1956 – seize the day ~ saul bellow

It’s like this: I’m two reviews behind, and I badly need to catch up. I’ve actually taken the drastic step of banning myself from reading another book until I’m up to date with my reviews.

Yes, I’ve resorted to bribing myself. And the really sad thing is, it’s working.

But not being able to read makes me sad. And it makes the train trip to work incredibly dull.

So because Seize the Day is a short novel, this will be a suitably short review…

Continue reading

1953 – the long goodbye ~ raymond chandler

Summer is coming to my cluttered little suburban townhouse. I can feel the warmth seeping slowly into my skin, waking me from the complacent stupor of winter.

For the past six years, I’ve worked long hours in an air-conditioned building. My summers have been swallowed by deadlines. In the evening, I emerge from the office into the still-balmy evening, flinching at the sudden change in temperature. I take the train home, where I fall asleep on the couch in front of the fan, my body curled around my laptop like a lover, my fingers still on the keys.

This time of year, I live for the weekend, when I can venture out into the sunlight and shake away the exhaustion of the week. But every weekend is tinged with dread – because almost before I know what’s happening, it’s Monday morning again, and though the sun is shining, deadlines are beckoning and I run into their arms.

Continue reading

1952 – the old man and the sea ~ ernest hemingway

I read The Old Man and the Sea on a Sunday morning; the glorious middle day of a long weekend.

The weather outside was perfectly miserable. I woke up late, and, with nothing else to do, I reached for the little book where it sat, right next to the pile of books near my bed. I propped myself up with a pillow, pulled the covers up to my chin to stay warm – and I began to read.

I’m not sure when I emerged from the pages. It was probably two or three hours later. I was slightly dazed to find myself back in the real world.

In the time I’d been reading, the house could have burnt to the ground around me, a brass band could have marched down the quiet street where I live playing The Prodigy’s controversial 1997 hit “Smack My Bitch Up”.

I wouldn’t have noticed a thing…

Continue reading

1951 – the catcher in the rye ~ j. d. salinger

It was a strange feeling that washed over me as I read J. D. Salinger’s American classic, The Catcher in the Rye for the very first time. It took me so long to even begin to understand what this elusive emotion could possibly be.

It was bitter regret. It was longing, tinged with something that looked a lot like shame.

But I loved Catcher in the Rye! How could a book I adored fill me with such an overwhelming sense of sadness?

The answer to this question took me a while to discover. And even now, it’s difficult to put into words. Nonetheless, let me try…

(But before I start, I should let you know: this review is a little on the spoilery side. I’m assuming I’m one of the last people in the world never to have read this novel. If you’re yet to enjoy Catcher in the Rye, I suggest you steer clear of this review until you’ve found a chance to read it…)

Continue reading