Fahrenheit 451- Ray Bradbury
I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was well written and well plotted. I really liked how Bradbury questioned the worth of technological advancements and how governments use them to essentially brainwash the public. They didn’t want people to be educated and empathetic towards other people, so they discouraged reading to such a point that it became illegal. I write notes as I read these books, to give me something to look back on when I’m writing these posts, and this one got a lot of notes. Governments will never need to burn books so long as people continue to stop reading and being critical. We have a consumerist society and all of our media is getting shorter and becoming a constant bombardment. But there will always be those loyal readers, who think critically about what they are reading. This is what launches Guy Montag into the world on the other side of his fire thrower. After meeting Clarisse he begins to question things and remember things that he had not thought of in-depth before. It is as if he is dormant, waiting to be activated. Once he is we see a change in him, instead of being latent and without agency he becomes someone who makes his own decisions and takes risks. He begins to ask questions and deviate from the norm. One thing that I thought there needed to be more of was Beatty. Guy’s boss at the firehouse is clearly well-read himself, and yet he still condemns Guy for taking and reading books. In my copy of the book Bradbury has written an introduction, in which he explains that Beatty originally had more of a role in the book, but he cut those bits out during the editing process. He also mentioned that Clarisse should have come back at the end of the book, out in the wild, well and good. He wrote that he had considered revising the book after publication, but that he had too much respect for his younger self to change his work. It was reflective of who he was when he wrote it, which was actually one of the main points of the novel itself.
Slaughterhouse 5- Kurt Vonnegut
I found it really difficult to read this book for extended periods of time. Each time I put it down, I struggled to pick it up again. I’m not sure where I stand on this book, I think it was so not what I was expecting, to the point of meaning that I don’t know whether I like it or not. I did enjoy reading it, even if I found it difficult to keep picking it up. I liked that there is a question all the way through the novel about whether there is actual time travelling, or whether he is just remembering or dreaming, or ill, following the trauma of the war, or the head injury that he suffered.
I don’t really know what I think of it. I think I will have to read it again to figure out what I think about it and whether I like it or not. I don’t think that it’s actually science-fiction, I think that it’s a novel about PTSD and the after-effects of the war. But what I will say is that I don’t research these books before reading them, or writing about them because I don’t want that to influence what I think or feel about them, including spoilers! So I have no idea if I’m right about that or not. So it goes.
Let me know if you’ve read it and what you thought about it, I’d be interested in hearing what you thought it was about.
Stoner- John Williams
This was January’s book club pick, so there was a post last week that went into more detail about what I thought, but I will say right now that I liked it. I thought that it was beautiful and sad. And that I will love it forever.
I will leave the blurb here:
William Stoner enters the University of Missouri at nineteen to study agriculture. Later, he becomes a teacher. He marries the wrong woman. His life is quiet, and after his death his colleagues remember him rarely. Yet with truthfulness, compassion and intense power, this novel uncovers a story of universal value. Stoner tells of the conflicts, defeats and victories of the human race that pass unrecorded by history, and reclaims the significance of an individual life. A reading experience like no other, itself a paean to the power of literature, it is a novel to be savoured.
Click here to go to the book club post.
Snotgirl vol. 1- Bryan Lee O’Malley and Leslie Hung
I know that this received mixed reviews from people who read graphic novels more than I do, and I feel weird saying that I liked it when other people who know more than I do didn’t like it, but I say that I like what I like. And I liked this. I borrowed this off my friend Tim who loves Bryan Lee O’Malley and I have to say that I liked it a lot. I liked that it took the piss out of its own vapid central character, and I actually quite liked that it has a bit of a slow burn for the story arc. I will say that I can imagine that if I had read it in its original five installments it may have been more frustrating, however, I read it as a volume and I didn’t think it frustrating at all. I thought that the mystery about what is happening to Lottie and what’s going on with this experimental medication was intriguing and I can’t wait to read the second volume later this year.
I also loved Leslie Hung’s art style. I loved the colours! It’s just gorgeous, and I can’t wait for more! (I’m definitely not an art critic, I don’t even know the right words to describe the aspects of it that I liked)
I also got most of the way through Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell and I’m looking forward to finishing that and letting you all know what I thought of it at the end of next month. Don’t forget to leave a comment and let me know what you thought of all the books that I read this month!