One month. 

It has been a month since I started the book list and so far I have learned that:
a) I am not the fast reader I was before;

b) Perhaps the range of books I chose was too complex and I should have added more contemporary stuff just because my mind works that way or a mix of long/short not just looooong/long;

c) I overestimated my timing, and perhaps should have done twenty books because the amount of things I have going on are far more time consuming than I expected. (I have BARELY touched my Netflix account, if it wasn’t for my sister they’d send me an email asking if I was ok)(okay, love island had me consumed for a minute but I knew I had an hourly commitment before I started this, I swear);

d) I should stop reading so much damn fanfiction (to elaborate, I read fanfiction before sleeping on my phone, most notably Harry Potter fanfiction. Please don’t judge. I know it’s consuming my life and such a bad habit).

I’m currently writing my thoughts and feelings on the latest book I completed (Rebecca) and I’m eschewing fanfiction for my next book (which is a big step, I know) but I think for the august month of August, I’ll try blogging more. Maybe I’ll blog about my top Harry Potter fanfiction (I jest)(and please don’t recommend things because I would end up  in a chasm just reading HPFF because I am literal human trash whose favourite hobby is procrastinating), or something reading related. 

But yay, a month! 

{oh and if you have followed me/liked any of my posts, thank you! I will most def follow you back 🙂 }

Anthony Burgess – A Clockwork Orange

“What gets into you all? We study the problem and we’ve been studying it for damn well near a century, yes, but we get no further with our studies.”

Quick synopsis: Alex is a trendy malchick who also indulges in ultraviolence. After a night of crime with his droogs, he is arrested and imprisoned. There, he is the first subject in an experimental treatment in order to gain an earlier release. Will his previous wrongdoings come back to haunt him?

Thoughts and feelings: The first thing that got me when I last opened the book was the language and to be honest, it was a struggle this time around. It wasn’t until I read online that it was the slang of the world that Burgess was creating before I started the book anew and began reading. At first, it was a minefield but I gritted my teeth and ploughed through. After the first and second chapter, I read chapter analyses to make sure I was following the story correctly (as in, interpreting the language and what was happening) and carried on.

A Clockwork Orange is set out almost like a three-act play. Act one maps out Alex’s downfall, act two is his recovery and act three is his redemption. It is written as if it is a stream of consciousness throughout the book, often punctuated with “O my brothers” and the like, and if we’re going to use theatre terminology it’s a soliloquy of sorts.

For me, this book was tough to read. Part one is littered with Nadsat [by the way, “horrorshow” is one of my new favourite words, which is just a malenky horroshow], it is unstructured and can be hard to follow – probably because the narrator himself is also unstructured and hard to follow. Also, part one is vile. I mean, I expected it and it wasn’t graphic in the way Playing with Fire was graphic, but the implication was there. If you do intend to read this following this post, then be aware of trigger warnings, because part one is not pleasant.

Part two was where it was interesting because it focused on Alex’s “recovery” which was the usage of the controversial “conversion” therapy to sway Alex from his ultraviolence ways, which works and interesting to read. It was interesting to me, because I started seeing Alex not as a criminal, but as a victim of his own fate, ie. had he not been a criminal, he would not be in conversion therapy. Part three focuses on his “redemption”, a word I use lightly. Basically, everyone that Alex committed an offence against in part one, gets their karmic retribution back on him. Did I particularly like this? Probably not as much as part two. I mean, it was better than part one, definitely, but it was a slow descent from part two. Parts two and three had remarkably less Nadsat, which also made for a pleasant read.

I read somewhere that the last chapter was omitted from several publications of the book, and I was surprised. I think the last chapter wraps up the book rather well. We see Alex growing up, and most people might not like a “neat” ending like that but I do. I mean, not that I particularly think Alex is a nice person, but the story goes full circle in a way and it would be wrong for it not to end in the Korova Milkbar. I honestly don’t think I would have liked A Clockwork Orange as much as I do without the last chapter.

Overall, it was a good read. Honestly, I took it chapter by chapter for part one – needing to psych myself up but I whizzed through parts two and three in a single train journey. I wouldn’t think I need to read it again now, but I will, probably next year or the year after.

Gena Showalter – Playing with Fire

“Isn’t it amazing how one seemingly innocent decision can change your entire life? For me, that decision came in the form of a grande mocha latte.”

Quick synopsis: Belle Jamison was your typical barista until one day, she drank a mocha latte laced with a super serum formula. Now, she can wield four elements with the proverbial click of her fingers. Rome Masters is sent to retrieve her for his paranormal agency, but a supernatural criminal – read, ‘scrim’ – is also after her. Can Belle master her newfound powers before the scrim captures her, or will she be too distracted by Rome’s painstakingly good looks?

Thoughts and feelings: This was a last minute addition to the book list, after I spotted it in The Works [FYI, most of my books are from the 3 for £5 range at The Works, it is a dangerous, dangerous place]. Naturally, being as anxious as I was after I purchased it, it was the first book to read on the list. Oh, naive Becky was too naive with this one.

I don’t know if it’s because I spent my teenage years reading Twilight, and Playing with Fire being full of the things I didn’t like about the Twilight series. I don’t know if it’s because the character in the book is 24, and being 23, I couldn’t identify with how the character acted. I just did not like this book, aside from the first paragraph. I wanted to stop reading this book at the 100-page mark, but in the nature of this challenge I stuck out the full 370-odd pages.

Here’s what I did like: the concept. I like how something so innocuous as drinking your usual coffee could have such life-changing effects, such as wielding the four elements.

Here’s what I didn’t like: everything else. Instead of the superhero origins story, I trawled through the 300 ensuing pages about how much Belle was attracted to Rome. Attraction, I can identify with, but the minutiae of which I learned about Rome’s body was overkill. In fact, the minutiae of which I learned about Belle’s desire for Rome was overkill. Also, what’s a paranormal romance without some racy scenes? At 23, I’m no stranger to ‘mature’ content. I admittedly have read some erotica in my 23 years, but I can only describe Belle and Rome’s interactions to be cringey. It was just decidedly not for me.

Would I read it again? No, sorry. Just not my sort of book. Sad start to the summer book list, if I’m honest.