Book Reivew- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

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One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
Published by Penguin Books on August 25, 1977
Genres: Classics, Fiction, Literature, Psychology
Pages: 320
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Boisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering, Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is the seminal novel of the 1960s that has left an indelible mark on the literature of our time. Here is the unforgettable story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially the tyrannical Big Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, fun-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her. We see the struggle through the eyes of Chief Bromden, the seemingly mute half-Indian patient who witnesses and understands McMurphy’s heroic attempt to do battle with the awesome powers that keep them all imprisoned.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was definitely an interesting read. It was a bit out of my comfort zone when it comes to books, so I wasn’t very surprised when I didn’t end up liking it that much.

The book was split up into four parts that were sort of like very long chapters. The first part was very confusing, and I didn’t know what was happening for most of the time. The narrator, Chief Bromden, was not easy to understand, which I think is kind of the point, but I found it more annoying than anything.

After the first part was over, the book started getting a lot more interesting, and I began to enjoy it more. The plot started to pick up and the characters began to differentiate and become their own people.

The end was a bit disappointing, and I wish I got a bit more of an explanation of what happens. Overall, the book was not bad, but I don’t think I am going to be reading it again any time soon. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes classics, and has time to sit down and spend some good time reading.

I am going to give One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest three out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Passing

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Passing by Nella Larsen
Published 1929
Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction, African American, Literature
Pages: 122
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Irene Redfield, the novel’s protagonist, is a woman with an enviable life. She and her husband, Brian, a prominent physician, share a comfortable Harlem town house with their sons. Her work arranging charity balls that gather Harlem’s elite creates a sense of purpose and respectability for Irene. But her hold on this world begins to slip the day she encounters Clare Kendry, a childhood friend with whom she had lost touch. Clare—light-skinned, beautiful, and charming—tells Irene how, after her father’s death, she left behind the black neighborhood of her adolescence and began passing for white, hiding her true identity from everyone, including her racist husband. As Clare begins inserting herself into Irene’s life, Irene is thrown into a panic, terrified of the consequences of Clare’s dangerous behavior. And when Clare witnesses the vibrancy and energy of the community she left behind, her burning desire to come back threatens to shatter her careful deception.

Passing was an interesting book. It followed Irene, an African American woman in the 1920’s, and how her life changes when an old friend named Clare comes back into her life.
As the title suggests, the book is about “passing” race. In this case, African Americans passing as whites. The characters were certainly intriguing. Clare was unpredictable and a little scary. She didn’t really care about anything except her own desires. Irene, on the other hand, believes that she cares about her family, and she does for the most part, although there are some things that she can only see her way.

The book takes place over several years and is written in three parts. The layout almost reminds me of a play, which is an interesting way to lay out a novel. The first part sets up the characters and the idea of “passing”. The second delves deeper into the issue and establishes who each of the characters are, two years after the first part. The third part is like a finale. Everything spins out of control until it comes crashing down in the end.
Passing deals with issues that we are still dealing with today, no matter how far we think we have come. It is interesting to see how the characters in this book regard racism, and what it actually means (for them at least) to pretend to be someone (something?) they are not.

I didn’t necessarily love this book, but it was a very thoughtful story, and I am glad to have read it. I would recommend this to lovers of literature, and anyone who wants a new perspective on racial issues both today and in the past.

I am going to give Passing three out of four hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- The Yellow Wallpaper

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The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Stetson
Published January 1892
Genres: Classics, Short Story, Fiction, Horror, Gothic, Feminism
Pages: 16
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First published in 1892, “The Yellow Wallpaper” is written as the secret journal of a woman who, failing to relish the joys of marriage and motherhood, is sentenced to a country rest cure. Though she longs to write, her husband and doctor forbid it, prescribing instead complete passivity. In the involuntary confinement of her bedroom, the hero creates a reality of her own beyond the hypnotic pattern of the faded yellow wallpaper–a pattern that has come to symbolize her own imprisonment. Narrated with superb psychological and dramatic precision, “The Yellow Wallpaper” stands out not only for the imaginative authenticity with which it depicts one woman’s descent into insanity, but also for the power of its testimony to the importance of freedom and self-empowerment for women.

The more I think about this book the deeper my mind wanders. This book has such a powerful message and a shocking execution. The book is written like a diary by a woman (who is unnamed, but I suspect her name might be Jane because of something she says near the end) who goes to stay in a state house. She says from the beginning that she is ill, and she hopes to get better, but does not say how she is sick. She does say however that her husband is a physician who is taking care of her.

From the first page the short story is dark and gripping. It spirals down into insanity as it goes on, and it becomes hard to differentiate between what is happening and what the woman believes is happening. She keeps talking about the yellow wallpaper in her room, and as the story progresses she begins to see it differently, which I found extremely interesting.

This story touches on many types of imprisonment: that of the mind, of the physical world, of society, of her husband, etc. As the story progresses and the woman begins to loose her mind, the story gets a bit confusing, although it is still very interesting. The only part I had a problem with was the ending, considering it’s not quite clear what happened. However, I do highly recommend this book. It is a short read and definitely worth the time.

I am going to give The Yellow Wallpaper four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Reivew- The Great Gatsby

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The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Published by Scribner on April 10 1925
Genres: Classics, literature
Pages:
180
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THE GREAT GATSBY, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.

The Great Gatsby was a wild ride. It was full of lies and deception from every character, yet there was something about the story that was sincere and beautiful. Fitzgerald manipulates the English language like no other, and I found myself peeling back layer after layer of meaning.

The characters were so lifelike it felt as if they were not characters at all, but real people that lived spectacular lives. But somehow at the same time they too outrageous to believe. There is too much dimension to comprehend with one sitting.

The Great Gatsby is definitely not the kind of book you can curl up with on a rainy afternoon and read. It is the kind of book that you read chapter by chapter, pausing after each one and trying to wrap your brain around what just happened. It’s the kind of book you want to read with a friend or group of people, just because there is no way one person can uncover the hidden messages in the pages by themselves.

I think everyone should read The Great Gatsby at some point in their lives, just because it is something that makes you ponder the true nature of society. I am going to give The Great Gatsby four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Author Q&A- Jordan Mason

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Jordan Mason. He is the author of several ghost stories, including The Man In Black, which you can read more about below!

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Q: How long have you been writing? Why did you start?

A: I think my first word put down on paper was something horrifying, something ghastly. I’ve written short stories and ghost stories ever since I was a young boy, and so to place a beginning on my writing would be near impossible. I remember being around ten and writing the most terrifying stories I could think up; the horror films didn’t help; I was obsessed with The Exorcist even then.

As far as “professional” writing goes, not very long. I decided to become an independent author because I like control. There’s something satisfying about being the puppet master, wielding the strings.

Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?

A: I grew up reading Stephen King and Susan Hill, two very different writers. One is very American, and one is very British. The two always spoke to me the same, though, and they inspire to this day. Their style is impeccable.

Aside from their direct influence, I suppose my dreams inspire me a lot, but you don’t want to know what goes on up in there, trust me.

Q: Tell me about your upcoming book, The Man in Black. What was the original idea behind it?

A: The idea was to tell a ghost story as precise as possible without jamming the thing with a whole load of filler. Ghost stories shouldn’t delve too much into that, they should never sidetrack, but should always focus on the present and remain fast and consistent. You should indulge in backstory to set up something worthwhile; characters are essential, but you have to get things done very quickly in a ghost story and not a lot of people can tap into that anymore, which is a real shame.

Its setting came from growing up around the industrial towns of the North East. I wondered how spooky a terraced home would be if it were haunted, and how I could channel that through a short story. ‘The Man in Black’ wouldn’t work as a novel, it’s just too small of an idea, but as a short I thought it could really thrive.

Q: What are the greatest challenges you have faced while writing The Man in Black?

A: The most difficult thing was to convey the language and the setting as accurately as I could while still maintaining a sense of the norm so that readers around the world could follow it with as little trouble as possible. The dialogue alone was tricky, because the North of England, especially the North East, has such a strong and distinctive dialect that I simply couldn’t rinse over; realism would be lost, and I wanted to keep things as real as I could.

Marketing the book was, and still is, a great challenge. Being an independent author has its uphill struggles, but it has its rewards, too.

Q: Which of your characters is most like you? In what way?

A: I think there’s a little bit of me inside every one of my characters, whether it be in this story or in another. It’s a conscience thing. Unavoidable, like death, or good bourbon.

Q: What would you do if you were caught inside your book, The Man in Black?

A: Move house. Quite simple, when you think about it. But then there wouldn’t be a story, would there?

Q: What is your favorite thing to do besides writing?

A: I enjoy reading, networking, and spending time with my girlfriend and my close family. You can’t beat a good horror film, neither. I love sitting down with a wealthy glass of bourbon or a nice beer, only to lose myself in the magic of the movies surrounded by my home comforts.

I love the outdoors, too. I walk as much as I can, and I try and eat well. That keeps me alright.

Q: If you could be in any movie made in the past two years, which would it be any why?

A: Anything by Paul Thomas Anderson or Quentin Tarantino. The Hateful Eight enriched me when I saw it at the cinema. I wouldn’t mind being in that.

Q: What is something you want to do before you die?

A: Get every single one of my stories out there. I have a head full of ideas that are just aching to get out. Whether or not I’ll publish more than one novel in the future is uncertain; I have one in the pipeline, but somehow I’ll get my work noticed. Determination is key. I’m very focused on getting my novellas and my short stories out there, starting with ‘The Man in Black’.

Q: What is something you want the world to know?

A: The world should know how important the traditional ghost story is, how its foundations paved way for the wide spectrum of horror we all know and love today. Drama, even, wouldn’t be drama as we classify it today without the bread and butter of the Gothic ghost story.

I also want the world to know how incredible Bob Dylan is. He really is. Just, fantastically incredible.

Find Jordan Online:

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