Well it’s that time of year again.
Time for uni bums to rise before 10am and swap couches for lecture chairs. Time to reboot the brain-box and make space for education. Adios useless movies and soapie t.v show plot lines! Make way for Kafka, Wolfe etc.. I have been looking forward to uni returning ever since it ended. I’m a uni nerd and although I made great plans over the huge break I alas did not write a novel. Drat.
What I did enjoy doing over the holidays was reading. Oh it was wonderful to read whatever I desired. It didn’t have to be a literature-great or feminist messiah or contemporary Australian haiku writer. It was absolute bliss and I will miss that freedom for the next twelve weeks when I will return to enforced reading.
Here’s a quick outline of some of the wonderful books I have read in the past month or so.
If you have not read Ishiguro – you’re missing out. Ishiguro has a way of writing that is somewhat slow but captivating at the same time. He is an empathic writer who really understands his characters. This is the second book of his I have read it was just, wow. The story is told from the perspective of a woman named Kathy who is looking back at her time at the school of Hailsham. A boarding school like no other. Without giving too much away this book has a shocking twist that will make you question the advancement of modern medicine and our value of humanity.
I just found out that the film version of the book is being released later in the month. It is a Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullocks affair, cue sappy sad instrumental movie and make sure you take a box of tissues with you to the cinema. Gosh, that made me depressed. If you can, ignore the movie! This book is just so different and unique. It is really an art-form in itself, it is experimental using different voices and forms of writing and also dabbles in photography. The story is about Oskar Schnell, a nine-year old boy whose father died in the September 11th attacks. Oskar is no ordinary boy, he’s an inventor and an explorer who has a hard time fitting in and understanding his place in the world. When Oskar finds a key in his Dad’s closet he decides to go out and find the lock that the key belongs to – somewhere in New York city.
I saw Fiona Wood talk about her book last year and finally got around to reading. This is the screenwriter’s first crack at novel-writing and it ain’t a bad job. It is a bit of a coming of age book, a bit sappy and a bit dorky but I quite enjoyed it as an easy read. Dan Corelli is the new kid in school – his just-out gay Dad left them emotionally and financially distraught. The cliché love of his life girl-next-door character adds to Dan’s list of “Six Impossible Things” – to get the girl. Dan is a likeable character as he has a big heart and most of the time he acts like a fifteen year old boy but sometimes he becomes a little too poetic that I can’t see an Aussie boy doing. Recommended for a light read.
Set in the late 17th Century in France this story follows the life of Grenouille, a murderer who has the strongest sense of smell – perhaps in the world. Grenouille is a fascinating odd-ball, he does not have his own scent or smell and does not fit in with humans. He despises their smell but uses them as a tick would use a warm mammal for blood. Grenouille becomes a perfume apprentice where he learns of all the different ways of creating scent. He becomes obsessed with the processes and endeavours to create scents of the most divine smells – the pubescent scent of beautiful virgin girls. It is a disturbing, interesting and confronting book that strips away the human condition to the basics.