April Books List

Thursday 1 May 2014

Thanks to Easter, I managed to get back on track with my reading, so these are the books I read last month.

(1)  Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
Contemporary Classic / Pop Culture: "Meet Renton and his friends, Scotland's finest and most well known fictional drug addicts."

I've wanted to read this for years as the film is one of my favourites, and I must have watched it an obscene amount of times.  Finally picked up the book and loved it so much.  The Scottish dialect is really hard to understand for the first couple of pages (if you're not used to it of course), but once your brain adapts to those words, you're in for a rollercoaster ride with Renton and the boys.  Hilarious, depraved and witty, it fills in a lot of the gaps that the film left out and even introduces you to some new colourful characters.  [4/5]

(2)  Filth by Irvine Welsh  
Contemporary / Satire: "With the Christmas season upon him, Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson of Edinburgh's finest is gearing up socially—kicking things off with a week of sex and drugs in Amsterdam."   

After I read Trainspotting, I went to the library immediately and picked up Filth.  It's vile and gross in every sense of the word, but oddly appealing thanks to Welsh's always clever and entertaining prose. The story is centered around Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson who embodies every despicable personality trait that you can think of, and sees his life unravel spectacularly around him as his train wreck ways finally come to a crushing close.  Hilarious (in a dark, twisted and perverted way) throughout, I'd highly recommend it for fans of Martin Amis and Will Self.  [4/5]

(3)  Collected Poems by Dylan Thomas
Poetry: "Definitive edition of Dylan Thomas' poetry from 1934-1952."  

This collection of Dylan Thomas' poetry is one I have dipped in and out of this past month.  His work is often characteristically bleak and moody, with many references to death and depression, yet every now and then there are glimmers of light and hope that peek through the lines.  My favourite poem by is still 'Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night', which I have over-analyzed far too many times in English Lit discussions, and somehow it still manages to give me tiny shivers whenever I read it.

(4)  The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart
Pop Culture / Thriller: Let the dice decide! This is the philosophy that changes the life of bored psychiatrist Luke Rhinehart, and in some ways changes the world as well.  Because once you hand over your life to the dice, anything can happen.

On paper (literally), this should have been a great book.  You have a psychiatrist protagonist who's fed up with his average life and wants more out of it, so one day he decides to start living by the dice. Using the randomness of every roll to determine what he should do next, he's propelled into debauchery, breaking taboos and all the rules that he felt held him back from enjoying life to its fullest.  Sadly, this interesting concept is, for the most part, poorly executed. There are some choice moments which kept me reading, but they were very few and far between.  The majority of the story just depicts a sexually frustrated man who decides (by the dice of course) to have sex with everything that moves, coupled with lots of annoying psychobabble nonsense to justify his motives.  It was written in the 70s, so I guess it must have been ground breaking back then, but by today's standards, it comes across as painfully dated and incredibly dull.  [1/5]

(5)  The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
Non-Fiction / Atheism: "The God Delusion caused a sensation when it was published in 2006.  Within weeks it became the most hotly debated topic, with Dawkins himself branded as either saint or sinner for presenting his hard-hitting, impassioned rebuttal of religion of all types."

The God Delusion is a book that I should have read years ago.  I've always had a problem with religion which may stem from the fact that both of my parents tried to force their religious views down my throat when I was growing up.  Needless to say, I've always considered myself as an atheist, and The God Delusion is one of the most interesting books I've read on the subject so far.  It's a meaty book to get your teeth into, but is broken down into focused chapters to make it more accessible.  I read it over the span of two months, and took my time consuming what was said, carefully chewing it over and looking at the pros and cons of each argument presented.  At the end of it, I can firmly say that I'll always be an atheist!  [5/5] 

What books have you been reading lately?

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  1. The God Delusion - most excellent! Check out Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and Faithfull Place by Tana French - fictional page-turners!

    1. I loved Gone Girl - will check out the other :)

  2. I live 20 minutes from Edinburgh and my hometown is mentioned in like every Irvine Welsh novel and it still takes me a while to adjust to the way the books are written!
    Water Painted Dreams xxx

    1. Haha! I have friends who moved to Edinburgh for Uni and several years later, they still struggle with the dialect xx

  3. I love the 'God Delusion' (although I find Dawkins veers quite dangerously close to being disrespectful that his opinions come across as a little out them themselves..) and I think everyone should read it, religious or not. However, although I am atheist, I think it's incredibly important to be respectful of other people's beliefs and opinions. Just because I don't agree with someone on religious grounds, doesn't mean I can be rude about them or their chosen faith. I think a lot of atheist are extremely disrespectful in this way.

    Filth is another favourite of mine :))

    1. It's a difficult one - I agree that Dawkins does wobble on the edge rather precariously!

      For me, I generally don't have a problem with other people's religious views and I'm fine to respect them for believing in whatever they choose to believe in, for whatever reasons. I only draw the line when their religious views are imposed on my non-religious views/lifestyle choices, because I feel respect can often only work both ways in these situations. Religious people need to respect non-religious people and vice versa otherwise it doesn't really work.

      Happy to hear you're a fan of Filth, I think I'm going to watch the film this weekend to see how it compares :)

  4. i've wanted to read the god delusion for ages seeming as i'm an atheist but i just haven't dedicated myself to it yet, but i think i shall, also want to read trainspotting now - great post!!


  5. I really must get around to reading trainspotting x

  6. How on earth do you read so many books? I am struggling! I am currently re-reading Norwegian Wood by Murakami and I am trying to read Divergent to get down with the kids :)

    Danniella x

    1. Most of these are short books, and The God Delusion took me about 2 months! I loved Divergent and have Norwegian Wood on my enormous to-read list. Have read Kafka On The Shore and 1Q84 in the past :) x


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