Saturday, 27 June 2015

LATELY ON THE LITERATURE FRONT

Lately, the literature front has been quiet. 21 exams and 5 weeks of textbook reading suppressed both my free time and usually persistent motivation to read for pleasure. In the past 2 months, I can recall reading 3 books, which is quite the indication of this protracted reading slump.

RECENTLY READ: 

Running Girl by Simon Mason (Courtesy of ED PR)
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17999143-running-girl

I read this book across 4 hours. As a crime thriller for the young adult audience, the suspense was well sustained, the plot was arresting; punctuated with strong, consistent characters and authentic dialogue. My only criticism was that the intended character portrayal of Garvie as lazy and to some degree apathetic often made me, as the reader, feel detached from the plot and character development, and thus possibly hindered the realism of the storyline. With regards to the actual writing, the novel was actually very well written albeit simple and unchallenging, which I didn't mind as it helped gently ease me out from a prolonged reading slump.

Overall: 4/5 stars

Unbecoming  by Jenny Downham (Courtesy of David Fickling Books)
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25582543-unbecoming

This book surprised me. Gracing the first pages, the writing was engaging (although again, fairly simple and unchallenging). Despite initial allusions of simplicity signposting a child-like feel, Downham writes with a thoughtful tone, interwoven with complexity and captivating themes that actually made the novel much more intriguing than first thought. The cross-generational approach gave the story-lines a greater dimension and I particularly enjoyed the chapters set in different eras and the relation of these events to the plot in the present time. The depth of some themes again surprised me, but were not unwelcome. The dialogue rang true for the most part, even if some of the (teen) drama was sensationalized. There were some underlying plots that I think were excessively focused on, and others that were not explored in enough detail which is perhaps the only significant criticism I can name. 

Overall: 4/5 stars

Atonement by Ian McEwan
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6867.Atonement

I don't quite know how to approach this review. McEwans prose is enticing, a bewitching construction of words and paragraphs that make the book a visual masterpiece. The writing is convincing and real with quirks and personality - I have no uncertainties in describing McEwan as a brilliant storyteller, in the way that other favourite novelists of mine are, such as Donna Tartt. His work captures the real essence of language and beautiful sentences; each sentence serves a purpose and there are very few descriptive overkills. Yet, somehow, I found there to be something missing. Yes, I put the book down after finishing it and sat in silence, hollowed out, for twenty minutes. But I did not adore the actual plot-line to the extent that others raving to me about the book supposedly had. I'm not sure why. The start of the book was slow going, and the ending seemed sensationalized or perhaps unrealistic. It wasn't that the book was over complex, or too mature for me. I got it, but I'm not sure if I was hoping for an ending with a little more substance - I personally found the ending made me take the book much more trivially. A flaw of myself for expecting differently, or a flaw of the novel itself, I am not sure. Despite these qualms, I did adore this book, and the writing made up for the questionable downfalls. 

Overall: 4.5/5 stars


TO READ:

Sitting on my bookshelf:

THE INTERESTINGS - MEG WOLITZER
STONER - JOHN WILLIAMS
ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOOS NEST - KEN KESEY
ALIAS GRACE - MARGARET ATWOOD
THE GREAT GATSBY - F.SCOTT FITZGERALD
HOWARDS END - E.M FORSTER
THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE - NEIL GAIMAN
A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE - ARTHUR MILLER
ON THE ROAD - JACK KEROUC
THE MARRIAGE PLOT - JEFFREY EUGENIDES
MIDDLESEX - JEFFREY EUGENIDES
CLOUD ATLAS - DAVID MITCHELL
THE LUMINARIES - ELEANOR CATTON
GONE GIRL - GILLIAN FLYNN

To acquire:

MRS DALLOWAY - VIRGINIA WOOLF
US - DAVID NICHOLLS
THE SECRET HISTORY - DONNA TARTT
CATCH 22 - JOSEPH HELLER
NINETEEN EIGHTY FOUR - GEORGE ORWELL
A ROOM OF ONES OWN - VIRGINIA WOOLD
TRAINSPOTTING - IRVENE WELSH
BRAVE NEW WORLD - ALDOUS HUXLEY
WILD - CHERYL STRAYED
I AM MALALA - MALALA YOUSAFZAI
THE HANDMAIDS TALE - MARGARET ATWOOD
A CLOCKWORK ORANGE - ANTHONY BURGESS
HAM ON RYE - CHARLES BUKOWSKI
THE OUTSIDERS - S.E HINTON
THE OPPOSITE OF LONELINESS - MARINA KEEGAN
METAMORPHOSIS - FRANZ KAFKA
ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT - ERICH MARIA REMARQUE
THE GRAPES OF WRATH - JOHN STEINBECK
THE COLOR PURPLE - ALICE WALKER
THE BEAUTY MYTH - NAOMI WOLF
1Q84 - HARUKI MURAKAMI
BRIGHTON ROCK - GRAHAM GREENE
NAUSEA - JEAN PAUL-SAUTRE
JUST KIDS - PATTI SMITH
THE PARIS WIFE - PAULA MCLAIN
WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS - CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE
MY SALINGER YEAR - JOANNA RAKOFF



Lauryn

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