March Books List

Tuesday 1 April 2014

I've been super busy recently finishing off essays for Uni and all that, but by some miracle I managed to read these three books last month.

(1)  Cat on a Hot Tin Roof & Other Plays by Tennessee Williams
Classics / Literature: "As mirrors of his emotional and imaginative life, the plays of Tennessee Williams explore the darker side of human nature and are haunted by the pervasive theme of loneliness that is humanity's inescapable destiny."

I read this for an English Lit book group and found the famed Cat on a Hot Tin Roof to be a fascinating, yet depressing insight into this fallen Southern family.  The dialogues between Maggie and Brick in particular were sometimes painful to read which made the tension feel even more real.  It was amazing to unearth so many mixed emotions (loneliness, fear, guilt, envy, revenge etc) in such a short play and it provides an intriguing overview of how complex people's lives can be.  The other two plays in this edition were interesting, but very slow going. The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore is bitterly slow, perhaps to correlate with the narrator's impending death, though I struggled to get through it, whilst The Night of the Iguana fared slightly better but was very repetitive overall.  [4/5]

(2)  24/7 by Jim Brown
Mystery / Thriller:  "On a remote desert island, twelve contestants confront their greatest fears for the chance to win two million dollars.  But then something sinister happens, when they all find out that they are harbouring a lethal virus, fatal within 24 hours without a daily vaccine.  Each day one of the contestants will not receive this vaccine and it's up to the viewing public to decide which one will die."

24/7 is a fast paced thriller, set on a desert island where a Survivor style reality TV show has gone horribly wrong.  I did enjoy it, but because I figured out who the mysterious 'Control' was quite early on, I started to see all the predictable flaws in the plotline.  The writing is pretty basic and reads like sensational tabloid journalism, so it's easy to get sucked into the story if you don't read too much into it and just go with the flow.  It's not a novel that's going to change the world, but it'd make a fun holiday read and there's apparently going to be a film adaptation of it being put into production soon.  Definitely one for the guilty pleasures / trashy reads pile.  [3/5] 

(3)  The Quantity Theory of Insanity by Will Self 
Contemporary / Satire: A collection of contemporary short stories that won the 1993 Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize.

Despite being a huge fan of satire, the works of Will Self have somehow managed to pass me by until now.  On a whim, I picked this up from a charity shop and I must declare that it's the best 50p I've ever spent!  This edition of short stories are weird and wonderful, full of jaded wit and offbeat goodness.  You read them knowing that something doesn't feel quite right, and the prose just gets under your skin like an itch, but it's one you can't stop scratching/reading.  My favourite story was Ward 9 which has both depressing and brilliantly sarcastic moments in it.  If you like writers like Martin Amis, you'll get on very well with Will Self.  [4/5]     

What books have you been reading lately?

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