NEW PURCHASES

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When it comes to books, I have to admit that I am more of a buyer, as I tend to buy books and collect them in between my tiny room in London and my not so tiny room in Spain, and I feel quite proud of my little collection, although it does not make a difference if you like to spend money on books or you prefer to read for free in the library, the list of books to read is never ending, and so I guess I will have to rent a bigger room eventually.

Anyways, and regardless my lack of space, these are my picks of the month (only three, I’m taking it easy, I still have books that I bought last month and haven’t had a chance to read yet):

  1. The Vegetarian, by Han Kang

Excited about this one, I read the first page before buying it and I was already loving it. It is the story of Yeong-hye and her husband, and how their life changes when Yeong-hye starts seeking for a more ‘plant-like’ existence. Definitely doing a review after I finish it.

  1. How To Be Alone, by Jonathan Franzen

I know we can always expect something good from Franzen, as he does not publish anything he is not really happy about, but I have not heard about this one before, although it is supposed to be a collection of essays with critic tones, and I am a sucker for those.

  1. Hangover Square, by Patrick Hamilton

This was a random pick, I was basically attracted by the title and I did not even check what it was about when I bought it. It is set in London 1939, and it is supposed to be one of those convoluted stories you get yourself trapped in, so it seems worth reading.

Also, as you may have noticed walking down the streets after Halloween, it is Christmas season!  Which means Santa is coming with new books in his sack, and I think the 2016 list is going to be long…

Book review: Imperial Bedrooms, by Bret Easton Ellis

images  I am sure you all have watched American Psycho, and Bret Easton Ellis is the person we should all thank for such a master piece. Written with same satiric tones, Imperial Bedrooms will also play with your mind. Set in Hollywood, Clay is a current script writer who moves from New York to LA for the production of his new movie, and here is where everything gets complicated.

It is supposed to be a sort-of-continuation for Less Than Zero, although I skipped this prequel and went straight to the older Clay, but after reading Imperial Bedrooms I truly believe reading the first part would have helped me understand the character a bit better, which is not something easy to figure out through such an eccentric first person narrator.

From the beginning you can already tell it is going to be an intense story. Money, sex, drugs, you have all of those in this fiction, and it could not be any other way. The eccentricity of the work gives the plot and the character a tint of lunacy that will make you doubt throughout the whole thing.

The representation of the Hollywood society is what I loved the most. Bret Easton Ellis is a master in the art of “not saying anything but saying everything at the same time”. The background is explained by the actions of the characters themselves. Furthermore, the lack of punctuation marks and the overuse of the conjunction “and” will get you into the paranoiac of the situation, and the amok of the narrator’s mind.

“The movie was very different from the book in that there was nothing from the book in the movie.”

“She could be twenty. She could be thirty. You can’t tell. And if you could, everything would be over.”

If I had to choose one word to describe this work it would be chaos. If you can get easily offended and you dislike works with abundance of strange encounters and people that seem to be crazy, then you might want to skip this one, but I must say it is a sterling representation of the ostentatious life of Hollywood and the consequences of the greed for fame, and I do not regret reading it.

Favouritest

It is overwhelming how many books there are in the world, so picking up only a few favourites is not an easy thing to do, but I thought this would give you a better idea of what type of books I like the most and what my preferences are when it comes to reading. And no, you will not be surprised by my favourites if you are already into the art of the written word. I tend to be quite stubborn when it comes to reading, and I decided a long time ago I would read as many classics as I possibly can, as I want to see if they are as good as their recognition, and so my favourites tend to be classic readings that, honestly, everyone should read.

  1. Nine Stories, by J.D. Salinger

As it name announces, this is a compilation of nine short stories written by the Elvis of literature, J.D. Salinger, famous for his “The Catcher in the Rye” (and we all know why). Published in 1953, it has that characteristic simplicity of Salinger, combined with outstanding originality in the theme of his stories. Every single one of them gets you shockingly close to the “fuck-ups” of the world, in a beautiful literary way. Being “A Perfect Day for Banana Fish” my favourite one, none of them is disappointing and it is a great, if not the greatest example of the greatness of Salinger writing skills.

  1. The Great Gastby, by Francis Scott Fitzgerald

Oh the old 20s! There is something about the literature of this age that I love, and “The Great Gatsby” is the novel that really got me into it. Published in 1925, it can be summed up as a discectomy of the people of that era, with great romantic tones and amazing settings, that will definitely take you back in time. I am not much of a romantic myself, but I have to admit that no one has ever worked as hard as Jay Gatsby in order to get a woman, and I wouldn’t mind to be looked at the way he looked at Daisy Buchanan.

  1. Choke, by Chuck Palahniuk

Now you don’t know me yet, but if you did you would know that Palahniuk is my little baby. I have not yet disliked one of his novels, and I do not expect to dislike any in the future. Extremely shocking and explicit, his novels are not for everyone, but if you are like me and you like harsh language and difficult characters, then you will definitely add Choke to your favourites. The basics: sex addict with childhood traumas that earns a sad living by pretending to choke in restaurants, luring a “good Samaritan” into saving his life, asking them for money later on. You will probably dislike the character, but you will definitely recognise the greatness in this work.

  1. The 1984, by George Orwell

I decided to read this book during my uni days, a few years ago (not so many), and I am glad I did not know what the book was about before I got my hands into it. You will be disappointed if what you are expecting is hairspray and bad music, as this book is entirely set in a fictional world. Easy to relate to, the main character lives in a world of oppression, always watched by The Big Brother, unable to feel or express anything freely. It will definitely make you think about the world we live in, and it will show you the worst face of humanity. If you haven’t read it yet, it is a must.

  1. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner

Last but definitely not least. Harsh and realistic, it will make you go back in time, and the old times were not better. It is the story of Addie Bundren’s family, and their trip to Jefferson after her death (you were not expecting someone not to die with that title, right?). It is a story about honour, selfishness, death and sorrow, and a long trip full of misfortunes. It is also written in proper Faulkner way, so I would not recommend it if you don’t like jumps in the story line and non-expected changes of narrator.

Feel free to let me know which book is your favourite, I am more than happy to extend my already long to-read list.