Saturday, 26 February 2011

Trainspotting - Classic Novel & Film

Trainspotting, by Irvine Welsh, was a classic novel published in 1993, revolving around the subject of heroin addiction, which has been imposed on a group of 6 (the main characters) Scottish people.
Based in Edinburgh which, at the time, was struggling to cope financially, we follow the footsteps of Mark, Simon, Daniel, Francis, Davie and Thomas. For the majority, we are introduced to numerous short stories mostly narrated by Mark, following the struggle and manipulation of heroin. On one occasion, Lesley's baby dies, and it is decided the best way to deal with the situation is to shoot up. We are then lead to Mark's penultimate injection, and his eventual betrayal to his group of "friends", so that he can finally start a new life with substantial funds.
This was indeed a very dark book in comparison to others I have read. There were numerous situations which were indeed very eye-opening and hit hard. For example, as stated, Lesley's baby dies. Once Mark shoots up as a response to the situation, Lesley asks for some. Mark agrees yet makes sure he injects himself first as "it goes without saying". This reality hit hard that, regardless of her baby's death, heroin comes first to them all. In this case, friendship and hurt can only be seen as a distant matter to these junkies. 
What makes this a classic novel is also the fact that Irvine has managed to deal with numerous social issues at the time all in one go. Obviously, the main issue we comprehend throughout is drug abuse and addiction. These were certainly shocking. However, there are other disturbing underlying themes, such as sexual standards and general morality of it, as well as identity and an absense of nationalist pride. 

"This was to be my final hit. But let´s be clear about this. There are final hits and final hits. What kind was this to be?"

"People think it's all about misery and desperation and death and all that shite, which is not to be ignored. But what they forget is the pleasure of it. Otherwise we wouldn't do it. After all, we're not fucking stupid. At least, we're not that fucking stupid. Take the best orgasm you ever had, multiply it by a thousand and you're still nowhere near it. When you're on junk you have only one worry: scoring. When you're off it you are suddenly obliged to worry about all sorts of other shite. Got no money: can't get pissed. Got money: drinking too much. Can't get a bird: no chance of a ride. Got a bird: too much hassle. You have to worry about bills, about food, about some football team that never fucking wins, about human relationships and all the things that really don't matter when you've got a sincere and truthful junk habit."

I would certainly recommend this book to any classic novel lover. It was an extremely intriguing read, and touched upon areas which some may initially have assumed as being uninteresting. Irvine has definitely outdone himself and it is unsurprising that is a highly acknowledged classic novel. 
To anyone who wants to explore newer areas than traditional ones highlighted in novels, this one is a must-read, and will certainly encourage to read this author's other publications. 

The film was released in 1996, produced by Danny Boyle. It has been a while since I watched the film, yet it was still a pleasurable sitting. I was already glad at the fact that they decided to appreciate the classic novel by adapting it into a film, and the fact that the film got a positive reception was even better.

Danny Boyle is a fantastic producer. The group of actors used in the film were perfect for it and this was indeed a flawless film (it recieved an 8.2 on IMDB). To anyone who hasn't seen it, this is a must-watch.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Aplogies - Internet and Novels

Hello everyone. Just a quick update on the blog.

I've had severe internet problems for the past week and a half. Thankfully, everything is better now, and I can get back to blogging for you guys! While I was without internet, I was surprised at how reliant even I (someone who doesn't use internet as much as others) is on internet. This meant I was able to read a bit more of the classic novels I will soon inform you about.

Thanks for still checking up on the blog, and dont worry; expect many posts to come soon!

Friday, 11 February 2011

Into The Wild - Classic Novel And Film

Into the Wild is the 2007 film adapation of the 1996 true-story novel by Jon Krakauer. Starring Emile Hirsch, the film follows the life of real-world adventurer Christopher McCandless. This film was deemed hugely successful and rates 8.2/10 on IMDB. Based on the pursuing of happiness by reaching solitude with nature, the film reaches high emotions throughout, and has lead to popular culturist views and symbolisations of Christopher McCandless' goal in life.


This is, without exaggeration, one of the best film's Ive ever seen. Emile Hirsch plays the main part so well throughout the whole film. Once I had finished watching the film, I read up on some background information using Wikipedia, and to some annoyance, found large criticisms on Christopher McCandless' actions, by not bringing a map, compass and even informing someone he is going, which is against all traveller ideals. However, I personally think that, tired of living the conventional lifestyle and not wanting to pursue a career, which according to him, is "an invention of the 20th century", he does what he feels is right and tries to achieve his own personal goals. 
But I guess its just too deep for some critics. 

Following on, the book itself was when this story become popular. Written by Jon Krakauer in 1996, he lengthily describes Christopher McCandless' life and his 2 years of travelling, describing every single one of his adventures. As usual, here are some distinct favourite quotes of mine;

"Happiness, only real when shared"

"There is a pleasure in the pathless woods; there is a rapture on the lonely shore; there is society, where none intrudes. By the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not man the less, but Nature more. "

"What if I were smiling and running into your arms? Would you see then what I see now?"

This was an amazing classic novel. Although I do particularly enjoy similar books filled with adventure, nature and solitude, this did not boost my opinion any further and the sheer quality of this classic novel is of the highest.
Jon Krakaur uses amazing descriptive skills all throughout the novel and the story was delivered so swiftly that I had the clearest image and understanding of every single part and aspect of the novel. What made me appreciate the classic novel even more was when I realised that it was based on a the true story of Christopher McCandless, who, to this day, is seen as heroic to many.
The novel gradually reaches its peak at the end of the novel, and once it climaxes with his ultimate death, I realised that, although it would have been a lot more pleasing to read him fulfill his dream, laying there staring at the clouds, appreciating everything he has always appreciated, is truely the most befitting and penetrative finale.
I favour this classic novel over many of my others. Surprisingly, I saw the film before reading the book, and the book itself was just as good, mainly due to the impact of Krakauer's writing skill throughout. This is a recommend for all, and an even bigger recommend for movie admirers.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Broken April - Classic Novel

Sorry for the delay on the new post, I've been really tied down as of late. Moving on, the next classic novel I will share with you is "Broken April" by Ismail Kadare. Ismail Kadare is an Albanian author who has tremendous talent, especially in poetry. He has deservedly been nominated for numerous Noble Awards.
Broken April  is a deep and sincere story set in the High Plateau, by where the central Albanian government does not run there. This means that any killing that occurs will not go unavenged. To say it bluntly, blood feuding is effective gorvernment.First we meet Gjorg, who is forced to avenge his brother's death, and eventually finds himself in the centre of a blood feud which has torn him and the opposing family to peices.
Along come a rich couple from the capital city Tirana, who have decided to visit High Plateau. They cross paths with Gjorg, and become part of something they wouldn't expect on any type of holiday they would go to.

"To tell the truth, this was one of the few cases in which she had not told him just what she was thinking. Usually, she let him know whatever thoughts happened to come to her, and indeed he never took it amiss if she let slip a word that might pain him, because when all was said and done that was the price one paid for sincerity." 

"His suspicion that he was not going in the right direction tortmented him more and more. At last he had the conviction that he would never go anywhere but in the wrong direction, to the very end of the handful of days that was left to him, unhappy moonstruck pilgrim, whose April was to be cut off short." 

This was, at first, not a particularly appealing novel for me to buy. I knew of the author yet was unsure as to whether to pursue it. After reading this classic novel, I was certainly glad I picked it up. Without any exaggeration whatsoever, it is a fantastic novel, and also extremely depressing. To gain somewhat of an insight in Albanian history, as well as be gripped into a chilling story made this book such an entertaining read.
Ismail Kadare is a genius with this book, and I have promised myself to look into more novels he has wrote. "Broken April" by Ismail Kadare is a classic novel by a classic author. If there is one author who you wish to look into, it is, without a doubt, Kadare.

Friday, 4 February 2011

The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights - Classic Novel

The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights is a classic novel by John Steinbeck. Published in 1976, this novel by Steinbeck focuses on the legendary King Arthur of Britain, and his noble acts during his lifetime, aswell as that of his knights of the round table. After reading numerous Steinbeck books, in this classic novel he uses a more different writing style, taking a "living" approach, which certainly made me feel as if I was a part of the adventure.
I decided to continue posting books relating to a much earlier time period as, as of late, they have particularly appealed to me a lot more. Introducing us to the reign of Uther Pendragon, we enter the adventure of war and politics. Uther needs a heir to the throne, and, on the coditional wish of Merlin that, when Arthur is born, he will raise him under his own conditions and bore him a true king, Uther gladly pursues his dream. Once the death of Uther Pendragon occurs, the whole kingdom is left without a leader. Merlin makes all the lords agree that the true king of England will be able to pull the "sword in the stone". Unknowingly by all, Arthur is the son of Uther and, regardless, is the rightful heir. He, and only he, managed to pull out the sword and this brought fury from all 11 lords.
Thus begins Arthur's tests, and the acts of his noble knights. He brings forth equality to his kingdom and leads the greatest army of his era.

"Words can be traitors but deeds have no advocate"  

"There is a seat of worth beyond the reach of envy whose occupant ceases to be a man and becomes   the receptacle of the wishful longings of the world."

This is undeservedly one of Steinbeck's less popular classic novels. Unfortunately, he died before he was able to fully finish this book. Even so, the ending itself is truly crushing, by where Lancelot, the most famous and greatest of all knights in his and Arthur's times, destroy's his own chivalry and knighthood by pursuing his personal affections for Guinevere, the Queen and wife of King Arthur. This is without a doubt a classic novel and is an entertaining read. Steinbeck successful switched from his usual writing style to create this peice of classic literature, and it worked flawlessly.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Spartan - Classic Novel

Hey everyone! Bringing you another classic novel as I havent in a while. Its another classic by Valerio Massimo Manfredi, entitled "Spartan". Some obviously have become introduced to "Spartans" from the popular film 300, and dont worry, that battle is involved in this classic novel.
Started off with a cruel tale of the choice a father has to make in alliance with Spartan laws, his wife gives birth to a disabled boy, who according to ancient laws, must be ridden of. Like any father, he couldnt not bear this, and placing the young boy's fate in the hands of the Gods, he leaves his child in a hollow oak in the mountains nearby.Already, this gripping story has common characteristics of any classic novel.
This young boy, Talos, lives normally throughout his life with the servant people, until one moment where he is passed by several Spartan soldiers. A fire burns in his heart, and little does he know his destiny has already been made. This classic novel follows the adventures of the young Talos, and the struggles he has to endure in his life, his fame and glory, and ultimately, his heartbreak with his long-lost brother, an unstoppable duo. 

Valerio Manfredi has definitely outdone himself. The first time I read this classic novel, it was truely heartwarming, and is definitely worthy of being talked about on here. This is another classic novel you CANNOT miss out on!

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Classic Novel - Alexander The Great

The Alexander the Great Trilogy by Valerio Massimo Manfredi are classic novels based on the tales of Alexander the Great, during the time period of 300-400BC. Valerio Massimo Manfredi focuses on Alexander's expedition and conquering of Asia. The first book shows Alexander's early years, and growing up to be the successor he becomes.

"They passed the Gates of Thermopylae the following day and Alexander stopped to visit the tombs of the Spartan soldiers who had fallen one hundred and forty years previously during their battle with the Persian invaders. He read the simple inscription in Laconian dialect that commemorated their ultimate sacrifice and he stood in silence listening to the wind blowing in from the sea.
How ephemeral is the destiny of man!’ he exclaimed. ‘All that is left of the thunder of a momentous clash which shook the whole world and an act of heroism worthy of Homer’s verses are these few lines. All is quiet now."

This is definite a great classic novel to get into. The whole trilogy gives off an utmost adventerous vibe and you get hooked onto it since the start. Once you follow Alexander through his life and adventures, you truely start feeling the true emotions the author gives off. This classic novel is, and has been, one of my favourites for a long time, and I recommend you all to read it.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Classic Novel - Brave New World

Another classic novel I have read a few times. This classic novel is somewhat similar to 1984, setting the scene immediately to a sort of brainwashed and inhumane society, due to the cause of futurism. This is also a definite must read.

"My dear young friend," said Mustapha Mond, "civilization has absolutely no need of nobility or heroism. These things are symptoms of political inefficiency. In a properly organized society like ours, nobody has any opportunities for being noble or heroic. Conditions have got to be thoroughly unstable before the occasion can arise. Where there are wars, where there are divided allegiances, where there are temptations to be resisted, objects of love to be fought for or defended–there, obviously, nobility and heroism have some sense. But there aren't any wars nowadays. The greatest care is taken to prevent you from loving any one too much. There's no such thing as a divided allegiance; you're so conditioned that you can't help doing what you ought to do. And what you ought to do is on the whole so pleasant, so many of the natural impulses are allowed free play, that there really aren't any temptations to resist. And if ever, by some unlucky chance, anything unpleasant should somehow happen, why, there's always soma to give you a holiday from the facts. And there's always soma to calm your anger, to reconcile you to your enemies, to make you patient and long-suffering. In the past you could only accomplish these things by making a great effort and after years of hard moral training. Now, you swallow two or three half-gramme tablets, and there you are. Anybody can be virtuous now. You can carry at least half your morality about in a bottle. Christianity without tears–that's what soma is."

Modern Library ranked this classic novel a staggering 5th in its list of the 100 best English-Language novels of the 20th century, truely mirroring the brilliance of this peice of classic literature. A recommend for all!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Another Classic Novel - 1984

This classic novel is definitely a popular amongst most classic novel admirers. 1984 is amazing book by George Orwell based on a totaliratian society run by "Big Brother".

"He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother."

 No wonder why this is a classic novel. George Orwell is truely a genius and got me and millions of other readers hooked on every line.

On The Road - A Classic Novel

ON THE ROAD, a classic novel. Since I've introduced myself, I'll start with a book I have just finished reading.
On The Road by Jack Kerouac. AMAZING book. Dean Moriartry, Sal Paradise and the rest. Simply a classic novel and will definitely be seen in any top 100 list.

"So in America when the sun goes down and I sit on the old broken-down river pier watching the long, long skies over New Jersey and sense all that raw land that rolls in one unbelievable huge bulge over to the West Coast, and all that road going, and all the people dreaming in the immensity of it, and in Iowa I know by now the children must be crying in the land where they let the children cry, and tonight the stars'll be out, and don't you know that God is Pooh Bear? the evening star must be drooping and shedding her sparkler dims on the prairie, which is just before the coming of complete night that blesses the earth, darkens all the rivers, cups the peaks and folds the final shore in, and nobody, nobody knows what's going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old, I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of Old Dean Moriarty the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty."

This last paragraph got me. I recommend all of you to read it. On The Road by Jack Kerouac is a definite classic novel which anyone will enjoy.

Blog Introduction - Classic Novels

Hello everyone. This is my introduction to a blog where I will share classic novels with all. Currently, Im at Sussex University. Im new to this blogging business but Ive always wanted to try it sooner or later so I thought why not mix my love with classic novels into this? Im gonna start following a whole load of friends so anyone is free to come and view, comment and generally enjoy my blog :).
Most posts will be on obvious classic novels, which I have read/reading/ or may possibly read.