The old fashioned paper ones… remember them?
Although these days it's more common to watch tv or waste time on Facebook, there is still a lot to be said for the art of picking up a novel and letting your imagination do a little work.
I used to love reading and a few weeks ago I realised that it had been months since I'd picked up a book! Between studying, blogging, working, keeping up with current events and trying to have a social life somehow the intellectual distraction of a good book had become a distant memory.
Upon realising this I returned to books with added vigor and found some great suggestions for other self confessed nerds and book lovers to try.
LIFE of Pi
I was encouraged to read this after reading a review and the plans to make the film in a Harpers Bazaar magazine last year. The story was intriguing and although the book took me a good few chapters to get into it properly, once the story of Pi's journey in the ocean began I was well and truly hooked. Once I saw the film however I did my best to put the book out of my mind and enjoy it without bias. A great read if you like a twist at the end!
The Great GatsbyF. Scott Fitzgerald
This is another book that I was curious to read because of the film hype. Although it's a classic I hadn't heard much about the story before the movie trailers came out. I made sure that I read it before seeing the film and although the old fashioned language was a bit harder to grasp at first the story was short and simple. You really get sucked in the glamorous world the author creates. It was a great light read and it was refreshing to read an old favourite with enough twists and turns to keep you interested but not an overcomplicated storyline which makes you keep flicking back pages to work out who is who and how they got where.
This book has had rave reviews and is on several best sellers lists for Australian literature. Tim Winton certainly has an impeccable writing style and really captures the essence of the Australian working class. However I was a bit disappointed with the lack of growth from the characters in this novel. I didn't feel inspired or any more enlightened after reading it and felt as though I would have been just as satisfied by reading the blurb and not wasted my time with the mundane events that happen within the pages. I actually felt a bit ripped off, like I had wasted hours of my life.
The Book ThiefMarkus Zusak
This is my new favourite book. The concept, the history, the narration and writing style all draw you in from the first page. It's intriguing and the narrator gives just enough away at the beginning of each chapter to keep you turning the pages to see what happened to the characters. A beautiful story about an orphaned girl in Germany during the second world war who collects books, finds friendships and struggles with her beliefs and her place in the world. It is interestingly told from the point of view of Death who is overworked during the war and takes a particular interest in the Book Thief's story. Definitely worth a read!
Fifty Shades of GreyE.L James
Well judging all the Facebook updates last year about this novel everybody has read this, and everybody wants everybody else to know they have read it to! Do people think it makes them sexier if they read about sex? For those who haven't read it, it's certainly something different and it deals with a lot of taboo subjects. It's basically a Mills and Boon romance novel with swear words. Great inspiration if you're in a relationship, and damn frustrating if your single! haha
Jack of DiamondsBryce Courtenay
Bryce Courtenay is my favourite author and his last book, published after his passing in 2012 is in his classic style of rags to riches, inspiring strength and powerful love. I have all of his novels and although his story lines and plots do sometimes seem repetitive- as it was his very last book before his death I embraced the writing style and enjoyed reading it. It's a little sad that the last chapter is very much a summing up of where the characters end up and there is a letter from Courtenay at the end explaining how he would have loved more time to continue the story but he wasn't well enough. Jack of Diamonds is a beautifully written book and a true credit to the story telling style of the author.
Questions of TravelMichelle de Kretser
This novel I picked up on a whim at the airport last week. I was off on a mini adventure so a book
about travel seemed fitting and I was hoping it would give me added inspiration to make the most of my little journey. However I must admit that I found it lacking. It wasn't the 'Eat Pray Love' type of travel story that touches your soul and inner adventure seeker. I must admit I'm still only three quarters of the way through and find it relatively easy to put down. The characters are a little dull and although their stories are interesting, there is no inner spark that motivates you to find out where their journeys lead. Although it comes quite highly acclaimed and the writing is good, the story just seems to trail on in a mundane sort of way. Even the most interesting events that happen are told in such a way that very little emotion is evoked. As I said, I'm still not quite finished so am persisting in the hope that there is an interesting turn... but I'm not holding my breath!
So far... 3/10
I hope you find these reviews helpful, but remember that everybody has different tastes and your imagination plays it's own game while you are reading so the texts are interpreted differently by everyone! That's one of the things I love, you can get as much or as little as you like out of a good book! Happy reading!