BOOK CLUB: April & May

By Char Shields - May 31, 2020

Welcome to my second monthly book club... and I say monthly loosely as I've had to throw two months together. The reason for this being that I've been too stressed (what with finishing my degree online through a pandemic) and unmotivated to read, which means I haven't read as much. 

However, I'm back with book club and ready to get stuck into some literature. 

Got Me Thinking: 1984 by George Orwell

Starting off with 1984, all I can say is... wow. I absolutely loved this book, although it was hard to read as it was depressingly close to home at times. For instance, doing planned activities such as exercise at certain times got me: that's exactly my life right now. Everything is so planned out in an attempt for some normality. Like one of my old lecturers from university had said, I wonder what George Orwell would have made of everything going on right now.

Orwell is so perfectly subtle with the way he gives the reader information. It leaves you wanting to know more without feeling confused or cheated. The whole time, I kept thinking, "Why can't I write like this?" This writing is nothing short of genius.

The novel also had me thinking about our own world: what parts of our history have been erased to suit someone's agenda? What horrors have we covered up? We already know the British Empire destroyed many documents. When you compare that to what we already know... it can give you shivers. Also, and this is a very important question, how do we know that 2+2=4? These are the questions, people.

5/5 stars.

Memories of Childhood: Roald Dahl Treasury 

After I turned the first page of this book, I instantly had a huge smile on my face. Roald Dahl was my favourite author as a child, so I was elated when I found this in a charity shop.

This book is full of author's notes, poems, book extracts and full stories. My personal favourites are Esio Trot, The BFG, The Twits and Matilda. Once, I sat and read Matilda all in one day. There's also letters from children in there which brought back memories. I remember writing to Roald Dahl as a child. That was before I found out that he passed away in 1990 - seven years before I was born.

I loved reading this book. It means a lot to me as he was the reason I wanted to become a writer. Thanks, Roald Dahl, I'm going to be poor for life now. ;)

5/5 stars.

Re-reading: Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Sometimes, it's fun to re-read some of your old favourites. I decided that I wanted to re-read the Harry Potter series.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is a great read. I was completely glued to it and got lost in the writing. Even though I'm not usually a fantasy person, it was nice to get indulged in a magical world.

My only criticisms of this absolute classic is that the details don't feel as concrete. However, that is to be expected of the first book in a series. And as I know the story so well already, it wasn't really an issue for me. I also would have liked to see more of Hermione.

There was obviously a struggle to pack a lot of information into these pages and I believe she did it excellently. Although it's not my favourite in the series, it's still a fantastic book that will be read by millions for years to come.

4/5 stars.

A Breath of Fresh Air: Cuckoo by Keren David

My latest read is Cuckoo by Keren David. It really does feel like I can breathe again.

After not feeling interested in reading and not being able to get into books, I was so happy when I found myself getting quickly glued to this novel. It's been a long time since I've been able to finish a book in a few days.

It's nice to have a lighter read that still raises important issues such as homelessness (the protagonist ends up sleeping rough and sofa-surfing after losing his role in a popular TV Soap). The writing is so original, as well. It's written slightly like a screenplay, with the characters' actions written in italics. And it's mostly composed of speech which is hard to get away with but the author does it perfectly.

We're taken through the events of the protagonist's downfall through an internet series. There's even a little comment section at the end of most chapters, with comments from the other characters. It's such a brilliant way to tell a story.

I couldn't put this book down. It's got me back into reading again, hooray!

5/5 stars.

That's it for this month's book club. As I have finally got my mojo back, you can expect another one next month.

Until the next time,


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