HoL Book Club | Part 1 – My Musings, Just in time for World Book Day…


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It is March 1st – which means I get to mark World Book Day from a busy cafe in a shopping mall, after having travelled 40 minutes (there and back) to work only to find out it is a ‘snow day’ and therefore the site is shut.

I am currently drowning the last embers of my rage in my chai latte and top it off with a blueberry muffin, which quite frankly, I think I bloody well deserve after battling with Storm Emma’s offering on my car this morning. But hey-ho, can’t complain. I get to sit across the way from a Scouse handyman who is commiserating about his personal life to his mate and just eavesdrop (because that is what reader/writers do – we are very Parisian in that fashion).

This is the perfect time and place to write another blog post. Go me.

So, WBD is celebrated all day by reading books, talking about books, writing about books, and that is exactly what this is. MZD, the prodigal author of House of Leaves, began his online book club which looks at one section of this massive genre-defying tome at a time, and we all get to basically go nuts over inferring the shit out of it.

My observations so far of the group talk on the House of Leaves FB Book Club Page  is as follows:

  • Every person has a different edition (full colour, black and white mostly) which means people are now sharing pictures of the inner sleeve that others do not have. There is a lot of camaraderie going on! And I have unearthed some pretty neat connections I never had the chance of learning about 10 years ago, because of the limitations on internet chat rooms and forums (remember those? Yeah, still miss ’em).
  • It is all one MASSIVE GEEK PARTY! I mean, there is one lady who literally got paranoid over a splodge of blue ink on the title page (if you know the book, blue is a significant colour. All references to the HOUSE are in blue.) It was reading into stuff, gone mad. I have come to the conclusion that there is such a thing as too much interpretation, and that can ruin a beautiful thing like HoL. Turns out, MZD even gets exasperated at how deeply and seriously some people may lose themselves in HoL.
  • The conversations are attracting not only the academically minded, but also complete newbies who are entering the horrific alchemy of the novel and realising that YES, this book CAN give you nightmares. A word of warning to those beginning it: make sure you read it during the day, not in your house, and you have someone around to have a light-hearted conversation afterwards. DO NOT READ AT NIGHT. You have been warned. I have personally experienced the horrors of that.
  • It can be a bit confusing, but that is the nature of the novel and the way ideas unspool from it. When you have a piece of work that has been constructed like a daisy-chain from other pieces of literature and literature that doesn’t even exist, but is given the illusion it is a credible piece of evidence, then people begin to echo that in their own surmisings. It is completely a meta-experience. We are the book, the book is us. Simple as.

What ‘Genre’ is House of Leaves?

This is my second read through of HoL, which means I’ll be approaching it from a completely different perspective. When I first read it, I didn’t really get what I was experiencing. Yes, it was a very unique experience as the book is laid out differently from other texts. It is a story about a labyrinth, that grows in a house in Ash Tree Lane, and the text is labyrinthine to mimic that.

A labyrinth, as everyone knows, is designed to throw you off, make you lose your bearings, your sense of ‘self’, induce a sense of panic etc until you ‘work’ to find out the exit. This is what I mean by the ‘structure’ of the book mimicking the content of the book:


The text will not obey the laws of literature as we know it. Text will flow backwards, go sideways, be cut off, slide down the page, even be ‘caged’ in a box, which here is symbolising how one of the characters feels as he crawls through one of the ever shifting spaces in the labyrinth.

As for what ergodic means:

“The ergodic work of art is one that in a material sense includes the rules for its own use, a work that has certain requirements built in that automatically distinguishes between successful and unsuccessful users.”

It also needs to be something that requires the reader to interact with the text, (which the book club members are doing, they are digging up meanings, joining up the dots, making new connections and using the ‘interface’ that MZD created.) This book does not come with a manual on how to read it – you need to figure out what is needed to crack it:

“In ergodic literature, nontrivial effort is required to allow the reader to traverse the text. If ergodic literature is to make sense as a concept, there must also be nonergodic literature, where the effort to traverse the text is trivial, with no extranoematic responsibilities placed on the reader except (for example) eye movement and the periodic or arbitrary turning of pages.”

So basically moving your eyes from right to left is not going to get you anywhere with HoL.

Apart from this, HoL is grossly intertextual – to the point where we can say that it doesn’t stay anchored to any one ideology, theme or genre. It passes fluently and fluidly from one to the next at will. In fact, you have control over what those connections are. The suggestions are there, only you have to make the links (if you wish).

So, let’s introduce ourselves to the notion of HYPERTEXT:

Hypertext fiction is characterized by networked nodes of text making up a fictional story. There are often several options in each node that directs where the reader can go next. Unlike traditional fiction, the reader is not constrained by reading the fiction from start to end, depending on the choices they make. In this sense, it is similar to an encyclopaedia, with the reader reading a node and then choosing a link to follow.

HoL, despite proclaiming itself to be a ‘novel’ is actually more of a manual of sorts, an academic paper, that gets lost in the throes of its own urban mythology. It desperately tries to anchor itself in reality. We have at least 3 narrators for starters: Zampano (a blind man who to me resembles Jorges Luis Borges more than anything (more on this for next week!), Johnny Truant (a young drug-addled failing tattoo artist who picks up the mantle of Zampano after he dies, whose voice is a footnote in the margins of the book) and Navidson (a man who may or may not have existed, who moved into a haunted house, that grew a labyrinth one day that was physically impossible according to some shaky home videos). In fact, here is one person’s very useful diagram of how many ‘narrative layers’ one experiences when reading this book:

layersin HoL


Can you say ‘unreliable narrator’? Um, yep. So paranoia when reading this novel is inevitable. The hypertext aspect of the book comes into play as you go deeper into the story. You will find yourself breaking off, going away and delving into the story of the Minotaur for a few days, coming back, then realising that the page you are reading has a secret code embedded in it. Off you go again, figuring out what it means, you will go back several pages, pontificate on a word, a letter, a line. Repeat ad nauseam.

This aspect of hypertext is experienced more literally with MZD’s Only Revolutions, where you literally flip from the front to the back to the front of the book constantly to experience that same moment in time, from two different perspectives. It is a physical process and creates a feeling of symbiosis between the two lovers who are, interestingly, alive at two different points in history, and are travelling towards each other from opposite ends of the USA. It is the great American road novel, turned ergodic and hypertextualised (apt, since MZD’s fans had a hand in creating the novel itself).

But I digress… (as is natural for a novel like this). Let’s look at those all important words “This is not for you”.


Why does this greet the reader before the story begins? Some say it is a warning from Johnny Truant, who let’s face it, wishes he never went to Zampano’s apartment that day with his friend Lude. It is reminiscent of Milton’s “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here” which greets those at the entrance to hell. I would like to agree that it is this an nothing more, as the house is a hell to anyone who enters it and especially goes down the 5 1/2 minute hallway to the great unknown.

However others have stated that the work itself consists of personal notes, scribblings, Zampano’s obsessive writings which are reminiscent of diary entries. The man was a graphomanic and died in a place much like this:


So maybe we are NOT meant to read his things, because they are a diary of his mad thoughts. The reader is solely himself (ironic, as the man was blind – another link to Borges!)

Others have suggested that since ‘echo’ plays a big part in the core theme of the book, then maybe we should apply to myth directly, in that if this is Echo’s voice, only the last two words would chime back to us ‘for you, for you’. An interesting theory (and one of my favourites!)

Lastly, one member of the book club made a very valuable contribution about how he had once met Danielewski at a signing, and he said the following ‘I wrote this for you so you could swim in it, not for you to drown in it’. Very revealing, as yes, it is for us and for the reader. Nice to know MZD worries about us and our obsession with his creation.

So remember guys – have fun, don’t drown. From one Pisces to another, just swim with the current*.

*Just an observation but it is WBD, 1st March. That means 4 days to go for MZD’s birthday, and 6 days for mine. Check out the publisher of my edition of the book:

doubleday _edit

*sly grin* Okay, I’ll stop now… I’ll stop. Those of you who got it, have got it. Thank you. I’ll just ‘swim’ and try not to drown. 



HoL Book Club | Part 1 (Front matter, back cover, dedication, flap copy)


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After a lengthy hiatus, I have decided to make a return to blogging. What pulls me out of my prolonged absence is a cocktail of slightly unpleasant things that life has thrown at me this week. Thursday especially was a pretty nasty bastard, I’ll have you know.

Here are the ingredients, in case you should want to emulate my Poe-esque misery:

  • Add two parts arctic ‘Beast of the East’, by standing out in the freezing cold for 50 minutes. You are not allowed a coat, and should stay there in the whipping rain until your marrow aches with pain, you can’t feel your ears and your nose is dripping like a broken tap.
  • This, along with one parts of fatigue, will ferment to produce influenza-like symptoms quite nicely, with a pinch of voice loss to kick-start the whole thing. Fever, in the form of so many Shelobs will insert their pincer-like legs into your shoulders and neck, and if you are lucky, the small of your spine will also host a little succubus intent of riding the hell out of you indefinitely.
  • By day 3, your voice has completely gone, or it alternates between a foghorn and the squeak of a teenage boy on the cusp of manhood. It is important that you are bedridden and mentally ‘crawling up the walls’ (a la The Yellow Wallpaper). This means you will do ANYTHING to combat the boredom within and without.
  • Day 4 gifts the afflicted with an unbearable itch that pulsates like gamma rays from the INSIDE of ones forehead, just behind the eyes. I call this the ‘Clockwork Orange’ effect. It is okay to want to claw your eyes out, but to no avail. As a bonus, within the ears there is further movement that can only be described as something out of The Wasp Factory. Yes, wasps. Angry ones. In your head. Buzzing. Itching. And no way to itch it…
  • Day 5 and you have to do something or you are going to go fairly insane… you are ill, you are missing World Book Day at school (the only time of year that is worth being a teacher at a school), everything you eat tastes like sawdust (oranges mostly). And if that is not enough, there is the grim approach of your 35th birthday, along with the thought of ‘what am I doing with my life?’ What is a girl to do?

So it is with all moments of productiveness, that are spurred on by desperation I find, that something comes to the rescue: The House of Leaves Book Club!

I thought to myself ‘why not?’ After all, it’s been 11 years since I entered that formidable htnirybal House on Ash Tree Lane, 11 years since I experienced quite literally the most powerful piece of fiction I have ever come across. I liked the fact that MZD planned this so close to his birthday, which is close to mine. I liked that it was a gargantuan project (once you fall into the house, there is no coming back out). In short, it felt like fate.

I’m never on time for book clubs, but this one started yesterday. Those taking part should be reading between the dates of 26th February and 3rd March the following:

  • Front matter, back cover
  • The dedication
  • Flap copy

Now, since most people will have different editions (some coloured, some not) you will have to adjust what you read. Since I’ve gone through this monstrosity before and lived to tell the tale, for me it’ll be like entering the Overlook Hotel after Johnny went mental and the place was abandoned for years.

For those who have never read HoL but heard about it, the experience is a completely unique. There isn’t a novel like it, and I liken it to the mad genius of Brett Easton Ellis’ American Psycho, where the novel has a life, will and consciousness (rather a ‘lack of’ of its own).

Those of you who have ever watched Stranger Things, will appreciate how Danielewski takes and uses the many tropes of horror fiction and makes it a thing entirely its own. Where there is the ‘underverse’ in Stranger Things, there is the also the monstrous labyrinth in the house.

FIRST-TIMERS WARNING: This is no spoiler, but if you decide to do the read-along, then you will inevitably run into the CODES – these are secret messages embedded in the text/ footnotes/ margins etc. I shall be periodically posting my thoughts about these as I come across them. If you do not know what I mean by this, check out the official FB website, where the madness has already begun with people cross-referencing like mad between the pages: House of Leaves Book Club.

There is also the real madness of the ‘coding’ forums, which can still be found here: Mark Danielewski Forums (caution upon entry is advised… it can get rather too much in there with the info. Spoiler alert…)

So, I’m off to read the bits assigned and will come back to address the all important question that MZD will be posing, which is:

“How does “This is not for you” apply to the book, the reader, and Johnny Truant?”

Is anyone game to read along with me and throw some theories out there?

Book Review | The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman


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The Ocean at the End of the LaneThe Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have always had a little problem with Neil Gaiman. He’s one of these prolific authors who I really want to like more than I actually do. I think everyone has one author that makes them feel that way at least once in their life. What makes it worse, is that everyone I know adores him. I mean, the man is a living legend with a body of work that boasts of The Sandman and American Gods (which is being turned into an epic series by Amazon Prime!) So as you might expect, I feel a little bit left out at times.

So imagine my delight at picking up The Ocean and the End of the Lane and discovering that I had found the perfect ‘Gaiman’ story. I can wholeheartedly say that this is a tale full of magic and wonderment that captures the essence of childhood – which is no mean feat when you are an adult trying to remember back to the golden age of your life. His storytelling is absolutely effortless here, I couldn’t spot a single snag (and that is not always the case).

The plot explores the dark shadows that stalk the corners of a child’s imagination. Our protagonist is a young boy who in the true nature of gothic fiction, is nameless. The story is told through a series of flashbacks, the beginning roof which is triggered by the aftermath of a funeral, as our unnamed protagonist seeks the comfort of his childhood days. He finds himself in front of the house he was brought up in and the memories begin to flood back, especially when he seeks out a puddle in the road that was called ‘the ocean’ by a distant childhood friend.

The story from here, melts into the past, and we are plunged into the distinctively sensory world of the adolescent. The imagery here is especially impressive, as the sights and sounds of the countryside, the cottages, nature itself are ‘painted’ so that I almost felt like I was there.

Yet everyone knows that the world of a child isn’t wholly safe or innocent – and Gaiman artfully turns the world of our protagonist upside down, shocking the reader with just how dangerous and inappropriate it could get.

Of course, this is a fantasy story – but I think everyone can relate to it, especially if they (like me) had an overactive imagination and could switch from reality to the make-believe world at the blink of an eye. A dandelion could become a wand, a fairy could be hiding behind a fallen rose petal, a tree trunk could have a hidden face in it. Thus Gaiman builds a world where our protagonist shows us how a child met a family of witches, and survived (barely) to tell the tale.

The most admirable thing about this story, is the potential for it to be carried on. I have so many questions about this world of witchcraft and magic, especially the way things work. Just how old are the wise women? What kind of creatures live in the fold between our world and theirs? I just hope there is a follow up to this, because it would make such an awesome series.

View all my reviews

Book Review | The Radium Girls by Kate Moore


My rating: 5/5 stars

NOTE: This book was sent to me upon request from netgalley.com. The novel will be available to purchase May 1st 2017.

“Ordinary women in 1920s America.

All they wanted was the chance to shine.

Be careful what you wish for.”

The Radium Girls is one of those rare works of non-fiction that reads effortlessly, because besides the artful prose and the meticulously rendered characters, the story itself beggars belief. How could a generation of hopeful, bright-eyed young women be mistreated in such a callous way by their work place? How could a well-known company encourage a young female workforce to ‘lick’ and ‘point’ the ends of paintbrushes that had been dipped into radioactive paint? I certainly didn’t believe this was true – until I researched and realised that yes, life can be stranger than fiction.

The book traces the long-forgotten, landmark case of various female factory workers who had contracted radiation poisoning from painting watch dials. The paint itself (mixed with radium – at the time, deemed a ‘wonder-drug’) seeped into the clothes, hair and very bones of the unsuspecting workers, until they began showing terrifying symptoms of anemia and necrosis.

Kate Moore’s novel is a tribute and an elegy to the working class girls who suffered horrendous agony at the hands of unapologetic capitalist corporations until they found a lawyer who was willing to fight back on their behalf. Moore spends time lovingly immersing us into the naive world of the girls, as they step into the world of work and become painters and artists. The glow of ‘undark’ gives their lives a Hollywood glamour they could only dream of. However the otherworldly light that clung to them like fairy dust is far from magical – unbeknownst to them it was the evil glow of death.

With every rise, there must be a fall. So Moore takes us on the tragic downturn of the girls’ lives, as she begins to paint with painful accuracy the onset of a series of agonising deaths that the mind finds hard to comprehend.

The history of these girls and their suffering resonated deeply with me. It is at once a heartbreaking tragedy and a true life ‘underdog’ story. At parts it evoked memories of Erin Brokovich, and there were moments when I saw it dove-tailing with Per Olov Enquist’s excellent novel ‘The Story of Blanche and Marie’; another incredibly vivid and saddening tale of how radium destroyed of the lives of Marie Curie and Blanche Wittman, her assistant.

When it comes to radium, one cannot help but be fascinated and horrified of it at the same time; especially the relationship has had with women. The Radium Girls is a book that will stay with me for a long time.


Top Ten Tuesday – Characters I’d Want on a Deserted Island With Me


Summer holidays have begun, which means I can get a bit of blogging done! And what better way to start the season than with fantasising about which characters I’d like to be stuck on a desert island with. Here goes:

1. Hobbits – Don’t laugh… they are excellent hunter-gatherers! I won’t ever starve and they are also pretty laid back so no arguments there. Unless it’s about who does the cooking perhaps…

2. Rhett Butler – Tall, dark, handsome and extremely resourceful. Did I mention he’s tenacious too? That there man has got some mad survival skills. And he’s gorgeous to boot!

3. Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights – If I can’t have Rhett, then Heathcliff will do. They are basically cut from the same cloth!

4. Ewoks – They are cute, can live in forests and I kinda have a secret dream off being like Snow White taking care of these little guys…

5. Four from Divergent – again I’m thinking of the deadly combo of survival skills and insanely hunky body. Yep, I intend to make good use of my time on that there island!

6. The Count of Monte Cristo – You can probably see a theme here. No need to justify it apart from the fact that Edmund has a desert island for himself and knows his way around one. Plus I’m a sucker from intelligent gentlemen. It will get boring on that island with just a hot body to look at.

7. Batman – I just think it would be great to get this guy on his own and try to figure him out. The Dark Knight is a bit of a sphinx, and he he can do with some sun to be honest!

8. Solid Snake – I’m breaking into video game characters here because to be honest, one of my biggest dreams is to learn how to shoot and survive commando style. Who better to train me than Snake himself!

9. Miss Havisham – I want to save this character, like truly save her from death. Having her on the island would allow me to do that. Plus, it would lift her out of her depression!

10. Gruffalo – Let the wild rumpus begin!!

That’s my weird list. What is your’s going to be?

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 70,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 3 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Top Ten Tuesday | Most Intimidating Books


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This meme is brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is the top ten most intimidating books that we all dread to read for one reason or another. Here is my list of titles:

  1. Ulysses by James Joyce – I will feel like a complete failure/idiot if I cannot get through this book in one sitting. Especially since it is THE most important book in modern literature. EVER. *shudders*
  2. The Waves by Virginia Woolf – Sometimes Woolf can be completely incomprehensible to me. Her writing is like a strange melody with a hidden beat. I have to hunt for the damn thing in all the dense foliage of her prose. ‘The Waves’ completely baffled me and I wound up running to the nearest exit to this weird labyrinth of fiction.
  3. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes – The sheer size of it puts me off. It lives on the shelf next to Milton’s Paradise Lost.
  4. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger – I really don’t know why people call this a great novel. Never really saw it myself. Intimidating when you can’t see what millions of others can.
  5.  Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon – He is so awesome. ‘The Crying of Lot 49‘ changed my taste in books drastically. It was also one of the hardest damn books I’d ever read. What if I don’t get this one?
  6. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand – The books scares me (sheer size), Ayn Rand scares me (have you seen her?) OMIGOD.
  7. 2666 by Roberto Bolano – I have a love/hate relationship with Bolano. I keep expecting the same kind of pleasure I get when I read Borges but get confused when I don’t. Confused and angry. Not quite the same as intimidated, but…
  8. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie – So much controversy around this novel. What if I end up hating it? Will it cost me a well-respected author?
  9. House of Leaves by M.Z. Danielewski – I read this once before. I don’t think I’ll read it again anytime soon. I have never been so scared of words and the things they can unravel both within and without. Danielewski is king. I grovel at his feet.
  10. The Dark Tower series by Stephen King – A mammoth seven book series that I have only briefly dipped into. I don’t know if I can last the distance…

That’s my list of intimidating books guys. How about yours? Are there any above that scare the bejesus out of you? Would you add to the list?

Would You Like to Smell Like Your Favourite Author?


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What were the signature scents of famous authors?

Thanks to a post made at Book Riot, I got to thinking about my two favourite things in life: perfumes and books. I have a prodigiously large collection of both; yet it never occurred to me to find out what type of scents my favourite authors actually wore during their lifetime. Amanda Nelson of the irreverent book blog Dead White Guys came up with some cool concoctions of her own; and it inspired me to have a synesthete moment.

This is a bit of a tough mission, but one that yielded surprising results! Here’s what I have come up with so far…


Some authors like Anais Nin have already inspired a perfume, so admired were they in their lifetime. Anais Anais was the first perfume produced by Cacharel in 1978. To me, it evokes the scent-memory of France, my mother and the sweet yet deceptive innocence at the heart of all women. I also adore the fresh green smell and the O’Keefe-inspired artwork that has been used for many decades.

Top: Bergamot, galbanum, hyacinth, honeysuckle, orange blossom
Middle: Lily, lily of the valley, rose, ylang-ylang, tuberose, carnation
Base: Cedarwood, sandalwood, amber, oakmoss, incense, vetiver


What would a notorious super-dandy and aesthete like Oscar Wilde possibly wear as a perfume? Apparently the now discontinued (yet aptly named) Malmaison of Floris of London. It is described by experts as having a linear smell – that of almost purely red carnations. At first I couldn’t imagine a carnation as being Wilde’s smell, yet there is a certain exotic woodsy, clove-like aroma to carnations that does fit in with Wilde’s character. Red is certainly his colour too! The reintroduction of Malmaison Encore by Floris means people can relive the original fragrance in a more modern version.


Top notes: bergamot, black pepper, cardamom
Heart notes: clove, nutmeg, rose, ylang ylang
Base notes : amber, cedarwood, frankincense, heliotrope, tonka bean, vanilla


Many famous people including F. Scott Fitzgerald and later Marlene Dietrich wore Lieber Gustav #14. The perfume was created by celebrated nose Albert Kriegler and he states that ‘Perfume #14 was chosen by Fitzgerald because of its depth, and the connection between Berlin and Provence.’ I also find that scents hold geographical memories for me, yet even more interesting is that Lieber Gustav #14 was inspired by a love letter between a young girl and her fiancee… Reminds me of The Great Gatsby!


Leather, Black tea, Lavender, Musk and Woody notes.


Colette is another author who is epitomises sensuality and whose work’s forever obsess with the gratification of the flesh and of the soul. She owned her own beauty salon and being something of a perfumer herself used only the petals of white flowers. However, it has been recorded that she had a particular penchant for Coty’s Jasmin de Corse, which is again very hard to find. A 1925 ad described it as, ‘For the Woman of the Dreamy Elusive Type: Jasmine de Corse, La Jacinthe & Lilas Blanc.’ I can only imagine the closest we can ever get to this perfume with it’s heavy, smoky Jasmine undertones would be Lanvin’s Arpege which was created 20 years after.

So, that’s all I could find on authors and their favourite fragrance’s. Is there any I’ve missed out that should be in the list? Let me know.

Book Review | ‘The Running Man’ by Stephen King


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The Running ManThe Running Man by Stephen King

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“He understood well enough how a man with a choice between pride and responsibility will almost always choose pride–if responsibility robs him of his manhood.”

I was only looking for an entertaining read, something I would’t have to take too seriously and one that I knew would take me away from the copious amounts of marking and grading I had to do at the time.

Let’s put it this way; I got more than I bargained for! This book is all the above and then some. I first met with ‘The Running Man’ in the 1980’s film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger  At the time it felt very much like an ultra-futuristic, distant, dystopian nightmare that thrilled a lot of people with its American take on Orwellian themes.

I am not a big Stephen King fan; at the best of times I have lukewarm respect for his innovative imagery and ability to keep his audience entertained and slightly crapping themselves in certain creepy scenarios. However, I think I have become something of a convert with ‘The Running Man’. Nowadays I feel like I’m a more mature reader, and I can definitely appreciate his scary powers of second-guessing what the near future holds for mankind; which this piece of work definitely showcases.

For anyone who like me, was sitting on a fence in regards to King’s quality as a novelist is at an advantage. If you have never watched the film, or heard about the book then you are in luck, reading ‘The Running Man’ will give you a very clear answer.

Personally, I read this from a post 9/11 perspective. The novel depicts a corrupted America, whose political and social infrastructure rests on rotten foundations. More sinister tones of ‘The Hunger Games‘ prevail across the continent, where the poor are nothing but forgettable pawns that can be used to entertain the rich.

“In the year 2025, the best men don’t run for president, they run for their
lives. . .”

As I said before, the novel contains many parallels to that dark period in American history. It reflects the current culture of the corrupted ‘American Dream’, which Chuck Palahnuik very aptly describes as being able to “make your life into something you can sell.” And what is ‘The Running Man’ if not the reality show turned nightmare? King takes the capitalist, materialistic, consumerist attitude of America and shows us what it can turn into.

The writing is addictive and the pace is wonderfully set. King shows off all his skills as the reader is roped into following Ben Richards; who reads like a ‘last of his kind’ type of Clint Eastwood character fighting to save his baby girl who is slowly wasting away in front of his eyes. As a last resort, he enters the ‘Games’; as this is the only way he will ever find the money to save his family from poverty. What ensues is a true roller-coaster account of his fight to survive the ‘Games’ and save his family.

Even though this sounds like a plot that has been done to death; I recommend everybody give it a try. You will be surprised how fresh and original King’s version of events will be.

View all my reviews

My Easter reads…

One of the perks to being a teacher is the nice holidays you get between terms. As we enter a two week Easter break, I’m planning to get some much needed reading done, and this is what my mini-list looks like:

Vanity Fair

A very big novel that I have been avoiding for a long time, but last night I took the plunge and I have to say, I am absolutely adoring it! Miss Rebecca Sharp is by far THE most interesting heroine I have ever come across. Unashamed, fearless and she knows her own mind.

The Stand

Another very big novel, yet vastly different from Vanity Fair! This was recommended to me when I first joined Goodreads. Ironically, I began reading it last month when I was in bed with a terrible cold – not good when the book is about a killer ‘flu epidemic that wipes out the world’s population!

Little Lord Fauntleroy

Started reading this a couple of months ago and had to stop because of work. Hopefully I’ll get round to finishing off this lovely story of a delightful boy who is extremely kind of heart. I don’t know about you, but I sometimes get a feel for reading something with innocence in it. It brings me back to myself again.

That’s what my Easter break is looking like. Quite unusual where I’ve got two massive tomes and one little kiddies novel, but I’ve always done things in strange ways! In fact, I rather prefer a nice selection of different things, just in case I get bored and need a change.

What are you reading this Easter?