Extra Books – December

  • The Stranger by Albert Camus
    • Date read: 9 December (part of the 3rd Annual Holiday Readathon hosted by Liz @ WhoRuBlog)
    • Published: 1942
    • Genre: Philosophical fiction
    • Why I picked it up: Interest in existentialism, this book often referenced
    • Rating: 3 stars
    • My Thoughts:
      • Not really sure what I was expecting but this was totally different from any unconscious expectations I held! Actually, I was expecting something more like The Trial…and while I think the the two novels are quite similar to a degree, what I was really expecting was the protagonist of this book to be a victim. Clearly not the case!
  • The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
    • Date Read: 8 December (part of the 3rd Annual Holiday Readathon hosted by Liz @ WhoRuBlog)
    • Published: 1983
    • Genre: Horror
    • Why I picked it up: High rating by someone I follow on Goodreads
    • Rating: 4 stars
    • My Thoughts:
      • Of the four books I read for the Readathon, this one is definitely my favourite! A favourite among the books I read for the Readathon, and a favourite among all the books I’ve ever read. I’ve never read any type of book that could be classified as horror, yet alone a Victorian ghost story, but I adored this one. 
      • I was a little surprised to find myself actually spooked! I read a good chunk of this book in the family room, where my mom and dad were also reading and the fire was burning – that is to say, I read a chunk of this book in the most comforting atmosphere possible and yet I was still frightened. That should give you an impression of how strong Hill’s writing is.
      • The story itself seemed, to me, fairly basic and simple for a ghost story, containing many of the characteristics or tropes one might expect from such a story (I thought the ending was particularly well done and probably relatively unique [though I have no comparisons on which to base this opinion]), but I suspect that it is highly difficult to craft a novel that actually makes the reader feel afraid. I honestly was not expecting to feel frightened – it’s a book, it’s just words on the page and my imagination. I believe a writer who is able to possess such strong control over my imagination must have a real talent.
      • The prose was easy to follow and flowing, despite being told in a style invoking Victorian fashion. I found the characters not too few or too many and that each was well-formed – in fact I think this adjective could apply to all aspects of the book: well-formed. 
      • I was disappointed to learn that the movie diverges greatly from the book…I would have loved to see it even though I know I would have been terrified!
  • The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
    • Date read: 9 December (part of the 3rd Annual Holiday Readathon hosted by Liz @ WhoRuBlog0
    • Published: 1962
    • Genre: Fiction (of an odd sort ;P)
    • Why I picked it up: High rating by someone I follow on Goodreads
    • Rating: 3.5 stars
    • Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto
      • Date read: 15 December to 16 December
      • Published: 1988
      • Genre: Fiction
      • Why I picked it up: Mild interest in Japanese fiction
      • Rating: 3 stars
      • My Thoughts:
        • An odd little story, at the same time both light and refreshing and crushingly sad and melancholic. For me this story felt small and tidy and serene and also thoughtful, not too profound but still full of realization.
        • I definitely was not expecting a character to die! Though I did like the second part of the novel better.