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On the Road by Jack Kerouac

On the Road by Jack KerouacOn the Road by Jack Kerouac
Genre: Classic
Release Date: 7th April 2011
Publisher: Penguin
Source: Bought
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Rating: one-half-stars

IN THREE WEEKS in April of 1951, Jack Kerouac wrote his first full draft of "On the Road"?typed as a single-spaced paragraph on eight long sheets of tracing paper, which he later taped together to form a 120-foot scroll. A major literary event when it was published in Viking hardcover in 2007, this is the uncut version of an American classic?rougher, wilder, and more provocative than the official work that appeared, heavily edited, in 1957. This version, capturing a moment in creative history, represents the first full expression of Kerouac's revolutionary aesthetic.

God, this book was a pile of shite. Even for me, who really only decided on On the Road for my American Classic because of Supernatural and the fact that Dean Winchester was based loosely on the character of Dean Moriarty. Even with little to no expectations going in, this book was terrible.

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Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray BradburyFahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Genre: Classic
Release Date: 1953
Source: Bought
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Rating: two-stars

The terrifyingly prophetic novel of a post-literate future.

Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books.

The classic dystopian novel of a post-literate future, Fahrenheit 451 stands alongside Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World as a prophetic account of Western civilization’s enslavement by the media, drugs and conformity.

Bradbury’s powerful and poetic prose combines with uncanny insight into the potential of technology to create a novel which, decades on from first publication, still has the power to dazzle and shock.

You might be looking at my rating and thinking “Amber, what the feck is wrong with you?”. I wouldn’t blame you. Fahrenheit 451 is a much beloved classic, and is a favourite of many of my friends, and two stars is a bloody low rating. It probably seems appalling that I have rated it so low, but I want you to know that I did appreciate what the book was saying, even if I didn’t particularly enjoy reading it.

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Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor DostoyevskyCrime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Genre: Classic
Release Date: 30th January, 2003
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Source: Bought
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Rating: three-stars
'Crime? What crime?...My killing a loathsome, harmful louse, a filthy old moneylender woman...and you call that a crime?'

Raskolnikov, a destitute and desperate former student, wanders through the slums of St Petersburg and commits a random murder without remorse or regret. He imagines himself to be a great man, a Napoleon: acting for a higher purpose beyond conventional moral law. But as he embarks on a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a suspicious police investigator, Raskolnikov is pursued by the growing voice of his conscience and finds the noose of his own guilt tightening around his neck. Only Sonya, a downtrodden prostitute, can offer the chance of redemption.

I’ve had this book on my shelves for a while; it was on the booklist my Literature & Psychology course in university but I just never got around to reading it  because I couldn’t be bothered. Anyway, this turned out to be a pretty readable Classic, I mostly enjoyed it.

So, what is with the Russians and abjectly depressing literature? Seriously. The main character, Raskolnikov (which I have to split into like, three different words just to be able to spell >.>) is a poor student living basically one step up from downright poverty; he suffers from a multitude of ailments, both physical and mental, and ends up killing his landlady. As you do. In the aftermath of her murder, Raskolnikov finds himself haunted by his own conscience, and is driven to the brink of madness by his guilty conscience.

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The Name of The Rose by Umberto Eco

The Name of The Rose by Umberto EcoThe Name of The Rose by Umberto Eco
Genre: Classic, Historical
Release Date: 2004
Publisher: Vintage Classics
Source: Bought
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Rating: one-star

The year is 1327. Franciscans in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective. His tools are the logic of Aristotle, the theology of Aquinas, the empirical insights of Roger Bacon—all sharpened to a glistening edge by wry humor and a ferocious curiosity. He collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey, where “the most interesting things happen at night.”

 The Name of The Rose is basically a Sherlock and Watson adventure except it’s so boring it made me want to die. Which is not a good way to introduce anyone to a book really but I fail to understand why this dull excuse of a novel has so many fans out there because really? Really? This book? Are you sure?

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A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles DickensA Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Genre: Classic
Release Date: 1854
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Source: Bought
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Rating: two-stars

After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille, the ageing Doctor Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England. There the lives of two very different men, Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat, and Sydney Carton, a disreputable but brilliant English lawyer, become enmeshed through their love for Lucie Manette. From the tranquil roads of London, they are drawn against their will to the vengeful, bloodstained streets of Paris at the height of the Reign of Terror, and they soon fall under the lethal shadow of La Guillotine.

Something about the French Revolution?? Mostly a love triangle?? This was a very confusing novel, guys. And by confusing I mean really, really boring. The two go together. The plot is something like some old dude is found by his daughter Lucie, who is very beautiful and frail and everyone loves her because of course they do, and they go off to England where she marries a slightly less old although equally boring dude BUT THEN he goes to France because of reasons and is arrested, tried and sentenced to death by Guillotine. So Lucie is super upset about this turn of events and she and her dad go to France to save her boring husband BUT obviously because they are boring, keep up with me here, they spend a lot of time wringing their hands UNTIL some bloke comes along and is like I HAVE LOVED LUCIE I WILL SAVE HER HUSBAND because I think he is actually Damon Salvatore; he devises a plan Amber would be proud of, in which he takes on the name of Lucie’s boring husband and dies by Guillotine while actual husband escapes and they all live happily ever after. Except Damon. Because he’s dead.
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