Kings of the Island

I’ve been making my way through several older novels that have been on my “to-read” list for what feels like years now. The book I decided to conquer next was Lord of the Flies by William Golding. This classic novel was a trip and a half, discussing the fragility of human nature and groupthink in a pseudo-World War III situation. Apparently, this was a rewriting of another book, but written as a way to make the children more “realistic.” Reading this, I’ve noticed several things about myself. I am not the biggest fan of dystopian novels. If you do, you may want to take the next section with a grain of salt.

The book follows the exploit of a group of boys as they crash land on an inhabited island. The entire time, I felt I was yelling at the characters for their quick descent into madness. I don’t know if it was the fact that it was a short novel or the fact that you had to imagine everything happening in a shorter amount of time than what really happened. I do find the concepts behind groupthink in a more academic sense. I found The Lucifer Effect fascinating because of every fact, but the senselessness got to me. I know that it was supposed to make a point in many ways, but maybe I just would like to believe that children are not as cruel as Golding made them out to be in this novel. I think, in many ways, I was more horrified than interested in the character development that we saw portrayed. Was I meant to feel this way, or did I read too much into everything? I’ll let you decide.

The course of true love…

…never was this confusing as it is portrayed in Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. That is if love is just the spitting of words on the page and no actual course of where it is going throughout the timeline. For lack of a better phrase, this love triangle explores a world that really can only happen in the past with strange gender roles and political arguments that mark the time that it occurs within. Don’t go outside of your class. Outside of your husband, you really don’t have anything. You better marry before the age of 21, even though you are still immature and really shouldn’t be getting into a serious relationship with someone significantly older than you. You know, the usual.

While this book is a mental roller coaster with many things going on at once, it is a good read, as long as you don’t overthink it. There are racist themes that you can miss if you don’t look up what some words mean, some very strange views on sex and sexual assault from both male and female characters that can be pretty mind-boggling, and too much talk about what occurs in the bathroom. Honestly, a “romance” novel should not spend as much time in the bathroom as this one does. That might have been the strangest part of all of this. Overall, it was a good book if you like period pieces, although I do not know how accurate it is to the setting. A very absorbing story that is hard to put down.

Gone to the Animals

The world has gone to the animals, or at least a small portion of it. Manor Farm–excuse me–Animal Farm has been taken over by the animals from their evil masters, the humans, because the best way to talk about the human condition is to not actually talk about humans. Animal Farm by George Orwell is a masterpiece when talking about power dynamics, because all animals are equal, but some are more equal.

I think is is a wonderful piece on talking about how power corrupts. I wouldn’t say that it advocates for any particular point of view, even though I believe that many people may say that it does. I mean, I now know where calling people sheep comes from. It is really hard to describe this book without giving important plot points way, but a feel that this needs to be experienced first hand rather than from a summary somewhere. It’s a quick read, so don’t worry. Definitely take time out of your way to pick up this book.

So It Goes

I’ve been sitting with a blank screen for an hour trying to truly capture how I felt about this book. I feel that I should begin by saying that I, for the most part, hate any story that talks about World War II from an American point of view. I usually find it very disrespectful considering the country’s many flaws that took place over that period of time and celebrates their involvement way too much. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut is a welcome reprieve from the glory that usually comes from talking about war.

This book is the story of a prisoner of war by a prisoner of war. What I love is that this goes into the dark and gritty reality of war. War sucks, no matter what side you’re on, and does not deserve to be glorified. I think this book is an amazing representation what should be shown when discussing the realities that we live in. I definitely will need to read this again to make sure that I got all the messages this book was trying to convey. I definitely recommend any one to read this book. It was a beautiful read that I will have to get back to again.

Along that Yellow Brick Road Pt 7

Last book, I said that it was a good stopping point for the series. After reading the seventh book, The Patchwork Girl of Oz, I completely stand by that. The opening book even included a stupid reason as to how our “Historian” was able to reach our friend Dorothy: telegraph waves that somehow got to Oz. I wish I was joking, but Baum is honestly lucky that these books are for children and that I’m already dedicated to reading all of these books.

New characters were introduced that really never went anywhere. They could have been interesting but the focus when back to Dorothy and Ozma. There was a fun adventure that was wrapped up way too quickly. It was your basic fetch quest mission trying to get items where getting one took half the book while everything else was lost. Also, I have the feeling that everyone decided to forget the all-powerful Glinda the Good. Everything could have been solved easily with less effort and travel.

An Entirely New World Pt 2

In this book, we have journeyed back to Narnia in order to save the world yet again. We learn that the year spent on Earth for our four siblings equals hundreds, if not thousands of years, in Narnia. Supernatural world follows supernatural timelines. As you have probably seen from my reviews of the Oz series, I’m usually all for this. Except for this time, it was not worth it.

In this book, the characters spent the majority of the time sitting around and talking. Adventure is usually what these books shout out as their main appeal: explore this supernatural world. I was more than halfway through the book before the characters even traveled across the land. They listened to a story for a good amount of time. They argued about what direction they were going in when they finally did actually get moving. There was really nothing of substance happening in the story. It felt like that author was trying to either capture the magic of the previous book or do some really bad foreshadowing or the next book, but I’m leaning toward the former. I hope the next book is something worth reading.

Life’s Treasure Hunt

Seeing the world in the eyes of a child can be both magical and heartbreaking. Especially when you are aware of how heartbreaking the entire story may be. As a millennial, at least I think I am one, my life was revolved around the after-effects of 9-11 and the most recent War on Nouns. This book contains one such tragic story.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer tells the story of Oskar, a child who is trying to find meaning and some way of connecting to his dad after his tragic’s death. Through this child’s eyes and as he connects with others to try and figure out the one mystery that may “complete” his life, you are left with heartbreaking moments as you discover other “childish” characters who seem to be unable to let go of that past. Because that might be the meaning that we are all looking for: a way of trying to live after the darkest of times.

Down the Rabbit Hole

It is the final week of spoopy month 2021, and I decided to read what should be considered a classic since the movie came out: Coraline by Neil Gaiman. I mean, this is a children’s story, right? It shouldn’t be that scary, right? Wrong.

The entire time I was reading, I was switching between two thoughts: this is the perfect book for October two thoughts and this should not have been written for children. The creepiness factor was there the entire time, and I was on the edge of my seat. I’ll be watching the movie for the first time soon (no judgment) to see what they decided to replace to make it more child-friendly. Great horror story, I just won’t be reading it to a child anytime soon.

Adding Horror to the 60s Pt 2

I have finished reading Lovecraft Country, and what can I say besides how fantastic the book was. I understand why it was made into a TV show; I just hope it did the book justice. Even though the stories are seemingly disjointed, there is a very clean wrap-up at the end.

One of the things I enjoyed most about this book is the realism. Sometimes when there are supernatural elements in stories, you have to suspend disbelief to a great extent. Some aspects of the story are based on stereotypes which are not very hard to believe that there would be people who believed in that sort of thing, such as the Magic Negro. Yet still surprising you enough the everything would still come as a surprise as you didn’t know what story. No black person died during this book, which is a plus. Also, I love a good villain to hate. What could be better?

Adding Horror to the 60s Pt 1

Spoopy season is continued by my reading of seemingly connected horror stories. I’ve taken the adage to heart: if they make an adaptation, it must be good. I’m confident that no one has said that, but I’m pretty sure that is the only reason why I’m reading Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff was turned into a TV show. So far, the book is fantastic. I do not want to put the book down between stories, but I have tests to study for and experiments to conduct.

One thing that I love about the book is that stories revolve around Black people. It varies rare to consume something within the genre that doesn’t evolve all the black people dying or lasting the entire situation only to die at the end. Giving the setting of 1960s America, the realism of the characterization and character interaction adds to the horror in a very Get Out way. If that movie was not an inspiration in some way, I would be surprised. I guess I’ll have to wait a bit to get through the rest of the saga.

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