Classic Dystopian Book Haul

Friday, 30 October 2015

After reading Louise O’Neill’s brilliant debut novel Only Ever Yours, I’ve been interested in expanding my dystopian knowledge beyond popular YA fiction. In the reviews I've read since reading only ever yours, I've been seeing lots of references to these novels, and I've always been meaning to read them one day, and when I saw these gorgeous editions, I couldn't help myself.
(the only other “classic” I feel is missing from this pile is probably A Clockwork Orange, but I didn’t really enjoy Kubrick’s film adaptation, so I’m going to see how I go with these three and then re-evaluate. Oh, and I've already read Fahrenheit 451.)

Brave New world - Aldous Huxley: The main thing I know about this novel is that its title comes from Shakespeare’s The Tempest (which I read last year for college and loved):

"Oh, wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in 't!"

In the play, the phrase “brave new world” is used quite ironically, by a character who hasn't seen much of anything her entire life, who is very naive and blind to the fact that the people she sees as "goodly" are in fact either traitors or fools, and her enthusiastic words, though she herself means them, are empty. 
So, it seems a very apt title for a dystopian novel. 

The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood: Only Ever Yours describes itself as Mean Girls meets the Handmaid’s Tale, and although I feel like I’ve heard enough about it to know that to be true, I just want to make sure. I typically dislike those kinds of "x meets y" comparisons for books, but this one seemed very fitting (again, from my limited knowledge of the book). I also remember hearing the lovely Samantha Shannon list it as one of her favourite novels and possibly an inspiration for The Bone Season series. Jean from Bookish Thoughts is also a big Margaret Atwood fan, and although our reading passions are very different, her recommendations definitely contributed to my decision to buy this book. 

Nineteen Eighty-Four - George Orwell: This one is definitely the most well known dystopian classic. It has a gorgeous first line - one of those first lines that everyone seems to know even if they haven’t read the book: “It was a bright cold day in april, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” That genius image of the clocks striking thirteen could easily sum up the entire dystopian genre as a whole. And I am obsessed with this particular edition. It’s so subtle and clever and, again, a perfect example of dystopian done well. 

France Reading List

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Blonde - Joyce Carol Oates: An unfinished beauty. Spontaneously bought this one last autumn to cheer myself up after a disastrous job interview, and although I knew at once that I absolutely adored it, I never got around to finishing it. 

In Cold Blood - Truman Capote: My mum’s favourite book. She’s been recommending it to me for years, and seeing as I’m taking a southern literature class next year, I figured that it was a good time to give it a shot.

On Beauty - Zadie Smith: A book I’ve heard lots about written by a woman I hugely admire. I’ve read some of Zadie’s essays and watched some of her speeches and interviews, and she’s just so brilliant. We also have a copy of White Teeth in the house somewhere, but the lovely Rosianna has definitely recommended this one a number of times, and her influence won out in the end. 

Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov: A classic & an old favourite. Light of my life. Deserving of a treasured re-read. 

(and there’s my notebook sitting on the top - the one I picked up from Atlantis Books in Santorini and haven’t written in since)