I read The Hunger Games trilogy on my kindle. There are many pros to a kindle (I’m able to carry tens of thousands of pages in the weight of a novella, being among them), but there are also inevitable losses. One of those is the lack of cover art and the inability to be able to flick backwards and forwards within the book’s pages to jog memories around names or see how much is left of the chapter.
Other than being mildly inconvenient and less attractive, the other thing this does, in a Roland Barthes-esque way, is destroy pre-conceptions around the book which can be built up from the blurb on the back, the ‘Richard and Judy Book Club’ permanent sticker on the front or the carefully chosen quotes from famous people. Even after reading all three books, I have trouble remembering the author, to be honest. That would be Suzanne Collins, by the way (and also, good name). Take of that what you will – the kindle/e-reader argument is one to be had another day.
Reading Jane Austen is like watching The Wire. Bear with me, I have evidence to back this up.
Both The Wire and Jane Austen inhabit a completely different world to myself and the average watcher/reader. From location to dress to language to the complex social hierarchy, it’s a bewildering place to be. Stick with both, though, and you’ll find that in no time at all (four our five episodes and approximately a hundred pages in ) you find that not only do you understand what’s going on, you want to find out what’d going to happen next.
Both are ultimately rewarding, and for first time watchers/readers there will no doubt be a period where you recommend either/both to everyone you meet.
I promise to try to keep the film versus book review to a minimum in this review.
However, there will be a bit of it – I’ll try to keep it to this section. Gone, Baby, Gone, is a book written by Dennis Lehane. Lehane also wrote Mystic River, directed by Clint Eastwood and with a galaxy of stars. Gone, Baby, Gone was the directorial debut of Ben Affleck. If you’re in the UK, you’ve probably never seen it as it got a pretty limited release. That’s because the missing child in it looks a little bit like Madeleine McCann. Nevermind that the book was written in 1998 – I reckon that if The Two Towers came out now, it would also have a delayed release.
Everyone knows the story of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. If you haven’t seen the film or read the book, you’ve seen one of the parodies floating around – Spaced’s being the best one, in this reviewer’s humble opinion. The main character, Randle P McMurphy, draws everyone around him like a moth to a flame, dominating the narrative. Right? Wrong. The book’s narrator is Chief Bromden, the apparently deaf and dumb Indian revealed to be the eyes and ears of the mental hospital.
First off, I have an admission to do with this book. I know the author – we went to UEA at the same time and were in pretty much the same social circle. That said, I’ll try to write the review as if I don’t know the author (lovely boy that he is) so it’s as unbiased as possible. I just wanted to get that off my chest, and now I have – let’s carry on.
Q & A, by Vikas Swarup, is the story of the unusual orphan Ram Muhammad Thomas. Set in various cities in India, Ram/Muhammad/Thomas moves from family to family, trying to earn enough money to eat and be independent of his life of minimum wage work.
I actually learned how to create an umlaut for this review. I’ll probably forget as soon as I’ve finished, but there you go, at least I made the effort.
Patrick Süskind’s Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, has been around for a quarter of a century in published form. Although set in historical France, it was originally written in German, but handily translated.
I’ve read this book a dozen times, easily. I have at least four copies as I lend them to all of my friends in a bid to get the whole world to read it, and inevitably want to read it once my copy is visiting someone else’s house.
It reninds me of an argument I once had with a thankfully now ex-colleague. When I said I was in the process of re-reading Watership Down, he snorted derisively and said “Why bother reading a book more than once? Bloody English students”. His reaction really surprised me – coming from a family of self-confessed (or should that be self-obsessed? Arf) readers, it never crossed my mind that other people only enjoyed a book once. My answer was “Why not? Would you listen to a CD once?”, which I thought was pretty quick, even if I do say so myself. I find myself gravitating towards certain books time and time again – the aforementioned rabbit saga, A Proper Little Nooryef, Phillip Pullman’s saga, Black Beauty and a couple more that I’ve forgotten.
The Breakfast Club – Why it’s my favourite film
Hello and welcome, one and all. First off, I’m more used to writing book reviews than film reviews. Secondly, I don’t possess the easy wit that Owen has honed over the last couple of years. I can, however, use spellcheck, which may make this easier on the eye.
Don't you forget about me
I’ve chosen The Breakfast Club as my favourite film. It was a tough decision, and to be honest it’ll probably be different next week, but here we go. (more…)