Triple Choice Tuesday: MadAboutTheBooks

Triple-Choice-TuesdayWelcome to Triple Choice Tuesday. This is where I ask some of my favourite bloggers, writers and readers to share the names of three books that mean a lot to them. The idea is that it might raise the profile of certain books and introduce you to new titles, new authors and new bloggers.

Today’s guest is Helen, who blogs at MadAboutTheBooks and tweets at @Helannsta.

Helen is a solicitor in a firm that deals with Trade Union rights. Ever since she can remember she has been an avid reader and just over a year ago started blogging her thoughts about some of the books she reads at MadAboutTheBooks. She also posts reviews on GoodReads from time to time.

Without further ado, here are Helen’s Triple Choice Tuesday selections:

middlemarchA favourite book: Middlemarch by George Eliot

Middlemarch is, without a doubt, my favourite book of all time. I know the sheer length of it can appear daunting and the language can also seem a little off-putting. Luckily, I came across Middlemarch when I was still a student. I shared a flat with an English Lit student who asked me if I’d read it. She insisted that I must do so immediately as she thought it was the “best book of all time’” I think the fact that it was so highly recommended by a contemporary made it seem more accessible to me.

I have now read Middlemarch four times and on each reading I have got something different from it. During my first two readings, my younger self was more interested in the various love-affairs and how they would play out. The more mature me was fascinated with the social and political background.

I read Middlemarch most recently in December 2014. The structure of the book and George Eliot’s mastery as a writer overwhelmed me anew. She can move from (melo)drama to comedy to pathos seemingly effortlessly. And Casaubon! What a marvellously horrible creation he is!

1984A book that changed my world: 1984 by George Orwell

George Orwell’s 1984 was another book I read as a student. Come to think of it, 1984 was still just about in the future at that point!

A friend had borrowed it from the library and needed to return it the next day so I lay down behind the sofa, the only spot you could get any peace in our shared flat, and read the book in a day.

I still love George Orwell’s plain-speaking prose. The dismal world in which Winston lives is so realistically created. The constant surveillance, threat of violence and perversion of language are, unfortunately, still relevant issues today.

 The Pearl That Broke Its ShellA book that deserves a wider audience: The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi

To be fair, I think that The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi has found a large audience in the US but doesn’t seem to have found a niche here. Hashimi is part of the US Afghan community and in her book she explores the difficulties faced by women in Afghanistan today and in the past.

Rahima is growing up in today’s Afghanistan and her story is contrasted with that of her great grandmother Shekiba, who grew up in the early twentieth century. We learn about the practice of bacha posh — a girl being raised as a boy until puberty, usually for the convenience of the family. Rahima experiences some freedom in her childhood but eventually, just like her sisters, she is sold into marriage.

This is a book that I think everyone should read. Rahima’s fate haunted me long after I had finished reading…I do so hope she will be okay.

Thanks, Helen, for taking part in my Triple Choice Tuesday! 

Some great choices here! I took part in a Middlemarch readalong about 10 years ago but abandoned the book about a quarter of the way through. I really ought to go back and try again. I, too, read 1984 at school (in the actual year 1984, if I remember rightly) and loved it. I read it again a few years ago and loved it anew. And I like the sound of The Pearl That Broke Its Shell, a book I’d not heard of before you mentioned it here — on to the wishlist it goes!

What do you think of Helen’s choices? Have you read any of these books?

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17 thoughts on “Triple Choice Tuesday: MadAboutTheBooks

  1. I tried Middlemarch at the end of last year, didn’t even manage a quarter of it, althoughI intend to go back to it at some point.

    1984 I love and have taught it too. Always good to see people realize how much of it has come true.

    I’m aware of The Pearl that Broke its Shell and the description reminded me a little of the book I’m reading at the moment, Jennifer Clement’s Prayers for the Stolen. The girls in that are also brought up as boys until puberty to prevent them being taken by gangs.

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  2. I have had Middlemarch on my shelves for years and still haven’t got to it – I will, I will, I will! I also read 1984 during school and I recently picked up The Pearl that Broke its Shell in a charity shop on a whim as it looked so interesting. It’s very rare that I have heard of all 3 books in a Triple Choice Tuesday!

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  3. Agree, fab choices. Love MM & read 1984 in 1984 too, made even more menacing for me as I was studying it in the thick of the volatile atmosphere of the miner’s strike. Must look out for Pearl That Broke it’s Shell… my reading of Afghani women’s stories limited to Thousand Splendid Sun’s & Bookseller of Kabul

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  4. Middlemarch has been on my list for so, so long. Someday I will read it. I also read 1984 in school, but have been meaning to read it again, since I can’t remember it well at all. I have heard of the third one, but it’s true that I haven’t seen it around or heard it being talked about much. Maybe that will change now!

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  5. Lovely choices (although I haven’t read the third one). I returned to Romania in 1984 and it was exactly like that – so it holds a special place in my heart (it was banned there at the time, needless to say). And Middlemarch is a bit like grown-up conversation – bits of it are boring, worth only half-listening to, and then it gets really interesting!

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  6. After entering into twitter chat in December with Naomi and Helen I got a copy of Middlemarch too, one step closer to reading it now, can’t wait and am prepared for the slow beginning but shall persevere for sure.

    Haven’t actually read 1984 believe it or not, we read Animal Farm at school and I seem to have associated Orwell with school not pleasure. Must remedy that.

    Love the third suggestion, haven’t heard of it either. Great choices Helen, thanks Kim for hosting!

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  7. Middlemarch definitely rewards ……although it can be slow going at first . As a passionate fan of George O ( or Eric as i like to call him) forget Animal Farm which is all very well but definitely not his best . 1984 is wonderful and so relevant still. Pearl is just that ….an undiscovered treasure !

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