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The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway

The Old Man and the Sea is perhaps Hemingway’s most well loved, and certainly his most well known novel. He even saw it as probably his greatest piece of writing – the remarks which he made while it was being published certainly give that impression. It’s also, of course, the story which was mentioned by the Nobel Committee in 1954: “for his mastery of the art of narrative, most recently demonstrated in The Old Man and the Sea, and for the influence that he has exerted on contemporary style”. There is no doubt that The Old Man and the...

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Rabbit, Run – John Updike

Beginning with a kid’s back-alley basketball game, Updike’s novel, ‘Rabbit, Run’, lures the reader in by foreshadowing the deeper events to come later. The game is interrupted by an ‘odd adult’, 26 year old Harry ‘Rabbit’ Angstrom – our (anti-?) hero. Even here, on the basketball court, where Rabbit feels most at ease in his own skin, he is an outsider and unwanted. Imagine how he fits into the wider American society – the middle class family life, the department store job demonstrating and selling the ‘Magipeel’, and being a member of the Episcopal Church. It is this basketball game that...

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Stoner – John Williams

“In the University library he wandered through the stacks, among the thousands of books, inhaling the musty odor of leather, cloth, and drying page as if it were an exotic incense.” Although I thought I was 50 years late to reading (and writing a review of) Stoner (1965) by John Williams, it turns out I’m really only a year or two late. Apparently this unassuming and, in some ways, unremarkable novel was the must read book of 2013 according to Julian Barnes writing in December of that year. Anyway, it is indeed a substantially good read – worthy of the fanfare...

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Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights – Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie’s new novel is being released this September… A mouthful of a title, and quite an inventive way of saying ‘1001 nights’, this will be Rushdie’s eleventh novel – and his first directed at adults for seven years. His previous release was the non-fiction Joseph Anton: A Memoir (2012), written about the time which he spent in hiding due to the now infamous fatwa which was issued against him thanks to the publication of The Satanic Verses (1988) and the reaction of the fundamental Islamic leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini. The following is what we know about the book already: “In the near...

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The Buried Giant – Kazuo Ishiguro

More to this tale then meets the eye… Kazuo Ishiguro has been receiving mixed reviews for his first published work in ten years, The Buried Giant. A highly anticipated arrival onto the book market, due in part to the length between releases, but mainly because of Ishiguro’s literary history and triumphs. With four previous Booker Prize nominations, and one winner in the acclaimed The Remains of The Day, it’s no wonder expectations had been set high. Also, due to the interesting choice of genre it’s no wonder the reviews range from interesting & insightful to this slightly harsh piece. So, after ten...

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Always Books began as an Instagram profile to document the books which I had read during my Comparative Literature degree. The photos were all of the books I had read, or I was currently reading - I decided to also find a place to get down some of my thoughts about some of these books too, and so this blog was born...