My 5-books-a-month challenge continued through June with these five:
First up was Dickens’ Great Expectations. This was my first Dickens book and I really enjoyed it. An interesting story with a very relatable main character combined with descriptive prowess and wonderful witticisms, makes it a fun read. In fact, I would recommend this book not on the value of its story; it being good, but instead on the value of Dickens’ writing style, which is like candy for your brain. After reading this book I can understand why some critics have called Dickens’ work overly sentimental, but for me that sentimentality just makes his writing more fallible or more approachable, which I don’t think should be seen as a detriment.
Next was The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau. I have to confess that when I bought this book I had no idea that it was a children’s book. I picked it up based solely on its cover design. I think there’s an old adage about that. Anyways, lesson learned. That being said, I think it’s a book I would have enjoyed reading when I was 10, 11, 12 years old. It’s a fast paced story that fits somewhere between fantasy and science fiction and is anchored by a really interesting concept and an open-ended finale, which leaves you wanting further explanation.
Currently, DMZ and Sandman are competing for the spot as my favorite graphic novel series. I really like the art in this first volume of DMZ and the story so far has been quite solid. I haven’t read a ton of graphic novels up to now, but I have been quite disappointed with the dialogue I found in other books. DMZ, however, has more realistic language, so I find it a better read. Also, as far as currently running, highly hyped series go, DMZ is leaps and bounds better than Walking Dead.
When it comes to vivid imagery no one is better at writing than Cormac McCarthy. Some of the passages in this book are fucking brilliant. I had to stop reading at some points to let it all sink in. But my god, are his books depressing. This particular book is so violent and graphic and vicious and inhumane that as I read it I felt dirty. There is no single character in this book who retains any sort of decency or goodness; they are all base and evil. McCarthy is a genius, but with that genius must have come some demons in need of excorsising.
The last for June was On The Road, and it was a good book for clearing my mind after the heaviness of Blood Meridian. If you read this book you will want to travel–there’s no helping it. The book is mostly a running narrative, or stream of consciousness. What makes it work is that the narrative is an interesting one, and one that will make the reader envy the narrator. Apparently, someone is making this into a movie. I really don’t see how this can be made into a movie as it’s mostly the thoughts of a character expressed in first person, which means the movie would have to include a voice over narration, and that rarely works well in movies. Anyways, it’s a fun read.