Category Archives: Classic literature

Book review: ‘A Clockwork Orange’ by Anthony Burgess

Here’s a book that I have been meaning to read for about two years now. When I finished reading After The King, I wanted to read something non-fantasy, having read a lot of it recently. I picked up A Clockwork Orange and finished it two days later. Having seen the movie two or three years ago – the movie being what spurred me to wanting to read the book – I already had a good idea of what to expect from the book, which I think helped me when reading the Nadsat (the language used by Alex and his Droogs).

I got through this book a lot quicker than I thought I would, given the unusual language and strange nature of the story. I actually found it quite easy to decipher, after a short while, and it eventually seemed to me that I was reading basic English.
Having said that, the constant misplaced use of the word, “like,” was very annoying and, not only interrupted my reading, but also really got on my nerves. I get that it’s how the character speaks, but it’s so freaking annoying.

Minus the wordiness of the book, it actually moves along fast and straight, getting from one part to the next with good speed and minimal delays. And even though the book may not be economical, it is quite direct, and makes good use of specificity.

Both the characters and the story are very unique, and very interesting. None of the characters are particularly likeable, except perhaps Pete, at the end of the book, and the Prison Charlie. However, in an unconventional way, Alex is likeable, but that may just because we feel sorry for him after what happens to him, and because he is so unconventional.

I’m not sure what it is, but I really enjoyed this book. Perhaps it was because I haven’t read anything like it before. Whatever it was, it made me barely put the book down.

A jaw-dropping masterpiece, full of everything you could want in a book. Most definitely not for the faint of heart, this book takes extremes to an entirely new level.


An ingenious narrative, with fantastic, enthralling, original, inventive, three-dimensional characters. It will pull on your emotions, particularly hate and sympathy.
A great deal of time of effort has clearly been put into this book, what, with the Nadsat, the detail, the genius implicit meanings and messages behind it all. The low-key discussing of important real-life, human issues, and the state of the world from that era in time.

I would recommend this to anyone interested in classic literature, providing you’re not age twelve or something. Any fans of horror show antics, blood and gore and nastiness and all manner of sins, I’d also recommend to pick up this book. Not something I’d call an easy read, compared to most other books, and not a gentle piece of reading, either.

Anthony has created a masterpiece here, one that, I believe, will go down as a literary classic. Minus the annoying “like” and a few other things, here and there, I absolutely loved the book.

An inspired piece.

4.0/5.0

BUY YOUR COPY HERE!

Advertisements

Book review – ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I remember trying to read The Great Gatsby a few years back and really struggling to get through it; however, having now read it, I don’t quite understand where I could have met any kind of struggle. It was one of the easiest reads I’ve come across in a very long time. I would have read it a lot quicker than I did, but my eyes have been so heavy lately, and have been stinging all week long, too.

The beginning of the book had me bound to it. I finished the first chapter and wanted to just continue on and read the entire book. I think the main thing that intrigued me was how well written it is. In spite of the use of old language and writing style, it was very easy to follow, and very easy to enjoy – although, I am a big fan of older writers i.e. J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, so perhaps I just enjoyed it because it’s my preferred style.
The writing and generality of the book is quite similar to all of the other classics that I’ve read, which I suppose makes sense, because they have to be classics for a reason. Books like To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and my personal favourite classic – J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher In The Rye should definitely be on your reading list if you enjoy Gatsby.
I can certainly see why this book is renowned how it is. It’s one of those books that everyone should read, whether you like it or not, because it doesn’t exactly take long to get through and is something you don’t know you’ve missed until you’ve read it for yourself. There are so many things to look at in this novel. So many things to be opinionated about – the characters, the plot, the language, the implicit meanings of things, the style, the list goes on. An especially fantastic book for students to study.

Having said all of those wonderful things, I think it’s time I hate on the book a little.
As I made my way further through the pages I realised that I had no emotional attachment or connection to any of the characters. Sure, there were some characters I disliked and some I enjoyed more than others, but none really struck any personal nerves with me. This, I think, is a terrible sign of poor character writing. There are also no signs of any character development as the book goes on. They all rather stay the same old assholes that they were from the start.

Something else I disliked about this novel was that nothing really happened. Sure, there were events transpiring as the book went on, but they felt as if they were all for nought. It was mostly people just moving from one place to another, and either talking about what had happened or what could be. I just feel that Fitzgerald could have done something more with the story.

If I’m honest, the only characters that I didn’t dislike out of every single character in this book, were Nick and Daisy – though, I ended up disliking her at the end, too. So, basically just Nick. Gatsby was a bit of a creep and was extremely sure of himself. Jordan was like a little child, which Nick actually realises nigh the book’s end. And Tom was just a dick. There were others but I think you get the general idea.

Even though I did say earlier that none of the characters struck any personal nerves with me, that isn’t technically entirely true. There was one moment, where Gatsby was explaining to Nick, I think, about his undying love for Daisy; and while we later found it to be – or at least, I, found it to be rather creepy and weird and over the top, in that moment I felt a twinge of sadness in my stomach as he said or felt (I cannot remember which) something that I strongly related to.

The book’s pace varied throughout. While it moved rather slowly for the most part, there were times where things escalated and went into a full sprint. Something similar could be said for the chapter layout. I found myself in a few that never seemed to end, and some that were over almost as soon as I began. The balance was a little uneven, tilting more to the side of slow and long.


Overall, I think it was a fantastically written book, but not the most fantastic book that’s been written. I one-hundred percent recommend it to any literature or language or English students. Also to those enjoy older styled writing, classics, and a more twenty-onward demographic.

3.2/5.0

BUY YOUR COPY HERE!

Book review: Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte

I must take time now to apologize for my recent absence, and my negligence of my blogging responsibilities. I know you all suffer great hardship without my words of  comfort and wisdom, about the books we worms hold so dearly in our hearts. I have been ever so busy lately, and have also felt not so great this past week, but I am back now, and bring with me a long anticipated book review – or for better use of a word: awaited; as I haven’t been so much dying to write the review, but more so to finish reading this forsaken book.
On with the review!


A classic? I think not. Wuthering Heights is many things, but there is no way in hell I will ever consider this book to be a classic, nor to be among the greats. It has taken me so long to finish this book; not because it is particularly long, but because of how boring and abhorrent I found it to be. 5 weeks in and I was barely half way through, however, being so desperate to finish it as I was, I sank into my already sunken sofa and began my quest to reach the end of the book by weeks end. I read the latter half of the book over the past two days, and I can honestly say: I hope I never have to read this book again!

I must bear a little leniency to this book however, as it was written a long time ago, and was set even further in history than when it was published. I give it this acknowledgement as a key factor in my hatred towards this book, stems from the difficult language and dialect used in the book.

There was plenty more for to hate than simply the language mind. I found each and every character despicable, immature, dishonest, and just plain horrible. Particularly Heathcliff, who is a paragon of a terrible human being. Despite having hated every character in it, I didn’t truly feel any strong or raw emotion towards any of them – or even for any of them – as there is so much to dislike, that it’s impossible to direct my feelings towards someone in particular. The only time I enjoyed a character’s presence, was young Cathy, when Linton had first arrived at Thrushcross Grange, as she was so sweet and innocent, that I simply couldn’t not like her.

While on the topic of characters, I also feel the invention of Mr Lockwood was irrelevant and pointless, as he plays no role in the events that occurred in the novel’s story, as they took place well before his arrival – or at least before his arrival in any case. The only reason I can see him being even remotely useful to the book, was to help emphasize the theme of the supernatural. The ghosts that shan’t ever sleep a peaceful sleep, even when so far underground. Which in turn emphasizes the theme of madness. I actually read this book more as metaphorical happenings, rather than literal – if you follow my meaning.

As for the story itself, I found slightly interesting, but impossibly repetitive, and kind of out of place. It felt as though it was some kind of strange gang war from 200 years ago, with Heathcliff and Linton as the heads of their houses – The Grange and Wuthering Heights. A very poor war may I add. In fact, it was almost like a gang attack, as Linton appeared rather passive in the fight and defense of his family and house, until forced to be otherwise.

I found each and every love story distasteful and sickening, and feel not a single one of them involved any love at all. The only relationship that I feel had any real energy was that between Cathy and her father. But again, I must not put too much on this, as it was very different back then, and people were not as free and independent as they are today.

I did enjoy the settings of the book. The houses and the moors held strong and vivid images throughout. In fact, the descriptions were one of the very few things I enjoyed from the book, as they were very real and powerful, and represented well the themes and story of said book. I also found the author’s use of smaller things, such as semi-colons, to be very well placed and interesting. I like semi-colons quite a lot.

Overall I feel the book was mostly bad, but did have it’s rare silver linings, as all things seem to. I disliked the characters, the plot, the romance (if you can call it that), and much more. I also found it a very hard book to get into, and even harder to get a hold on the language. However, once you have the hang of it, the actual writing is very good, and the author deserves much credit for it. I also feel this book is not so much a bad book, but more a detestable one; and for me in particular; I hold very much contempt towards it. Though I also don’t feel it deserves the renown it has, nor its title of being a classic.

I give it a 2/5 for entertainment and story, etc.
I give it a 4/5 from a literature point of view, because as I pointed out: I did not enjoy the book; but the way in which it was written came across in a very unique way, as it involved all physical happenings, but was perceived by me on a deeper and more metaphorical level.
As for who I recommend this to: I definitely feel it leans in favour more towards an older demographic – more specifically people over at least the age of 40. I also feel anyone deeply interested in literature or writing, should definitely pick it up, as it brings to you a whole new set of ideas on many things in terms of writing, and will definitely come in handy. And it really is a fantastic piece of literature!


Purchase your below!
Amazon

Book review: The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger

If you were to ask someone for some classic novels, I can guarantee that The Catcher in the Rye would be one of the first five books to cross anyone’s mind. I have tasked myself with reading a number of these classic novels, and this was the book I began with.

From the moment I started reading this book, I didn’t want to put it down. I have never read a novel written in such a way, and it was simply captivating. There are so many good things I can say about this book, – and I’ll get to those shortly – but also many bad things to go with them. However, these bad things are mostly are mostly things I disliked, and aren’t so much bad at all.

One of the most interesting and enjoyable things about this book, for me, is that there is essentially no story to it; and yet there kind of is. You see, there is no plot, nor hook, nor twists and turns with this book, yet there is still a flowing series of events occurring in a linear fashion. There is also no reason for this story to exist, and it is more like a diary entry than a story being told. It simply revolves around an ordinary person’s life, and ordinary life events.

It was also interesting to read a book in this setting. It is not very often you come across a 1950’s book set in New York, from the point of view of an average adolescent. The book explores many different parts and sides of its scenery; introducing new places, different types of characters, and an all together variety of things.

The struggling character of Holden Caulfield gives almost-to-all readers something to relate to, as the different aspects of his character are things that so many people can share in. However, unlike with most other books, I don’t feel that is a huge reason for this book’s major success.

One of the things I do consider a root of its success is the book’s sheer originality. This book has so many things to call its own, and they are what really make this book so appealing.

One thing that was not appealing, however, was the character of Holden Caulfield. I despise him! While at times he can be okay, the rest of the time he is the most cynical, boring, cowardly, hypocritical character I have ever read about. Although, he is not the only character in the book, and some others are actually very likable. Mr Antolini, for example, is my favorite character.

It is hard to comment on the language of this book, because it is written in such a unique way, and although it is repetitive and poorly written, this – I feel – was the intention of the author, as it matches themes, and captures the book’s essence, and so it is technically both poorly and well written, at the same time. I also have to take in consideration the era the book is set in, and that the writing styles were different back then; though this was interesting, as it introduced me to a wider vocabulary, and a new writing style.

One the other hand, there are certain things that I didn’t enjoy about the way this book is written. The main thing being how Holden talks about his little sister. Whether it is intended, or this is just my perception of it – he seems to speak about her in a kind of sexual way, and he revers her very abnormally for a little sister.

It is clear that this book has made its mark on the world of literature, as there are some recent books, that have obviously taken snippets, ideas, characters, and styles from this book. Take The Fault in Our Stars. The very theme of it is clearly connected with that of this book – you’ll see what I mean if you read them both. And Perks of Being a Wallflower is simply dripping in this book’s juices. Something I found in particular was that Mr Anderson from Perks, is essentially the same character as Mr Antolini, and they both have a similar relationship with the main character. I feel this is why I enjoyed them both so much.

Another fascinating part to this book is that, you never really learn anything about what the character looks like, and similar things to that; and yet Salinger still manages to create a vivid picture in your mind. He doesn’t even use many descriptions of the scenery, or of other characters.

Two final remarks on things that annoyed me… *SPOILER* He never actually phoned Jane, and I was kind of hoping throughout the entire book that he would.*SPOILER OVER* I also feel the ending was very abrupt, and although it is meant to leave unanswered questions and such, *cough* Perks *cough* Fault* I feel it left too many.

I could go on and on about this book – there is so much to write about. I see why schools use this book for students; and I definitely see why this book is a classic novel. Even though it has its downsides, the overall book is amazing. It is original, funny, and utterly brilliant. I honestly recommend this book to anyone and everyone.

I give it a 3.9/5 for entertainment

and 4.7/5 for its literary review