Friday, 29 January 2010

Summer Reading

I’ve been busy reading books that have been recommended by friends and family, and having a second childhood re-reading books that I read as a kid. Is it worth buying books that you would only read once? Most of these books I read in December. I might have read more in December than the entire year combined.

(in no particular order)

“Holes” by Louis Sachar
Recommended by Julie. It is a very good book about a boy who has been sent to a ‘camp’ because he was found guilty of a crime that he did not commit. I couldn’t put it down.

“Coraline” by Neil Gaiman
Recommended by Aidan. The book was okay, but I preferred the movie – There are not many books that I would say that about.

“An Abundance of Katherines” by John Green
Recommended by Caitlin, well technically she recommended anything by John Green. An Abundance is a very enjoyable book, very simple to read and intelligent in it’s own way.

“Cricket Jokes” by Max Walker and Brian Doyle
Recommended by Dad. It has jokes, it is a joke book, what more can be said?

“David Copperfield” by Charles Dickens
Recommended by Mum. It is a wonderful book! Like most classics there are parts that are a drag, but then there are huge sections that fill you up with wonderful feelings of happiness that you fly through. Would be in my top ten book list, if I had a list.

“The Great Gatsby – A Graphic Adaptation” by Nicki Greenberg
I haven’t been able to find “The Great Gatsby” by F Scott Fitzgerald which is on the BBC’s list of 100 books that people haven’t read, so when I found this book in the library I borrowed it, and I enjoyed it a lot. It is the first graphic novel that I read, so started with a bit of intrepidation but the language, which I imagine is mostly straight out of Fitzgerald’s work is amazing. I enjoyed it a lot! Now to find the original work.

“The Sandman: Volume 1 – Preludes & Nocturnes” by Neil Gaiman
Aniko recommended The Sandman, and having read my first ever graphic novel I picked it up and enjoyed it. I found most editions/chapters interesting, with only one that I found a bit freaky. Reading the introduction and afterword it sounded like that Neil felt he did not start writing in his own voice until the later parts, therefore I will have to find Volume 2.

“The Sandman: Volumes 2-6” by Neil Gaiman
Enjoyable. I like how new books/novels/stories build on mythologies of the past earthly civilizations. My favourite is “Volume 6 – Fables & Reflections”. The stories seem longer, there are more stories and they are well constructed. However the only problem is that I think that I’m hooked. This could become a very expensive addiction – however everything looks cheaper on Amazon, just please remind me to convert to Australian dollars.

“The Trial” by Franz Kafka
Interesting but is a very very long read for such a short book. Small parts are terrific but there are paragraphs that go for over seven pages that just seem to drag and drag and drag. There are a few places where the story seems to take a huge jump – but as I discovered when I finished it, The Trial was unfinished at the time of Kafka’s death. And what I find interesting is that Kafka requested that all his notes be burned after his death unread, but his friend published them believing that Kafka only told him to burn them knowing that he wouldn’t do so.

“Her Fearful Symmetry” by Audrey Niffenegger
I usually don’t like stories that have ghosts in them, but I did enjoy this book.

“Past Mortem” by Ben Elton
The main character is a policeman trying to solve a few very weird murders, who gets involved in his past through a online school reunion site. Reading this I was trying to decide whether to go to my tenth year high school reunion. However as I was acting I missed out. There was a lot of people that I would like to see, but I was not close friends to a lot who said that they would be there. An enjoyable book, but my favourite Ben Elton book is still Inconceivable.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood
On the BBC’s list of 100 books that people haven’t read. I enjoyed it. Nice ideas and a bit disturbing near the end, and a very weird end.

“The Chronicles of Prydain” by Lloyd Alexander
I never read these as children, but they would always be advertised in the back of my Chronicles of Narnia books and they had such interesting titles and I always wanted to read them. I finally read Stace’s copies a couple of years ago but recently found a free second hand copy, The Book of Three, The Black Cauldron, The Castle of Llyr, Taran Wanderer and The High King. They are a good book, recommended for children and plot wise much better than Narnia. As an adult I love the references to Welsh Mythology.

Stephen Harris (2008) “Classical Mythology Images & Insights 5th edition” McGraw-Hill
I like Greek Mythology, and while at S&A’s this book was lying around and I read bits and pieces. As it has both myths/plays and analysis it is more cerebal and enjoyable than just reading straight mythology.

Asterix and the: “Great Crossing” and “The Vikings” and the “Big Fight” by R Goscinny and A. Uderzo
This second childhood of mine is because the play Titus Andronicus reminded me of a scene in one of the Asterix comics where people are always in baths. However I just can not find it. Though they are still an okay read.