Friday, September 27, 2013

Was Gatsby Really That Great?

Despite being only one hundred and forty (or so) pages long, it took me a very long time to come to terms with The Great Gatsby. Declared by many to be “The Great American Novel”, and a stalwart of most English teachers’ libraries, it felt like there was far too much critical weight for me to grapple with. It was no surprise that I had dreaded reading it for so long, and perhaps that is why it took me so long not only to get through it, but also to appreciate it fully.

I can’t tell you how long it took me to read it initially; because it feels so long ago that I actually can’t remember. I think it took about a fortnight, broken up into intermittent chunks. In my first reading, I tried to keep up with the story, hurrying my way through it in anticipation of seeing Baz Luhrmann’s recent adaptation before it left the cinemas. I managed to finish it in time, but I ended up feeling less than positive about the book.

Upon finishing it, I felt like I had just endured a return to high school English class: the themes that I had been told about all the way through the book seemed heavy-handed, with no nuance or interpretation; I hated most of the characters, save Gatsby (because he still seemed nice, and I was certain he had been hard done by from the events of the book), but I had a special disdain for Nick Carroway, who I felt had washed his hands of his own implication in the narrative, choosing instead to declare himself better than those he had freely chosen to associate with, and whose questionable actions he had not protested during the time they were happening. To me, Carroway was a coward, and a self-aggrandising one at that. He aggravated me immensely, and made reading the book more than a little grating. I thought the story was good, but I simply didn’t connect with any of the characters in a way that would give the book the life so many had insisted it had. It felt like, well, a bit of wank.

So yes, it’s easy to say that my first impressions of the book weren’t great. But they certainly weren’t mature either - I had judged it with about as much open-mindedness as a grumpy teenager.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A "Great" Read

Oh god, I totally made that pun, didn't I? Sorry about that.

Look, here's a video full of jump cuts and lots of unnecessary piss-poor special effects to make up for it!

And in case you missed it, here's the trailer for the latest film incarnation of The Great Gatsby.

It's bigger because it's way better than the video I made.

Please tell me things about The Great Gatsby that I should be aware of, but remember that people who engage in the act of spilling spoilers will be hung from the ceiling by their fingernails. (Yes, I will be watching the Crash Course videos on the subject. Don't rush me, okay?!)

x N

Monday, June 3, 2013

One Hundred Great Books In Haiku - The Wrap Up

So here we are: all read, for the third time. It's been quite the journey getting to this point (I lost the book twice, and had to re-purchase it on the second occasion), and I can't help but feel like there is only one way to sum up my experience of reading this book.

Puns, snark and Greenpeace,
From Homer to Hemingway.
In short: just perfect.


There will be a new video soon. I promise. I have a lot riding on how quickly I read the next book, hence I am anxious to get stuck in, so for once my word on this subject is totally solid.

x N

And then... BAM! HAIKU!

Yes, it's been a long time. Yes, I end up saying that too much. Yes, I should have edited this instead of just posting the raw footage. Yes, there is way too much cleavage. Yes, the video was a week and a half old before I posted it. Yes, my teeth are awful.

None of that matters, okay? I have put up a video and there is a new book and the review is already written and ready to go so STOP JUDGING ME, OKAY?

I love you. x

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Perfume - The Wrap Up

"Jupiter and Antiope", a painting featured on many editions of Perfume.
I have been putting off writing this review for a couple of weeks now, so it's probably time I got my shit together and wrote something because I need to read a new book, dammit. The problem I have with this wrap up is that Perfume: The Story of a Murderer left me with so many conflicting and convoluted responses that I didn't really have an angle to use when the time came to write about it. In an attempt to resolve that problem, I have broken this review up into a number of pieces so that it's not just a massive mess of noise. (Hopefully.)

Be warned: this is a long post, and contains some spoilers.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Good Readings!

Hello again!

Just a brief update to let you know that not only am I halfway through my current book, but I have also just activated my brand spanking new Goodreads account! I'll be using to track my Penguin Doll readings, but also using it to keep track of non-Penguins that I'm keen to read.

If you take a look at my read books, you'll probably notice that there are a lot of children's titles in there. I guess the reason so many are in there is because reading has been a part of my life for such a long time, and as a result, I have a remarkable number of vivid memories about my favourite childhood tales.

Either way, I hope you'll befriend me there, and I'm sure I'll have a review of Perfume up for you really soon!

Much love,

x N