book haul · books · classics · fiction · language · literature · war

September Book Haul

September is in full swing, and unlike the rest of the working world I’m only starting to admit that summer is over. My third and final year has arrived, so here’s a selection of what I’ll be reading across my first semester.¬†img_7932

My first module focuses on the First World War – the literature from within it and also the literature that reimagines the war. This seems to cover quite a range of literature, film and TV (of which Downton Abbey’s involvement may have persuaded me to pick this course). It’s interesting to view the literature that covers such a complex time across the century; from the days of post war Britain to the celebrations surrounding the centenary.

Engaging and a little different to the literature I’ve encounter so far is my experimental literature course; more specifically women’s experimental literature. It covers questions on how women’s writing must differ in its position as experimental and the often misconception that only women’s writing can hold feminist concepts. It’s trying to move away from viewing experimental writing as a failure, and instead show how literature can take any form, genre or purpose.

As you can see I’ve got quite a bit of reading to do as the nights begin to draw in, what are you reading this autumn?

book haul · books · classics · fiction · literature

Spring Book Haul

The days are getting longer, the sun is starting to shine; I believe spring has sprung. Now, with all this extra daylight, what better way to spend it than reading way into the evening, or if you’re really lucky, escaping to the park with a book in hand on a sunny afternoon. I have some small hopes that the Manchester weather will allow this in the weeks to come, so I’m going to indulge myself with a spring book haul.

IMG_6811First things first are some classics I’ve had on my list, and even on my shelves¬†for a little while now.

The Collector – John Fowles; When Frederick takes his butterfly collection to the next level by capturing an art student and keeping her in the confines of his cellar. Dark and eerie, the tale explores the desire for ownership at all costs and the fight for freedom and understanding that unfolds.

Catch-22 – Joseph Heller; Heller’s masterpiece has been on my to-read list for years, the war tale of the century will have me gripped to see what this ordinary man will achieve.

The Hanging Garden – Patrick White; Another war-time tale, this time, two children find themselves evacuated to Sydney, trapped at the other side of the world, they bond through their shared abandonment. A story of finding hope and adventure in the unknown.

IMG_6812The next two books seem to share a few similarities; they are both trying to find their relatives and strangely both begin their tales with the arrival of a suitcase.

The Finding of Matha Lost – Caroline Wallace; Martha is lost, abandoned and alone. She embarks on a tale of returning, lost possession to their owner and even herself to her parents. It’s a search of beginnings to find endings.

Mrs Sinclair’s Suitcase – Louise Walters; Two stories are wound together through this novel, Roberta’s love for collecting old letters and postcards takes her on her own mystery. While Dorothy, hides a secret that takes 60 years to unearth.

I’ve given you a peak at what I’ll be reading in the coming months, let me know what you’re reading this spring.

book haul · book review · books · classics · literature

Thoughts on African American Literature

I’m currently in middle of a module on 20th Century African American Literature, and it’s got me thinking of the way we categorise literature, place labels upon it, in a way to control it further.

IMG_6219Early 20th Century African American Literature is often placed as political work. That an African American who is able to express himself for the first time since slavery, must, and often this is the case, want to write about the world he has discovered himself in. A world of racism, prejudice and violence. His work is used to express this rejection, this removal from society; somewhere across this line literature and politics collide.

Literature becomes a place to express ideas, experiment with an ideology and look towards a new world. It’s a place of freedom we sometimes take for granted, yet it can also act as propaganda, have high influences upon our current lives. It makes you think of the importance literature can play, and its impact, on politics, on history and everything in-between.

It’s made me appreciate how much literature has and continues to play a part in our lives. Whether this be freedom of expression, of tackling innovation or it’s ability to somehow go against the status quo. Literature is incredible, and holds a large proportion of our lives in its hand.

Hopefully this wasn’t too deep a topic for a Sunday morning, if you’re interested in these topics I certainly would recommend a few titles:

  • The Souls of Black Folk – W.E.B. Du Bois
  • The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man – James Johnson
  • The Fire Next Time – James Baldwin
  • Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison
autobiography · book haul · books · fiction · literature · Shakespeare

February Book Haul

IMG_6087It may have become apparent from this blog that I like books, I love reading them, discussing them and also buying them. So, with the start of a new semester and two literature modules to buy for, I had a most pleasant book buying trip.

As I already held the excuse of needing books specifically for my course, I felt no guilt walking to my nearest bookshop and picking up books by the handful. It also meant a few books not at all required by my course snuck into my arms, but with a collection already mounting they can’t do much harm.

I’m therefore having a little bit of a February book haul, so you get a sneak preview of what I’ll be reading for the next few months.

IMG_6089The Norton Shakespeare– By far one of the biggest (and most expensive) books I’ve had the privilege of buying, this collection of shakespeare appears to have it all. I’m already a confessed fan of the bard so was eager to own his detailed words. Full of textual notes, specific play introductions and a range of critical analysis it seems the perfect student guide to that main man of literature. It also comes with a full digital ebook to be downloaded, so you can have shakespeare on the go.

Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison; Situated in 1950s America, there’s the man who never quite seems to appear, on the surface at least he’s invisible to his country, deemed unworthy and unimportant to his homeland. Covering the hardship of a still segregated and discriminative America, it looks like an interesting if long read.

Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston; Beginning with romance that is disapproved of, sixteen year old Janie is married off to an older man. The novel twists and turns as Janie searches for the love she lost at sixteen, and struggles in a world not truly her own.

IMG_6088Beloved – Toni Morrison; Moving back to the mid 1800s as slavery become abolished, worlds come crashing to an end as love turns to violence and loss. This family will fight against all that life throws at them, but at what cost? Beloved appears to be an intriguing read and view of post slavery America.

A range of essays and autobiographies from: W.E.B Du Bois, James Baldwin, Ta-Nehisi Coates and James Weldon Johnson: covering various aspects of life as an African American and the struggles faced by us all.

The Versions of Us– Laura Barnet: This tale intrigued me from its title alone, the possibilities of our life can hang from such tiny decisions and circumstances. We follow Eva, from her days at Cambridge University to three possible outcomes of her life based on one moment, one meeting with a stranger and one bicycle. It fascinates me the parallels and possibilities our lives hold, so this book was a certain read for me.

Quite a collection of books to get through, let me know what you’ll be reading this month.