Sunday, June 29, 2014

Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev

Entertainment Value – A- Readability – A- Overall Value – A- 
If you want to read a novel part of the Russian literary cannon, but lack the patience for Anna Karenina or Brothers Karamazov, this is the place to start. For a book written in the mid-late 19th century, it's amazingly relevant: the age-old tale of two generations clashing in their beliefs. Fathers that have tried to retain modernism in their viewpoints, still viewed has outdated by their sons. The novel is somewhat dated by its reference to Russian transformation after the abolition from serfdom, and the consequences of farmers attempting to adjust to these conditions. But this is not a large obstacle in understanding the plot of novel. The physical descriptions of scenery of Turgenev leaves your mind to form a vivid image of the setting, accompanied by detailed characterization of memorable characters. The rise and fall of Bazarov the nihilist will stay with you. 

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Entertainment Value – B+ Readability – A Overall Value – A- 
Whoa. First off, this is not the book to read with your parents, with topics such as children experimenting with promiscuity, and orgy church sessions. But these parts are meant to disgust, a pure dystopia. In this society, each person is born with their role in society, and trained through classical conditioning to love their role in society. In all honesty, the message of the novel – that our world is progressing to this state in which humans become part of a societal machine – seems less relevant than the message of similar novels like 1984. But after reading this novel, which is a fairly easy read at that, it makes you consider how we are currently a product of the training we undergo at a young age, and it makes you consider that perhaps this dystopia is not far in the future. 

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

Entertainment Value – A Readability – B Overall Value – A 
There was me that is Naman and my copy of a Clockwork Orange, that’d be sitting on my shelf. It took me a while to make up my rassoodock, that is my mind, about how I felt about this book. The invention of teenage slang in this novel can be a barrier initially, but do not be discouraged. The first few pages could present a challenge but overtime words repeat and the meanings of words become clear. In terms of entertainment, this novel does not disappoint, and it has become one of my favorites. As it says on the back cover of my edition, this is a philosophical novel, attempted to answer the question if it is better to be good blindly or to choose bad over good. I will not reveal the side that Burgess takes, but if in trying to make philosophical argument through the plot, he has incredible characterization, creating a memorable protagonist – Alex: a 15 year old that engages in heinous crimes like beating innocent street goers, and rape, but still has the sensibilities to love classical music. Intrigued huh?