Thursday, October 17, 2013

5 Novels Not to Go Unnoticed

1. The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac - When it comes to the Beat Generation it doesn't get better than this. For those of you unfamiliar with the beat generation it refers to a group of post WWII writers. Other Writers included in this were William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg and Charles Bukowski. The Dharma Bums is all loosely based on Kerouac's introduction to Buddhism. The novel follows Ray Smith (based on Kerouac) and his adventures with Japhy Ryder (based on Kerouac's friend Gary Snyder). In the book there are many references to Kerouac's friend and colleagues. In the book the most famous scene is when Ray, Japhy and Henry Morley (another one of Kerouac's friends) are climbing Matterhorn peak in California. This type of hiking was what made Kerouac serve as a fire lookout on Desolation Peak.

2.Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami - This is by far the weirdest book on the list. Written by Japan's most influential and controversial writer the book is split into two narratives. The first one is about a split-brained data processor, a mad scientist, and his undemured granddaughter that must stop the end of the world from subterranean monsters. If this is not weird enough for you, don't worry because there is definitely enough to go around. The next narrative is about a man that moves into a town where he is forced to be cut off from his shadow. In the meantime he works at a library reading the dreams of dead unicorns by tracing his fingers across their skulls.

3. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway - Ernest Hemingway, a writer from the times of disillusionment post WWI, also known as the "lost generation is considered the most popular writer of his time. The Sun Also Rises takes place mostly in Pamplona, Spain during the running of the bulls. The novel is based on Hemingway's trip to Spain in 1925. Hemingway is known for his spare writing-style and his short-clipped dialogue. Some of the themes explored in the book are love, death, rebirth and the nature of masculinity.

4. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce - This semi-autobiographical novel,  follows Stephen Dedalus, the alter-ego of Joyce. The book was rated number 3 in the Modern Library's list of greatest English-language novels of the 20th century. This book follows the early life of Stephen Dedalus and his rebellious behavior towards the traditional Catholic way that he was raised. The book follows his philosophical awakening and his transformation into an artist. When published the novel received global recognition and was said to influence writers all over the world.

5. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin- This book is the first installment of the series " A Song of Ice and Fire". I believe this series will be more popular and renowned than J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. There is a popular HBO television show based on the series. I advise that you do not watch the show, but read the books because there is so much history and background that goes into the book that it cannot be conveyed in the show. The book follows and endless power struggle between seven kingdoms. I must admit that I am not normally a fantasy reader, but this book is fantasy for people that don't normally read fantasy. As of now there is only five books, but it said there will be seven total. Before you start this series just know that it is a commitment because you will get hooked and read all five of them consecutively. No installment is under 500 pages and the third and fifth reach up to about a thousand pages.

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