves a penetrating insight into love and deat, solitude and community. Coleridge explores a more fantastic and dreamlike imagination and also writes poems of quite conversational mediation – blurb.
#5 – The Mayor of Casterbridge
One of Thomas Hardy’s more famous works, The Mayor of Casterbridge considers issues of industrialisation as Hardy’s beloved countryside came under threat from a mechanisation indicative of the Victorian era. It’s a reasonably short book, broken up into short chapters that make it much more accessible.
None of the great Victorian novels is more vivid and more readable than The Mayor of Casterbridge. Set in the heart of Hardy’s Wessex, the ‘partly real, partly dream country’ he founded on his native Dorset, it charts the rise and self-induced downfall of a single ‘man of character’. The fast-moving and ingeniously contrived narrative is Shakespearean in its tragic force, and features some of the author’s most striking episodes and brilliant passages of description – blurb.
#6 – Alice in Wonderland
I read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as part of my degree, but before I bought the adult version of the text, I accidentally bought this illustrated children’s version from Classic Starts. It really is lovely, but I’m afraid that I have no use for it!
A young girl named Alice takes two remarkable journeys where nothing is as it seems – and the most unusual characters are to be found. Things get curiouser and curiouser when Alice tumbles down a rabbit hole. She shrinks and grows larger, receives directions from a grinning cat, attends a mad tea-party, and plays an extraordinary game of croquet. Then, after stepping through a mirror, Alice has many other peculiar experiences, including a conversation with a giant egg named Humpty Dumpty and an encounter with two odd brothers, Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Expect the unexpected in these incredible stories – blurb.
#7 – Northanger Abbey
I’ve never really been a fan of Jane Austen. I can appreciate her writing style and I can understand why she is renowned; she really was an incredible writer, but her storylines simply don’t interest me. I need more action in my stories, so whilst I had to read this for my degree, it is not a book that I will be wanting to reread.
Northanger Abbey tells the story of a young girl, Catherine Morland, who leaves her sheltered, rural home to enter the busy, sophisticated world of Bath in the late 1790s. Austen observes with insight and humour the ineraction between Catherine and the various characters whom she meets there, and tracks her growing understanding of the world about her. In this, her first full-length novel, Austen also fixes her sharp, ironic gaze on other kinds of contemporary novel, especially the Gothic school made famous by Ann Radcliffe. Catherine’s reading becomes interwined with her social and romantic adventures, addingto the uncertainties and embarrassments she must undergo before finding happiness – blurb.
#8 – Our Mutual Friend
With seven hundred and seventy-five pages, Our Mutual Friend is one of Charles Dickens’ longest novels. I’ll be honest; I didn’t have time to read it this year and don’t think that I will ever get round to it, which means that this book has never been read!
Our Mutual Friend, Dickens’ last novel, gives one of his most comprehensive and penetrating accounts of Victorian society. Its vision of a culture stifled by materialistic values emerges not just through its central narratives, but through its apparently incidental characters and scenes. The chief of its several plots centres on John Harmon who returns to England as his father’s heir. He is believed drowned under suspicious circumstances – a situation convenient to his wish for anonymity until he can evaluate Bella Wilfer whom he must marry to secure his inheritance. The story is filled with colourful characters and incidents – the faded aristocrats and parvenus gathered at the Veneering’s dinner table, Betty Higden and her terror of the workhouse and the greedy plottings of Silas Wegg – blurb.
#9 – The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae
This book is still on my to-read list; I was given it in exchange for an honest review (which I’m sure that I’ll get around to soon), but the company accidentally sent me two copies of the book. I have no use for two of them and can’t send it back, so here we are.
Ailsa Rae is learning how to live. She’s a few months past the heart transplant that saved her. Life should be a joyful adventure. But her relationship with her mother is at breaking point and she doesn’t know where her father is. Have her friends left her behind? She’s felt so helpless for so long that she lets polls on her blog make decisions for her. She barely knows where to start on her own. Then there’s Lennox. Her best friend and one-time lover. He was sick too. He didn’t make it. How is she supposed to face all of this without him? – blurb.
#10 – Life Before Man
This is a Margaret Atwood book that I didn’t exactly get on with. You can read my brief review of it here. It was certainly the genre of this book that put me off more than anything else; the story had a lot of potential, but when I’m reading a book for pleasure and not for study-related purposes, I want to be enjoying every second of it.
Elizabeth, monstrous yet pitable; Nate, her husband, a patchword man, gentle, disillusioned; Lesje, a young woman at the natural history museum, for whom dinosaurs are as important as men. A sexual traingle; three people in trall to the tragicomedy we call love – blurb.
#11 – The Penelopiad
Here is a book that I fully enjoyed, as you can see from my review. It’s a retelling of Homer’s The Odyssey through a feminist lens; Odysseus’ wife, Penelope, who is passive and seemingly unimportant in Homer’s original work, tells us her side of the story.
For Penelope, wife of Odysseus, running a kingdom while her husband is off fighting the Trojan war is not a simple business. As if it isn’t bad enough that he has been lured away fue to the shocking behaviour of her beautiful cousin Helen, Penelope must also bring up her wayward son, face down scandalous rumours and keep more than one hundred lustful, greedy, bloodthirsty suitors at bay. . . Perhaps not surprising then that it all ends in murder – blurb.
Well, that’s it! If you’re interested in any of these books, simply comment which one you would like and you shall be entered into the giveaway draw. I’ll contact the winner in one week’s time.