Friday, 14 November 2014

Book Reviews feat. University Reads

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As predicted, I didn't manage to read any books for pleasure last month due to university reading and deadlines. I just cannot mix study with pleasure it would seem! However, I asked you guys on Twitter as to whether or not I should post any reviews this month and you said I should go ahead and review my university reads so here I am! Who knows, it could be pretty interesting for those of you that are considering a degree in English and Creative Writing! If you've read these stories, let me know how you felt about them in the comments and feel free to leave me further recommendations below too!




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SHORT STORY MODULE:

REUNION BY JOHN CHEEVER | ERRAND BY RAYMOND CARVER | THE MIRACLE OF BALLINSPITTLE BY T. C. BOYLE | THE SMELL OF THE SLAUGHTERHOUSE BY ALISON MOORE | THE WRITER BY ELLIS SHARP | AURORA BY JUNOT DIAZ | WHOEVER WAS USING THIS BED BY RAYMOND CARVER | HILLS LIKE WHITE ELEPHANTS BY ERNEST HEMINGWAY | THE KILLERS BY ERNEST HEMINGWAY

Whilst I'm hoping the reading for this module strays from stories written by tortured American white males, I've enjoyed the stories that we have read so far. I warmed to Carver and Hemingway, in particular, and I definitely want to check out more of their work as a result. I really loved the use of the telephone in Carver's Whoever Was Using This Bed. It was really menacing and perfectly illustrated just how powerful the short form can be. I also liked Hemingway's Hills Like White Elephants and its use of dialogue to highlight what the couple in the story weren't communicating to one another. If you've never really read short stories, go and do so right now! There are some bloody good ones. I would love some recommendations for female short story writers so, if you've got any, leave them below! 


I actually really warmed to Yeats and his poetry. Yeats's poetry transformed over the years, moving from Romantic lyrics to distant laments about his age, but I quite liked all of its stages. I actually wrote an essay on some of his later poems, such as Sailing to Byzantium and The Circus Animal's Desertion, and the ways in which Yeats used his poetry as a direct response to the world. It's more than likely a complete sack of shit but I enjoyed writing on the poems regardless! You can find them all online so, if you're interested, give them a read.

BLAST MANIFESTO EDITED BY WYNDHAM LEWIS | FEMINIST MANIFESTO BY MINA LOY | MODERN POETRY BY MINA LOY | ROMANTICISM AND CLASSICISM (EXTRACT) BY T. E. HULME 


I love me some context and critical shit. However, some of these were pretty dry. The Feminist Manifesto was actually pretty terrifying in that Loy employed misogynistic behaviour throughout the whole thing. Boo! I did, however, enjoy her essay on Modern Poetry.


vivatramp lifestyle book blogger monthly book reviews t s eliot w b yeats modernist poetry


For some reason, I found T. S. Eliot's poetry to be less accessible and less engaging. I think it's just because it is a lot more experimental, which makes it a lot more complex in terms of studying and writing decent academic papers on it. I'm definitely going to properly read this anthology post-university because I think I'll get more out of the poems and enjoy them more. For instance, I read The Waste Land many moons ago and enjoyed it. However, this time around I was like: 'Christ, I would unfollow T. S. Eliot's twitter if he had one'. 

Have you read any of these poems, short stories or extracts? If so, what did you think of them? What books have you been reading or studying lately? Leave your thoughts, recommendations and rants below so everyone can have a nose. Let me know whether I should continue to share my uni reads with you or not - some of them are pretty good so it might be quite interesting?! Especially as we are now moving onto the novels of the Modernist period! I am, however, hoping to read some of my own books this month so we'll see what happens... 




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If you'd like to scroll through all of my book blog posts then you can. Or, alternatively, you could just flick through my book reviews instead.


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6 comments

  1. If you want to read some short stories by female writers, you have to read The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter! It's all feminist/magic realism so if you're into that kind of thing you will love it.

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  2. I recommend Miranda July, and Maile Meloy- both great female short story writers :)

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  3. I was just about to recommend Angela Carter too! Hands down the best collection of short stories I studied at uni :) not a female writer but I am a massive fan of Neil Gaiman's short stories too, they capture the imagination like nothing else.
    This post has made me so nostalgic for my uni days as I studied most of these at one point! I loved the Waste Land though, absolutely would do it all over again :) and Hills Like White Elephants is one of my favourites too! x

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  4. This is such a lovely blast from the past! I studied English at Plymouth and graduated a few years ago now, but I still remember lines from Yeats's The Second Coming somewhat fondly. Good luck with the rest of your year :)

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  5. I've only read The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock and i really enjoyed it. Towards the beginning i was just, what is this?! But through explanations and the allusions and stuff i gained a deeper appreciation. I like this part: I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. I do not think that they will sing to me.

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  6. For goodness sake read Lydia Davis, Lorrie Moore, Edith Pearlman & Miranda July if you're looking for female short story writers. Oh & I don't know much of her other work but 'Day Old Baby Rats' by Julie Hayden is a gem. x

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