Saturday, 13 January 2018

Books to Read January ǀ 2018


To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee

This is a story that leaves an impression on every single reader. Most people read this during the course of their life and if you haven't, then it is definitely something to consider. Harper Lee develops characters so beautifully that each is associated with a different, distinct characteristic. Part of the reason I don't want to read her second book is because of the enormous respect I hold for Atticus Finch, Jem and Scout, I'm not ready for their positive attributes to be questioned yet. Complex themes are explored in depth through the eyes of a young child, in a simple and understandable style. There are constant moral conflicts presented, with a strong emphasis on the idea right and wrong. Lee focuses on a series of issues constituting a southern American town in the nineteen-thirties, racism being the most prominent. Described is not just social inequality, but the human condition and mentality. Racism is supposed to make you uncomfortable. The relevance of this today serves as another reason to read it, besides the understandable prose and the general ingenuity of it.



Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison

As an absolutely hilarious, light-hearted read, 'Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging' provides a stark contrast to 'To Kill a Mocking Bird'. It is a simple, witty and genuinely funny diary account of a teenage girl's life. I first read this at the age of thirteen and giggled at almost every other page. If you have a teenage daughter around this age, I could not recommend this more. You could describe it as a funnier, female version of 'The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4', or as very similar to 'Bridget Jones's Diary' but for a younger audience perhaps. I am still able to read it now and laugh at every chapter. If ever you need some cheering up, open this book.



The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz

Like all of the other books I have reviewed today, this is a very easy read. My favourite thing is the very dramatic tension built up to in the end. Although it is easily anticipated and very much expected, it still scares you in the same way that many of his novels succeed in doing so. You wait to realise the outcome of a situation with baited breath, making the chapter worth reading. Structurally this was also quite interesting. I liked the way that the first chapter was written and then soon after dissected by one of the other characters. Whilst there is no denying that Horowitz is an excellent writer, I would like to offer some criticism to this particular story of his. I came to the conclusion that this was an unsuccessful attempt to make the transition to adult literature. Writing yourself into a book and making a cameo appearance is difficult at the best of times. As a child Alex Rider (another character of Horowitz's) is forgiven for his perception of his surroundings and people. However, Anthony as an adult, comes across as quite judgemental. Being a first-person account, as a reader we gain a lot insight into Horowitz's life, which is probably not fictional, and is also irrelevant to the story line. Within the book, he mentions that he is growing further away from his audience (of children) with every year. This lead me to a conclusion which I haven't yet managed to shake: that this seems to be reminiscent of some form of midlife crisis. There were some very obvious techniques used, particularly towards the end, which arguably would have sat more comfortably in a children's novel. 'The Word is Murder', I believe, will act as a stepping stone to Anthony Horowitz, as he refines his literature to be fitting to an adult reader. I look forward to reading whatever he writes next.


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