Lily’s Literature #14

Hello ladies and gents. I’m back with another list of fab books that I’ve managed to read. This time around I would describe the three books as the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s pretty fitting, and hopefully you’ll understand why.

I guess we’ll start with the bad since I go in chronological order of when I read each book. I picked up 1984 by George Orwell because I always feel bad when I miss out on a story that everyone seems to be familiar with. Whenever people bring up 1984, I mention how I loved Animal Farm. And people are like, “Yeah but 1984 is so much better and different.” But is it?1984-cover

In his novel, George Orwell writes about a dystopian society ruled by Big Brother. Everyone is constantly being watched and controlled. There is a lack of freedom in all areas of life. Even thoughts are successfully under surveillance. The story follows a man named Winston and his memory of how life used to be before Big Brother, cameras, and hidden microphones. He has so much rage against the setup and wants to break free. One day fateful day the chance presents itself to Winston and his love interest and they decide to act on it.

I wasn’t really wowed by this book. I’ll admit that Orwell’s idea was way before it’s time and from a creative standpoint, very unusual and impressive. He really made that society come alive. However, I just wasn’t into the characters or the long, drawn out descriptions of Oceania’s politics. Some of it went over my head and a lot of it bored me. Overall, the book didn’t wow me, but I can appreciate the uniqueness of Orwell’s idea at the time.

After that I read something really great. White Oleander by Janet Fitch. I remember my mom reading this book when I was younger because Oprah featured it on her show. I’m glad, years later, I finally got around to reading it myself. Actually, during the middle of the book, I reached out to Janet Fitch on and told her how much I loved her book and she wrote a very kind message back. It was a delightful surprise.Book-White-Oleander-Cover-janet-fitch-5516513-545-800

White Oleander is the beautifully tragic story of Astrid Magnussen and her mother, Ingrid. Ingrid paints her bohemian lifestyle in an alluring way for her daughter. Everything about her mother is enchanting. But sadly, most of Ingrid’s life is focused on herself and not on her sweet daughter. After dating a man for a short time and being suddenly dumped, Ingrid seeks revenge, which costs her freedom, and Astrid’s lonesome wandering.

I really enjoyed the descriptions in this book. They were so fun to read. So many pretty words and scary scenes, yet all so real at the same time. I thought it was a little bit lengthy, but I couldn’t see it being shortened either. Just an all-around good read. I’d highly suggest this one. Especially since Janet and I are bffs now.

Today I finished reading Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. Every so often I like to throw a Young Adult book into the mix. I thought this story was intriguing, but it’s an ugly topic.ThirteenReasonsWhy

Thirteen Reasons Why is about a teenager named Clay who received 7 cassette tapes in the mail with no return address. He listens to them and hears the voice of the girl from his school who recently committed suicide. She sent out 7 tapes with thirteen sides naming all of the reasons (and people) that caused her to end her life.

It’s actually a really creative plot but I ended up getting bored a little bit towards the end. I kind of struggled with the girl’s story and how she didn’t really help herself or let other people reach out to her. There were a lot of names being juggled around which made it kind of hard to follow. The thing is, don’t think she should’ve blamed people for her own choice. But it’s a tricky subject so who knows. It had a lot of potential but didn’t totally deliver in the end (for me, personally). BUT one cool add-on to the book is the youtube site hannahsfriend13 where you can listen to a recorded voice read off the tapes. Kind of rad and spooky. It really brings the book to life, which I appreciated.

Have you read any good books lately?


17 thoughts on “Lily’s Literature #14

  1. J.D. Gallagher says:

    I never liked 1984, I’ve read it twice, and I always get slated when I say it, but I think it is one seriously tedious and overrated book, its endurance helped partly due to the Big Brother idea becoming the Bible for every paranoid conspiracy theorist that ever donned a tinfoil hat.

    • Yeah I pretty much agree with you. I mean, I can see why people like it, but it just wasn’t for me. I wonder if Orwell would be impressed with the show Big Brother? haha probs not….

  2. When I read 1984 I was really impressed, but afterwards that faded away somehow. Then I read ‘We’, which is generally on the same subject, but written earlier, and though it’s more satirical it somehow seemed more realistic and I liked it more.
    The White Oleander book sound really good, I hope I will find it one day so I can read it :D.

    • Hmm I’ve never heard of ‘We.’ I might look it up and give it a shot! Thanks for the recommend!
      You would love it! And not just because of the names haha 😉

  3. I’ve been writing a lot, so the reading has taken a back seat. I did read The Circle by Dave Eggers, which was really terrible (1984-Lite), and I normally like Eggers. I just finished The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene, which I had read years ago but had no recollection of. It was slow going, again, I think, because my mind was on my own writing. I remember The Heart of the Matter being one of my favourites of his, so I may re-tackle that at some point. Currently reading Hell Going by Lynn Coady, a short story collection that won the Giller Prize last year.

    • Gahh I know what you mean. Don’t tell anyone, but I think I’ve jumped on the book train and now I have to split my time between reading and writing (and watching movies and sleeping…). So I understand. Kinda.
      I’ve never read any Eggers, but I’ve seen The Circle and I have admired the cover. I’m a sucker for cool cover art. But I’ll stay away from it thanks to your review. Never heard of The Power and the Glory but slow going doesn’t suit me that well so I might dodge that one too.
      I like short story collections. I might try that one. Don’t pretend like the Giller Prize is a recognizable award. Lemme guess…it’s Canadian?

      • Ha! I did that on purpose. Yes, it’s the top literary prize. The year before it went to 419 by Will Ferguson which I thought was only meh. So I put “top” in quotation marks.

  4. This post made me SO HAPPY! First of all – White Oleander is in my top 3 of all time favorite books. I am absolutely in love with it!
    Secondly, Orwell’s 1984 is on my list of books to read. Animal Farm was part of our curriculum in high school and although the characters terrified me, the book itself was well written and I did enjoy it so I’ve been eager to read 1984. Eventually I’ll get there.
    I haven’t heard of the third book but the first two on your list once again solidifies the fact that we are, indeed, the same person.

    • Awesome! I love making people happy! White Oleander was soo good. I wasn’t expecting it to be as beautifully written as it was!
      I totally know what you mean about Animal Farm. I felt the same way, but still managed to like it. I won’t talk you out of 1984 because I’m sure you want to read it because it’s a popular one. I was the same way. It just wasn’t for me.
      We totally are twins! I love it!

  5. I know what it’s like to read a book that is widely regarded as a classic, only to find it boring or unimpressive. But I have to come to the defense of 1984 here. I’ve read it several times and it’s one of my favorites.

    If you haven’t read it, I recommend The Lord of the Flies,which offers another frightening look at humanity.

    Of course if you’re like me, there’s just not enough time to read all the books that deserve to be read.

    • I think it’s good that you’re defending 1984! Somebody has to 😉
      I really loved Lord of the Flies when I was in school. Such a great and realistic story. Good recommendation!
      I am definitely like you in that way, Bill. I wish I had enough time to read all of the books I want to. I have about 165 titles on my to-read list. Oy!

  6. I’m reading Bob Newhart’s biography right now.
    I’ve been devouring comedic biographies in an effort to hone my own skills.
    By the way, great reviews, Lily!

    • Awesome! That’s really cool. I could see you being a comedian. You have a successful comedic blog and you have enough anecdotes to last a lifetime!
      Thank you kindly!

    • Awesome! Yes, I just watched it Sunday night and I was very impressed. There were a couple of things missing, but it was totally understandable (otherwise the movie would’ve been 4 hours long haha). But yeah, overall I thought it was a great job! The book is definitely in my top favorites! Thanks for stopping by Kim 😀

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