Let’s talk about D.H. Lawrence.

D.H. Lawrence is well-known for writing about sex but that isn’t the only thing he wrote about. Although when you ask people about Lawrence they usually say, “Ah yes, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, a bit steamy that” and some of even describe Lawrence’s works as “a bit naughty” and  say he’s the man who “wrote those rude books”. His work was called obscene,  his novel The Rainbow was banned two months after being released in 1915 and Lady Chatterley’s Lover, published in 1928 was banned in England and America (Penguin Random House, 2017). However for many people in the East Midlands he is one of the finest writers’ the region has produced.   

In many of his works Lawrence explores the complexity of relationships whether that’s between lovers or family relationships.  His novels capture what  life was like for many living in 20th century Nottinghamshire, when mining was the major source of income for many families. There were many other opportunities for the educated but for many of the poor mining was the only job prospect. In his novels Lawrence has explored the evils of alcohol and abuse. It’s his ability to talk about these issues has enabled his work to live on and especially explore the complexities of life is what has enraptured audiences until this day.

My own experience with Lawrence began in college when someone mentioned him to me. I’d heard about Lawrence before, how could I not have? This was the first time someone had directly asked me if I’d read anything by Lawrence, luckily for me someone had interrupted me. I ran straight to the library after class to find something by Lawrence to read.  I could only find Women in Love, I borrowed it and since then I’ve read all of his books. His books are worth the read, there is so much more to them than just sex.

If you’re interested in reading  books by D.H. Lawrence you should start off with The Rainbow.

 

If you want to know more about D.H. Lawrence:  Brief Biography of D.H. Lawrence

 

 

 

 

 

Random thoughts about reading.

Reading a book can change the way you think about everyday things. It can help you grow as a person, improve your grammar, spelling and even help you think about every day relationships. They can be quite thought provoking, make you cry, laugh and smile. So why not read? You can immerse yourself completely into another world, escape reality for a couple of hours, so why not?

We all have a specific pattern of books that we read, quite recently I was going through my books on my shelf and I noticed a startling  pattern in my reading habits.  The amount of fiction and poetry I own is incredible. I think out of over a hundred books I only own four non-fiction books. The question is, why do I own so much fiction? Although to be honest I think I own at least three different editions of Persuasion by Jane Austen. Why? I don’t know. I have seem to have developed a habit of collecting books.  I have a weird attachment to books. Apparently I get all sentimental and overly attached. Some books were gifted to me. They will be treasured like precious memories.

I need to balance it out, so if anyone wants to recommend me a good non-fiction book could you please leave me a comment. I will then blog about it to let you know what I thought of it.

Thank you in advance and have a lovely day.

The Women of The Cousins’ War

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Simon & Schuster UK (2011)

The Women of the Cousins’ War is described as ,

“The extraordinary true stories of three women who until now have been largely forgotten by history”.

It focuses on Jacquetta of Luxembourg, Elizabeth Woodville and Margaret Beaufort.

In the last couple of years people have become more aware of Elizabeth Woodville and Margaret Beaufort thanks to Philippa Gregory’s book The White Queen ,  the BBC series adaptation with the same title and her BBC documentary called The Real White Queen and Her Rivals.

After coming across these works I decided to learn more about these women. That’s when I came across The Real White and Her Rivals.

In the introduction of the book Philippa Gregory clearly outlines why women have been excluded from history and why it’s important to tell the stories of the women from such a turbulent time.

The following chapters on Jacquetta of Luxembourg ( Philippa Gregory), Elizabeth Woodville (David Baldwin) and Margaret Beaufort (Michael Jones) are very informative.  I managed to learn a lot more about these women. In particular how they were able to overcome some of the most challenging of circumstances. I found these chapters extremely interesting and I was immediately captivated by the journey of these women. In particular Margaret Beaufort, she had to overcome so much loss in her life at such a young age. I can’t help but admire her patience and her political mind.

I’m definitely inspired by these women and I will be trying to find out more about them.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about The Cousins’ War (also known as The War of the Roses) or anyone interested in strong women throughout history. The chapters are well written and the information is easy to understand.

Lord of the Flies

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Faber & Faber (1997)

I remember being told by several people that I should read Lord of the Flies by William Goulding. Over the years I have felt guilty about not reading it, so last year I added it to my reading list.  Just as I started to read it, I had the pleasure of going to a dinner party. At least I thought it was going to a be pleasure. Until someone (who shall remain nameless) decides to reveal in mid-conversation what happens to a certain character in the book. I was approximately 96 pages in. Was I irritated by this? Of course. I was absolutely livid. As any book lover would be. I really wish people would ask, “Have you read this book?” before revealing details or spoilers. So, if you haven’t read Lord of the Flies I suggest you stop reading this post and read the book before  you read this. I really don’t want to spoil this book for you.

Lord of the Flies opens with a plane crash and a group of boys find themselves stranded on an island. It’s quite intriguing, as the first thing you think, “how are these young boys going to survive?”. There is quite the struggle for power between Ralph and Jack who both want to be Chief. Jack is pretty much that bully that everyone encounters at some point during their childhood. Ralph eventually evolves from being sort of dismissive towards Piggy into respecting him and valuing his opinion and seeing him more of a friend.  Which Ralph figures out after Piggy’s death. Yes he dies

Golding also explores instinct, animalistic ones, hunting  & killing for example.  Jack’s desire to kill and hunt borders on obsessive, particularly with the chanting.

Lord of the Flies is so influential that it’s managed to inspire a lot of individuals and quite a lot of references in today’s culture would suggest it is influential. Evidence of this can be found in TV shows such as LOST , the opening scene of the TV series is quite similar to the first chapter in Golding’s book.  Was JJ Abrams inspired by Golding’s work? Probably.

Even in other works of fiction such as James Dashner’s The Maze Runner series, you can find evidence of Dashner being inspired by Golding’s book. It’s obvious why an entire generations of people would be fascinated and invigorated by Golding’s work. After all, the idea of being stuck on an island has occurred to us all. Would we give into our animalistic instincts in order to survive?  Let’s hope we never have to find out because that’s actually quite scary thing to think about.

Did Golding develop on previous ideas from  Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe or Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island ?  After all these tales also explore similar concepts that Golding develops throughout his novel.

I did enjoy this book and I would definitely recommend this to anyone who hasn’t read it.

Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad

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Penguin Random House

“Conrad’s narrator Marlow, a seaman and wanderer, recounts his physical and psychological journey in search of the infamous ivory trader Kurtz: dying, insane, and guilty of unspeakable atrocities. Travelling upriver to the heart of the African continent, he gradually becomes obsessed by this enigmatic, wraith-like figure. Marlow’s discovery of how Kurtz has gained his position of power over the local people involves him in a radical questioning, not only of his own nature and values, but also those of western civilisation. The inspiration for Francis Ford Coppola’s Oscar-winning film Apocalypse Now, Heart of Darkness is a quintessentially modernist work exploring the limits of human experience and the nightmarish realities of imperialism.Part of a major series of new editions of Conrad’s most famous works in Penguin Classics, this volume contains Conrad’s Congo Diary, a chronology, further reading, notes, a map of the Congo, a glossary and an introduction discussing the author’s experiences in Africa, the narrative and symbolic complexities of Heart of Darkness and critical responses to the novel”

(Penguin Random House, 2017)

 Whoever wrote that book blurb at Penguin Random House kudos because that’s very accurate. I have to admit while reading this  book I was both enraptured but also horrified. Imperialism and colonisation are real but every time I read about it whether it’s  in a fictional context or a historical one I still feel horrified and shocked. I was shocked at the amount of  racial and derogatory language used to describe the natives of Africa and the way they’re treated. I kept reading this book simply because I had to know more about Kurtz, the development of the ivory trade (a subject which i feel passionately about, no elephant should have their tusks taken away) and because of  language passages such as this one:
“There were moments when one’s past came back to one, as it will sometimes when you not a moment to spare for yourself; but it came in the shape of a unrestful and noisy dream, remembered with wonder amongst the overwhelming realities of this strange world  of plants, and water, and silence. And this stillness of life did not in the least resemble a peace. It was the stillness  of an implacable force brooding over an inscrutable intention. It looked at you with a vengeful aspect.”
(Conrad, 2007)
Would I read this book again? In all honesty I don’t know, maybe. I have mixed feelings about this piece of Conrad’s work. I will read it again at some point (so this blog post might change). Until then, stay tuned.
If you have read Heart of Darkness before or a fan of Conrad’s other works  and are looking for something that’s similar but not written by him I would recommend  Voltaire’s Candide or Optimism? 
References:
Conrad, J.  (2007) Heart of Darkness.  London: Penguin Random House.
Penguin Random House (2017) ‘Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad’.  Available at: https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/60414/heart-of-darkness/ [Online] (Accessed on: 24 January 2017

 

To the Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf

 

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Publisher: Penguin Ltd.

 

What has taken me so long to read this? I was multi-tasking, reading Joyce’s Ulysses as well as this. Reading Ulysses in chunks is better than reading it all in one go because it’s quite exhausting. Back to Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse, I’m going to keep this review short and sweet. The book made me want to visit the Isle of Skye,  Scotland. Woolf’s vivid description of the landscape is so detailed that you almost feel like you’re there looking at the scenery. What I really liked was the use of different narratives (perspectives). Although at first I felt slightly confused but as I gradually got further into the book  the more I got used to it.  I love Woolf’s style and the way she brings each of her characters to life. Lets just say I’m a fan of her work and If I ever got stuck on a desert island somewhere this is one of the books I  hope I’d have on me so that I could read it again and again.

Book recommendations

Hi everyone,

In this post just going to recommend a couple of books that I’ve read in the last couple of years that I really enjoyed (in no particular order):

1984 -George Orwell9788499890944 (Published by Penguin Books Ltd)  

I recently reread this book and I can tell you that it will give you the creeps and it resonates with you for a long time particularly in this day and age. Orwell’s book will make you think about privacy, “Big Brother is watching you”.  How much privacy do we really have? If anything this book will make you think about how much of about yourself you post and share on the internet (Facebook, Instagram, twitter, etc).

The East of Eden -John Steinbeck east-of-eden-e28093-john-steinbeck1 (Published by Penguin Books Ltd)

This book explores the relationship between siblings. Steinbeck explores good and evil. It will also make you think about the bible, in particular the story of Adam and Eve and the story of Cain and Abel. The relationship between the brothers is quite often compared to that of Cain and Abel. Be prepared to be shocked.

y450-293Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy  (Published by Penguin Books Ltd)

I would describe this book as a tale about a young woman’s independence . I loved this book, I’ve read it way more than once and I enjoyed it more each time I’ve read it.

book_forbidden-360x581The Forbidden Queen – Anne O’Brien (Published by: Harlequin (UK))

I liked this book because not much is known about Katherine de Valois (the woman who was married to Henry V and gave birth to Henry VI ) and her affair with the Welshman Owen Tudor (who himself is a descendent of Welsh royalty). I like the fact that even though this a fictional account of her affair with Owen Tudor it’s from her point of view. If you like books based on history, you’ll definitely like this one.

2014outlandertvcoverOutlander (published as Cross Stitch in the UK)- Diana Gabaldon  (Published by: Cornerstone)

A book about time travel, love and adventure. That’s probably the best way to describe it. It’s amazing. I love any book that explores time travel. Well i love all things time travel related. Gabaldon’s book also incorporates history  (Scottish history, which is so fascinating, I learnt so much information that I didn’t know). It incorporates a lot of Scottish traditions and myths which is very interesting. I love mythology. I enjoyed it. If you don’t like surprises I suggest you read this book before watching Season 1 of Outlander

Handle with Care (Paperback)Handle with Care- Jodi Picoult  (Published by: Hodder & Stoughton General Division)

I read this book years and years ago but i still think about it every now again. It made quite the impact on me. Picoult’s story is so poignant and haunting. She delicately talks about Osteogenesis imperfecta and the struggles of having a child born with this genetic disease. It will make you question everything you believe and it’ll make you question your own morals. This book still haunts me.

Hypothermia (Paperback)

Hypothermia – Arnaldur Indridason  (Published by :Vintage Publishing)

This is an amazing Icelandic thriller.  If you enjoyed the BBC show Trapped you’ll probably enjoy reading this. I was enthralled. It is quite creepy.

 

So those are my recommendations, i’d be interested to know what you think after you’ve read them or if you’ve read them before what you thought of them. Feel free to leave a comment .

Please note: The images of book covers belong to the artist and the publishing companies of the books.