September wrap-up part 2

September has come and gone, and this is the rest of what I read in September. Boom. Go team. I went to a weird place.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker
So I tried to read some banned books for banned books week, and this is one of those. I always wanted to read it anyway, but you know. Anyways. The novel is about Celie and Nettie, two young black women in Georgia in the 30s. The novel starts with Celie and Nettie being quite young. When she’s about twenty Celie is given away by her father to a man, to marry. Nettie soon runs away and stays with Celie for a while, before becoming a missionary. They communicate through letters, and the story is told in the letters. Celie writes to God, and Nettie writes to Celie. Celie then eventually starts writing to Nettie instead of God. It tells the story of Celie’s unhappy marriage, her abusive husband, and her relationship with her husband’s lover, a blues singer named Shug Avery. Nettie works as a missionary in Africa, and we see the awesomeness that is colonialism and the gouging of Africa. It’s really compelling and beautiful and it was amazing. It’s also really blunt, which I wasn’t expecting. The descriptions of sex between Shug and Celie were very frank and straightforward, which was quite surprising. It was so good, and so beautiful, and so heartbreaking.
Howl, Kaddish and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg
Allen Ginsberg was one of the beat poets in San Francisco, and he was a huge part of the beat generation, and the movement that followed. He was gay and spent a lot of his time fighting for gay rights and against sexual repression. The poem Howl is about his different relationships with men. He was arrested over the poem and there was a trial. So it’s quite a poem. Kaddish is a poem where he tries to mourn his mother, and the estrangement of his born religion, Judaism. They’re so beautiful and amazing, and I really loved it.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Oh they’re so good. He’s so good. Of Mice and Men is a very short novel by John Steinbeck. It’s about George and Lennie. They’re sort of drifters and go around working from farm to farm. George sort of looks after Lennie, who is big and strong, but simple-minded. He’s sweet, but tends to get into trouble. They keep talking about this plan they have to get a farm together and to live there with rabbits and stuff. They start working on a farm in Salinas. There they meet a bunch of different men, and one woman and eventually something really bad happens. It’s so beautiful and it’s so heartbreakingly sad and so far John Steinbeck is still a hit.

The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
This is a classic dystopian novel. It’s about London at some point in the 50s. Pretty much everyone in the world looked at a meteor shower and are now struck blind. They’re sort of ambling around and have no idea how to survive. Some people can still see, like the main character, Bill Masen. At the same time there are these huge, poisonous, walking plants who now suddenly have the advantage since they were used to being blind. Bill and the other still seeing people have to decide who to save and whether they should save everyone. It was gorgeous, and awesome, and creepy, and oh my GOD it’s so good.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
This is also a sort of classic dystopian novel. It’s about a society where kids are allowed to run riot. The main character is Alex, and he’s 15 and spends most of his time running around with his buddies, robbing places, beating the crap out of people and raping women. So he’s great. He goes to jail after he accidentally kills an old woman. In jail he volunteers for a rehab program where he is effectively stripped of his free will. He is conditioned to feel sick when he sees violence or wants to be violent. It’s really horrible to read, because it’s told from his perspective, so when he is violent we get the perspective of this man who really relishes in his destruction and violence. When he’s gone through the rehab we get the perspective of someone who is really struggling because he wants to be violent, but can’t. It’s really cool, and gross, and he’s written it in his own invented language, nadsat, which took some time getting into, but it flowed when I got into it.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling
I was in a mood, I wanted to read Harry Potter, and also when I was home this summer I got all the audiobooks, which we had at home. So I listened to the first one. It’s as good as it always was. It’s funny, and it’s weird, and it’s Harry Potter. And I wish I’d counted how many times I read the books, because I have no clue.