Between The World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates 

 

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‘I was attracted to the guns, because the guns seemed honest’

Survival, understanding, growing, love.

Between the World and Me covers the lifespan of the author growing from the streets of Baltimore, depicting his struggles brought on by his colour and his striving attempt to break out and understand another life. Written as a heartbreaking message to his son, the novel follows the Coates’ growing discoveries, realisations and understanding of the world as it truly is, as he attempts to explain to his son the realities of life.

 

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The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, by Natasha Pulley 

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street is a fantastical novel suppressed by nineteenth century British charm. Following the narratives of a man working as a Telegraphy Clerk, as well as a woman exploring the bounds of early science, the novel is drawn about the centrifugal force of Mr Mori, the watchmaker of Filigree Street. Combining mysterious wonders with clear and dangerous realities, the novel quickly progresses from being a curious wonder to an absorbing page turner.

With the novel set in the latter part of the nineteenth century, Pulley has clearly done her research, careful to lend great marvels upon small wonders for the modern eye. The result of this is ever more interest towards the encapsulating character of Mr Mori. Impossible workings are given logical yet insubstantial solutions, leaving the reading ever wondering what truly is going on.

 

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Hard-Boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World, by Haruki Murakami 

 

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The first Murakami I have read, this novel certainly lives up to the erratic and strange nature of the authors reputation. Running on a theme of finitely detailed cognitive function, the novel follows two different narratives from its start. In one, the protagonist finds himself caught in a fast paced turmoil of company corruption undergoing a data war. In this Murakami interlaces the fictional and strange alongside reality, creating fast paced action in an imaginative narrative.

In stark contrast the other follows a protagonist caught in a dream-like town, confused as to a beginning or an end. It is in these narratives that the story earns the strange title Murakami has leant it.

 

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The Tsar of Love and Techno, by Anthony Marra 

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The Tsar Of Love And Techno lends a dark outlook on life in and after the USSR. Using a number of narratives each subtly related to one another, Marra describes the different kinds of life this country created from a variety of perspectives.

Beginning with descriptions of the brainwashed denial and uncompromising loyalty among the general population, living within the all consuming party state, the scene is certainly set for the rest of the novel. Poverty and atrocity are not only rife but the norm, in a country where but a whisper can mean another’s certain death.

 

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The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R Tolkien 

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Since the first time my parents brought back the VHS of the Lord of the Rings, the world of Middle Earth has held me transfixed. Portrayed beautifully in Peter Jackson’s film adaptation, I must admit it did take me a considerable amount of time to read the novels. A sorry fact for any who consider themselves a book lover, I know. Regardless, I finished the trilogy earlier this year, and have a variety of feelings concerning it.

Before beginning, I’ll make it clear that the Return of the King was by far my favourite, indeed it seems it was predominantly the style of this novel from which Jackson’s films were based. All the same, reading the Fellowship offered a much greater insight into Tolkien’s expansive land of Middle Earth than I had imagined.

 

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, By Mark Haddon

 

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To add to my seemingly ever growing list of ‘unusual’ books I have been reading lately, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time certainly holds a commendable spot. Written entirely from the perspective of a child with the condition of Aspergers, the novel offers a powerful insight into life with such a brain condition. Though Haddon did not wish this to be the fundamental basis of the novel, indeed he does not state the condition openly, he does however emphasize to the reader how many things people take for granted. Simple things such as the length of a sigh and the variety of its meanings are highlighted in their true intricacies.

 

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No Country for Old Men, by Cormac Mcarthy 

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Mcarthy’s novel, now made into a famous motion picture, reflects upon the damnation of man in a southern texan drawl. The first aspect of this novel which struck me was the peculiar writing style; a seemingly continuous list of actions without much greater detail or character insight. Though difficult to accustom to at first, it appears that this is not without reason. A sharp comparison in style is made with frequent monologues from the sheriff, which are likewise the only chapters within which are numbered. Whilst at first this seemed to be a consideration of good against evil, it appears to be more deeply rooted in emphasising the mindless brutality of humanity, by contrasting this with the orderly sheriff. As the title states, this is no country for old men.

 

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