52 Books in a Year – Weeks #14 – #17

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May has been a slightly slower reading month as I had two teeth out, a wisdom tooth and the one next to it, and have been knocked for six since, struggling to concentrate on books, gradually regaining my strength. Double tooth extraction on top of M.E isn’t fun. Alas, you’re not here to read about that (if you are, that’s a very niche expectation of my blog). So here’s what I did read, and what I thought:

Book #21: ‘Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding

I enjoyed this book for the most part, although the writing style got a bit hard to digest from time to time, with sentence structures getting a bit tangled and clunky. For the plot alone, though, I would recommend reading this one. It’s about a group of boys whose plane has come crashing down upon a tropical island, and then come together to keep themselves alive on the island, and subsequently become a tribe that inevitably ends up at war with each other as the egos of elected leader, Raplh, and leader of the hunters, Jack, play off. It took me back to when I was a young boy playing in the countryside with my friends and we used to pretend we were in similar storylines.

Book #22: ‘The Road’ by Cormac McCarthy

‘The Road’ is the first book I’ve read of Cormac McCarthy, and I can’t wait to read more. I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to get to his work when his style is as up my street as it is. ‘The Road’ reads like an apocalyptic Hemmingway novel. I can see why some people aren’t so into it, as the novel is mostly build-up and setting the scene, but I’m often one for less plot-heavy reads. McCarthy’s use of language is very powerful, and so precise and economic, creating beautifully stark and brutal imagery as a young boy and his father trek to the coast through a burnt country, in constant fear that if they don’t starve to death, they’ll be captured and eaten by the ‘bad guys’. I read this rubbing my eyes a lot, re-reading paragraphs (Wait. The little boy is gathering dead limbs to make a fire? Did I read that correctly?). One that will stick in the memory like a fly on a rain-rotting branch.

Book #23: ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Have you ever been in a small independent cinema with some thirty babies screaming endlessly, trying to change nappies, feed, and soothe your baby whilst attempting to take on board the recent screen adaptation of a best-selling novel of decadence and excess? Well, that was my initial introduction to ‘The Great Gatsby’. Needless to say, although a nice idea, bring-your-baby cinema club doesn’t work, and I walked out of that auditorium with no recollection of seeing or hearing anything that occurred onscreen. Ever since, I vowed to read the novel, and years later I’ve finally gotten around to it, and it was worth the wait. The Great Gatsby is about the ambiguous and mysterious Gatsby and his hangers-on. It propels along, picking up in pace and drama as it goes on, and as result becoming harder to put down. The desperation of his hangers-on is comical, and Gatsby’s elusive nature as he throws parties that he rarely even attends himself, for the sake of having something to spend the fortune he’s been jammy enough to inherit makes for a unique and fun read.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Leave your comments below.

Follow my blog to stay updated with my ’52 Books in a Year’ journey.

Looking for something to read? My book ‘Zygote Poems’ about the charms and anxieties of new fatherhood is available here. You can read a sample poem right about here too.

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