Lord of the Flies by William Golding

8016155I have no words to describe this book; simply stunning, incredibly disturbing yet it was such a delight to read.

This book had been on my radar for quite some time and I had been meaning to read it and then I got sent this by my Twitter friend who said she wanted to hear my thoughts on this, so here you go;

I must admit the litany of descriptions of the island made me hold up a little bit. I had to reread the same part over and over in an attempt to visualize what the island looks like and what paths the characters are taking, etc, etc… it got me stumped. That said, the writing is absolutely gorgeous and the plot is magnificent – incredibly dark and heavy, it made me feel sick in the stomach. I cannot say anything but AMAZING.

What I found quite disturbing and jarring was Jack’s transformation from a boy to nothing but a bloodthirsty savage; he is gradually stripped away from his rationality and fair judgement, and gets obsessed with hunting and even becomes capable of a horrific murder – it literally sent chills down my spine. So unnerving, so spine-chilling.

You may find the first half is kind of slow at first but the latter half is definitely a page-turner. I loved how the creepiness begins to crawl into every sentence and each scene and how the descriptions get more and more graphic as the story moves on. The jolt definitely comes in the latter half and it only gets intensified from there.

The cast of characters and the dynamics are just brilliant. In my personal opinion, the main two characters, Ralph and Jack are at the opposites end of the spectrum; Ralph represents rationality and order while Jack savagery and feral instinct and I found it really well done, simply stunning.
The power struggle happens in the latter half is also gripping, too. Despite Ralph’s attempt to bring order to the group and hold everyone together again, the small society crumbles and the assembly ends up a complete flop; Jack starts to gain ground and eventually assumes power – he literally reigns  as an invincible sovereign in the uninhibited island with the charismatic authority. This gradual power transfer is written so perfectly, it’s just glorious and riveting.

The last four chapters may be too graphic and horrific to read; I actually had to put it down so many times and take a breather to calm down. My heart was beating so fast that I thought I could hear my heart was bumping against my rib cage.

Could this really happen to kids, or us were we left to our own devices with no adult supervision or intervention?
Could our mind really be grawed at and overtaken by our own inherit feral instinct?

Such idea like those made me think, really THINK.
I honestly don’t want to admit it, I really want to refuse, but I also know it CAN happen and that’s what I found the most horrendous.

Nevertheless, I can also say that’s where things start to happen and the plot becomes intense and captivating. It’s gory, yes, but it’s like watching a horror movie between your fingers – you cannot stand the goriness but you want to see how things unfold.  That’s what happened to me.

Like I mentioned, I did struggle to grasp the story and took me some time to get into the flow, but I am now glad that I made it to the end.
Since the writing is rather graphic, this is definitely not for the faint of heart, this is not for everyone, but I think this story will stick with me and I’m sure I’ll come back to this at least more than once. I quite enjoyed it.

Crazy Book Haul Part 2

Hello, all!
Since the books that I mentioned in my Crazy Classic Book Haul have finally arrived, I’m going to do my Crazy Book Haul Part 2 as I promised.
It’s supposed to be my Crazy Classic Book Haul Part 2, but I’ve decided to lump them up with some other books I got in the last couple of weeks.

The books that I got are:

books

(From top left to bottom right)

  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • The Man Who Loved Children by Christina Stead
  • Tenth of December by George Saunders
  • The Comforters by Muriel Spark
  • The Nightwalker by Sebastian Fitzek
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote
  • Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  • Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
  • Middlemarch by George Elliot

 

I remember pre-ordering The Hate U Give at the end of last year. It wasn’t like I had my eye on this book but I happened to bump into this book while I was browsing Amazon and the premise caught my eye. I immediately decided to get this book because I thought it would be important to read books like this given the time and the world we live in.
Right now, I’m on a huge Classic kick so I haven’t gotten around to actually reading this, but hopefully I can read this in the coming months.

The Comforters and The Man Who Loved Children are what I got after watching one of my favorite Booktubers, Mementomori video. He vehemently gushed about how much he loved these books and how, without fail, Muriel Spark has hit his comfort button.
Having heard the premise, I decided to give them a try and am looking forward to find out whether these babies will measure up to my expectations 🙂

Although I haven’t even read his latest novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, that came out two months ago, I was itching to read this short story collection, Tenth of December first.
Reading thick books or full novels does take a lot of time and commitment and that’s the beauty of reading for sure, yet whenever I get busy, I tend to get more inclined to read slim books or novellas that I can fly through in no time and that’s how this book fell into my lap.

As for The Nightwalker, I simply fell in love the synopsis. Crime thrillers involving insomnia and night-walking sounds so intriguing and spine-chilling and I just wanted to read this. I’m pretty certain that I’ll get to this book one of these days.

 

Now, with regards to Classic books that I got… I have no idea what had gotten into me, I simply don’t.
All I can say is that I had gotten bitten by a massive Classic bug and just couldn’t resist to get those pretty Penguin English Library editions.
Most of the books that I got over there are from watching Lucythereader videos. As I mentioned in my previous haul post, I know absolutely NOTHING about the synopsis. I don’t even know if my English skills are good enough to read these books.
I may well hit a huge setback in reading them, which is likely the case as a matter of fact,  but I hope that I get to enjoy them all.

 

That’s it, we’ve made it. Those are the books that I got just within the last couple of weeks.
I’ve completely forgotten how many books I actually bought and am quite surprised at the number.

Have you done a book haul recently? If you have, what kind of books did you get?
Whatever the case, thank you for reading guys and happy reading!

Crazy Classic Book Haul! – Part 1

Heavily influenced by BookTubers’ videos, such as Mementomori and lucythereader, I found myself going on a big Classic book haul…

Honestly, I’ve lost count exactly how many books I got in the last couple of weeks, but I thought I’d share some of them with you guys, so here we go 🙂

File_000 (20)

From top left to bottom right:

  • As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • Dune by Frank Herbert
  • No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  • A Room With a View by E.M. Foster

Now, let me tell you – I have never been a Classics type of reader. I hardly read any Classics or Modern Classics in my entire life.
I have watched the movie adaptations of ‘A Room With a View’ and ‘Clockwork Orange,’ but I have never read the books.
As for William Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy, I haven’t even heard of them before… where have I been??! That sounds crazy. I’m even ashamed of myself 😄

However, the BookTubers’ videos that I talked about earlier made me kind of intrigued to branch out my reading taste into the realm of Classics (including Modern Classics). So, in a bid to right this embarrassing situation, I decided to go on a big Classic spree and bought them. I know almost NOTHING about their synopsis though…

I’ve only read Fahrenheit 451 and am still muddling through Crime and Punishment, but I am so excited to read them all. Particularly, I am so pumped to read A Clockwork Orange. The movie left such a big impact on me, giving me a sort of distorted, disorienting feelings, I am really curious to see if the book has the same vibe to it.

Next we have Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë and Jane Eyre by  Charlotte Brontë.
Yes, the Brontës.

Brontes

Again, I have never read any of their books even the translated versions, but I am all up for giving them a try because I’ve heard a lot of good things about them!

In my Reading Habits Tag post, I told you that I now can handle maximum two books at once, but speaking from my meager experience with reading Crime and Punishment (you guys surely know how beefy the book is),  I think such tomes should be given my undivided attention. Otherwise, I’d completely forget how the story and dialogues between characters go.

Anyways, this is the part 1 of my crazy Classic book haul!
I’m still expecting the other half of the books to arrive and it’s most likely to take another week or so, I’ll wrap this up here.
I’ll definitely give you an update once my books have arrived!

If you have any recommendations on what Classic books I should try, definitely let me know!
Thanks for reading and I’ll talk to you guys again soon! 😀

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

the-great-gatsby

As a non-native, this book had always been like an insurmountable mountain to me – a masterpiece decked with beautiful yet somewhat elusive words.

The very first chapter was the most difficult; like a tough nut to crack, the smooth flow of words felt really elusive and abstract, it took me some time to get the hang of his writing style and decipher what the author tried to say.

That said, I must admit that I literally fell in love with the writing. It’s stunningly beautiful and mellifluous, I even thought it was like impressionist’s paintings at times where the story was told not explicitly by solid outlines but by numerous numbers of brushwork. The story was woven and contoured so subtly yet it’s got quite a strong ‘draw’ that captivates the reader. I can’t really put my finger on exactly what it is, but I was enthralled by his outstandingly beautiful writing.

His writing is also very descriptive. The description of almost-out-of-order-parties was just amazing; I could easily visualize how flamboyant and bustling they must have been.

Story-wise, I had neither read this book nor watched the movie so I dove right into this book without knowing anything. As I previously mentioned, the toughest was the very introduction in Chapter 1, but once I powered through it, I was captivated by this enchanting yet poignant story.

Honestly, I didn’t anticipate this turn of events; I sometimes felt it was kind of hazy and ambiguous in a good way, but as I came to understand Gatsby’s personality and his anguish as well as the flame for Daisy that he keeps burning in his mind, I found myself completely reeled in the story and wanting his love for Daisy to come to fruition.

I was really surprised to find how strongly invested I actually was in Gatsby’s character; I wasn’t expecting to be emotionally attached to any of the characters because none of the characters felt realistic nor grounded. They all seemed frivolous and were living in the moment not caring much about where they were heading nor the consequences of their actions.
With the sad outcome that Gatsby faced, I, for the first time, felt the pang of sympathy toward him and I also felt sorry for Nick. The ensuing funeral scenes and the aftermath tugged at my heartstrings.

How close Gatsby had become to Nick.
What big of an influence Gatsby had had on Nick. 

The last several chapters are just stunning. It’s so atmospheric, poignant yet beautiful like quiet, undulating waves on the surface of water.

I wouldn’t boast that I got to grasp the gist of the story.

Not quite, I’m afraid.

Nevertheless, this story left me enthralled and mesmerized, and I pledge to come back to this book at some point in my life. This is a masterpiece.

And I really adore this book.

Prince Caspian (The Chronicles of Narnia Publication Order #2)

prince-caspian

I adore this book as much as ‘The Lion,’ probably even more – this grand story evoked a lot of emotions inside me and I just couldn’t process my feelings when I closed the book. The ending wrecked me in a good way; I just couldn’t think of anything else.

This is the second time I’ve picked up this book; the last time when I picked up this one, I gave up on continuing to read for some reason; probably from the lack of my vocabulary at the time.

After about 3 years, I now got to finish this book and – oh, my, I’m so glad that I read it!
Like I said, this book moved me much more than the last one (Lion) did.

I enjoyed this book from start to finish – it is just impeccable! The plot is well-crafted and I personally think the writing and descriptions are much more engaging than ‘The Lion.’
I must say I felt the story in the last one (The Lion) went in a flurry, but with this one, ‘Prince Caspian,’ the plot has a lot more depth to it and the dialogues are quite engaging and amazing. It touches on some political stuff – ugly conspiracies involving the throne and the war to take back the kingdom – I think that’s what makes this story more entertaining and just riveting.

All the characters are so likable and relatable; I particularly liked Reepicheep! Despite being a mouse, he is noble and is truly a knight. His remarks are pregnant with meaning which came as quite a surprise to me.

Just like the last time, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I got to understand the messages and teachings this book carries, but I enjoyed this book immensely for its great story-development. It’s action packed (particularly the combat part with Miraz) ,exciting, and I particularly liked the remark that Peter makes when he starts to doubt if he can pull off defeating the despicable Miraz – it is just poignant!

I was a bit thrown off when I realized how many alterations had been made when it was made into a movie. In addition to Prince Caspian being much older than the book, a love story between Susan and Caspian??  I would have liked the movie to be a faithful reflection of the book. Most of the great dialogues had been cut, many unnecessary scenes had been added,  I must say that I was a bit sorry about that.

I was so sad to know that Peter and Susan wouldn’t be able to come back to the world of Narnia any more because I love them both! They found a place which has a special place in their hearts but the fate has taken it away from them – how sad it is!
When they all come back to the real world from Narnia in the end, the poignant feel washed over me- I almost cried. (seriously)

That said, like I said, I enjoyed this amazing journey from start to finish. I can’t wait to pick up the next book and see what happens next! I’m loving the series so far!

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia (Publication Order) #1)

lion

I gave this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. I really, really adore this book.

I re-read this book for the first time in about 3 years.
I was a bit worried if all my senses and emotions had gone numb after a major book hangover stemming from reading NOS4A2. Although I picked up a different book prior to this one but the book didn’t speak to my heart as much and I began to wonder if there was something wrong with me.

It was when I decided to pick up this book; I remember enjoying it so much the last time and I figured I would be in trouble if I didn’t.

You can’t imagine how glad and relieved I was to say this out loud – I enjoyed this book immensely!

First thing first – the plot; I adore the story line! How fantastic and exciting it is to step into a completely different world and eventually ascend to the throne!  I think this is everybody’s dream come true and I love it!

Being such a short book which has got only 206 pages or so, the story goes pretty fast.
I still can’t believe so many events take place in such a short book.
The writing comes across rather simple (it is also natural considering it’s for children) and some scenes feel overly simplified and concise compared to the movie adaptation, but the power that his writing has held me in thrall throughout the book. I couldn’t put it down.

The dialogues are so vibrant and sound quite natural. In particular, whatever that comes out of Aslan’s mouth does speak to me; his remarks are literally words of wisdom and they naturally come into me.

The Pevensie siblings are all so adorable, but I found a bit difficult to see why Edmund is being so spiteful in the early part of the book. I wish there were some more explanations or descriptions of a rift or two particularly between Peter and Edmund as there was in the movie.

Putting all the metaphors and messages of Christianity this book carries aside (for me not being a Christian), I believe this book does impart some messages that each and every one of us should bear in mind; put others before you, there may be some people who need as much help as you or your loved one needs.
And the messages are conveyed in a masterful, beautiful writing. Just amazing.

This story has got somewhat a warm vibe and hope keeps running through the entire book.
It is a bit sad and poignant when the Pevensie siblings come back to the real life through the magical wardrobe, but I love the Professor’s very last remark before the story ends.

Once a King in Narnia, always a King in Narnia. But don’t go trying to use the same route twice. Indeed, don’t try to get there at all. It’ll happen when you’re not looking for it.

Keep your eyes open.

Ahhh, another word of wisdom… I love the Professor!!

This is a perfect example that showcases a great book doesn’t need to be way too long.
Short and sweet yet full of wisdom. I now desperately want to get the box set so that I can always go back to the Narnia world!

The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket

the-reptile-roomTitle: The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events Book 2)

Author: Lemony Snicket

Length: 192 pages

Lemony Snicket did it again – this book enthralled me from beginning to end.

This is the second book in the series and I love it so much; I adore this book much more than the first book.

His prowess as an author is beautifully displayed throughout the book. There is never a dull moment in this book at least for me and I literally gobbled it up in two sittings. (I’d been reading two books simultaneously so while I was at the other book, this book was on the back burner if you like.)

I particularly like how Lemony Snicket portrays Count Olaf in this book.
In the first book, Count Olaf was portrayed as a despicable, insidious man who is capable of the most horrendous thing we could think of when he flies into rages.

However, I didn’t particularly feel that way; yes, he is such a despicable, cunning and ugly man but the descriptions of him didn’t give me chills running down my spine in the first book.

In the second book, however, I shivered at the thought of him slashing one of the Bourdelair orphans’ throat with his jagged knife (That’s what he says he will do, not what he actually does.)
The knife – the glint of the knife in particular – was also used amazingly effectively to send warnings to the Boudelair orphans as well as displaying how merciless and inexorable Count Olaf can be if he so chooses.
I thought I could even sense the hushed silence filling the room by the mere sight of the knife, how scary it can be! I shuddered. 

I was also mesmerized by his prowess in story-telling.
We all know something bad and miserable is going to happen to the Bourdelair orphans, but rather than unfolding the story bit by bit like untangling twined threads, he blurts out that their new guardian – whom the children adore and find amiable – is destined to die.
He doesn’t divulge how or when, but he does come out and say things are definitely not going the way we readers hope.

I found it worked fantastically to underscore the forthcoming days of doom and gloom in store for the Bourdelair children.
By juxtaposing the grim future that awaits the children TO the ephemeral happy time that they get to spend with their new guardian, I was in a way reminded that only bad things were going to happen to the children and came to yearn to save them out of the misery as the grim realization dawns on me.

As it was two years since I last read this book, I only remembered the fraction of the story so everything in the book felt fresh and I enjoyed so much.

It was such a delightful, entertaining read. I can’t wait to find out what happens next to the Bourdelair children 🙂