A roundup of the books that I read last month - another mixed bunch!
Contemporary / Humour: "The tale of Ted Wallace, unaffectionately known as the Hippopotamus. Failed poet, failed theater critic, failed father and husband, Ted is a shameless womanizer, drinks too much, and is at odds in his cranky but maddeningly logical way with most of modern life."
I love Stephen Fry to bits, so I've been meaning to read one of his fiction books for a very long time. A friend lent me her copy of The Hippopotamus and I didn't know quite know what to expect from it. From the very first page, Fry's caustic humor jumps out at you and almost chokes you to death, as his prose is absolutely littered with swearing and crass sexual references and retorts. Whilst some parts were utterly hilarious, most of the storyline is very weak, the characters are one dimensional and the book ultimately doesn't make a great deal of sense, so I have to give it a paltry two stars I'm afraid. Sorry Stephen. [2/5]
(2) The Art Of Being Dead by Stephen Clayton
Contemporary / Drama: "26 year old Stephen wants to live a simple, quiet life, but why do things keep happening to him and why can't he resist getting involved?"
I have a thing for self-deprecating anti-heroes, but the protagonist in The Art Of Being Dead takes it to a different level. Twenty-something Jonathan actively tries to avoid being a participating member of society at all costs, and instead chooses to let life pass him by as he drinks and smokes in a down and out pub in 1960s northern England. This all goes to plan until one of his dropkick friends murders someone and Jonathan realises that life is far more entertaining when you can try and live through someone else's drama. Or is it, as Jonathan soon realises it's difficult to get out of a hole once you've followed someone down it. The Art Of Being Dead is a bleak, depressing but throughly eloquent account of a young man who wants to remain passive but gets caught up in the dark underbelly of society and decides to continue down that path. The lack of chapters makes it deliberately tense to read but at the same time, it can start to feel too long winded which is my only criticism, but bear with it. [3/5]
(3) The Dark Part Of Me by Belinda Burns
YA / Coming Of Age / Romance: "Rosie cannot help but lust after her ex-boyfriend, Scott, who has returned after two years abroad. Rosie's mum says Scott is a man, and deep down all men are rotten. But what does she know?"
Easy to read, fast paced young adult story which centers around a rebellious teenager named Rosie who still can't stop thinking about her ex-boyfriend. When the ex returns home, all hell breaks loose as Rosie tries to reconnect with him and embarks upon a wild coming of age journey involving copious amounts of sex, drugs, and crazy friends along the way. It's trashy and very teen, but had enough black humour in it to keep me interested throughout. A perfect lazy holiday read. [3/5]
(4) Globalization And Its Discontents by Joseph E. Stiglitz
Non-Fiction / Economics / Politics: "In this contraversial book, the author and winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics argues that though globalization should be a powerful force for good, it has been badly mishandled by the West and that the anti-globalizing protestors have much to say that we should listen to."
I don't often mention the non-fiction books that I read for Uni, but I know that a couple of my followers are interested in politics and economics, so I wanted to give a quick mention to Stiglitz's award winning manifesto on the subject. I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in the history of global recessions and the institutions responsible for so much austerity. I've written a longer review on Goodreads here. [4/5]
What have you been reading lately?
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