Monday, April 13, 2015

March Minis

Ok, so I do realize that it's the second third (!)week of April already (the snow is finally gone!!) but as you probably already know (or can easily tell), I didn't post a ton in March. I'm trying to make up for that now by filling you in on some of my favourite reads from March. Let's go:

Ru

Ru by Kim Thúy: Ru was the Canada Reads winner for 2015: The one book to break barriers. Originally published in french, the writing is lyrical, haunting, and beautiful. It jumps back and forth between the past and present as a woman reminisces over her life from Vietnam refugee to Canadian immigrant.  This book gave me a lot to think about and the Canada Reads debates were great fun to watch.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman: Neil Gaiman is one of my favourite authors and this book is now a new favourite of mine. The story was strange and fantastical and beautiful and sad. It was short, but perfect.

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston: I originally picked this book up because I completely fell in love with Alice Walker's work in February and she said that "There is no book more important to [her] than this one", and I completely understand why anyone would claim that to be so. I loved this book so much I wanted to do a full post on it (in fact I still might). I struggled with the language at first but once I got used to it, I couldn't put it down. 5/5.

Y: The Last Man - The Deluxe Edition Book Four Y: The Last Man - The Deluxe Edition Book Five

Y: The Last Man (Volumes 4 & 5) by Brian K. Vaughan: Stephen King called The Last Man "the best graphic novel [he's] ever read. I say this every time I read something by Brian K. Vaughan (Saga comes to mind). The ending of this series really got to me though, and it's the only graphic novel that I can remember making me cry, that's saying something. You need to read this series, and then you need to read everything else by Vaughan.

Have you read any of these? Did you watch Canada Reads? If not, you still can! And should! Will you be adding any of these to your tbr? I'd love to know. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Review: Animal Farm by George Orwell


Animal FarmMr. Jones, of the Manor Farm, had locked the hen-houses for the night, but was too drunk to remember to shut the pop-holes...

This is a fantastic book.  Animal Farm is a satirical "fairy tale" about a farm of animals (duh) that grow fed up with being slaves to a human farmer and plan and execute a revolution.  Once their society is established, however,  they find that their leaders, the pigs, are even worse than the humans they longed to free themselves from.

"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

George Orwell is known for his brilliant ideas and political writing.  Animal Farm is my first introduction to George Orwell's work and I have to say it did not disappoint.  Although I'm not that well-versed in the socialist/communist philosophies in Russia during Stalin's time (or any time at all actually -- I did watch The Trotsky once, but that was mostly because of the majorly ridiculous perfectly valid and legit crush I have on Jay Baruchel), I have enough general knowledge that the irony of the tale wasn't completely lost on me.  I think that someone with even less familiarity than I have would have picked it up on all the themes as well. 

Full disclosure: I did hit up Wikipedia and Sparknotes to make sure the ideas in my head were at least minimally in line with those "in the know" and guess what? They were. Stalin = Napoleon & Trotsky = Snowball. Boom. The working class loyally (blindly) following a corrupt leader believing he has their best interests at heart is a tale as old as tales can be. 

Even though it was published in 1945, I found it to be refreshing and exciting.  And it's short, so bonus.  This is the third classic I've read for The Classics Club and my first read for the Back to the Classics Challenge (A classic novella).  I'm excited to read more Orwell and I think 1984 is going to be my next pick. I'm also geared up to tackle the rest of the books on my Back to the Classics list.

...The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.