All of us have read books that have affected us in some way. This week’s blog post is devoted to 5 books by 5 different authors that have affected me, and perhaps influenced my own writing in some small way (3 novels to date).
Post Office is a humorous, semi-autobiographical account of its author’s years of toil at the United States Postal Service. Although its protagonist Chinaski is a crude and cynical man with a misogynistic outlook, it is his intrinsic humanness that has endeared him to many readers, myself included.
My Review: Henry Chinaski is a heavy drinking, womanising, race track frequenting low-life, who works at the post office. The story follows his menial existence of 12 night shifts, sorting post, delivering mail, observing his fellow colleagues and facing countless disciplinary measures, … (more)
Orwell’s first published novel is about the author’s time spent living amongst the destitute in Paris and later London. The book’s vivid descriptions and captivating prose give the reader an appreciation of the nature of urban poverty in the early 20th century.
My Review: George Orwell’s first published novel, Down and Out in Paris and London, is an account of the author’s time spent living in abject poverty, first in Paris and later in London. Having spent his savings and with tutoring work having come to … (more)
The Old Man And The Sea by Ernest Hemingway
The Old Man And The Sea is a novella about endeavour, endurance and man’s place within nature. Written in the author’s trademark simple, concise, economy of prose style, this is a carefully constructed, moving and memorable work that is replete with symbolism.
My Review: Set in the Gulf Stream off the coast of Cuba, this is a tale about an old man, a boy and a colossal Marlin. The old man, Santiago, is a veteran fisherman, who is on a run of bad luck having been 84 days… (more)
The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson
The Killer Inside Me is a thought provoking, suspenseful and unrelentingly bleak first person narrative about a psychopath, in which the author adeptly employs suspense and realistic, simple prose. It is without doubt the most disturbing work of fiction I have read to date.
My Review: 29-year-old Lou Ford is a Deputy Sheriff from the West Texas town of Central City. Lou, who is in a long-term relationship with childhood sweetheart Amy Stanton, is a hard-working, trustworthy, simple character with a keenness for clichés; at least this is … (more)
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Set during the Great Depression, this Pullitzer Prize winning book follows the Joads, a poor family from Oklahoma, travelling to California in search of a better life. If there is a better novel in this world than The Grapes of Wrath I am yet to read it.
My Review: Unfortunately there is no review. I read The Grapes of Wrath prior to starting this blog. No doubt many of you have read it anyway. I know Americans study it in school, and perhaps for that reason aren’t as fond of it as I. There are reviews of 5 Steinbeck books in the review section of this blog.