Saturday, 9 April 2011

I Got The Conch!

In Lord of The Flies William Golding provides an astonishing psychological evaluation of what happens when human beings descend into savagery. Not just any human beings, but young public-school educated British boys. Read with a mixture of fascination and horror as the boyish glee of exploration and adventure turns into hunting, tribal war-paint and murder.
Ralph, Piggy, Jack and co are stranded on a desert island after a plane they are travelling in is shot down, and they find themselves without a single adult to take the lead. Lord of The Flies is a literary classic, and I’m sure most of you will know the basic story, but Golding gets inside the schoolboy mind with effortless skill (obviously rendered easier by having been one himself, but he seems very comfortable to make the regression back into childhood). The boy’s misuse of grammar is touchingly na├»ve:
 “Them fruit…”
 “Your Dad don’t know, nobody don’t know”.
“Sucks to your asth-mar!”
Each character is unique and well-rounded, from the reluctant chief Ralph to Piggy, the overweight, asthmatic, spectacle-wearing figure of torment. Mild comedy meets horror when the worst happens:  (Cue thoughts of “But he can’t die, he’s the token comedy fat kid!”) This is what I love about classic literature, it’s not afraid to break the modern day stereotypes of the popcorn-movie generation.
Lord of the Flies provokes deep psychological thought, which is right up my street, but perfect when you team that with William Golding’s fast-paced boy’s adventure story narrative and beautiful descriptions of a lush, untouched island, with its coral reef, wild pigs and secret thickets.
Forget any pre-conceived ideas about this being just another one of those English O-Level texts from 1983. This is a timeless story that deserves to be read and enjoyed purely for pleasure.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Welcome, Intrepid Bookworms...

Welcome to my humble blog. Let me start by explaining why I'm doing this. Around two years ago I became very addicted to a certain MMORPG (massively multi-player online role-playing game for those not in the know). I played it to the exclusion of all else, I neglected all my lifelong hobbies and interests and I became reclusive and uninteresting, capable of only the most single-minded conversations.

It made me realise just how important books are. And more worryingly, it made me realise that this is exactly what's happening to the "youth of today" (without wishing to sound past it. I'm thirty-one but very young at heart, and I like to think I'm still down with the kids. Or at least at about hip-level).

So now that I'm free of my video-gaming addiction, I'm embarking on a mission to become more well-read. This began as a desire to work my way through one of those "One Hundred Books You Should Read Before You Die" type lists, but two months down the line it has mutated into a "Read Anything I Like But Be Completely Open-Minded In My Choices" type list.

You see, for many years I held a stubborn conviction that I only read horror. No, I'll be honest with you, I only read Stephen King. You may think this would rapidly wear pretty thin, but the guy has an ENORMOUS back catalogue; in fact, even now there's a couple I haven't read cover to cover. So that used to be more than enough to keep me going, especially since I didn't read much back then. If only I had realised what a treasure trove of classics, both old and modern, I was missing out on.

This blog will be part-book reviews, and partly a journal cataloguing what I've read, and how it's affected my day to day thoughts, feelings and self development. My next mission? Abolishing text-speak and bringing the joy of books back to the video-game generation. Hmm, I'll have to get back to you on my progress there.