Me as a reader

During the first term of our school this year, I have read numerous books. I’ve read numerous genres, such as fantasy, mystery, dystopian, etc. I have loved “The Green Mile”. I have watched the movie, I never knew I would read it until I saw this book in the library. “The Green Mile” consisted of a rather more interesting, never-seen-before story line. A group of prison guard, letting a convict out of his prison just to save their friend’s wife’s life. There were some funny and touching moments during the story. From a sweet revenge on the antagonist, Percy, to inevitable death of one of the innocent convicts, the book had a lot of captivating moments that I loved reading.

My reading

I get most of the reading done before I go to sleep. I read from 30 minutes to 1 hour everyday before I go to sleep. I am slowly growing as a reader. I did not read books on daily basis before; but the fact that I have gotten onto a rhythm in which I set a particular time to read, I can say I am growing as a reader. In one go, I can now read around 1 hour and 30 minutes without losing interest/focus on the book.

I plan to exert my reading further. I would read more challenging text, and make myself read in a particular set time. That would further enhance my reading and comprehensive ability. Until the end of school year, I will challenge myself to read around 15 classical novels. These novels will be tough, because they consist of old English language, and the context will be harder for me to comprehend because they are mainly set in 2-4 centuries ago.

My Reading Profile – 2014/2015

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 8.40.09 am

Above is my bookshelf. These are the books I read and planning to read.

Easy text – The easiest text I read this year was “Noughts and Crosses”. This book was easiest because the story is set in modern times, and was based on discrimination and segregation in South Africa (except fictional), it was fairly easier for me to understand the plots and the story progress in this book. The language the author has used was fairly easy, she has used commonly used words for her book. Regardless of the level, I found this book really interesting and looking forward to read more of her “noughts and crosses” series.

Hard text – The hardest text I read this year was “Game of Thrones”. Because the story consists of many characters, it was hard for me to keep track of every characters, especially as I did not read this book daily, I often forgot the individual plots that a certain characters go through. Later on this book, as these characters came together, it was harder for me to comprehend the overall plot of the book; I often had to go back to fill in the “missing” gap between each events.

Goals and Challenges
Most of the books I read are urban-styled books. They are fictions that are based on modern times. To add more diversity in my reading profile, I’d like to read more classical novels and non-fictions. Classical novels, will provide an insight of the situations that many renowned authors lived in. Non-fiction will provide an insight of more realistic sense of the world.

Fahrenheit 451

Kicking off for the holidays, I started with a dystopian novel, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. The book is regarded as one of the best dystopian novels.

download

Set in America, after World War 3 and few nuclear warfare, we meet this character Guy Montag, who works as a fireman. In this novel, firemen have different jobs from our world’s firemen; instead of putting out fire, they are obliged to burn every books they see. Now in this world, the books are banned, and people do not own freedom of speech. The worst part is, people are just blindly brainwashed by the totalitarian Government, believing that their current, oppressed life is happy. They are occupied by “parlor”, the TVs, which constantly distract people from seeing what really matters to their lives.
Guy Montag, meets this mysterious, and considered, crazy girl named Clarisse McClellan. She was an outcast, and often wandered off from school, being lost in her own imaginative world. That’s when Guy started to become in touch with the world that we know now, where freedom of speech, expression existed.
In the chapter of “The Hearth and Salamander”, Captain Beatty (another fireman; Guy’s superior) justifies the reason for the government’s censorship. He says, “Speed up the film, Montag, quick… Uh! Bang! Smack! Wallop, Bing, Bong, Boom! Digest-digests, digest-digest-digests. Politics? One column, two sentences, a headline!… Whirl man’s mind around about so fast under the pumping hands of publishers, exploiters, broadcasters that the centrifuge flings off all unnecessary, time-wasting thought!”. Ray Bradbury here, used varieties of syntax and sounds to effectively portray people right now, perhaps the possibility of the government seeking chance to oppress us, just like in Guy’s world. Now this is a very impressive quote Ray has used to show the sophistry of the world’s elite’s explanation of the censorship, perhaps Ray slightly portending our future being just blindly consumed by elites, oppressing us from the reality.

This book, not only a dystopian sci-fi novel, but also is a very inspiring book that gives us motifs and direction to live with volition without the oppression from anyone. I suggest you read this book and perhaps get more motivation to read!

My Summer Reading Challenge.

Novels,non-fictions, plays… there are just so many interesting books to read.
Over the summer holiday, I’m inclined to read more classical, sophisticated books, maybe more books from Charles Dickinson, or maybe more books from George Orwell.
In this summer, I will be updating you guys with details of the books I read and my personal comments.
Behold!

Books

I feel the need to read more classical books. I need to read more sophisticated books, in order to improve my reading skills and my writing skills. For example, the classical books I read so far, “1984 by George Orwell”, “To kill a mocking bird”, “Lord of the Flies” were great books, that triggered me to think philosophically. Even though they were great, they weren’t sophisticated enough to improve my reading skills, or motivated me to write well. I feel the need of reading more complex books to enhance my reading, and so on to improve my English.

Of Mice and Men

Title: Of Mice and Men
Author: John Steinbeck

“Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck is the kind of book that reveals the true nature of man.
Of Mice and Men is the story of two alienated men who work as farm labourers, drifting from job to job in California. Lennie is a gentle giant (who is a little slow). George guides and protects him and depends on him for companionship. They dream of owning a farm one day and tend rabbits. This however is not meant to be. They arrive at a new farm; work with new people, make friends, till the owner’s son’s Curley’s wife ruins it all for them.

The title of the book is from a poem by Robert Burns, “To a Mouse”, which goes: “The best laid schemes of mice and men,/ go often awry,/ and leave us nothing/ but grief and pain,/ for promised joy!” Steinbeck draws on these lines in the book very subtly, making sure that the plans do not go as they dreamt of, because after all that is the story.

I’ve never wanted a book to spontaneously change endings so badly. I yearn for that little place as much as they do. I wanted them to have it desperately. Proof the incredibly sad ending isn’t hopeless is that on a reread I could still hope it would end differently. Oh, it does happen, loneliness and cruelty and mass mob hating mentality. The possibility that it won’t, that people might come through, is still a chance. Otherwise why bother reading a book such as this one.

Lennie dying alone like a dog, haunts me. The dying with honor issue I’ve read about in other stuff isn’t an issue with me. Dignity, yes, because in this case the dying was robbing his life of dignity. Lennie had precious little of it as it was. I know that in those times that kind of thing was not unheard of (or much later than that). Still, depressing as shit. Maybe those kinds of hateful things make some kind of a stain on the atmosphere, like a ghost. (If ghosts exist, I imagine they’d come out of something like that. Why are ghosts usually from like Colonial usa or Civil War times? Not the 1970s?) So the dying and the living are the same as both are long over. It should never have to be that way.

Steinbeck depicts the impossibility of dreams being achieved and explores brotherhoods in humans – the strengths, the weakness in man and sometimes the angst. It truly reveals what men are really like; men shattering other people’s dreams for their own good. Of Mice and Men is a classic in every sense that should not be missed.

The wild geese- midway through the novel

As I was reading this book, I found “Memoirs of a Geisha” and this book very similar. Not only because they have the same setting, but in the way that those two portray two very similar characters; two beautiful women who were sold by their parents for wealth and fortune, but not because they wanted to, one becoming a Geisha and one becoming a mistress. The only thing that differentiates those two characters is that Geisha in “Memoirs of a Geisha” is really different from the mistress in “The wild geese”; the way they are being treated and what they do.

Now, back to “The wild geese” – Otama, learning that her new husband is an usurer, considered as a disgraceful job in Japan, Otama becomes overwhelmed with turmoil, and she goes through a dilemma, whether to tell his father or not, for she is ashamed, marrying a usurer, yet she does not want to spoil any of her father’s happiness. She views any sort of bad news as a kind of poison, and “she didn’t want to pour a drop of poison into the sake cup he [her father] held in his hand.”

As I was reading, the book reminded me of “Their Eyes were watching God”, a novel I read recently (I will post a review on it later on this blog). Otama, who was forced to marry the usurer to fulfil her father’s happiness and will, feels oppressed and unhappy about the marriage for the fact that she couldn’t fulfil her own view on marriage and her view on romance. I could relate this to Janie in “Their Eyes were watching God” – who was also forced to marry a rich man called Logan Killicks, just because her grandmother thought she needed materialistic stability and wealth, more than to fulfil her romance she thought of, and the expectations of a good, lovely marriage. Janie, later on, perceives that her love is more important than a materialistic, cold-hearted marriage, and runs away from her husband to find her ideal husband. Can Otama relate to this and run off to marry her ideal husband against her father’s will and the guilt culture in Japan, called Hajji?

I will be updating you on this novel as soon as I finish this book. Stay tuned!