The most White Bread Book Review you’ll ever read

I can’t find a book to read. I’m not saying that a book does not exist in the world to entertain me, or that every book in circulation-past or present- is a complete load of nonsense and not worth my time or effort to endure such a horrendous creation. I just cannot find one. Waterstones offer a magical book finder to suit my tastes, Borders tell me they can provide such a similar service that I will actually warm to their psychic finder and as a result have to seek therapy for my dysfunctional attachment to a computer generated system tool that ‘knows me better than any man can’. I cannot find a book that can hold my concentration for more than fifty pages. Now, I’m a literature graduate, I should be able to subject myself to pretty much anything; to read a book that isn’t to your literary taste is top skill numero uno for any budding english student. So either the books are getting worse or my patience as a result of years of reading drivel is now wearing thin. I scour the media for those all-important ‘must reads’ lists, I pick at random at the library, and then resort to the classics to guide me into a sure-fire way to sit through a story line that can hold its own. This drew me to 1, question my complete inability to sit in one place for more than two minutes as a result of my new role as entertainer/carer/cleaner/launderette attendent/cook (the umbrella term being ‘parent’), but 2, consider the concept of the perfect book. I appreciate that I could go all night about the various factors to entertaining us through the written word, but I don’t rate myself that highly that I truly believe I’m capable of that argument. The last time I checked I hadn’t read every book on the planet or entered the mind of not only every author but every reader to be able to dictate what every one should and shouldn’t be reading. I just find it bemusing that my favourite books are not essentially the books I cherish and adore for content or story in such a direct manner, but that instead I preach to people about the books that have managed to remain in my memory- there’s limited space in there- but that have gained my respect for getting me to sit down and read them. Beyond that, to want to pick them back up after putting them down the previous night. And so, while I appreciate to the strangers of you out there you may not agree with my point (be it gospel, and always correct might I add), I’d like to offer up my list of must-reads, for if they fail to captivate you and move you to tears or other suchlike frantic emotion that people get a kick out of when reading, then you’ll get to the end at least. I like a book with a bit of balls, and I think that these books stand out from the rest simply because they lack the ability to be pigeon holed into ‘boring’, ‘girly’, ‘manly’, ‘science-y’ and other such intellectual categories that i create in my teeny weeny incy wincy mind. Enjoy. I have justified my choices with very, VERY good reasons.

Isabel Allende: The Infinite Plan

This is the longest book on the planet. Metaphorically, of course. I enjoy the teaching of diversity, and Allende doesn’t try to do what most authors insist upon, which is writing for the sake of writing. each word as a purpose, and as a result you don’t have to listen to any Dicken-esque around the houses story-telling, ‘she looked up as the window sill as he spoke, where she noticed the bric-a-brac amongst a green vase her mother once owned, and a picture frame dating back to the renaissance period….’ shut up Charles, enough already. What the hell is he talking about, never mind the damn window sill.

Chocolat: Joanne Harris

The book exudes feelings, and not just emotions but the feeling of the situation; the atmosphere, the tension, the cheeky humour. If chocolate were a conscious stream of thought, it would be this book. Lush stuff. And not what I expected being a complete chick-flick-phobe. Urgh.

A Thousand Acres: Jane Smiley

Fantastic story about the ‘better left unsaid’ habit of the family unit. You’re not just a reader of events, you’re thrown into the character’s mind to read in between the lines time and time again as they try to ignore the elephant in the room. Oh, and it won the Pulitzer Prize and is a recreation of Willy’s King Lear so you can pass for learned if you’re on the bus.

Nathanael West: The Day of the Locust

The  most confusing book I ever read. I think I was stupider when I first picked it up, I get it now….. see it as a forecast of Britney Spears’ pap circus, but completely more intelligent than a media frenzy breaking driving laws in Los Angeles.  They saw it coming….

The Almost Moon: Alice Sebold

Forget Alive- fantastic but painful, and The Lovely Bones- fantastic but obvious. This is Sebold’s best piece yet, mainly due to the fact that she wrote The Lovely Bones to elevate her fame as a writer (when quite clearly every critic knew it was a run of the mill sentimental, let’s-involve-children-to-make-it-sad, overly emotional roadkill of a book) and that left her free to finally write something credible to her now ginormous audience. And let’s face it, every girl dreams of killing her mother at one point or another.

Daphne Du Maurier: Rebecca

Obvious but awesome. I don’t really give a monkeys if anyone dares to state that the spookily shivery ambience created in this novel exists in any other book, Du Maurier nails it and if this is the first eiry book you pick up, all others will fail to match up.

Sally Brampton: Shoot the Damn Dog

The last book I managed to sit through- I’m currently on page thirty four of Captain Correlli’s Mandolin and pissed off that I’m going to get a library fine for something that cannot hold my mental drive for more than eight minutes at a time. Brampton is the best female writer I have come accross in terms of integrity; she remains honest and raw but at the same time maintains a humour that i assume is essentially to being a crazy person. Kudos…

Dave Eggers: A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius

Now I know this has taken America by storm, and many critics either applaude Eggers or find him too obvious, but this qutobiography is the most amazing piece of writing I have ever picked up. Its not the content that I am particularly drawn to, but the technical writing style that Eggers adopts. It’s as though you are transported to a stand up comedy club, and Eggers is a hack in a worn down suit with a cigar in one hand, and scotch in the other. His capability to write as he thinks is quite possibly the most aspirational quality to his writing, and i would like to clap along with the nice critics and stamp on the mean ones’ heads. Nasty critics. Go learn to write like this.

Roma Ligocka: the Girl in the Red Coat

For someone interested in the effects of historical events, but doesn’t want to read an elaborate fabrication of the holocaust, this is a perfect read. Ligocka tells it as it was, with affection and brutal candour. If I’m going to have an insight into an event that hopefully I will never be able to witness first-hand, I want the depiction to be as accurate and sincere as possible.

Emily Bronte: Wuthering Heights

Come on, I don’t even need to type here. If you can find me another crazy Heathcliff in literature, then game on.

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~ by Scarlettice on November 15, 2009.

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