Film and Writing (M.A)
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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.
Book Review: "A Traveller at the Gates of Wisdom" by John Boyne
Now, it's been a very long time since I have read anything by John Boyne and really, I have missed him a lot. A very long time ago, I read This House is Haunted and even longer before that I read the all-important The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. I knew he wrote other books but after checking the blurb of The Heart's Invisible Furies I was kind of put off seeing that he was writing soppy romance-based stuff now. Recently, I decided to put that aside and check out a book called The Traveller at the Gates of Wisdom and now, I'm stuck because I think that this is possibly one of the best books I've read this year and yet, there are some points that I am really not getting about it. I am stuck on a very divisive fence.
Book Review: "The Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt.
The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction is one of the most prestigious awards in fiction writing and honestly, there have been some amazing winners in the past including: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, Empire Falls by Richard Russo, The Hours by Michael Cunningham and a whole bunch of others. Now that I've mentioned these alone, you can kind of see a common theme of emotional depth of character, intense descriptions and atmospheres, simplistic plots that overwhelm and intensify as the book goes on. That's all well and good and possibly some of the criteria for winning the award. Unfortunately, I cannot say that I understand entirely how The Goldfinch was chosen to stand next to these. With hardly any character development and clichés at every corner, The Goldfinch proves that its prose is a good start that turns into a bunch of washy nonsense as the book goes on.
Book Review: "Nocturnes" by Kazuo Ishiguro
There is no doubt about the fact that Kazuo Ishiguro is possibly one of the greatest writers of the 20th/21st centuries and that he has contributed to the evolution of modern literature in countless ways with his magnum opus Remains of the Day which has since become a classic British Novel and his book of dystopia, Never Let Me Go. He has also written some absolutely incredible books, some I have read more recently than others including, but not limited to: A Pale View of the Hills, The Unconsoled and, the intensely beautiful An Artist of the Floating World. Kazuo Ishiguro returned to the awe-inspiring emotionla dystopia he had created in Never Let Me Go to write his latest novel, Klara and the Sun which, in my opinion, was absolutely brilliant. I simply cannot wait to see what the Nobel Prize for Literature winner does next. But for now, this review is about his book: Nocturnes.
Book Review: "A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters" by Julian Barnes
As you probably know already, Julian Barnes is one of my favourite authors ever. My favourite book by him was Arthur and George before his epic The Man in the Red Coat came out and then, that was my favourite. Julian Barnes has a very particular way of writing, with a strange sense of humour, a brave social critique and often characters who are going through the depths of emotional or existential turmoil, even Julian Barnes' short stories have and intense impact on the soul. The most recent Julian Barnes book I have read was called The Lemon Table and it was a book of short sotries. It was absolutely fantastic. Now that I'm engaging in more of his short stories - I can honestly say that this man can pretty much write anything well.