Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Summer Reading

As I am currently seeking employment for the summer, I thought I’d make the most of my spare time to get some second year reading out of the way. I started with The Great Gatsby, which was an enjoyable read – it is more of a portrait of an era, than a compelling narrative, but easy enough to get into and read quickly and get something out of (Jay Gatsby is a rich man with a beautiful house… but! look deeper at his lack of fulfilment!) Next up was The House of Sleep by Jonathon Coe. Easily one of the most enjoyable reads I’ve had for a long time, particularly seeing as last term at university included (lots of) medieval literature, and the history of Christianity. In fact, my first year was generally spent dedicating a lot of time to areas that I am just not into. I immediately recommended The House of Sleep to Bill as a holiday read because it is completely original in a way that is not so far fetched that it requires too much concentration. The narrative is fractured at times, skipping from person to person, but this doesn’t distract from the plot – and the plot does come together nicely in the end (with a little surprise!) All in all, it was definitely a treat to read and didn’t feel like a syllabus book at all.

Most recently, and continuing the ‘House of’ trend, I’ve read The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton. I’d say the first three quarters of the book were a little disappointing, and I often got frustrated because I couldn’t keep up with all the people. In fact, I never really got to grips with all the characters, but I did get a lot more into the main plot. And then, after Lily got thrown off the boat, I suddenly felt a little more concerned for her plight, and simultaneously a little more irritated by her. All of a sudden, the other night, I just got sick of reading the book (I’d been reading it painstakingly slowly for weeks, which is just too long really to enjoy a book) and stayed up until 3AM, until it was finished. Low and behold, after all my loathing of the book, I thought it was quite a good ending.

Today I started The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner, not knowing what to expect, and hoping that it would continue the trend of satisfying reads. After struggling with the first few pages, I hoped that SparkNotes would help me out – a year of an English degree has most definitely taught me, if nothing else, that reading everything on a reading list is impossible. SN has also been a helping hand for confusing plots, so I’d thought that it would help me out with my current book. But…
‘The Sound & The Fury’ requires intense concentration and patience to interpret and understand.
Precisely what I did not want to know! And it had looked so promising: relatively short, with quite large sized text! What a disappointment.

This has been my first post here, and what a thrill of a post it has been. When I decided to start a blog, I thought it would be full of humorous little tales from my life, and then I go and write the first 500 words or so on books! I suppose only time will tell what the dominant content will be...


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