Sunday, 6 November 2016

What I read in October

October has been one of my most productive reading months in a long time. Granted, all the books I've read have been for university, but it doesn't mean I've enjoyed them any less; if anything, listening to passionate people talk about them in lectures has made me a more conscientious reader. If you're interested, the first two books and the poem were read for English Literature, and the last two for Comparative Literature. In the next few weeks I'm hoping to publish posts about both of these courses, but for now this is just what I've read this month:

Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
I think most people have probably heard of Jekyll and Hyde, it's become an integrated part of British culture and is one of the most well known examples of Victorian Gothic literature. For me, I think this is one of the things that 'spoiled' it for me, in the sense that I knew the twist. I loved the creepy atmosphere and the character of Mr Utterson, but definitely knowing what the mystery was kind of distracted me from the suspense Stevenson creates.

Mrs Dalloway

I had an interesting relationship with this book! As one of my close friends will know very well, I HATED it for the first 20 pages or so. The change came after a lecture about the context of the novel with regards to the emerging popularity of film at the time. I started reading as if the whole thing was a film, taken in a single camera shot. It totally changed my opinion, and I started to really enjoy the stream of consciousness narrative that lots of people really dislike. I found that when I visualised was was happening it was much easier to follow, so if you're having trouble getting through this book I think that's the key. Mrs Dalloway was definitely one of the best books I read this month, and I enjoyed it so much more than I thought I would.

The Waste Land

Not technically a novel, but I thought I would include it anyway. The Waste Land is totally different to any other poem I've read before- there was no consistent narrative that could be followed all the way through and seems to be made up of unrelated chunks. I liked the way that as you look deeper, it's possible to pick out imagery or themes that connect the chunks.

The House of Ulloa

Another of my favourite books this month. I really loved Bazan's ironic narrative, and actually found it quite funny. Julien is possibly one of my favourite characters in a long time, and the plot line too was really engaging. It's set in the Spanish countryside, which was an environment I wasn't too familiar with in terms of literature, but i liked the atmosphere that was created. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys novels from the 19th century, or who is particularly interested in Spanish culture. A really good read.

And now we get to Pleasure. I really really really didn't like this book. It follows the numerous affairs of Andrea, a member of high Italian society and his numerous affairs particularly with two women, Elena and Maria. I found the characters hard to relate to, the plot difficult to follow and the description over the top. D'Annunzio's constant classical and artistic references went over my head, and my lack of recognition with regards to them felt isolating and irritated me. It was really difficult to read, and if something is difficult to read, I'm usually not a fan. You might enjoy this book if you're particularly interested in Italian society, and I do know a lot of people who really love it, but I personally wouldn't recommend it.

So, those were the books I've read this month! I hope you enjoyed it, and are inspired to read one for yourself!

E x


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