Most of us, at one point or another, have had no choice but to read a classic. Whether that be in school or university, you have most likely been faced with having to read a daunting and unfamiliar classic against your will. Growing up, I was definitely not a fan of classics. When I was in high school I found that the novels and plays we studied took all the fun out of reading and made me want to read less in general. My classmates often expressed how boring they thought these books were and some of my teachers did not show the enthusiasm I hoped they would. Some of the classics I read were Animal Farm by George Orwell, Lord of the Flies by William Golding, and Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy, all of which I did not enjoy at all. I’m interested in trying to uncover why there’s this sentiment that classics are “boring” when they are some of the most important novels out there. Is it because of their difficult language? Do their plots sound bland? Or is the assumption that if others do not enjoy them that we won’t either?
A Bundle of Books Posts
Title: Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha #1)
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Publisher: Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 6 March 2018
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Children of Blood and Bone was one of my most highly anticipated books of this year. Inspired by West African culture and mythology, this novel has taken the world by storm with its promise of fast-paced adventure, POC representation, and African high fantasy. Whilst Adeyemi’s novel delivered on this note, it also went far above what I expected. The simultaneously heartwrenching and empowering story makes for a spellbinding novel that leaves the reader reeling by the end of it. Yet what makes Children of Blood and Bone a truly special novel is how it discusses real issues in our own world, ultimately holding up a mirror to society. All of the elements in this novel, from the mythical setting to the complex characters, come together to create a story that fully deserves a 5-star rating and has become one of my new fantasy favourites.
Ernest Cline’s 2011 novel, Ready Player One, tells the story of Wade Watts, a teenage boy living in 2045 Columbus, Ohio after our planet has succumbed to global warming and widespread poverty. People worldwide escape these harsh circumstances by logging into the OASIS – a virtual reality with infinite worlds and opportunities. Wade has studied everything related to the OASIS and its creator, James Halliday, whose nostalgia for his childhood infuses the OASIS with 20th-century pop culture. Upon Halliday’s death, it is announced that he has left his entire fortune within the OASIS in the form of an Easter Egg and challenges all of its users to find it with only a few riddles to guide them. This quest becomes a global competition that proves to be extremely challenging and, after a few years of no luck in solving the first riddle, Wade finally cracks it and unleashes a race for the Easter Egg. With dangerous rivals also vying to win the competition, Wade has no choice but to find Halliday’s fortune or risk losing the OASIS forever.
The film adaptation of Ready Player One, produced and directed by Steven Spielberg, goes by the same name as the novel and was released worldwide in March of this year. Fans of Cline’s novel were anticipating the film for a while and I really wanted to be part of the excitement. When I saw that this book arrived at the bookstore I work at, I knew I wanted to binge-read it in time for the movie – and I did. I flew through the novel in no time and was captivated by the nostalgic tone and nerdy culture that infused the story. Being a ’90s kid, I don’t have much knowledge of the older video games, music, TV shows, and, sometimes, movies that Cline referenced. However, this did not stop me from enjoying the book. It became one of my favourites of the year so far and I don’t think that’s going to change any time soon!
Title: Little Fires Everywhere
Author: Celeste Ng
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publication Date: 7 September 2017
Genre: Adult Fiction
Celeste Ng’s novel, Little Fires Everywhere, is the story of two families whose lives intertwine in Shaker Heights – an ordered, middle-class American neighbourhood. The Richardsons resemble the perfect family – wealthy, beautiful, and successful all around. The Warrens, on the other hand, are nomadic, minimalist, and do not play by the rules. The friendships that develop between the children of these two families marks the beginning of a complex story concerned with the meaning of family and the subtle impact that people have on each other’s lives. I highly enjoyed Little Fires Everywhere for its focus on small-town politics and the complex characters. However, I felt that the novel made some questionable comments regarding adoption and who can be considered a mother, which ultimately made me a bit uncomfortable.