Favourite reads this summer

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I got through a lot of books this summer, most of which were classics. Here's a list of my favourites.

If I'm going to start reviewing books, I want to make it clear, I am not going to write whole paragraphs listing the plot. He did this. He did that. She said so and so. Seriously, bloggers who do that are not reviewing, their just giving you the damn story before you've read it. I intend on writing little about plot, focusing more about style, themes, and what I liked.

Slaughterhouse 5, Kurt Vonnegut.
I wasn't sure what to expect from this. I found it be a combination of genres, so much so its a unique novel. It explores the absurdity of war, death, and time travel. I liked how it was written in simple short prose with one sentence paragraphs.

Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov.
Granted, its not for the light hearted, as the narrator, Humbert Humbert, is a sly man obsessed with young girls he calls nymphets. Disturbing yes? Nabokov lets you see the world through a paedophiles eyes. He does this while at the same time showing Humbert as a -somewhat demented- human. The style features a lot of word play, puns, and lyrical run on sentences.

For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway.
My first Hemingway novel. Written in a very simple style, its an intense war story with a major theme of death. What interests me is despite being set in the Spanish civil war, the novel doesn't align itself with any ideology other than anti-fascist.
"Once tonight we have been impeded by the ignorance of the anarchists. Then by the sloth of a bureaucratic fascist, then by the oversuspicion of a Communist."
Hemingway writes of massacres on both sides of the war, showing the turmoil of civil war. Apparently President Barack Obama was influenced by this novel.

Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
Dostoyevsky lets you into the mind of a murderer, a drop out student called Raskolnikov. The story is intense as the protagonist's guilt builds, and tries to justify the crime to his moral self. The translation is good and feels modern.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter S. Thompson.
A drug fuelled search for the American dream. First line:
"We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold."
Your on the roller coaster straight away.
The drugs add a surreal nonsensical element that the narrator is unaware of, which at times made me laugh out loud. An example of this:
"at one point I tried to drive the Great Red Shark into the laundry room of the Landmark Hotel - but the door was too narrow, and the people inside seemed dangerously excited."
Apart from the hilarious quotes, it has great prose, and in many ways similar to 'the Great Gatsby'.

Nine Stories, J.D. Salinger.
Salinger is best known for his novel 'Catcher in the Rye', but he also wrote some great short stories. My favourite was 'A Perfect Day for Bananafish', a catapult of an ending, and 'Teddy', a Hindu influenced story. This definitely influenced my writing.

The Dharma Bums, Jack Kerouac.
This is Kerouac's outdoor adventure. Think 'On the Road' meets the outdoors and Buddhism. It follows Ray Smith (kerouac) mountain climbing, hiking, hitchhiking, and wild party's. Made me want to hike in the countryside, and write haiku's.

The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald became my favourite writer over the summer. His lyrical perfect timing prose style is like poetry. Its a story of excess, lost love and want in the jazz age. Social commentary, or an art piece, I love it.

Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer.
A non-fictional biography of Christopher McCandless who, inspired by Leo Tolstoy, Henry David Thoreau, and Jack London, set off to Alaska. Krakauer uses personal experience and other similar stories to explain McCandless actions. Brilliant journalism.

War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy.
I started reading this one in spring from 17th of February, and finished it on the . The length and the amount of characters seems daunting at first, until you've read a few chapters. It has friendship, romance, huge battle scenes, philosophy, religion, and a lot more. What more could you want from an epic novel? I actually think Pierre Bezukhov is my favourite character in literature.

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