Category Archives: Book Reviews

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

The Beautifully Grim Classic

Another busy week. They seem to be all merging into one! Fortunately, we have the Bank Holiday to recover.

Despite not watching too many films, I did get a chance to catch up at the end of this week. American Pie 2The Imposter, and This Is the End were the films I was going to review today. However, even though I started the review, I thought that I had the time to finish the book I’ve been reading: Lord of the Flies.

I seem to have a backlog of classics that are on my need-to-read list. It’s the same for my movies, TV shows, games… What can I say? I love to be entertained. But more than that, I love a good story. Did Lord of the Flies give me a good one? I think you already know what the answer is… Continue reading Lord of the Flies by William Golding

King Rat by James Clavell

Finally! A book review! I had read this a while ago, so I finally decided that it was time to give it a review. The book had a setting that interested me: a Japanese POW camp. Why would that interest me? Because the writer was a prisoner in the very same place: Changi Prison.

One thing I have to say before I start reviewing, is to keep in mind this is a fictional piece, and I’ve done my own research surrounding Changi. Looking at various sources, the living conditions of POW camps in the Changi in particular weren’t as graphic as the book. I’m not saying that POWs didn’t suffer; there were incidences that broke the Geneva Convention and the POWs must have been under huge amounts of stress, but I just remind you that the book does give its story some artistic licence. I won’t say anymore…

LET’S GET THE PLOT DONE…

Changi Prison: the notorious camp where an alleged 90% of detainees never returned. Set at the tail-end of World War Two, American Corporal King runs the camp, having made his prison fortune on black-market trading. He starts to set his sights on RAF Flight Lieutenant Peter Marlowe, whose intelligence and multilingualism are desirable assets by. King becomes partners with him, with Marlowe being dragged into a world of illegal trade, deceit, and constant cat-and-mouse games with Grey, who wants them both punished for their actions

First thing first is the language, which is beautiful, yet confused me. I don’t know whether it was the copy I had bought, but finding spelling errors and repeated paragraphs really pulls you out of the story, but considering the archaic translation of different languages and vivid imagery, it was enjoyable, not-too-challenging read. When you get powerful phrases like this:

 "A cloud reached out and grappled the moon for possession of the night."

…you sometimes sit back and appreciate the writing. Well, I did at least.

The characters interested me. They interested me greatly. Clavell has an odd way of setting up our impressions of a character, only to turn that around later on. Marlowe seems fair, calm and honest, but is prone to outbursts and fits of anger. He starts to integrate himself in King’s world of business more and more, but then Clavell suddenly reels Marlowe back to questioning the morality of  what he is doing.

King on the outside seems like the untouchable, cool-headed guy, but does fret and act impulsively frequently, despite his fool-proof plans. And Grey, the antagonist of the book, makes it his personal vendetta to bring the two others to justice, but his honesty seems impeccable to a fault.

There are many many other characters. While Marlowe and King bump into a lot of other prisoners, interludes break up the narrative to look at the prisoner’s wives. Some seem a bit unnecessary, but others are very heart-felt. The main plot was also interesting with intensity and pace, but starts to wobble towards the end as clunky movements have to quickly tie up loose ends.

Er… I think I’ve covered everything? Let’s move on.

SO I GUESS IN CONCLUSION…

James Clavell’s King Rat is a bit of an anomaly to me. Its writing is something to behold, yet some characters and parts plot confused me at times. For the sake of not sitting on the fence, I would say that yes, it is a respectable read, but just tread carefully around some of the cracks.

World War Z by Max Brooks

What Would Happen in a Real Zombie Apocalypse

It is the time for celebration! Yes! Finally! I knew this day would come! The end day! The day I finally finished World War Z!

Every time I tried to read this book, I got stuck part of the way. It would be that piece of work that needed doing, that coursework reading, even that blog post that needed writing… I can’t really remember a starting date to my zombie adventure, but it must have been over a year. That means if I read a side of a page each day, I would have finished quicker. But no matter! Because the way this book was written, it didn’t matter taking my time.

Yes, the book. Not the film.

Continue reading World War Z by Max Brooks

Stoner by John Williams

Not That Kind of “Stoner”

Yet again, a sad week. Sad because I haven’t really done much reading/watching. But what are you gonna do? Coursework waits for no student.

So I decided an efficient method of finding something to review was needed. I stared at my bookcase for an hour. I mean, I’ve done a film and play review consecutively, I might as well keep things varied. It gives me a better footing for Sunday also. So here’s the book I chose! I’ll try not to weed out some drug puns along the- wait a second… Continue reading Stoner by John Williams

Film vs Book: The Colo(u)r Purple

Now this is something a little more experimental that I want to try out. I’m not sure how good this is going to be but I hope you all enjoy.

This is probably my longest post yet, so I have to warn you that spoilers lie ahead.

I am relieved to say that I have finally won the battle with my coughing fits. It’s nice to be able to breathe again without wheezing exhaustively on the ground every five seconds.

Let’s get to the point: I read The Color Purple over a year ago, getting through quite a bit of the way until stopping due to other commitments. But it was at Christmas that I found between the vinyl-record tea-coasters and a headphone beanie the film The Color Purple which had been gifted to me… and it went onto a shelf of films until this Friday…

I had come back from my camping trip from Pembroke to find an empty house and a text informing me that the rest of my family were stuck in traffic at Kent.

I went upstairs to unpack. It was when I was taking out wet, grassy sock from my bag when the shelf above my bed decided I was spring-cleaning and proceeded to drop unceremoniously onto my head. I would be lying to say The Color Purple DVD fell to my feet like a sign from God, but it did catch my attention by the fact it had left a large bruise on my chest.

After I had cleaned up the mess and used my very dubious DIY skills, I finally watched the old thing. It was actually longer than expected, and gave my family a chance to travel back from their own little holiday as I watched the closing sequence.

It was then that it hit me. A double blog post! Brilliant! I spent the weekend composing this, so I hope you enjoy! Continue reading Film vs Book: The Colo(u)r Purple