Literary Life: July in Review

This month I turned another year old, I’m now on the fast track to thirty –  I feel surprisingly optimistic.

Around the Web:
I have written a guest post for Charlie at The Worm Hole – you can view it here.

Currently Reading:
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Unfinished:
None!

Read:

jpJurassic Park (Jurassic Park, #1) by Michael Crichton

“Crichton paints scientists as master villains, too concerned with having the next discovery than what their work may produce. Ian Malcolm – I have assumed – is Crichton’s voice in the novel, explaining why Jurassic Park was a consistently bad idea from the very conception – educating and grilling us with information to highlight the selfish nature of the product. Hammond continually states that he wants his dinosaurs for children’s entertainment, but he has no concern at all for his grandchildren, he wants power and recognition, he wants to be adored. The children’s smiling faces mean nothing other than adoration, their happiness is irrelevant.”

hwsHamlet by William Shakespeare
“O God! O God!
How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fie on’t! O fie! ’tis an unweeded garden,
That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature
Possess it merely. That it should come to this!
But two months dead!- nay, not so much, not two:”

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Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
“A must read for any book addicts I think. Set in a world where firemen start fires rather than extinguish them, burning all books to prevent society from having their own thoughts and ideas. Walls are replaced by giant TV screens where people interact with their ‘family’ and experience everything visually. There is also a war, between countries and between those who want to destroy all books and those willing to save them.”

tsrThe Sacred River by Wendy Wallace
“This is a wonderful book full of strong female protagonists, all so different, yet all so similar. Young, severely asthmatic, Harriet, her beautiful mother, Louisa, and their religious aunt, Yael; all confined in dingy, foggy London, and all rejuvenated by the wonders of Egypt. This is not a happy, fluffy tale, but it does wonders for the soul. A beautiful story of health, recovery, scandal and love.”

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The Cuckoo’s Calling (Cormoran Strike, #1) by Robert Galbraith (A.K.A) J.K. Rowling

“When the news was leaked that Robert Galbraith, author of The Cuckoo’s Calling, was in fact J.K. Rowling I had to read it. To my delight I loved it; although it is a shame J.K. Rowling lost her anonymity, I am glad the revelation has brought me something wonderful. The prose are miles better than the more simplistic The Casual Vacancy; you would never have guessed she had written it.”

tswThe Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison
“I have read many thrillers where women cling to their lives as they disintegrate around them, but in this novel Jodie’s actions become completely understandable; you understand why she thinks and acts as she does (and so does she.) This layer of psychoanalysis that runs through The Silent Wife, adds depth and brings the novel to life, allowing further understanding of these people than you initially realise. There is a history to Jodie and Todd, our protagonists, reaching right back into childhood; ignored psychological issues that are enacted in their current circumstance.”

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Maggie & Me: A Memoir by Damian Barr
I loved his memoir so much I am fairly certain I embarrassed myself telling Barr on Twitter. I have been dying to read it since seeing him talk at the Brighton Festival back in May, and it was certainly worth the wait. While I wasn’t crying – and I cried through most of it – I was marvelling at Barr’s descriptions of his early life. A life which wasn’t littered with self-pity or self-loathing, but a deep understanding not only his younger self but also his loved ones. You have to read this book!

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Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman
I have never completed a graphic novel – the pictures making it hard to concentrate – until now. While I love Gaiman, I have never warmed to his novels, so it has been an interesting to discover he works better with images. I still found it difficult to concentrate on it for long periods of time, but I have enjoyed experiencing the beginning of the Sandman series, so much so I will continue to buy and read.

 

 

Poetry Discovered:
How Do I Love Thee? by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Aubade by Phillip Larkin
Valentine by Carol Ann Duffy

How’s July been for you?

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Charlie
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Brilliant, Alice, the page just kept scrolling, you read a lot! And belated happy birthday :) On the fast track to thirty, too, but also feeling optimistic. I think there comes a point when you just have to accept 30’s on its way and suddenly you feel a lot better for accepting it. Then again it’s easier when there are a few years left.