Thursday, 29 August 2013

The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald Review

 I read The Great Gatsby mainly because it has been calling to me from the bookshelf for far too long, but also because I a plan on seeing the film.
            To begin with it is not something I would usually pick to read and review but giving it's infamy I don't think, that as a reader or a writer I can avoid its influence. The plot is surprisingly bland, the characters aren't particularly likeable and are at time harsh but mainly shallow. It is the skill of writing the thing that makes this book special. Fitzgerald has managed to take a plot, cast and setting that could be uninviting and stir up emotion.. It was have been easier (but not easy) to fall back on the parties, to use their obvious luxury to entice the reader. Instead Fitzgerald takes us on a detour to discover West Egg. Each character seems to contain a single trait of human nature and so it is the book combined, or as an entire picture that reflects the world we live in.
             The great Gatsby himself is actually not that great. I think that this is where the beauty of the book lies. It looks past all the pomp and extravagance, using it as a tool to both conceal and reveal Gatsby and the inhabitants of West Egg or further a field. This outer shell of presentation is torn back before the book has begun and so in 180 pages we get to the heart of it all. The period is truly dissected.
               I admire it, the effect the book has had on the public recently and the imagery it contains. The book itself is alluded to occasionally in other writing and so knowing where that comes in is helpful. Fitzgerald's writing is beautiful and more-ish, it's likely I will read more of Fitzgerald's work very soon.

Animal Farm - George Orwell Review

How do you go about criticising a classic?
I always have reservations about this, people love it for a reason, it sticks around for a reason. Well, luckily with Orwells classic I can see why.
This story is so well known, and yet it is still a new experience to read, there aren't a lot of books that can say that for themselves. 

     It is a book that I look forward to reading to my children because it contains all of the problems they will face with authority and gives a brilliant perspective on original thought. Animal Farm is easy to read but still has extreme depth to it. The characters are full and vibrant, the situation familiar but original and the whole tale comes together. The topics of authority and free thought are common in literature and the media but this book presented them to me in a new way that made me really re-evaluate what I was presuming about the government and the world we live in. George Orwell really was on to something, and I find it slightly depressing that things can be spread out so well in these books and the problems criticised and yet no-one of power seems to have taken note.
           The plot is easy to follow and logical, with with a fabulous twist of fate at the end that I was hoping to avoid, even though I knew the story before I read it. This is a great book to read as a writer starting out, it contains a lot of lessons about minimalism and simplicity whilst drawing the reader into your world. Reading this as a first year student at Uni was a great idea because it gave me a refreshingly new perspective on everything.  After reading this book I had a moment of calm, not because anything had changed or I had found some sort of peace but because someone was spelling out what I already thought.

                  A drunken man on a train saw me reading this and then went on to discuss with me the effect that this books ideology had on his real life, his none-book-related life. This is where Animal Farm finds it's market. It revolves around questions, and provokes interaction. The characters are brilliant, you sympathise with them, you want them to do well. They are also well-rounded, you can see their flaws and they are realistic. Yes, their animals, but aren't we all? It is an emotional roller-coaster, and just because the book ends doesn't mean the story has to.
It has been a while since I read the book, but the memory of how it made me perceive the world remains, and I think that is a mark of a great literary experience.
Plus, you can read it to your children and they will love it, rarely does a book have that charm, for both adults and children. Orwell is a pure literary and political genius! That is all there is to know.

Welcome to the Wendy house

Wipe your feet on the cat before you come in.. don't worry he's into that kind of thing. Before you take a seat I must entreat you to sign, here.. and here... and here.. Oh.. and here. Incase of turbulance, please keep your arms down at all times, the exit it located at the top right hand corner of your screen. Be warned, be informed, be beautiful. You do not have to say anything, but anything you do say will be disreguarded and lost to the tinterwibbles for all. Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury! If you care to take your seats, the show is about to begin.
         Much love,