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.

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.

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

Hey everyone. If you didn’t already know The Raven is a poem.  I personally didn’t particularly like this poem. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t like it mainly because I’d heard so many good things about Poe and his work. I think the only reason I disliked it so much is because it reminded me too much of that Hitchcock film Birds and the fact that the Raven keeps repeating the word, “Nevermore.” To be honest I found that quite creepy.

If you like creepy poems about birds then this one is for you. If you like other works by Poe then you might like that television series called The Following which was about a serial killer who becomes a leader of a cult obsessed with Poe and his works.

Feel free to recommend me work by Poe that I might find interesting,

S.

Works mentioned:

Hitchcock, A. (1963) Birds.

Poe, E. A. (2005) The Raven in Ferguson, M., Salter, M.J., Stallworthy, J. (5th edn). The Norton Anthology of Poetry. New York: W.W Norton & Company. Pp.977-980.

Williamson, K. (2013-2015) The Following. Fox Broadcasting. (In the UK was broadcasted on Sky).

 

 

Katherine Mansfield, Prelude

Katherine Mansfield’s story ‘Prelude’ is seventh on my reading list but I decided to read it first because it’s a short story. Now for those of you who haven’t read it, what have you been doing? I first came across Katherine Mansfield while I was trying to find books by Virginia Woolf on Google. Google suggested to me similar authors and this is exactly how I came across Mansfield.

After doing some research about Mansfield  I came across  The Global Life of New Zealanders    and found that Woolf was jealous of Mansfield’s work.  If the very talented Virginia Woolf was jealous well then there must have been a very good reason.

Now after reading the Prelude I can  understand why Woolf was jealous and experienced a little something of the green-eyed monster myself. Mansfields story  captures the characters emotions and portrays them through beautiful writing. She makes the story  relatable  to what we’ve all experienced in our own lives. I particularly enjoyed  the opening of Chapter 5, “Dawn came sharp and chill with red clouds on a faint green sky and drops of water on every leaf and blade”  (p.24).  I also found most of the story quite funny as well. In particular later on in the story when we learn about the truth about Beryls’ affection for Stanley.

A lot  of the story will make you laugh and I definitely recommend that you take out time to read it because I’ll definetly be reading it again.

Information about the book discussed:

Mansfield, K. (2001) The Collected Stories. London: Penguin Books. Pp.11-60.