ELLE’S READING CHALLENGE – AUGUST – NOVEMBER

Once again I’ve neglected my blog (technical issues) but continued my quest to get through Rory’s reading list. So for anyone still interested, here’s a quick update on my progress, and a couple of random (some controversial) observations.

Things I learnt over the last few months:

1. I’m not a fan of Stephen King

2. It takes me far longer to read a book I’m not enjoying

3. My copy of Frankenstein came from Middlesbrough College!

Having re-read The Great Gatsby in no time at all, I decided to tackle Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, a book I’d previously started, lost (it fell down the side of my bed some years ago) found (when I moved) but abandoned. I’d love to say I discovered Thompson’s much-lauded Gonzo genius, but that would be wholly untrue. As someone who reacts badly to even paracetamol, drugs are not my thing, and I just couldn’t relate to the hallucinogenic adventures.

Given that we were heading towards Halloween, I then decided to read horror ‘classic’ Stephen King’s Carrie. I’ve never seen the film but knew the story and the gory climax. Unbelievably, I’d never read King previously, but I tend to favour male authors, particularly when it comes to crime and fantasy so I had no reason to think I wouldn’t like Carrie. But I really didn’t. Yes, a good writer should be able to write from any perspective, but to write a book from the view of a teenage girl which is so obsessed with menstrual cycles is weird and, frankly, it pissed me off. The idea that paranormal phenomena are triggered by teenage hormones is a very old premise, but a perfectly serviceable one but perhaps the narrative style works better as a film, because as a book it’s so bitty that I found it hard to care about any of the characters. I could go on but, suffice to say, I didn’t enjoy it.

In October, I simultaneously read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (another book I’d previously started and abandoned, when I had less patience) and my second Stephen King book, The Shining.

So, having lost any respect from all the Thompson and King fans, I might as well go for it and confess that I don’t understand the obsession with Harry Potter. There’s nice imagery and I’m led to believe that the character development is strong, but the first book, at least, is somewhat clunky. Number 4 is also on the list, so I will persevere. Which brings me to The Shining. My usual reading places are in the bath, in bed and at work on cloakroom, which I then walk home from at daft o’clock in the morning. If you’ve read The Shining or seen the film you’ll immediately see why all of the above are very bad ideas! It took me nearly a month to read and I did start checking my wardrobes before I went to bed because it is genuinely creepy and much more effective than Carrie. But horrible things happening to/being seen by a five-year-old is not my idea of entertainment, particularly with so many sexual overtones, so whilst I can appreciate King’s skill in storytelling and building the suspense, I don’t feel the need to read it ever again. At least I now understand all the references in the 30 Seconds to Mars video for ‘The Kill’ though, the dog costume fellatio always had me stumped!

So there you have it, my probably-not-popular views on some popular literature, I’ve nearly finished re-reading Frankenstein, and my biggest problem with that isn’t with the book, but with everyone who thinks Frankenstein is the monster…

Now that my laptop is back up and running, I should be blogging more regularly, but, in the meantime, feel free to comment and argue with me – I enjoy a good literary debate!

18 down 320 to go!

 

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