Book Count (since 1 January 2012)

Book Count (since 1 January 2014): 30

Friday, 8 October 2010

Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood

This is another book from the '10 Books to Read Before You Die' list. I really like Margaret Atwood and enjoyed this novel. It does not have the pacy plot of a lot of her novels, but the writing is brilliant and definitely maintains interest. I found this novel more immediately enjoyable than Beloved but the writing is still very poetic and lovely to read. Overall, I probably preferred Alias Grace because I think the plot is more gripping but this book is still excellent.

Beloved by Toni Morrison

I went to an event called '10 Books to Read Before You Die' at the Highgate Literary Festival a few weeks ago. This book appeared in 2 of the panel's lists of 10 so I thought I should read it before I die. Luckily I made it.

The novel is about a black slave family in America. The novel is quite hard to read both in terms of style and content, but I can definitely see why it made the panelists lists. It is very high impact and leaves a very memorable impression. The problem I had with this book is that I didn't hugely enjoy reading it. It felt a bit like eating wholemeal bread - I know it is good for me and worth it in the long run but soft, white bread is much tastier. I think this is a novel which would be brilliant to study and to re-read but on the first reading it is a bit overwhelming. The writing is very clever and there is a lot of imagery. Whilst I am sure this style makes this a rewarding novel to study, it also makes it hard to engage with on an initial, surface read.

Overall, I do agree that this is a good book to read before you die but it is not going to be a book you fall in love with immediately or read in one sitting. It needs to be absorbed slowly. And I would recommend sandwiching it between some thick slices of white bread so you have a bit of escapism after what is quite a tough read.