Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Looking For Alaska by John Green

As earlier mentioned, I anticipate that this will be the only book for a little while that is not a classic. Anyway, back to the review!

For me, this was one of those books that you reach the final pages of, and you close the book after reading the final words, but before you can move on with your life, you have to sit for a little while and think. This book made me think and question and I appreciate that, and put a proportion of my gratitude on John Green's beautiful writing. It almost has a poetic style with a sort of fluency and grace. At points in the story where the main character was not exactly in a graceful, beautiful mood though, it reflected in the writing, becoming harsh or jumpy. It was a great way of taking the story deeper.

I seem to have a thing with not liking the endings of books. The ending for Looking For Alaska was, in my mind, unsatisfactory. It had the promise to deliver, but fell short for me. It seemed to brush some things under the carpet with a little too much haste and then round it off with a half amazing, half disappointing finish.

The characters, even most of the secondary ones, are developed and have backgrounds, although I was hoping for more on this front occasionally.

This book has to be one of my favourites (which means I don't have too much to say), and I recommend it.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

A Study In Scarlett, The Sign of Four (Sherlock Holmes) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Okay, so this isn't really in tone with all of the young adult fantasy/sci-fi romance I've usually been reading, but I freaking love BBC's Sherlock, so I figured I'd better try out the original canonical source.
I found them hard to read at first. I already knew the basic story lines and it wasn't that they were hard to follow, it's just the same problem I have with all the old classics: the language and structure are unfamiliar and make for very heavy reading. They took me longer to get through than I expected, and I spent a while looking things up in dictionaries. Never the less, I always find these books wonderful once I've got past my brain crying out for me to read something easier, and this was not an exception.

I love Sherlock Holmes. As a character, he is fascinating, and there are certain quotes and actions I have picked up that I really love and value. 

In terms of storylines for these two books, I'm not really sure where I stand. Quite understandably, the beginning of 'A Study In Scarlett' was mainly introductory, but I can cope with that and enjoyed how it was done. I was a little confused by how the actual story seemed to jump around and got very disorientated, but it all worked out and I had one of those moments when it links up and you have to stop and go "Oohhhhh" out loud (I was on a bus, I got weird looks). I did not find A Sign of Four quite as interesting, but it was a good read none the less.

These books are truly good for anyone who wishes to stimulate their brain and read something that you can engage with and think for. They are difficult though, although not as hard to get through as other classics I read. I do intend to continue with the series.

Note - Aside from the next review I will be doing (Looking for Alaska by John Green) expect a good deal more classics coming your way. I'm part way through Little Women and have to read Wuthering Heights for school, as well as a little list of others I wrote up, just to inform you in advance. Do expect a lot of reviews though, as the summer holiday is coming and I'll have six glorious weeks of never truly having to leave the house, and plan to use all those hours locked up inside out of the British summer sunshine reading)