Books I've read

Sandra's book montage

The Catcher in the Rye
The Great Gatsby
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Romeo and Juliet
Lord of the Flies
Little Women
A Tale of Two Cities
Memoirs of a Geisha
The Lovely Bones
The Secret Life of Bees
Under the Tuscan Sun
The Da Vinci Code
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
The Hobbit
The Golden Compass
Pride and Prejudice
The Time Traveler's Wife
Jane Eyre
The Notebook

Sandra's favorite books »

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Books, Boilers and Broken Locks

So reading week is over and we're back to normal timetable.  I managed to hand in my first essay yesterday - we had to write a critical commentary of two passages of someone's work and boy was I critical.  I did feel yesterday that the author should have the opportunity of taking apart two paragraphs of something I have written - I'm sure he would have a lot of fun.  Of course I reached that point where I didn't want to submit the essay at all - it looked so nice: pretty front cover; nice double-spacing and lovely footnotes as opposed to the in-text referencing that the OU wanted.  It's just a shame that anyone has to look at the content!  Anyway four weeks 'til we get them back so three and a half weeks of bliss and then a few sleepless nights.  How mean are King's that this counts?

Course-wise we are looking at The Secret Agent and The Ladies' Paradise this week. 

Although I enjoyed Apocalypse Now I really didn't like Heart of Darkness so I wasn't looking forward to this at all.  I actually found The Secret Agent much better.  I thought the story was more engaging and I was interested in the characters.  The theme for this week is 'Terror at the Heart of Empire' which, without giving away what the story is about, is the theme of the book.  Of course this has a contemporary resonance for us as I'm sure I wouldn't have to look too far to find something about domestic terrorism in a tabloid newspaper.  Perhaps that made the story more appealing?  My only concern with Conrad is I feel a certain sense of distance in his writing - he seems to stand back from his characters - but that could be because he is writing in his third language which is a pretty amazing feat!  I would recommend this book as a good introduction to Conrad, certainly much more worthwhile than Heart of Darkness in my opinion (although if you are looking for a critique of empire then HoD is obviously your book!)

I don't know if you can see this properly but this is the cover of Zola's The Ladies' Paradise.  I really like Zola.  He wrote what he described as 'naturalistc' books, that is to say he felt you should just put characters into a situation and see how they got on with it.  I'm not sure I can agree with his view that the novel is an experiment and the novelist doesn't have much to do with it.  After all he is creating the characters, the environment into which to put them and what happens to them.  Zola wrote a series of 18 novels, describing two families and their adventures.  I've read Germinal which is ostensibly about a mining strike in northern France but is actually about how people live and love.  It's excellent.  The Ladies' Paradise is superficially about a much more gentile subject, the rise of the department store in Hausmann's Paris but is again about people's lives and loves and decisions.  I really enjoyed this also and would definitely look for more of Zola's work.  Both books are fully recommended to you.

On a less pleasant matter I'm still having issues in the non-Uni world.  Yesterday I managed to lose my keys and, as T is away at the moment, I locked myself out.  Luckily the locksmith came quickly and fitted a nice new lock for me.  I must have looked very suspicious, just standing outside a door as it got darker and colder but at least it wasn't too cold and it was dry and I was back inside within an hour of calling the locksmith.  About two hours later I realised my boiler wasn't working so no heating or hot water.  Because of my schedule the first time I can get British Gas out is Friday morning.  I can cope without the hot water (lots of kettles) and I've persuaded myself that it isn't that cold so I don't need the heating (and indeed this morning seems to be as bad as it will get) but please keep your fingers crossed for me it's only a little part that's needed and not a new boiler!

Thank you for reading & hopefully the next entry will be more cheerful.  I'm hoping to finish Vile Bodies and the new Stephen King so will try and update on those.  Thanks again ...

1 comment:

  1. So reading week is over and we're back to normal timetable. I managed to hand in my first essay yesterday - we had to write a critical commentary of two passages of someone's work and boy was I critical. heating engineer Birmingham