Sunday, 17 August 2014

Review: Out of Mind // Hersenschimmen

Title: Out of Mind (Hersenschimmen)
Author: J. Bernlef
Genre: Contemporary literature (I guess)
Year: 1984
Pages: 125

This novel was originally written in Dutch, and I've also read it in that language. As an English translation does exist, I feel justified writing this review in English. It should however be noted that I could not find an English copy (online) under 127 pounds. 

Out of Mind centres around 71-year-old Maarten who figures out he has been having trouble remembering  lately.  This story beautifully describes his and his wife's struggle with getting older.

As this is quite a short book, it will be no surprise I read this book within 24 hours. At one point, around page 100, I put it down as it was time to go to bed. However, it took me a while to disconnect with the fictional world, and mostly the protagonist. For some reason I remained in his mindset for some time, thinking I was the one with dementia. I clearly understand this sounds crazy, but I guess the only thing I can conclude from that is how phenomenal this author writes. It has been a while since I've been so engrossed in a novel - identifying with a character so much while he is so completely unlike me.
When I continued reading in the morning, it felt different. Because of Maarten's change in character, I felt completely disconnected, and although of course I cared for him, I could no longer feel the empathy I felt the previous night. It took much effort to get through the last pages mainly due to the writing style. Now I understand that this can easily be some literary device: the author allowing us to detach from the protagonist just like a. He does to himself, and b. The world around him does. However, it did drag on too long for me (considering the full length of the story). Therefore, rather than rating it 4 stars, it'll have to do with 3.5

Friday, 15 August 2014

Book Haul!

A while back, I bought yet another bunch of books :) 

Wild by Cheryl Strayed
This book tells the story of the author who, when she feels she has nothing left to lose, goes on a hike - the Pacific Crest Trail. This has been made into a film with Reese Witherspoon which will come out in America in December.
Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski
Ham on Rye is Bukowski's most autobiographical work. It follows Henry Chineski - a boy bullied through high school and growing up into alcoholism. 
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel GarcĂ­a Marquez
The main character, Florentino Ariza falls in love with a beautiful woman, but she rejects him and marries a rich doctor. 50 Years later, the doctor dies, and Florentino tries to woo her again. 
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Celie, a young black woman with a though childhood - being raped by her father as well as being forced to marry an awful man. This story follows her in her journey to finding joy in life. 
The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
The War of the Worlds is about an alien invasion set in London. 
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
A plane with a bunch of schoolboys crashes on an Island. At first the children are excited - living without parents, nobody telling them what to do. But then life out there turns out to be a lot harder than they expected it to be.
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Fifteen-year-old Alex robs, rapes, tortures, and murders people. He is then jailed and the State tries to reform him. 
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Sixteen-year-old Holden talks about a couple of days in his life after he's been expelled from school.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
In the world in which this is set, Firemen start fires, and literature is on the brink of extinction. 
Slaughterhouse-five by Kurt Vonnegut
This is an anti-war novel, centred around the bombing of Dresden. 
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
In this post-apocalyptic novel, a man and his son walk alone through America, trying to survive. 

Woah, writing those summaries made me realise even more how depressing all these novels are. However, I'm excited for all of those! I feel like all these books - except for Wild - are modern classics everyone should have read and I feel horrible for not having read them yet, so I'll try and read these as soon as possible!

Friday, 8 August 2014

Reading Slump

I have not been posting anything the past week. This is the result of a terrible reading slump. The last book I finished was If I Stay and that was on July 22nd. I did not really love this book, and so was the case for quite some books I read prior to that. Consequently I did not feel like reading anything - afraid I would not enjoy it.

In these few weeks I have started some books, which I have not yet finished, and probably won't in the near future: 
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis 
        I was so excited to be reading this book. Its premise sounded so interesting, yet I did not at all like it,             mostly due to the writing style. However, I feel this is merely because of my reading slump and will                 probably finish this book later (though, as said before, not in the near future) 
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
        I had intended to join a booktube readalong for this novel, and I have started it. However, it's just too           dense and too difficult and I've put it down for now. 
Discworld 1: The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett
        Certainly too confusing for my state of mind at that time. Not sure if I will ever pick it up again. 

However, today's little story has a happy ending! Last night I started reading A Series of Unfortunate Events 1: The Bad Beginning and I just finished it this morning! 

So do look forward to some new posts! I have two reviews to write and got an exciting haul coming up, so please check back soon!