Banned Books that I Read

Throughout the centuries and around the world, governments banned books for political, ideological and religious reasons, curbing freedom and creativity. After a quick search online, I discovered that at least seven of the books that I remember reading were banned in some countries at specific points in time.

 

1984 by George Orwell

This dystopian novel was banned in the Soviet Union, since Stalin considered it to be a satire of his leadership. It is set in a time of permanent war, government surveillance and public manipulation. There is only one party that is personified in the Big Brother. In this context, Winston, a rewriter of historical events, has an affair with Julia, who opposes the party.

 

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Banned in South Africa during the Apartheid, this classic delves into how a creator deals with the destructive actions of his creation, while making interesting observations on discrimination and economic inequality. Readers follow what happens after Victor Frankenstein manages to animate lifeless matter and the creature born of that experiment doesn’t meet his expectations. Continue reading

My Least and Most Viewed Reviews

Book reviews are the type of posts I most like to write for this blog, and they are also the ones that take me the longest to complete and edit. Nevertheless, they tend to have less views than the rest of the content on my blog. At least this is the perception I have. I don’t analyse my blog statistics thoroughly and frequently, thus there is a slight possibility that I’m wrong.

But this is something that has been intriguing me lately. So, I took a quick look at my blog stats to discover the reviews with the most and the least number of views. The titles of the books mentioned below link to the full reviews.

 

My Three Most Viewed Reviews

The Power by Naomi Alderman

The reason why I think this is my most viewed review is that it was published around the time when The Power was announced as the winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2017. Told from various points of view, it delves into what happened when women discovered they had the power to electrocute other people with their hands. I quite liked the premise but didn’t enjoy the execution as much. Continue reading

Books to Read During Halloween

Halloween is fast approaching and you may be in need of something to read. This usually is the time of the year to pick up some horror books. But, as I haven’t read that many books among that genre, I decided to list some of those that I consider appropriate for this time of the year instead of choosing favourites. The books mentioned below all feature either dark, twisted or spooky elements which intend to leave the reader feeling uneasy.

 

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Even if you have never read Frankenstein, you may be familiar with the story it tells. Victor Frankenstein manages to animate lifeless matter, but the creature born of that experiment is nothing like what he had expected. This is a book about how a creator deals with the destructive actions of his creation.

 

The Dumb House by John Burnside  

A dark story is conveyed using beautifully crafted prose in The Dumb House. The main character, Luke, is obsessed with the issue of life and death, the existence of a soul, and questions if language is either learnt or innate. This leads him to a twisted experiment performed on his own children. Continue reading

My Penguin English Library Collection

The Penguin English Library editions of classics caught my eye a few years ago while watching BookTube videos. I can’t remember the first channel I saw them in, but I immediately fell in love with the beautiful covers and stripy spines, and now every time I want to buy a new classic, I check if it is available in these editions. Unless there is an even more beautiful book for sale (which is the case with the vintage classics editions of the Jane Austen’s books, for example), I go for the covers designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith.

Presently I own ten books from the Penguin English Library editions. However, one of them, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, will not be part of my collection and is not mentioned in the following list, because I won’t keep it, as I really didn’t like it.

 

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Pip, the main character of Great Expectations, is an orphan who lives with his abusive sister and her husband. He tells the story of his life since childhood to adulthood. Living in difficult economic conditions isn’t a problem for Pip until the moment he meets Estella at Miss Havisham house and an anonymous benefactor wants him to become a gentleman. Although some parts of the novel got a bit monotonous, I still enjoyed my first taste of Charles Dickens’s works. I wrote a full review about it when I first started blogging. Continue reading

‘Frankenstein’ by Mary Shelley

My rating: 4 stars

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is a well-known book which has been adapted to film quite a few times. I have never watched any of the adaptations in their entirety, though. So, I was a bit unsure about what to expect from this book. Was it going to be a horror story, science fiction or neither? In fact, it has elements of both, but surprisingly it has more to offer than that. It is a good reflection on how a creator deals with the destructive actions of a creation that doesn’t fit his preconceived ideas of greatness.

The book begins with a couple of letters written by Robert Walton to his sister. He is aboard a ship heading to the North Pole, following his dream of experiencing a discovery voyage, when he rescues a man – Victor Frankenstein. We are then told Frankenstein’s story in the first person. Robert was the one writing it, though he did so in the same way as he had been told by Victor. Hence the use of a first-person narrator and the instances of Victor addressing Robert.

Victor Frankenstein had had, since a young age, the desire to figure out the secrets of nature. He saw science as a way to achieve greatness and power. While at university, he managed to animate lifeless matter and then became convinced that in the future he would be able to bring people back to life. However, the creature born of his experiment wasn’t what he had expected. Continue reading