Film and Writing (M.A)
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Book Review: "Birds Without Wings" by Louis de Bernieres
Someone on Reddit said that I should read this when I asked quite an open-ended question (which received way more replies than I thought it would). I've read Louis de Bernieres before in the form of Captain Corelli's Mandolin and yet, I never watched the movie because according to a lot of people who did it ruined the book for them and did not do the book justice at all. I enjoyed the book when I read it and so, as I continue with my journey into this author, I have to thank the person on Reddit that suggested I read Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernieres.
The Attention Crisis
In the last ten to fifteen years, a whole new generation has been born - the generation that has never lived without social media. In some cases, when the child is born, the parents have created a Facebook photo album of them from baby to teenager, or in other cases there have been entire accounts dedicated to this child from the age of only a few months in order for family to communicate with them and then we have the dreaded family who post endless photos on social media of being ‘with the new baby’. As these children grew up, they have been taught to seek attention and approval from social media. They have seen ‘social media influencers’ as people to look up to and aspire to be since communication has been commodified as ‘likes’ and ‘comments’. The more you can get of these things, the more popular and successful you seem to others. Social media plays on the insecurity that you are never really going to be popular and who is more concerned about popularity than teenagers? Nobody. Concerned about everything from the way they look to how their lives have been curated online, teenagers are the most vulnerable to falling into every trap on social media from buying things from most of the adverts they get to following pages that tell them suggestively that they aren’t good enough to achieve high like-comment status. But why do they seek attention and what are the real harms of it? I want to explore in-depth what it means to be a teenager wanting attention online.
Book Review: "Shantaram" by Gregory David Roberts
The Reddit Book Club had a new book for February and March of 2022 - Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. When I first saw it, it had to take a back-burner because I was, at the time, in the middle of some other books and a TBR as tall as I am. Ultimately, when I did read it, I started off really weirdly into the book - it was as if I wasn't sure whether I wanted to read it or whether I was only reading it because it was the book club book for those two months. At almost one thousand pages, Shantaram was about to blow my mind, but first it had to make me hate it.
Book Review: "The Possession of Mr Cave" by Matt Haig
If you know, you know. I'm going through a difficult time at the moment. I'm up and down, I'm here and there, I'm sick and I'm not. But, I can assure you that I'm definitely trying with this content. Enough about me though, more about the book. Matt Haig is a great writer. Some people I have seen call The Midnight Library a really overrated book, but I thought it was written beautifully. This book we have here called The Possession of Mr Cave really hit me. It was not like anything by Matt Haig I had read before and I really liked it a lot.
Reading "Shantaram" by Gregory David Roberts was an Experience.
It has washed over me all of a sudden in a Reddit thread that I need to read Shantaram. But there are also so many other books to read at this time, from reading books to work books to personal development books. But Shantaram has to fit in somewhere. I got it on my Kindle App on my phone after much thinking because I was on the bus and wanted to check it out. Now, had I seen Shantaram in the shops? Possibly, but I paid little attention to it when it came to other books. Did I know how long it was? No. On my Kindle App it simply came up with a file size and if you were to say a file size to me then you may as well be speaking in an ancient alien language - I haven't got a clue what you're talking about. Long story short; nobody told me this book was nearly a thousand pages long and whilst I was in the midst of reading other books - I felt like I'd committed some sort of crime.
Book Review: "An Artist of the Floating World" by Kazuo Ishiguro
You know when you're reading a book and you come across certain sections where you think: please don't get anymore emotionally destructive and then it does? Well that is exactly how I feel whenever I read Kazuo Ishiguro. A while back, I went on an Ishiguro binge, this was around the same time The Buried Giant was released and honestly, I never actually made it on to An Artist of the Floating World for some reason. I just completely missed it. Well, now I have read it and it is so beautiful I almost started to cry by the end. I am absolutely in love with this book.
Book Review: "A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing" by Eimear McBride
I remember reading my first Eimear McBride novel entitled The Lesser Bohemians and I cannot tell you how bored I was really. I decided that I'd lay off the post-modern stream of consciousness novel for a while and move on to reading stuff I actually enjoyed. I came across A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing whilst in university and did not actually read it from the library because of the blurb kind of putting me off. When I came across it again just a few days before this review is being written - I gave in and started to read. It didn't seem so bad at first. Please note, I said at first and not all the way through - because it wasn't all the way through.
Book Review: "The L-Shaped Room" by Lynne Reid Banks
Writing books in some kind of dialect and making it believable can be hard. It's not so much about the way in which you drop and change letters, but also about the way the sentences are structured. In some cases, this can be detrimental to understanding the book and finding it entertaining. For example, The Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon is written in dialect according to syntax mainly, and sometimes it even has dialect according to spelling. In this book, there is a lot of syntax-based dialect changes in order to make it truthful to time and place. However, I think that this actually makes the book seem more cliché than it is. I would have personally gone for something written quite standardly with other more symbolic things to point out setting and time.
Book Review: "The Woman Destroyed" by Simone de Beauvoir
I have read a lot of Simone De Beauvoir in my life. These include the books The Second Sex, A Very Easy Death, Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter and some others. Most recently though, I have picked up from the library, a Simone de Beauvoir book I had never even heard of before entitled The Woman Destroyed. A brilliantly written book encased with Simone De Beauvoir's existentialist-tinted feminism, there is something deeply encapsulating but also absolutely despairing about this book. An introspective text that can be difficult for some to get into, it is riddled with hints and clues as to how existentialism is changing. Three stories have been woven together in this course of brilliance.
Book Review: "Now in November" by Josephine Johnson
When I say I want a dramatic story filled with intense emotional turmoil and great turbulence, I mean a story like The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough, The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, The Sailor Who Fell From Grace with the Sea by Yukio Mishima or, this one. It's called Now in November and it's by Josephine Johnson. Her debut novel written and published by the age of just 24 years' old. It tells the story of emotional breakdown in a family that has been practically kicked to the bottom of the barrell. An intense and foreboding story, it haunts the reader with its incredible descriptions, it beautiful landscapes and its amazing character development.
Book Review: "History of a Pleasure Seeker" by Richard Mason
Flowery language, over-the-top descriptions and hedonism in intense amounts has been something in literature that makes a great mix to fascinate me. But sometimes, it can turn into a bit of a mess. For example: the greatness of The Picture of Dorian Gray shows us each of these things in equal amounts with extended metaphors, hints and foreshadowings lurking around every corner. The symbolism is intense, fiery and yet added for impact only when necessary. Even in Marquis de Sade's 120 Days of Sodom, there is something incredible about the symbolism and hidden meaning presented in the text. Unfortunately, History of a Pleasure Seeker tried too hard to add all of these things into a story that was pretty half-baked from the beginning.
Book Review: "Scenes from a Village Life" by Amos Oz
Amos Oz was a fantastic writer and I have yet only read a couple of works by him, including but not limited to: Judas, My Michael and obviously our current topic of discussion: Scenes of Village Life. One thing I have always loved about his writing style is its flow. The style is always very fluent that even when the most intense emotion is taking place, it never feels out of place. It feels like this is just the way it is supposed to happen. This is also true of this book Scenes of Village Life in which the stories have no beginning and no end. Yet, every story has its own personality. Personally, I think that this is probably the best Amos Oz book I have read to date.