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books i read for gcse

And my thoughts on them (but that would have been an overly long title)

back with another book post, look at me it's almost like I actually read and do intelligent things with my life. Although, this post kind of doesn't count because I had to read the books but that's neither here nor there.

now I got a solid A grade in my English Literature GCSE (an A* on my English Language just keep tooting my own horn about that) so I feel as though my knowledge/analytical skills regarding these books is fairly decent.

for my exam board, we had to study a piece of work from Shakespeare, a post-1914 piece of literature, a 19th century novel and poetry since 1789. so we looked at Romeo and Juliet (a classic choice, but we also read Macbeth as a practise run), Jekyll and Hyde, A Woman In Black and 15 poems provided by the exam board (if I included a part on all the poems we would be here forever, we just looked at romance poems from poets such as Carol Ann Duffy, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Lord Byron).

now I am going to start with my least favourite book of the bunch which was The Woman In Black by Susan Hill. for some reason, I found the book in its entirety so difficult to connect with from probably the first or second chapter, and I never fully read the book the whole way through I just got my friend to round up what happened in a few of the chapters. I don't believe it was Hill's writing style which caused me to dislike the book, I found the storyline overall to be slightly bland and prolonged. Although the book was much easier to understand than say Jekyll and Hyde were (in terms of language and analytical features) I found it to be much duller, and I didn't feel hooked by the characters. I do think the way it was written is clever, the use of flashbacks and Arthur's (the main characters) retrospective comments are brilliant to analyze, along with the context of the book and the overall gothic literature conventions. I think that is mainly due to the fact it is an overly 'modern' book and was written as though it was in a different period of history (I believe the book was also written with the intention of being analyzed). My issue with the book was simply that I didn't feel for the characters, other than Arthur there was no one that could really be sympathized with and even then I never found him to be a very compelling character. I found the tension to be very patchy, it never really had me clutching the edge of my seat and I feel as though the horror was very tame. I just feel as though perhaps this genre is not my thing, and maybe I went into the book with a negative outlook, however, I do not think if given the chance I would re-read.

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare are probably next on the list. It is such a classic book and I don't think I have ever met anyone that doesn't know even the basis of the story. It is romance at its pinnacle, and probably the most known love story across the world. Shakespeare was a talented writer for his time (I know he may have stolen stories and I am aware that Romeo and Juliet were not originally written by him, he only developed the story but) and although Romeo and Juliet may not be his best work, it is an amazing read. The book in parts is very easy, if you can get over the Shakespearean language which is actually surprisingly similar to the English language currently, then it is not overly difficult. There are parts that I found more of a challenge to understand, however overall it is okay. Everyone focuses on Romeo and Juliet, yet I find the smaller characters more compelling and easier to connect to than the main characters. The storyline, although cheesy and unrealistic in parts is quite an intriguing one and the style of writing (mainly the prologue and the knowledge of the ending at the start of the book) causes the reader to really pay attention to the words on the page. Although I found the book slightly more difficult to analyse (which is partly due to the fact there are so many different themes, characters, scenes, and feelings) the overall read was quite enjoyable, although it is different to the modern world there are lessons that can be learnt and I always enjoy that from a book. I wouldn't hate to read this again, it would not be the first book that came to mind, however, I could see myself re-reading in the future.

Finally, Jekyll and Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, which was my favorite out of the three reads. I surprisingly found this quite enjoyable, mainly because I didn't know the storyline when I began reading it. I felt the execution of the storyline was so well crafted, the themes were very straightforward which I enjoyed and I felt as though it wasn't overly predictable. The gothic style was present, however, it wasn't too overwhelming which was nice. I also felt as though all the characters were well written and developed to a point which made sense, all of them were understandable and give you a chance to connect with them. Structurally it is written very well, and the use of literary devices throughout really brings the book together especially the changes of points of view, the flashbacks, and the dialogue. The quotes that can be extracted are very memorable (which is always good when doing an exam) and overall I just enjoyed the book really. The context was important for me as well, and it all connected with the novel and expanded it further which was brilliant. I really do think that it is a brilliant piece of work for Stephenson, and although it isn't something I would normally pick up I probably would read it again in the future.

if you want to buy the books, here you go-

oh, quick little disclaimer, these links are all through my affiliate links (if I have done it correctly which knowing me I may have not have done) basically any sale through my link makes me a little money off the cost of the book. as I am still in school, and I have no source of income any little helps, so if you do ever buy a book through book depository it would be great if you used my link (it has no effect on you so help a girl out)

also, if you're starting/carrying on with higher education such as college, sixth form or university, you can sign up to unidays for money off of food, fashion and loads more. (also an affiliate link so once again i gain something however I've been at sixth form for like two weeks and ive already used it four times so it is a decent thing)


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