recent reads

I’m proud to be an utter bookworm. I love books and I have a pile of them waiting to be read, with an even longer list of books I still want to get my hands on. Below are some of my recent reads which I’d recommend. For those of you on Goodreads, let me know.

The Outsider by Albert Camus. Camus is most widely associated with existentialism although he apparently did not care for this label. The Outsider is, basically, the story of a man put on trial for murder, but judged by society according to his overall personality and response, or lack of response, to his mother’s earlier death. Very interesting and thought-provoking. The main character can be absurd (in it’s purest sense) in what you as the reader expect, but that is really part of the whole story. Ultimately, it is a story about one man refusing to pretend to be something he is not, and facing the high consequences of this.

Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips. This is a really fun and quick read. Phillips has a great sense of humour and really is able to bring you into this idea of a different, yet familiar world. The Greek gods (Artemis, Apollo, Aphrodite, Ares and others) are living amongst us in the 21st century but they are no longer the powerful Gods of the past. They continue to run the world on their diminished powers, and as expected, in their own selfish games, end up meddling with the lives of mere mortals. Some meddling goes too far though when Apollo is made (by the arrow from Eros) to fall in love with a meek girl, Alice. Things get out of hand and gods and mortal must work together before the end of the world.

Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett is my favourite play. I’ve read this a few times but picked it up yet again this week since we just got our tickets to see a performance of Waiting for Godot with Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart in May. I’m thrilled and can’t wait to see these two exceptional actors take on the roles of Vladimir and Estragon. The play itself is about these two characters waiting for a man named Godot. Saying anything more is not really in keeping with the point of the play…or pointlessness perhaps. Worth reading.

Persuasion by Jane Austen is not one of the more widely known novels by Austen, but is is just as good. What else would you expect from her? It is Austen’s last completed novel and a real gem, especially for anyone who has enjoyed her other more popular novels. She continues to tackle the ideas of society expectations and personal desires with wit and humour, strong female characters and of course, love. There also seems to be a bit more of a “bite” in some of the main characters lines. Perhaps a little bitterness that has crept into Austen herself. Beautifully written and at all times, engaging, I couldn’t put Persuasion down.

The End of Faith by Sam Harris. Provocative, insightful and daring this is a book I wish more people would read and consider. I don’t agree with all the viewpoints – especially the more dooming ones – but Harris brings many ideas and ideals to consider and reconsider. It is a powerful read and extremely timely. No doubt many people will hate it as it attacks certain ideals that many hold dear – and in fact hold above life itself – but I feel this is worth reading to, at the very least, gain a different perspective.

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