A round up of the books that I read last month:-
Contemporary Classic / Literature: "Set against the translucent beauty of France in summer, Bonjour Tristesseis a bittersweet tale narrated by Cécile, a seventeen-year-old girl on the brink of womanhood, whose meddling in her father's love life leads to tragic consequences."
Bonjour Tristesse is one of those books that has been recommended to me countless times and as the weather has been warming up, I felt it was high time that I plucked it off my bookshelf. The story revolves around a 17 year old girl, Cécile, who is enjoying a long summer stay in the South of France with her father. Both of them live the good life; they have money, beauty and have the happy, carefree attitude that so often comes with both of those attributes. This however is all subject to change when Anne, a former flame of Cécile's father, re-enters their lives and attempts to turn everything on its head. The prose is beautifully simplistic but descriptive at the same time as the story transports you to the sunny shores of the South of France in a heartbeat. You can almost feel yourself being warmed by its rays as you turn the pages. The tension between the characters builds gradually and the relationships twist and turn right until the end. It's the perfect holiday read. [4/5]
(2) Media Control by Noam Chomsky
Non-Fiction / Politics / History: "Noam Chomsky’s backpocket classic on wartime propaganda and opinion control begins by asserting two models of democracy—one in which the public actively participates, and one in which the public is manipulated and controlled. Which do you choose?"
Chomsky's Media Control is a slim paperback but it packs in a lot within its fully accessible mini chapters. It gives us a brief overview of a couple of key propaganda techniques that the US government have employed to keep the 'bewildered herd' distracted, which seems more relevant for me to read than ever as the UK heads towards yet another circus of an election. If you're already familiar with Chomsky's work then this book will seem much of the same, but if you're not, it's a great little introduction. [4/5]
(3) If Nobody Speaks Of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor
Contemporary Literature / Poetry: "On a street in a town in the North of England, ordinary people are going through the motions of their everyday existence. But then a terrible event shatters the quiet of the early summer evening."
I often like to try and read outside of my comfort zone and pick up books which are challenging, not always because of their subject matter, but sometimes because of how they are written. If Nobody Speaks Of Remarkable Things is an unconventional novel in the sense that it's composed as a poem throughout. The verses meander through the pages and describe little glimpses of this unassuming sleepy town and the people who live in it, without giving too much away so there's plenty for the reader's imagination to elaborate on. It's an interesting book littered with beautiful prose in parts, though it's one you may struggle to get into at first like I did. [3/5]
(4) Firestarter by Stephen King
Science Fiction / Horror: "The Department of Scientific Intelligence (aka "The Shop") never anticipated that two participants in their research program would marry and have a child. And they never expected a child with such unique powers."
Imagine a crossover between King's classic Carrie and the men in suits from The Matrix chasing her, and you almost have the setting for Firestarter. The story kicks off with a young girl Charlie, and her father Andy, running across New York in a desperate attempt to escape the agents from 'The Shop', a secret Government department who did some crazy LSD style experiments on Andy when he was in College. With a fast paced narrative, this is a real page turner and combines the present day with flashbacks of Andy's past as the agents start to close in on Andy and Charlie. It's more Sci-Fi than Horror, as the typical horror elements are psychological and supernatural in this with King building up the suspense perfectly, right up until a dramatic ending. One of my favourite Stephen King novels for sure. [4/5]
What have you been reading lately?
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