Over the Summer Holidays I didn't do as much reading as I would have liked but I think the books I did read were quite good. I do like to read and well... I try to read just about anything from the classics to the modern young adult fictions.
For some reason I have read quite a few classics (some of them were for school) and although they were sometimes hard to get my head around I actually did enjoy them. For example, I read Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy. Good old Hardy. He really did write the characters well. I doubt many teenagers are reading classics unless it's for school and yeah, I get why because you just look at the front cover of a classic book and you think 'why the hell do I want to read something that was written donkey's years ago?!' but actually they're not that bad (some of them are really boring and really hard to read) but most of them are actually alright and most of the classics have some deep meaning behind them for instance Lord of the Flies was all about the evil of mankind and it sort of warns us of the evil we're all capable of... So yeah... maybe give the classics a try?
However...during the Summer Holidays I didn't start by reading a classic but a very modern book with yet a deep meaning behind it. I finished reading On Beauty by Zadie Smith which... well... it was quite good... I started reading it because I got it from the Charity shop and it got loads of awards and stuff. It was quite grown up and some of it was... well... a bit explicit really. The book contained loads of different characters and some of them I preferred more than others. The book mainly just focuses on two different families and how they connect with each other and the stuff each family gets up to... When I read the blurb and the opening paragraph I thought 'It's just going to be like Romeo and Juliet'. But it wasn't. Yes, it had fights (but not with swords or anything) and yes it involved a member of the family getting it on with the other family member but it was a lot more than that. I wouldn't say it was the best book I have ever read but I think the characters were very well written and I could almost hear their voices in my head. The book mainly evolves around the conflict between two families and opposing political and moral sensibilities, issues of class, behavior, ambition and opportunity in a society with proscribed rules and roles. It is basically an updated version of EM Forster's Howard's End.
The second book I read was a classic. But it was sort of a modern classic so it was quite easy to read. The book I read was Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger. I had heard quite a lot about this book at school and most of the comments about it were 'It's just about this boy who walks around not doing anything'. I decided to give it a read and see if this was true. It sort of was but he doesn't not do anything, he learns lessons and talks to lots of different people and he learns stuff about himself and about life. I know it is quite a controversial novel which was originally published for adults but has since become popular with younger readers for its themes of teenage angst and alienation. I also decided to read it because it focuses on a teenager. This teenager, called Holden Caulfield, is torn between adult hood and child hood and people always tell him to 'grow up'. Caulfield says 'Goddam', 'damn' and 'hell' a lot- perhaps too much but I think that adds to his character and the way he tells the story. Holden Caulfield tells his story- of the days following his expulsion from Pencey Prep, a private school. After a fight with his roommate, Stradlater, Holden leaves school two days early to explore New York before returning home. In New York, and on the way home, he interacts with teachers, prostitutes, nuns, an old girlfriend, and his sister and many more people.
I think this book illustrates a teenager's dramatic struggle against death and growing up. I guess it was quite a good read. I felt slightly more wise after I had read it. I felt some sort of connection with Holden even though I don't really fear growing up as much (but I do find the fact I will grow up scary). At first when I was reading the book I thought it wasn't going to be any good and I didn't think it would have a story behind it. I looked it up while I was reading it and discovered what it was actually all about and then as I continued to read it I started to understand more about all the different factors in the story such as the symbolism e.g. the red hunting cap. The way Holden spoke also kinda reminded me of the way I write my words- sort of like this. I wondered why the novel was called 'the catcher in the rye' and then I read a part of the novel where Holden explained that he wanted to stop all the children from falling off the cliff when they played in the rye and I found out that 'the catcher in the rye' could actually mean 'protector of innocence' which relates to Holden's issue with growing up. If you are a teenager I recommend this book to you but I know it probably won't be for everyone.
The last book I read over the holidays was 'Paper Towns' by John Green. I brought this book off my friend for £1 (bargain?!). Like 'the Catcher in the Rye', Paper Towns focuses on a teenager. This teenager, Quentin, investigates a paper trail after Margo, (who's the same age as Quentin), goes missing following a night with Quentin, who helped her get revenge on several people who wronged or betrayed her. This was my first book by John Green and I think he wrote Quentin and Margo very well. I guess the book was quite exciting and the dialogue between the friends was very funny. The first bit of the book was really exciting and really great and then it sort of went slightly down hill but it still maintained an element of excitement. Paper Towns touches on themes of friendship, identity, exploration and admiration. It wasn't the best book I've ever read, that's for sure but I think it was still a good book.
So that's what I read over the holidays. I guess it is a pretty wide range of books- with very different themes and everything. I could have read more over the holiday but yeah- I didn't. Make sure you try and read because I think reading can definitely broaden your mind and stuff. It probably makes you more knowledgable as well- So make sure you do stick your head in a book every now and then.
Hope you enjoyed this post- I will be writing again soon,