October Reads

As Autumn rolls in at full strength and everything gets colder, it’s nice to curl up with a book.

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
The second book in the MaddAddam trilogy is a brilliant book that explores a corrupt and violent world within the limits of our own. The science and captailist corps are close enough to our reality that it makes you uncomfortable. With Ren and Toby as the narrators, we gain a view of the world from the dance clubs, Secretburgers and Gods Garderners; all levels of this broken society. The gene slicing, animal and human experimentation and mass extinction help pull the reader into a world that is not quite science fiction. The book almost seems like a warning, as the book engages the reader in a world we wish no connection to.
The Dead by James Joyce
The commentary on Irish politics through Joyce’s prediction of what his life would have been like if he had stayed in Ireland is a short story that reveals more and more layers with each reading. On first impression the reader might just take the events of the party and those between Gabriel and Gretta to be simple, but Joyce cleverly explores through subtly a range of themes. As the weather starts turning The Dead is a great short story to read on a chilly afternoon.
The Piers Falls by Mark Haddon
After attending an event that involved Mark Haddon in conversation, I brought the book and tore through the short stories that in turn tore through me. Each story is brutal in itself and even he pointed out that there is a death in all but the last. Opening with a story about the collapse of Brighton Pier and aftermath of tragedy, the reader is pulled into the book and is forced to watch tragedy and chaos throughout the stories. It feels like watching a car crash and probably isn’t the best thing to read before bed if you’re wanting to go to sleep easily.
Dubliners by James Joyce 
After reading The Dead on its own, I brought the whole collection. The collection captures life in Dublin wonderfully and the bare bones of humanity in it’s characters. The stories may lack climax but all being a revelation to the characters in Joyce’s classic style. It’s a good collection to read that covers a range of stories and themes. The stories are the perfect length to read inbetween tasks to make the day more interesting.

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August Reads

The holiday season where everyone flocks to pools and beaches and sits reading in the sun. I spent the summer racing around exploring so a moments rest with a book is a little treat

Passage to India by E. M. Forster
Forster’s praised novel describes the tension between races in colonial India. The story centres around the accusation of assault of Miss Quested. Full of beautiful descriptions that hide the problems of the Anglo-India until they are brought to light through the case of the alleged assault. The story starts slow but speeds up the slightest as tensions rise.

Of love and other demons by Gabriel Garcia Márquez
The range of interesting and unusual chatacters in this book take a plot to make it a stunning story. Sierra Maria alone is a fascinating character before she is bitten by rabid dog. With the surrounding characters of her parents and everyone at Santa Cayetano that all seem both brilliant works of fiction and entirely human making the story both tied to and removed from reality. It is here in the middle of both states that the story thrives and shows the reader an unforgettable plot.

A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy by Laurence Sterne
Sterne raises some perceptive ideas about travellers and human life but seems more focused on the women he meets, all of whom seem to be interested or at least attracted to him. The journey mainly occurs in Paris with little of Italy featuring. It’s not a long read but Sterne’s ideas are lost in the account of flirting that undermine them.

Cats Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
Vonnegut’s narrative of the end of the world seems a fitting read in today’s world. The pursuit of Ice-nine created by Dr Felix Hoenikker, a father of the atomic bomb, leading to three unique children and the island of San Lorenzo is a comical narrative of the bare bones of humanity. The narrator Jonah guides the reader through the basics of Bokononism. A religion founded on lies that sounds rather pleasant. The story that takes place under the threat of Nuclear war in the Cold War, seems to fit perfectly with today, almost highlighting that humans don’t really change.

 

July Reads

Holidays start and so everyone cracks open the books they’ve been waiting to read.

The Death Cure by James Dashner
(Warning: SPOILERS)
The final installment in the Maze Runner series that both packs in tragedy but also feels like a soft ending. As the tragedy of the flare affects the characters leading to even more death and suffering. The end is both a relief but also an anticlimax as Thomas and others reach the end of there fight. With the darker plot line of Newt, one expects a deeper end than just final freedom of everyone into a paradise.
Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel García Márquez
The surreal account of a village’s actions leading up to the murder of a man oddly has the feel of an ancient Greek tragedy as fate and the inescapable nature of it seem to soak into every sentence. The narrative of the brutal and preventable death makes the story a great read.
Forever Odd by Dean Kootz
The sequel to Odd Thomas set in the hot town of Pico Mundo. When Odds friend Dan is kidnapped after his father’s death, Odd is thrown into a hunting mission designed to test him created by a woman so mad and blood thirsty that she seems to be the goddess Kali in Odds thoughts. Varying from the first book, this is an engaging read that explains the world of the ghosts and psychic magnetism that surround Odd.
Brother Odd by Dean Kootz
Third in the Odd series, Odd now spends his days in a monastery far from his home town. As snow and bodachs surround the place, Odd is thrown into solving a mystery that involves monsters of bone and murder. The bodachs fascination with the children builds the tension as the story grows to a battle of monks with baseball bats, a Russian with the grim reaper appearing. Among the sadness the reader can take joy in Elvis and his comical ways. A great read leaving you wanting more.

The Green Mile by Stephen King
Paul’s record of his last year working on death row follows the life of Mr Jingles and the death of Coffey. The sad but twisting narrative moves away from the readers expectations to create a story of good, miracles and death. With a range of interesting characters that cover the scale of good and bad, and innocent to guilty, the 6 parts chronicle a tale that leaves the reader in a state of disbelief and a strange collection of emotions. A brilliant read but one that tears through your heart.

June Reads

As the days get longer and warmer, the summer days that invite you to lie in the sun with a book are more and more regular luckily.

Space Odyssey 2001 by Arthur C. Clarke
The narrative of the journey of the discovery one on its journey to Saturn. The vivid descriptions of space as the planets and moons pass by help show the beauty of space. Further the mystery and action drive the plot forward as the reader tries to solve how mankind, alien and machine all link together in the great stage of time and space.
My side of the mountain by Jean Craighead George
The sweet story allows the reader to run away to the mountains and survive in the wilderness. The children’s book is considered a modern classic and it is filled with beautiful drawings and animals that surround Sam. Jean Craighead George creates a childish desire to explore the world and test survival in the reader that I have not discovered in any other book.

May Reads

Unfortunately with exams looming and starting it’s hard time to find time to read, but it is a great way to relax from stress.

Atonement by Ian McEwan
The metafiction novel has a narrative that switches among the characters to highlight themes of unreliable narrative and perspective. Starting on the hottest day of the year, in the shade of the approaching war, tensions rise and lead to two crimes that shape everyone’s lives forever.

The City and the Pillar by Gore Vidal
The mournful narrative of longing and unknown or hidden desire sweeps you up in the world of Jim. He’s a drifter who is trying to chase one day from long ago, travelling everywhere searching for something that even he can’t identify. With the pressure and secretary of the time period shapping Jim’s experiences as he has affairs with actors and writers whilst trying to copy the lingering attraction he felt to Bob years ago.