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review 2017-06-23 18:32
Go Set a Watchman: A Novel - Lee Harper

The book was handed to me as a follow up from a quick discussion with a colleague. I decided to read it straightaway as I don’t like borrowing books from someone and keeping them for a long time. I honestly didn’t know what to expect: the title is ambiguous and the hype around the time of its release was quite substantial. All I knew is that it was by Harper Lee, the author of the famous To Kill A Mockingbird. I didn’t even read the blurb for the book. So, for some reason I was expecting another court room drama based on racial tensions of the American South. My advice: read the blurb.

 

Despite not reading the blurb, I was able to immerse into the book quickly enough. If you haven’t read To Kill A Mockingbird it won’t play to your disadvantage as this novel can stand alone on its own feet. The writing is not complex, but intelligent enough to engage the reader. The theme of the book is politically charged – I can understand why it would not be printed back in the 1950s. It is set in the 1950s and feels more autobiographical, personal rather just another novel about the history of segregation in the South. The novel is threaded with Jean Louise’s reminiscence about her childhood. These memories where everything for her as a child was black and white, right and wrong serve as juxtaposition to the her adult world where nothing is black and white and some things may seem wrong, but motives might be right. 

 

A quick overview: Jean Louise ‘Scout’ Finch is now twenty six years old and live in New York City. She returns home to Maycomb, Alabama on her usual annual visit, but this time something is off. She secretly follows her father and her friend to a Citizens’ Council where one of the guests is permitted to give a racist speech. Shaken up that her father did not do anything to stop this man, Jean Louise is devastated. As she looks around her, she begins to notice increased sympathy with these kind of sentiments. She finds herself on the road of self-discovery and making a hard decision: to either stick to what she believes and leave her family or stay with her family and submit to the growing feeling of the place.

 

The novel does not answer any questions, but presents the day-to-day tensions and decisions that many American citizens had to live with in the 1950s. I would say that it is even relevant now. I found that the author’s call in this book is to reason. That reason will prevail above all. For me the book was summarised on page 270, “But the white supremacists fear reason, because they know cold reason beats them. Prejudice, a dirty word, and faith, a clean one, have something in common: they both begin where reason ends.”

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text 2017-05-14 20:56
Classics That You Should Read

For those who love to read, there is nothing more difficult than someone asking you to put together a list of your favourite books. After all, no two lists will ever be the same and how can anyone possibly choose, it’s like asking which of your children you love the most…

Similarly, those who love to read fully understand how expensive books can be, particularly in this difficult economic climate. Therefore, I decided to put together a few of my favourite classics, some of which are out of copyright and can be online for free. For out of copyright books, I have added a link where the book can be found for free.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Written by English writer Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre is a classic novel which has been hailed as one of the greatest pieces of English fiction. Set against the backdrop of the magnificent Yorkshire Moors, this story follows the coming of age of a plucky young governess who faces a number of great adversaries to find happiness in the arms of her first love.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence

First published privately in Italy in 1928 and later the subject of an obscenity trial in the UK. Lady Chatterley's Lover gained notoriety due to its hugely erotic content. Based in Nottinghamshire where DH Lawrence grew up, the story focuses on a young married woman who becomes disenchanted with her upper class husband. When an injury from the war leaves him unable to connect physically and emotionally with Lady Chatterley, she seeks sexual fulfilment in the arms of Oliver Mellor’s, the gamekeeper.

To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee

Renowned for its warmth and humour, To Kill a Mocking Bird is loosely based on Harper Lee’s observations of friends and family, but carries an important message about the realities of racism in the 1930’s. A classic piece of American literature, To Kill a Mockingbird is widely taught in schools all over the world and addresses themes of rape, racial inequality, courage and compassion. If you haven’t read this book, it’s one to put on your list of ‘must reads’ immediately!

Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James

Not everyone’s favourite book, but a book that has earned its place in history. Fifty Shades of Grey tells the story of Anastasia Steel and the ‘emotionally damaged’ billionaire Christian Grey. After a chance meeting, a story of all consuming love begins to unfold. What makes this story stand out, are the BDSM themes and erotic scenes weaved throughout the tale. The book may not have been well received by critics. However, what followed was a sexual revolution that rocked the twenty first century. Sales of sex toys rocketed, BDSM practices which were previously criminalised were normalised and a new age of sexual freedom began.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

HYPERLINK "http://www.literatureproject.com/little-woLittle Women is a timeless tale of four American sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. Following their lives from childhood to adulthood, Little Women has been a difficult book to define. Some describe the book as a romance novel, others claim that it is a children’s book. However, for those who have read it, the ongoing themes in this book work together to create an incredible piece of fiction that simply begs to be read.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

With over 20 million copies sold, Pride and Prejudice has certainly earned its crown as one of the most popular novels in English Literature. Using good, solid British humour, Pride and Prejudice tells the tale of the Bennet family – the overbearing Mrs Bennet, the long suffering Mr Bennet and their five daughters. Due to the laws of the land at the time, if Mr Bennet passes away the inheritance cannot be passed onto his own children and falls into the hands of a distant relative. With the pressure on to find a suitable marriage, the arrival of a handsome stranger causes rather a few trials and tribulations for the Bennet family.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Believing that he was a failure and his The Great Gatsby forgotten, F. Scott Fitzgerald died in 1940 with sales of just 20,000 copies. However, due to the glitz, glamour and sheer escapism of this 1920’s tale, The Great Gatsby saw a revival during World War 2 and fast became one of the greatest classics in American history. The story follows characters from a fictional town called West Egg. Featuring millionaires, shady business connections, unrivalled glamour and scandal, The Great Gatsby worked hard to earn the title of one of America’s best loved novels.

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text 2017-05-06 09:42
To Kill a Mocking Bird - DNF
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

I´m on page 86 of To Kill a Mockingbird and since it is a classic beloved by many readers, I feel bad for saying this: I don´t enjoy this book.

 

After having read a few Coming-of-age stories, I´ve come to the conclusion that I cannot stand stories told through the perspective of a child or an adolescent. Whether it being Dickens´ David Copperfield (another DNF), Dodi Smith´s I Capture the Castle (yeah, right, a DNF) or this book, I´m bored by these kind of stories. I´m not even a big fan of the Harry Potter books, even though I can deal better with a child / young adult narrator in a fantasy setting.

 

Since I have read 86 pages, I can add $1.00 to my bank account for the Booklikes-opoly.

 

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text 2017-04-30 20:48
Booklikes-opoly Readathon Extra Rolls - Final books
The Thin Man - Dashiell Hammett
Poirot Investigates - Agatha Christie
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

I had to think over some of the books for the three extra dice rolls, but with the help of BrokenTune I managed to choose a book for all the squares:

 

Frontierland 1: The Thin Man by Dashiel Hammett. I´m not completely satisfied with this choice for this square (because it´s not a western), but I really want to read this book and the title starts with a t. 

 

Frontierland 4: Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie. I have such a huge stack of Christie´s at home, I really need to read more of her books.

 

Main Street 10: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. BrokenTune recommended this book to me and it´s been on my to-read list for ages. And it´s about time that I read it.

 

 

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review 2017-04-09 00:57
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
To Kill a Mockingbird, 50th Anniversary Edition - Harper Lee

How does one review a classic when so many people have reviewed it before? This was a beautiful book, even though the unfairness depicted in it hurts.

 

My only complaint is that there was one disturbing thing that was not addressed. In the trial scene, Tom Robinson said that Mayella Ewell said she'd never kissed a grown man before and "what her pa do to her don't count." I suppose it's because the trial was for Tom Robinson, not Mr. Ewell, and in that time, most people wouldn't turn on a white man while they had a black man to browbeat, but I found the implication to be extremely disturbing and would have liked to have seen the town turn on Mr. Ewell for sexually molesting his daughter, even if they wouldn't turn on him for physically beating her or for bearing false witness against an innocent man.

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