Bakc from College readings!

College has been keeping me busy for the last few months but that also means I have read lots of worthy books. Here they are:

1) The Secret River – Kate Grenville (Australian & New Zealand literature)

4/5

This story is set in London, 1807. William Thornhill, happily wedded to his childhood sweetheart Sal, is a waterman on the River Thames. Life is tough but bearable until William makes a mistake, a bad mistake for which he and his family are made to pay dearly. His sentence: to be transported to New South Wales for the term of his natural life. The Thornhills arrive in this harsh and alien land that they cannot understand and which feels like a death sentence. But, among the convicts there is a rumour that freedom can be bought, that ‘unclaimed’ land up the Hawkesbury offers an opportunity to start afresh, far away from the township of Sydney. When William takes a hundred acres for himself, he is shocked to find Aboriginal people already living on the river. And other recent arrivals – Thomas Blackwood, Smasher Sullivan and Mrs. Herring – are finding their own ways to respond to them. Soon Thornhill, a man neither better nor worse than most, has to make the most difficult decision of his life…

By Book Depository

2) Mr. Pip – Lloyd Jones (Australian & New Zealand literature)

4.5/5

‘You cannot pretend to read a book. Your eyes will give you away. So will your breathing. A person entranced by a book simply forgets to breathe. The house can catch alight and a reader deep in a book will not look up until the wallpaper is in flames.’ Bougainville. 1991. A small village on a lush tropical island in the South Pacific. Eighty-six days have passed since Matilda’s last day of school as, quietly, war is encroaching from the other end of the island. When the villagers’ safe, predictable lives come to a halt, Bougainville’s children are surprised to find the island’s only white man, a recluse, re-opening the school. Pop Eye, aka Mr Watts, explains he will introduce the children to Mr Dickens. Matilda and the others think a foreigner is coming to the island and prepare a list of much needed items. They are shocked to discover their acquaintance with Mr Dickens will be through Mr Watts’ inspiring reading of Great Expectations. But on an island at war, the power of fiction has dangerous consequences. Imagination and beliefs are challenged by guns. Mister Pip is an unforgettable tale of survival by story; a dazzling piece of writing that lives long in the mind after the last page is finished.

By Book Depository

3) The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne (Northamerican literature)

3/5

Set in the harsh Puritan community of 17th century Boston, this is a tale of an adulterous entanglement that results in an illegitimate birth. The mother of the child, Hester Prynne, is publicly disgraced and ostracized but emerges as the first true heroine of American fiction.

By Book Depository

4) The Fall of the House of Usher – Edgar Allan Poe {Short Story} (Nortamerican literature)

3.5/4

A short story about a man visiting a childhood friend that seems to hide a terrible family secret in the most gothic and eerie framework in the whole England.

5) The Blind Assasin – Margaret Atwood (20th C. Literature)

4/5

‘Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge.’ Thus begins THE BLIND ASSASSIN, Margaret Atwood’s stunning new novel. Laura Chase’s older sister Iris, married at eighteen to a politically prominent Industrialist but now poor and eighty-two, is living in Port Ticonderoga, a town dominated by their once-prosperous family before the First War. While coping with her unreliable body, Iris reflects on her far from exemplary life, in particular the events surrounding her sister’s tragic death. Chief among these was the publication of THE BLIND ASSASSIN, a novel which earned the dead Laura Chase not only notoriety but also a devoted cult following: as Iris says, she herself lives ‘in the long shadow cast by Laura’. Sexually explicit for its time, THE BLIND ASSASSIN describes a risky affair in the turbulent thirties between a wealthy young woman and a man on the run. During their secret meetings in rented rooms, the lovers concoct a pulp fantasy set on the Planet Zycron. As the invented story twists through love and sacrifice and betrayal, so does the real one, as events in both move closer to war and catastrophe. By turns lyrical, outrageous, formidable, compelling and funny, this is a novel filled with deep humour and dark drama. It is Margaret Atwood at her breathtaking best.

By Book Depository

6) The Magus - John Fowles (20th C. Literature)

3/5

On a remote Greek Island, Nicholas Urfe finds himself embroiled in the deceptions of a master trickster. As reality and illusion intertwine, Urfe is caught up in the darkest of psychological games. John Fowles expertly unfolds a tale that is lush with over-powering imagery in a spellbinding exploration of human complexities. By turns disturbing, thrilling and seductive, “The Magus” is a feast for the mind and the senses.

By Book Depository

7) Bless Me, Última – Rudolfo Anaya (Chicano literature)

3/5

Besides winning the Premio Quinto Sol national Chicano literary award, this novel of a young boy in New Mexico in the 1940s has sold more than 300,000 copies in paperback since its 1973 debut. Here, however, the book gets the hardcover treatment, with a few illustrations added for color. LJ’s reviewer asserted that “the novel has warmth and feeling” (LJ 2/1/73) and a place in all fiction collections, especially those serving Chicano populations.

By Library Journal

8) How the García Girls Lost their Accents – Julia Álvarez (Chicano literature)

3.5/5

Yolanda Garcia is taking a trip to the Dominican Republic to revisit the country where she was born, and which her family was forced to flee for New York when she was a child. Previously privileged and wealthy, the family finds it hard to adjust to immigrant life in the Bronx, particularly their tough old-world father, Papi. As they try immerse themselves in the American way of life, Yolanda and her three sisters begin to rebel against Papi’s traditions and values, each in their own way. But, however the girls may iron the curls from their hair and blend their Hispanic accents to fit in, they will always see the world through Dominican eyes. Now Yolanda needs to return one more time, to recover forgotten memories and remember that part of her she lost.

By Book Depository