I have a long list of books I want to read, but just don’t have the time to. I’ll edit this every time I finish one of the books, and maybe even try to post a review of each after. (All blurbs most likely taken from Goodreads or Amazon.)
Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger
Blurb: The Catcher in Rye is the ultimate novel for disaffected youth, but it’s relevant to all ages. The story is told by Holden Caulfield, a seventeen- year-old dropout who has just been kicked out of his fourth school. Throughout, Holden dissects the ‘phony’ aspects of society, and the ‘phonies’ themselves: the headmaster whose affability depends on the wealth of the parents, his roommate who scores with girls using sickly-sweet affection.
Lazy in style, full of slang and swear words, it’s a novel whose interest and appeal comes from its observations rather than its plot intrigues (in conventional terms, there is hardly any plot at all). Salinger’s style creates an effect of conversation, it is as though Holden is speaking to you personally, as though you too have seen through the pretences of the American Dream and are growing up unable to see the point of living in, or contributing to, the society around you.
Written with the clarity of a boy leaving childhood, it deals with society, love, loss, and expectations without ever falling into the clutch of a cliche.
Note: Yeah, yeah, I know. How can a book junkie NOT have read this all-time classic? Well let me assure you, I am making it my business to read it before the school year is over. Also, I find the name Holden strangely attractive, which didn’t affect my obsession with reading this book, I just wanted to tell you.
Exchange by Paul Magrs
Blurb: Following the death of his parents, 16-year-old Simon moves into his grandparents’ claustrophobic bungalow, which quickly becomes a refuge from his bullying peers. United by their voracious appetite for books, Simon and his grandmother stumble across the Great Big Book Exchange—a bookshop with a difference. There they meet impulsive, gothic Kelly and her boss, Terrance—and the friendships forged in the Great Big Book Exchange result in startling and unsettling consequences for all of them.
Note: The first thing that caught my eye in this book was the author’s impossible to pronounce name (Magirs? Magers? Seriously, where is that syllable?), and then the synopsis. Well, actually it was recommended to me but I am not counting that. Since I have so many books lining up to be read (this list doesn’t cover even half of it), it’s really hard to get me to read a book just by recommending it. So this book speaks for itself. I don’t know too much about this book but I am really excited about it.
Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawks
Blurb: Have you ever made a drunken bet? Worse still, have you ever tried to win one? In attempting to hitchhike round Ireland with a fridge, Tony Hawks did both, and his foolhardiness led him to one of the best experiences of his life. Joined by his trusty traveling companion-cum-domestic appliance, he made his way from Dublin to Donegal, from Sligo through Mayo, Galway, Clare, Kerry, Cork, Wexford, Wicklow–and back again to Dublin. In their month of madness, Tony and his fridge met a real prince, a bogus king, and the fridge got christened. They surfed together, entered a bachelor festival, and one of them had sex without the other knowing. And unexpectedly, the fridge itself became a momentary focus for the people of Ireland.
Note: Doesn’t the blurb just make you want to travel round soggy Ireland carrying around a very heavy fridge too? I heard of this book from John Green, author of many great books including The Fault in Our Stars, when he posted a video on Youtube of a list of underdog books people should read. It sounds like one of those very funny and insane books that can cheer you up at bad times.
The Last Summer of Reason by Tahar Djaout
Blurb: This elegantly haunting work of fiction features bookstore owner Boualem Yekker, who lives in a country overtaken by a radically conservative party known as the Vigilant Brothers, a group that seeks to control every aspect of life according to the precepts of their rigid moral theology. The belief that no work of beauty created by humans should rival the wonders of their god is slowly consuming society, and the art once treasured is now despised. Boualem resists the new regime with quiet determination, using the shop and his personal history as weapons against puritanical forces. Readers are taken into the lush depths of the bookseller’s dreams, the memories of his now empty family life, and his passion for literature, then yanked back into the terror and drudgery of his daily routine by the vandalism, assaults, and death warrants that afflict him.
Note: This is probably the book I am looking forward to read the most. Not just for being such an interesting topic, but also for its backstory. Tahar Djaout, the author, was assassinated in 1993 by Islamists for writing books like The Last Summer of Reason. I cannot begin to explain the irony of it all. And really, it just shows to further prove Djaout’s whole point of writing the story.
The Dead Do Not Improve by Jay Caspain Kang
Blurb: Exceedingly unique, pulsing with vigor and heart, and loaded with fierce, fresh language, The Dead Do Not Improve confirms Jay Caspian Kang as a true American original. When struggling writer Philip Kim is dragged into a complex mystery after his neighbor is murdered, Sid Finch, a homicide detective bitter about everything except his gorgeous wife, and his phlegmatic, pockmarked partner, Jim Kim, land the case. Philip becomes the baffled focus of an elaborate, violent scheme that seems tied to his neighbor’s murder, and the cops think he might be involved. With an intelligent narrative voice that that moves effortlessly between hilarity, satire, poignancy, and madcap digressions, Kang has written a trippy, self-aware novel obsessed with the Virginia Tech massacre, surfing, and identity.
Note: I absolutely love this cover, and sometimes I just can’t stop staring at it. Funny thing: I actually thought the title was The Dead Do Not Approve for the longest time. Oh well.
I don’t want to make this post any longer so I have decided to post my to-be-reads five at a time. Meanwhile, feel free to vote for whichever book you enjoyed the most (if you’ve read some of them), think I should read first, or didn’t read either but find the most interesting.