Books in Primary Colours: Blue

In order to briefly comment on some of the books that I’ve either read before I started blogging or that I feel that I should talk about more often, I’m writing a three-part series of posts about three books whose covers are predominantly yellow, blue or red. Besides their covers being dominated by a primary colour, these books just need to have one more thing in common – to still have a place on my shelves.

For the second instalment in this series, I’ve chosen three books whose covers are blue-toned. Although I have reviewed the first two books listed below when I first started blogging, I haven’t mentioned them very often since then. The last one, I have read quite a while ago and, despite having liked it, don’t remember much about.

 

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

This is, so far, the only book that I’ve read by Charles Dickens, but I’m sure it will be the first of many. Pip tells us the story of his life since his childhood until the beginning of his adulthood. He was raised by his sister and her husband, Joe Gargery. At first, the tough conditions that he lived in didn’t seem to bother him. His only complaint was the abuse he was subject to by his sister. That changed when he was chosen to visit Miss Havisham and her adoptive daughter Estella, whom he ended up falling in love with. Pip then started dreaming for a better life. His ambition made him leave behind the people who cared for him. The first and second volumes are slightly monotonous at times, in spite of the fascinating characters. The third volume, on the other hand, is splendid, as all the previous events are connected. Continue reading

Orphans as Protagonists

I’ve recently realised that orphans are protagonists in numerous books, thanks to a video on YouTube where Simon from SavidgeReads interviews E. Lockhart. They can be characters who are on their own, forced to look for a place they can call home. But they are also used to showcase either strained or loving relationships with other family members besides parents. When there is really no family member left to take care of them, they are a window to the difficulties faced by children who are institutionalised.

Glancing through my shelves, I found some books whose protagonists are orphans of both parents at the beginning of the story.

 

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter

Probably the most famous literary orphan, Harry Potter lives, at the beginning of The Philosopher’s Stone, with his horrible uncle and aunt unaware that his parents were two famous wizards killed by the evil Lord Voldemort. I’m sure there is no need for me to tell you more about his story. Continue reading

My Penguin English Library Collection

The Penguin English Library editions of classics caught my eye a few years ago while watching BookTube videos. I can’t remember the first channel I saw them in, but I immediately fell in love with the beautiful covers and stripy spines, and now every time I want to buy a new classic, I check if it is available in these editions. Unless there is an even more beautiful book for sale (which is the case with the vintage classics editions of the Jane Austen’s books, for example), I go for the covers designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith.

Presently I own ten books from the Penguin English Library editions. However, one of them, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, will not be part of my collection and is not mentioned in the following list, because I won’t keep it, as I really didn’t like it.

 

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Pip, the main character of Great Expectations, is an orphan who lives with his abusive sister and her husband. He tells the story of his life since childhood to adulthood. Living in difficult economic conditions isn’t a problem for Pip until the moment he meets Estella at Miss Havisham house and an anonymous benefactor wants him to become a gentleman. Although some parts of the novel got a bit monotonous, I still enjoyed my first taste of Charles Dickens’s works. I wrote a full review about it when I first started blogging. Continue reading

On Adaptations: Are the Books Always Better?

Whenever a new film or TV adaptation is announced, it isn’t difficult to find someone saying that the books are always better. That is a statement that I’ve never agreed with. The vast majority of the adaptations that I’ve watched, I enjoyed as much as the books. Some I even liked more than the books. Although it’s true that I believe that some adaptations may not do a book justice, this is far from the rule for me.

I really struggle to claim that a book is better than its adaptation, or vice versa, mainly because I would be comparing two completely different forms of entertainment, which require different ways of storytelling. What works fantastically on page may not work on screen. I tend to compare the enjoyment I had when reading the book or watching the film or TV adaptation instead of saying one is better than the other. The fact that I liked reading about a story more than watching it on screen doesn’t automatically make the adaptation a bad one.

However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t bad adaptations. If the adaptation completely misrepresents the feelings, the tone or the entire plot of the story to the point that it stops making sense, then it is not only a bad adaptation but also a bad film or TV show. I don’t expect all the plot points to be presented on screen in the exactly same way in which they were written. I don’t mind changes on adaptations at all, as long as they make sense in the context of the story being told, or they result in a more compelling story on screen. Continue reading

‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens

My rating: 4 stars

Great Expectations was the first novel I read by Charles Dickens. Although I had watched the 2012’s film adaptation, it was with great curiosity about the writing style that I started to immerse myself in the pages of this book, which is considered to be one of Dicken’s masterpieces. My journey through the pages wasn’t always the most enjoyable, but I couldn’t have rated it with less than four stars, since the characters are so well developed and the events so perfectly linked.

The story is told in the first person by Pip, the main character, who is an orphan living with his abusive older sister and her kind husband, Joe Gargery. Pip guides the reader through part of his life, from the time he is a child until he is a young adult. The narration starts at the moment when Pip encounters, near his parents’ graves, a convict who wants him to get some food and a file, so he can get rid of his shackles.

At the beginning of the story, Pip lives in harsh conditions but seems quite at ease with that fact. His only major complaint is the abuse he is subjected to by his sister. However, that starts to change after he is chosen to visit the peculiar Miss Havisham and her adoptive daughter Estella, whom he falls in love with. Later, he becomes an apprentice of Joe’s as a blacksmith but dreams of achieving something more. Continue reading