June Books List

Monday 1 July 2013

A round-up of the books I read last month:-

(1) Heart Of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Despite being a short novel, Conrad's revered classic feels much longer (but in a good way).  There's plenty of scope in his concept to get your teeth into, and I loved the brooding, depressing and mysterious vibes that you feel as you're reading about the narrator, Charles' journey up the Congo River.  The strange and elusive Mr Kutz who he encounters also adds to these dark feelings. Some parts were difficult to get into though, so it's a book that's probably better appreciated with subsequent readings perhaps?  [3/5]

(2) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald Oh The Great Gatsby, why has it taken me all these years to read you?!  I enjoyed this so much, it's such an easy book to get sucked into.  I felt like Alice going down the rabbit hole, but ending up at the bottom covered in money, jewels and cocktails, surrounded by the roaring '20s and the sounds of Jazz!  The prose is simply gorgeous, evoking a decadent and insanely wealthy world.  I loved the inevitable sadness and almost grief, attached to it as well though, which showed a much more cruel side to all the splendour.  [5/5]

(3) Daughter Of Smoke And Bone by Laini Taylor
I was pleasantly surprised by this YA fantasy, and even though I wasn't immediately drawn to the story at first, I soon became absorbed by the author's mostly wonderful and elegant prose.  In many ways, it reminded me of Pan's Labryinth as it has a similar kind of story building going on.  I found Karou's dual life in the mysterious Elsewhere fascinating as we come to understand what's going on, but when her romance starts, I started to lose some interest as it began to head straight towards naff/cliche territory.  Saying that, I'll probably still pick up the next book in the series at some point in the future.  [3/5] 

(4) Let Me Stand Alone: The Journals Of Rachel Corrie
Rachel Corrie was a young American human rights activist who volunteered for one of the peace movement organisations in Palestine.  She was killed at the age of 23 when an Israeli bulldozer refused to stop as she stood in front of a home which was about to be demolished.  Her selfless act and commitment to human rights until the end, have inspired and educated many about the ongoing plight of the Palestinians under Israeli occupation.  Let Me Stand Alone is a collection of Rachel's childhood and young adult memoirs.  They capture her coming-of-age moments, as she writes about her first love woes, her hopes and dreams, her plans for the future, and everything else a teenage girl goes through.  Her writing and poetry are eloquent, and from a very early age, Rachel's awareness of current affairs and how people are treated by others is strongly evident and demonstrated throughout. It's one of those books that you read and don't want to finish, because you already know how the story will end.  [4/5] 

(5) The Host by Stephenie Meyer
I think it's safe to say that if you liked Twilight, you'll probably enjoy this too.  The writing style and characters are pretty much in the same vein, but instead of vampires, you have some evil conquering alien lifeforms instead!  I'd say it's a mild sci-fi dystopia because it's really more about the relationship between Melanie and Jared than anything else.  An easy holiday read.  [3/5]  

(6) You Can't Read This Book: Censorship In An Age Of Freedom by Nick Cohen
An interesting book about censorship and free speech, which has a strong emphasis on British libel laws and the problems that people face when they go up against them.  Cohen uses some well known examples to clarify his points such as the backlash that Salman Rushdie experienced when he published The Satanic Verses, and how bankers were allowed to bring about the 2008 recession crisis because many whistleblowers were suppressed through the courts to prevent word getting out to the public.  There's also a good part on the pros and cons of free speech on the internet, and a brief advice section for citizens detailing what action they can take to become freer.  [4/5] 

What have you been reading this month?  
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  1. Heart Of Darkness is an amazing book. I studied this in school this year and it's a lot better if you look into the symbolism and ideas behind everything. I've read it 3 times and it definitely is less confusing as you go on. One of the main things to remember is that it's written to confuse you x

    1. Thanks Hayley, definitely sounds like something I need to read again soon. On a first read through, a lot of the symbolism only appeared on the surface for me, so like you say, when you read it a couple of more times, it's a lot easier to understand (and appreciate) it x

  2. Let me Stand alone has been on my Amazon wish list for an age x

    1. It's a good book, very moving of course x

  3. Great recommendations! Really need to read heart of darkness, sounds like something I'd enjoy.
    Let me stand alone also sounds amazing but I bet I'd end up in tears every page. x

    1. Heart Of Darkness is interesting!
      I'd recommend Let Me Stand Alone to anyone just for the context of it alone (I've always been interested in the occupation of Palestine), but it is an emotional read, especially towards the end x

  4. I really want to read You Can't Read This Book but not sure if I can stomach reading about the injustice of the society we live in. Food for thought x

    1. I'm not going to lie - it's pretty cut and dry with the injustice. There were so many parts where I was just staring at the page in disbelief! Well worth reading though because I think it's good to be informed about these things :) x


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