Where the Wild Things Are by By Maurice Sendak, Maurice Sendak (Illustrator)

Where the Wild Things Are is one of those rare books (along the lies of Dahl, Dr. Seuss…) that can be enjoyed equally by a child and a grown-up.

Max dons his wolf suit in quest of some mischief and gets banished to bed without supper. Fortuitously, a forest grows within the confines of his room, allowing his wonderful wild rampage to continue unhindered. Sendak’s color illustrations are blissful, and each turn of the page brings the discovery of a new wonder.

The wild things with their mysteriously mismatched parts and adorable giant eyes manage somehow to be scary-looking without ever really being disconcerting and at times they’re downright hilarious. Sendak’s defiantly run-on sentences lend the perfect touch of stream of consciousness to the tale, which floats between the land of dreams and a child’s imagination.

Children can really identify with Max and his rebellious thoughts. Upon banishment to his room for misbehavior, his imagination helps him to run away to where the wild things are and collect his thoughts. Sendak certainly remember what its like to be a child and feel like no one understands what you are basically feeling, and not quite understanding yourself. Ruling the wild things helps Max understand that he just wants to feel loved, and helps parents to keep in mind that such outbursts from children are essentially cries for attention – for someone to just love them. Mr. Sendak understands children! When you read this book it will transport you back to your own childhood and you will remember that lost feeling of being a child.

Where the Wild Things Are by By Maurice Sendak, Maurice Sendak (Illustrator)

Where the Wild Things Are by By Maurice Sendak, Maurice Sendak (Illustrator)

Where the Wild Things Are by By Maurice Sendak, Maurice Sendak (Illustrator)

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The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell

This great sweep of Durrell’s quartet is almost impossible to describe, but being Goobes, we are going to give it a shot!

Tis characters and the feeling of bing at wartime Alexandria are so perfect that you can almost smell and taste the perfume on Justine’s neck, hear the prayers from the mosques and smell the sand stained blood of camels butchered in the streets.

Here lie the poets and prostitutes, diplomats and gun runners. There is a plethora of scenes of lust and love and violence angst and despair.

The characters change as the story unfolds and then recoils upon itself again. We are as confused as the characters themselves and never find ourselves in a position where we understand events before they do. Myriad scenes tumble upon each other; a bird shoot on Lake Mareotis, the masquede ball, the strange death of Pursewarden, the dreadful death of Narouz. Across four volumes Durrell seldom puts a foot wrong and while his sonorous prose is not to everyone’s taste, nobody can deny that this is certainly an under rated classic of the twentieth century.

After the grim years of the Second World War and the grey, slow grind of the 1950s, the novel must have burst upon literary Europe like a banshee streaking across the sky giving enlightenment at a time of darkness.

Essential book for anyone who considers themselves well-read.


The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell

The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell

Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner

Absalom, Absalom! is probably Faulkner’s greatest and most difficult novel covering the rise and fall of the Sutpen dynasty and a great allegory of the rise and fall of the Old South.

The book told through three interconnected narratives tells the life story of Thomas Sutpen. The story simultaneously covers the rise of the Old South. The narratives are not straight forward and present a constant disturbing challenge to the reader (Dyslexics beware!). But if the one does not close the book in despair the rewards are great indeed.

The mood of the storytelling alone is worth the price of admission here. The long flowing sentences are marvels and testaments to Faulker’s skill as a writer. The narrative drive makes reading the book almost like reading an epic Greek tragedy. We get multidimensional views of Sutpens life from several townspeople and also across generations.

Complete this and you would have certainly accomplished something. You don’t so much read this novel as you become lost in it. Jump in get your feet wet and prepare for some of the most intense Southern gothic that you are ever likely to read.

First time readers of Faulkner would probably want to test the water by dipping your toes into As I Lay Dying or The Sound and the Fury first.

Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner

V by Thomas Pynchon

Thomas Pynchon’s first book V. is probably one of the great books of the last 50 years surely could be classified as a modern classic. It is a book full of symbolism.

It is a story about Benny Profane, a poor “schlemil” whose pathetic life is filled with almost surreal adventures that lead him to gangs and love and alligators in the sewers! But Benny’s adventures become intertwined with those of Stencil and the mysterious V. Here lies the great challenge and great genius of Pynchon. There is a search to discover meaning and perhaps to discover one’s own history.

Pynchon’s tale follows the misadventures of Benny and all the while, like some great mystery thriller in reverse, the deeper one gets into V., the more information that is revealed, the more complex the mystery becomes. Indeed, the thrill of Pynchon is to become ensnared in that mystery and try to find meaning in that complex and interconnected web.

Ultimately, perhaps, like all the great questions in life, the question of the meaning of who V. is. But the power of this novel is that it draws you in to consider that mystery. The book, somehow, finds connections between the great historical events of the beginning of this century and several generations of characters who themselves are all interconnected and the ever-changing technology of this century. Is V. a mysterious woman, a cause of the wars of this century or the essential meaninglessness of modern society? Read V. and discover that answer for yourself!

Fans of Danielle Steel or Stephen King might get a little bit of indigestion reading this though you do not have to have a triple digit IQ to follow this, read it and then re read it and then perhaps have another go you will find more meaning to this masterpiece from the young Pynchon. Enjoy!

V by Thomas Pynchon

Lolita by Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov

Lolita (1955) is a novel by Vladimir Nabokov. The book is internationally famous for its innovative flow and infamous for its controversial subject: the protagonist and unreliable narrator, middle-aged Humbert Humbert, becomes obsessed and sexually involved with a 12-year-old girl named Dolores Haze.

Soon after its publication, Nabokov’s Lolita attained a cult classic status, becoming one of the best-known and most controversial examples of 20th century literature. The name “Lolita” has entered pop culture to describe a sexually precocious adolescent girl. The novel was adapted to film in 1962 and again in 1997.

Lolita is considered to be one of the Best English-language Novels.

Nabokov wrote Lolita while traveling on butterfly-collection trips in the western United States that he undertook every summer. Nabokov attempted to burn unfinished drafts of Lolita and fortunately for us was stopped by a friend of his.

Lolita by Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov