I’ve been gobbling books up lately like a literary devouring Gruffalo with a taste for the obscure. Alas, I just graduated to ‘Adult level 2’ by getting my very first credit card (big girl pants on indeed) despite the fact I’m 25, so my Kindle account is now, unfortunately, linked to my own credit card, rather than my long-suffering mother’s, so book consumption may slow down somewhat. Here are a few January favourites:
Haruki Murakami: Dance Dance Dance
“People have their own reasons for dying. It might look simple, but it never is. It’s just like a rock. What’s above ground is only a small part of it. But if you start pulling, it keeps coming and coming. The human mind dwells deep in darkness. Only the person himself knows the real reason, and maybe not even then.”
Murakami is my favourite author. I love the fact that he challenges me and that every line he writes is a quote in itself. I love the fact that I didn’t completely understand this book, and that it didn’t hide it’s darkness but opened it up like a wound to the flesh. The Sheepman told me to keep on dancing, so dancedancedance; don’t ever stop.
M.R Carey: The Girl with All the Gifts
“Melanie thinks: when your dreams come true, your true has moved. You’ve already stopped being the person who had the dreams, so it feels more like a weird echo of something that already happened to you a long time ago.”
I enjoyed this read because I liked the central character, Melanie; I liked her straight-forwardness and perplexity by the world around her. Lines delivered as simple fact hold much truth and the overall plot, although not original, is executed well. In essence, fungal spores prey on human hosts and a new generation of ‘Hungry’ children is born – part human, part disease. An interesting comment on society and a valiant deconstruction of the false dichotomies we base our hierarchical beliefs upon?
Patrick Rothfuss: The Kingkiller Chronicles
“Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.”
I literally started and finished The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear in less than two days. I simply couldn’t put them down and became a complete hermit in the pursuit of finding out what happened to Kvothe to turn him from fearless warrior to subdued innkeeper. If you’re a fantasy freak like me then I thoroughly recommend this trilogy: just a warning in advance – the third book isn’t out yet so you’re going to have to wait for it! One thing I really loved was the idea that names give mastery over objects and people – this has a lovely link to language theories I engaged with at varsity. Does our perception of the world depend on our ability to give names to the environment we dwell in? If a cat was called a dog would it still be a cat?
Jonathon Safran Foer: Eating Animals
“Not responding is a response – we are equally responsible for what we don’t do.”
Shocking, gut-wrenching and powerful, this had me in tears. Foer writes from the perspective of a new dad trying to decide how to ethically raise and feed his son. He does extensive research into the current state of meat production in the US and the global implications of continued factory farming. He also looks at meat eating as a form of tradition and part of our stories, at the nature of suffering and what suffering means, and at alternatives to factory farming: is there an ethical way to consume animals?