Film and Writing (M.A)
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Book Review: "Between Friends" by Amos Oz
As we all know, Amos Oz is one of my favourite writers of the modern era. Having written some great books such as Judas and Scenes of Village Life - Amos Oz has the ability to take your breath away with the language he uses and the way in which he presents the scenery to the reader. Amos Oz is also incredible at writing human connection and the way in which we fall in and out of love and liking with each other. He had a brilliant career that I'm sure will never quite be forgotten. His book My Michael was a real eye-opener to a lot of people who have read it because of its depiction of dissatisfaction amongst a people who are normally, shadowed in silence. He was truly a great writer and we miss him dearly. Between Friends was his penultimate novel published in 2012.
Book Review: "A Spool of Blue Thread" by Anne Tyler
So, I have probably told everyone and their mother how much I love Anne Tyler's writing. Critics (normally male critics) dismiss her as 'sentimental' because they do not have the depth to understand the softness of syllables in contrast to the tension of situational drama. That is their own problem. Anne Tyler's writing often comes across otherwise as the 'everyman' style - this family could be any of ours, this situation could be any of our own and certainly, this story could be told by our friends about their own or by us about our own. It's pretty much an 'everyman' story. I've read numerous books by her so far and I am planning to read all her others, of course my Julian Barnes read and re-read binge will have to continue concurrently. I am finally reliving the books I loved as a teenager (and this time it's not just The Vampire Chronicles. Although, that was a huge part of it).
"The Maias" by Eça de Queiroz
The Maias: Episodes of Romantic Life is a book by the Portguese author Eça de Queiroz and is about a man who has his life completely turned around, he thinks, by a woman. Ultimately, he finds out some secrets that cause him to nearly have a breakdown and must find his way in world after knowing this incriminating information. It was first published in 1888 and is set during the 1870s and covers mostly the life of the Maias son, Carlos de Maia.
What is Existential Philosophy?
Existentialism is one of the most popular and intense ideas of modern philosophy riddled with problems and puzzles that philosophers since the 19th century have been trying to rationalise and solve. The Internet Encyclopaedia of Philosophy defines existentialism as ‘a catch-all term for those philosophers who consider the nature of the human condition as a key philosophical problem and who share the view that this problem is best addressed through ontology.’ (Burnham, D. Papandreopoulos, G.) It is also mainly concerned with action, that a meaning to a person’s life can only be found in what they can do and what they have done - it states ‘My existence consists of forever bringing myself to being - and, correlatively, fleeing from the dead, inert thing that is the totality of my past actions. Although my acts are free, I am not free not to act; thus existence is characterised also by exigency.’ (Burnham, D. Papandreopoulos, G.) This is a basic format of what existentialism actually entails without further detail and/or reading. Within this study, I seek to create an in-depth map of what existentialism is, where it came from and where it is in our own day. The point of which is to see whether we today are really as existentialist as our own existential crises may suggest.
Book Review: "The Childhood of Jesus" by JM Coetzee
I'm going to have to break it to you here and now: I have not read much JM Coetzee. I have read a little bit. I read Disgrace, which is often considered his masterpiece though I didn't considered much of it compared to his book Slow Man which is pretty good and goes along well with another book if you're reading Saramago's Blindness any time soon. Next, I think I read The Death of Jesus some time ago and remembering not really thinking much of it. I have kept trying again with JM Coetzee because though I do not think too much of him, I definitely do not dislike him. I think his stories are fascinating, but there is so much symbolism that there is normally no room for introspection, analysis and having those thoughts about what he actually meant. It is almost too apparent as Animal Farm is about its criticism of the Soviet Union.
Book Review: "Searching for Caleb" by Anne Tyler
I adore Anne Tyler's writing. I've read her pretty much ever since I was a teenager starting off with her book Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant when I was sixteen. After that, I read books such as The Accidental Tourist and Earthly Possessions. I have returned to her after two years of not reading her works where the last one I read was her newest out at the time (and possibly my favourite out of all of her books) Redhead by the Side of the Road. Her writing is amazing. I tend to differ with people who call her writing 'sentimental' - like The Observer and its 'critic' did. I think that if you cannot understand the softness of the language and its depths, then you come off as fairly underwhelming as a human being. You lack depth and that is on you. As I'm writing this review even, my current book is Anne Tyler's A Spool of Blue Thread.
Book Review: "A Book of Common Prayer" by Joan Didion
Joan Didion was a superpower of literature and culture, her influence was wide and great and she wrote some books that have touched women from every walk of life. Personally, my favourite book by her is The Year of Magical Thinking which is a nonfiction book that she wrote shortly after the death of her husband and it is all about grief and dealing with such a close loved one passing away. It is truly a beautiful book. I normally love Didion's writing but this book entitled A Book of Common Prayer, failed to impress me in a lot of ways. Much of it felt forced, and a lot of the story felt a bit on the surface. I think that Joan Didion's attempts at fiction novels are not as great as her nonfiction. They are not in any way 'bad' books - they are just outshone by books like The White Album, We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live and of course, The Year of Magical Thinking. I think that this book is a prime example of how Didion's fiction can come off slightly weaker - fiction was never as interesting as her life and work anyways.
Book Review: "Love, etc" by Julian Barnes
If I've said it once, I've said it tons of times, Julian Barnes is one of my favourite authors of all time. When I was younger, I read his book Arthur and George and during my teens, I was absolutely hooked on his works. His book The Man in the Red Coat became my favourite book by him and since, I have read tons and tons of stories, books, articles and whatever I can lay my hands on really when it comes to Julian Barnes. Definitely one of the greatest writers of the 20th and 21st centuries, I have always been sure that Barnes will be remembered as a 'classic author' about 100-200 years from now because he deserves it. It's some serious talent he's got and his characters are always really developed, interesting and yet, they are troubled with dissatisfaction.
Book Review: "Before She Met Me" by Julian Barnes
Julian Barnes is one of my favourite authors ever. I spent a long time in my teens reading his works and until a few years ago, Arthur and George was my favourite book by him. Recently, that has been replaced by his newer book about the Belle Epoch called The Man in the Red Coat. Julian Barnes is truly one of the greatest literary talents of the 20th and 21st centuries with his deep wit, his characterisation of incredibly realistic people and his nature to make you laugh and cry - both within the matter of a few pages. Julian Barnes is a massively great author and with his new work in 2022, I hope he continues to write even more. This review is about the 1982 novel Before She Met Me.
Book Review: "In One Person" by John Irving
John Irving is one of those rare writers where everything you read by them is just as good as the last thing you read by them. I first read Irving in my teens and that was the great novel The Cider House Rules. Then I read The World According to Garp. And unfortunately, that was it for a very long time. Coming into contact with John Irving's works again in my 20s because of simply finding them in the library and remembering they were on the list of books I wanted to read, I took up A Prayer for Owen Meany. That is one of those novels that you read and you absolutely positively do not forget it in any way, shape or form. It hits the soul. Most recently I have read his books The Hotel New Hampshire and, the one this review is about, In One Person. And nobody writes situational introspective crisis quite like Irving does - I will tell you that.
Book Review: "A Pale View of Hills" by Kazuo Ishiguro
Published in 1982, this was the first book Kazuo Ishiguro ever wrote and since, it has become a testament to his writing style in which the darker tension lies beneath the surface of the first meaning of the book. Kazuo Ishiguro has always been a brilliant writer from his more commercially known novels such as Never Let Me Go, to his most recent effort Klara and the Sun and all the way to Ishiguro clearly showing off his great prose skills in An Artist of the Floating World and once again to his slightly more confusing novels written less in his classic style but just as interesting as The Unconsoled was. I don't think we ever question whether he is a good writer, just which topic he will try to remove the layers from next. In A Pale View of Hills - Kazuo Ishiguro makes sure that everyone understands that he is here to find your darknesses.
Book Review: "Talking it Over" by Julian Barnes
As you probably already know, Julian Barnes is one of my all-time favourite writers. He has written many books that I have read, enjoyed, reviewed and even studied, including but probably not limited to: Pulse, The Sense of an Ending, Arthur and George, Flaubert's Parrot, The Lemon Table, The Noise of Time, Metroland, A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters, Cross Channel and, possibly my favourite by him, The Man in the Red Coat. This review is about one book I particularly enjoyed called Talking it Over - with all the major themes that signs it off as a Julian Barnes novel, I cannot for the life of me believe how I have not read this one in the past. But I am still glad I found it.