Moby Dick – “There she blows”

The classic whaling novel (I mean how many whaling novels can you name?). It can be seen as a bit of a behemoth itself due to its rambling nature and reasonable density. And it really is a challenge to read it, because it takes a considerable length of time, and it’s not the easiest thing to read. Having said that, I didn’t find it too bad, I found it reasonably interesting and understandable (with the help of footnotes). I’m really glad I read it, and for once I didn’t find a classic detestable or boring! There are a whole lot of interesting themes explored in the book, and while seemingly not that much happens (like summary: a guy called Ishmael goes on a whaling boat with a maniacal captain in search of Moby Dick, a white sperm whale) it’s full of detail and asides. It is consistently regarded as one of the classics, and I certainly agree that it’s a pretty good book. I do wonder if there are better whaling books out there, but the whaling aspect here is only part of the story. This is Herman Melville’s ‘signature novel’, he has 11 novels in total, but this is really the only one which is a classic. But at the time, his works weren’t all that successful. He himself was actually a whaler, so some of this is perhaps autobiographical, which surely explains the detail. Continue reading

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Candleo by Georgia Blain

This is another book I studied last year for English. And it’s a book I vehemently disliked, as did my classmates, and the year before’s. It is an Australian novel which is relatively unknown (there’s not even a Wikipedia page on it! Much to the annoyance of some students who wanted to ‘research’ online – perhaps that was the intention of our teacher), but is on the list of prescribed texts for us to study, so, study we did. We actually paired this text with a film, Lantana, which is also Australian. It was a good pairing because they had quite similar themes and ideas, and the different mediums made a comparison more interesting. Continue reading

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Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Yet another recent book to inspire a movie adaptation (one which I have yet to see, but I might try to in the near future). This is the first book in the Ender’s Saga which comprises of a number of books. Originally there was a short story with the same title, but Card soon (8 years later…) wrote this much larger, and more detailed story. It was also intended to be stand-alone, but eventually sequels and prequels were published, and I hope this isn’t a case of things being dragged out for the sake of another book, but we shall see. Back to the book at hand, and I really enjoyed it. There is just something about these types of stories, where a kid gets plucked out of nowhere and sent off to a school, and ends up having the world’s fate in his/her hands. I guess it’s just my own childish desire to have that happen to me, which makes me like these stories, but, I don’t care, I still like them! But just because it’s a book whose main characters are largely children, doesn’t make it a children’s book. As is the case with a number of these (Harry Potter being a prime example) the themes within the book mean it can appeal to a much wider audience. Continue reading

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The Zombie Survival Guide – Max Brooks

I seem to have a little obsession with zombies at the moment, The Walking Dead, World War Z, Parasite (well sort of), Newsflesh Trilogy and now the survival guide. And if you want to survive then this book is your best chance (as long as the zombies follow the same rules). With this book you can choose to take this seriously, and use it to plan for a zombie uprising. Or just take it as it’s labelled, as ‘humour’. Or you’ll just find it stupid and pointless. I just read it as a bit of fun, and found it interesting. Not because I genuinely think I should be preparing for an uprising, but because it was about survival, and the inclusion of ‘recorded events’ at the end of the book added some more stories to the book.
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The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Having read A Thousand Splendid Suns I thought I better take the opportunity to read the best-selling (over 21 million copies sold worldwide according to the cover) and the first of Hosseini’s books. It has been made into a film (as many books have these days), and I haven’t seen it, but I endeavour to get around to it at some stage. Both books were set in Afghanistan, though in The Kite Runner we move to America, but both cover very similar time periods, with the various upheavals of Afghanistan playing a large role in the novel. I personally preferred A Thousand Splendid Suns, and I don’t think I would want to read several more books of this sort. But there’s no denying that it is a good book, but it’s not something I would want to reread. I thought that it was the themes which made the book stand out. Continue reading

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Bookish Topic Tuesday – Finding time to read

Bookish Topic Tuesday
Finding time to read

It is one of modern society’s worse issues: time management. We never seem to have enough time but there is always more to do. I can really relate to this now as I struggle to find time to read, let alone blog about it! So what can we do about it?

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Parastie by Mira Grant

This is Mira Grant’s latest novel, and her first after Blackout. Well technically she’s written others as her real name, Seanan McGuire, but anyway. As soon as I heard this book was coming out (which was back in October 2013) I wanted to get it from the library, and it took forever to get it, I think I’ll just buy it next time. So the book is apart of a new series called Parasitology, so, I think you can guess some of the subject matter. And it does have a similar feel to the Newsflesh trilogy, with a few similar moulds of characters, but we’ll come to that. I polished off this rather large (especially in hardback) book in basically two days, because I didn’t want to put it down. The thrill was there, like it was for Newsflesh, and I just had to know what was going to happen next, and now I really want the sequel!

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World War Z – nothing like the movie

For once I actually saw a movie before reading the book, usually that’d be somewhat an issue, well, just detract from the reading experience a little. But in this case the similarities between the book by Max Brooks and the movie starring Brad Pitt are few and far between. Heck the movie even created a different solution for the zombies. So it was this fact that convinced me that watching the movie (since we had it at the time) wouldn’t be an issue. Having read it now the two are so distinct.
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