I've never read a book like The Lovely Bones, and I hope I never do, because its unique viewpoint is what makes it so special. A little girl, Susie SaI've never read a book like The Lovely Bones, and I hope I never do, because its unique viewpoint is what makes it so special. A little girl, Susie Salmon, is murdered by her neighbour, goes to heaven, and watches her family learn to live their lives without her, unaware that she is watching their every move, longing more than ever to join them again. It is heart-wrenching, not least in its unsentimental, relatively straightforward narration by Susie herself. I was amazed that a book about murder and loss could turn out to be not at all depressing, but optimistic and heart-warming, and would actually recommend it anyone who is struggling to understand the realities of life and death. It may not be a particularly conventional of the afterlife, but therein lies the beauty....more
With stunningly visionary foresight, Brave New World is eerily accurate in its attempt to predict the future of the developed world. Aldous Huxley paiWith stunningly visionary foresight, Brave New World is eerily accurate in its attempt to predict the future of the developed world. Aldous Huxley paints a picture of a society which is controlled in every possible way, and displays both the benefits and considerable sacrifices which such an existence requires.
Considering the time at which this novel was written, perhaps the most frightening aspect is the relevancy. Test tube babies; hypnotic, sub-conscious propaganda; an abandonment of history and culture; all are apparent in today's society, for better or worse. Predictions of ridiculously materialistic attitudes and ever-widening social and financial boundaries are rampant in 2009, making Huxley's self-proclaimed satire on utopian dreams ever more appropriate and inspired.
Having been written in 1932, the novel is littered with casual racism and stomach-churningly sexist attitudes, but this is a sign of the times more so than evidence of Huxley's personal beliefs, making it all the more fascinating with comparison to today. What has changed? What has not? Do we live in times which are better than he predicted? Or considerably worse? With well-formed characters and surprisingly unpredictable plot lines, Brave New World tackles the ever-growing desires of human beings to have it all, and comes up with some sinister answers which grow ever more frightening as our world "develops" still further. Despite its outdated vocabulary, this novel will continue to be relevant for many years to come and should serve as a chilling suggestion of what human beings could endure should we reach the so-called perfection we spend our lives striving to achieve....more
Bridget Jones's Diary: surely a pre-requisite for any woman living in . . . who has . . . who's been . . . well, just any woman, really?! If you've goBridget Jones's Diary: surely a pre-requisite for any woman living in . . . who has . . . who's been . . . well, just any woman, really?! If you've got a weight issue, are consistently attracted to the "wrong man", have low self-esteem, friends who you always seem to be helping and yet who blatantly have far superior lives to your own, and possibly a penchant for big knickers, then Bridget Jones's Diary is the answer to your prayers. That is, if your prayers are that you are not the only one, and that there must be a funny side to this essentially depressing existence somewhere! And there is - this is it! Bridget is every woman you have ever met, but she is guaranteed a happy ending, with a fabulous man. She is the staunch feminist who just wants a boyfriend. She is the archetypal singleton who only wants to be loved. Yes, the book is based on Pride and Prejudice, but so loosely that Fielding has created not only a new novel but essentially a new category of books. She was one of the first of the appallingly-named "chick-lit" writers (can she even be categorised as such? She deserves better) who created the character we all compare ourselves to, the idea of a writing as a diary (which has been shamelessly stolen on countless occasions since), and humour which has made its way irretrievably into our everyday language. (Fuckwit, anyone? V. gd?) Bridget has achieved the impossible: she can stay the size she is, she can smoke and cry and get pissed on regular occasions, and she will still be loved by said fabulous man. Essentially she gets everything in the end, but without legions of intelligent, well-read women groaning and saying "here we bloody go again - this'll never happen to me", but rather cheering, raising their glasses of Chardonnay in a toast to the chain-smoking, wine-chugging, self-help-book-devouring singleton who won her man, her freedom, and the right to cellulite on her thighs. Yes ladies, you can have it all. Helen Fielding speaks the truth. And if not, you could always read this book again - ten times later and I haven't found my Mr Darcy, but at least I have a smile on my face!...more