Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Review: Eleanor and Park

Title: Eleanor and Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: YA Contemporary
Year: 2012
Pages: 325

Eleanor is the new girl at school, whose private life is anything but perfect. She doesn't quite fit in at school, and is hesitant to talk to the guy sitting next to her in the bus, Park.

Of course, this sounds like your average cliché young adult love story. Be warned, it's not. Yes, it's cute at many instants, absolutely adorable sixteen-year-olds falling in love for the first time. But it's also heart breaking. While reading it, I noticed it was well-written, but I didn't notice it was so realistically and emotionally done that it would hit me so hard. But it did. Although Eleanor was at times annoying, I understood why, and I loved her as a character. Park, as well, is just a beautiful character. Yet again another young adult contemporary I devoured.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

February & March TBR

The reason why I'm merging the two months into one TBR (to be read) post, is that all of these books are for school. This term, I'm taking two courses, both of which require quite a bit of reading, so I'll probably have no time to read anything else. This, however, I do not regard as a bad thing, because I'm super excited to read all of these books.

So the first course I'm taking is on the author Vladimir Nabokov, and in the order in which we're reading these novels (which is also the order of  first publication), these are the books we're reading:
Lolita - I've actually already read this one in May of last year, and I loved it. It is the reason why I decided taking this course. Anyway, this is about a grown man who falls in love with the twelve-year-old Lolita.
Pnin - About a professor who struggles to maintain his dignity through a series of comic and sad misunderstandings.
Pale Fire - I couldn't quite understand the synopses on the back of the book, but what I gathered from it is that it's a parody on detective fiction.
Speak Memory - This is Nabokov's autobiographical work
Ada or Ardor - This is the longest novel, but it also sounds super interesting - it's a love story troubled by incest, but also described as "a fairy tale, historical parody, an erotic satire, an exploration of the passing of time, and a supreme work of the imagination". 

The other course is a reading list. We could choose Dutch, French, German, Italian, English and international. I chose English. Then we got a huge list of books, of which we had to pick books adding up to a certain amount of pages. I chose:
The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood -   Zenia, a beautiful villainess, a man's dream and a woman's nightmare, is dead. However, five years later, she returns.
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad - Dark allegory describes the narrator's journey up the Congo river and his meeting with a Mr Kurtz.
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner - The death and burial of a character told by members of her family.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley - A sci-fi about a future in which World Controllers have created a supposedly ideal society.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee -  This story is told through the eyes of Scout, a lawyer's daughter, while this lawyer is defending a black man charged with the rape of a white girl (set in the 1930s). I read this about four or five years ago, so I'm interested to see whether I'll get more out of it now.
Beloved by Toni Morrison - About a woman who, eighteen years ago, escaped slavery.
1984 by George Orwell - Dystopian sci-fi novel about a future in which personal identity no longer exists.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley - A doctor creates a misunderstood monster.
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Murial Spark - About a teacher who has powerful influence on a group of 'special girls'.
Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck - A family during the Great Depression traveling through America trying to find work.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson - In seeking to discover his inner-self, Dr. Jekyll discovers a monster
The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh - A novel about a mortician who gets dragged into a love triangle.
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde - Story of a young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty.
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf - A day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, a high-society woman in a post-World War one England.