Sunday, 25 August 2013

Cancer Kids

Hey guys, I'm back!

Manchester and Devon were fun. Not much literature orientated activities went on in Devon apart from the buying of books, but in Manchester we went through the Yorkshire Moors like in Wuthering Heights. I also went to Whitby which is the place the ship washed up at in Dracula and there was a lot of vampire/book orientated stuff going on there, and then I travelled to Liverpool and looked at all the Beatle-related stuff going on. I also bought Artemis Fowl for £3 and I think that's quite an achievement.

So, tonight I'm going to talk to you about the two books I've just recently finished. In Devon I bought Stephen King's new book Joyland and I finished in on Tuesday. I also splurged out on John Green books and bought three of them, and The Fault in our Stars was completed this morning. I've got like a ton of books to buy because I hardly got anything on my birthday list, but I did get the first two Divergent books as well as Captain Corelli's Mandolin and The Communist Manifesto.

Joyland by Stephen King really excited me because it's a sort of cross-over between a coming-of-age novel and a murder mystery novel, though there's a great deal more of the former than latter. It follows the journey of Devin Jones who has just been dumped by a girl he loved very much, and is looking for a way out of his misery by getting a summer job at an amusement park, Joyland.

The description of the park was so real, it had it's own atmosphere, it's own dialect. I felt like I was standing amongst the crowds and the heat whilst reading it. I find that with Stephen King books, he has a distinct writing style and I can recognise it easily. Though sometimes this writing style can feel like trying to run through treacle, this was not the case for Joyland.

It was delightful to read, with bursts of comedy and realism through the whole thing. The characters were likable and at the same time had detailed characterisation which meant you couldn't only relate to them easily, but you were also dying to know more about each one. I find it was so much so, that even though the murder mystery element wasn't dominant, you continued reading because of the pull of the characters and the narrative combined.

Speaking of Stephen King related stuff, Doctor Sleep which is the long awaited sequel to The Shining will be coming out soon and I am very excited. Plus, the TV series Under the Dome has begun and it's very intruiging so far.

Next to read on my list was The Spook's Secret, but I hadn't planned to finish reading Joyland so soon, so I thought I'd be able to order it before I actually closed the novel. What books I had with me were The White Queen, The Catcher in the Rye, and a whole lotta John Green books, so based on reviews, I started reading The Fault in Our Stars.

It's a story about Hazel who is suffering from a cancer which means her "lungs suck at being lungs." Hazel, as a person, is a lot like myself. Aside from the whole cancer thing, she is intelligent, funny, witty, she likes staying indoors and watching boxsets and reading LOTS of books. I loved the way John Green revealed Hazel's character in ways other than through the fact she has cancer. Hazel's cancer isn't what makes her Hazel, she is her own person.

Hazel meets a boy called Augustus Waters, and at first I thought he was a bit annoying and forward and unrealistic (!!??), but once you understand what he's been through you understand why he's the way he is. He does all these things because he's been through a lot of bad stuff, and it's this bad stuff that makes Augustus the equally intelligent, funny and witty person that him and Hazel are alike. You just learn to love Augustus Waters.

Needless to say, once you add cancer to the equation, you're pretty sure that the book is going to break your heart. It's a lot of people's favourite books, and my friend gave it 5 stars. Whilst I understand how it would have the capacity to touch people in these ways, it didn't hit these levels for me. Don't get me wrong here, because I loved it, it just didn't define a favourite novel in my personal opinion. There's also a little boy in Joyland who has a terminal illness so I've basically been reading books about little children dying all week which is tear-jerking.

As a side note on this, I was REALLY impressed with all of John Green's The Catcher in the Rye references. You'd only pick them up if you were a massive Catcher nerd, and fortunately I am and I did. 1) Augustus kept using the word "grand" which would make Holden cry since he loathes this word, and 2) Hazel literally made a transatlantic flight so she could ask her favourite author what happens after the end of her favourite story. Of course, this isn't what she's really asking. What's she's asking is, "What happens to me after the end of my story?" And does this remind us of anything? Yes! Holden wants to know where the ducks go when the pond freezes over, but of course he's really asking what happens to him when he's got nowhere else to go.

I'm too excited about the Wardstone Chronicles to even sit properly and so I'm doing this thing where I read like one book inbetween each Spook's book because that way I read the books for my English course but at the same time I don't abandon by new favourite series.

Also, I got a new laptop with a webcam and everything (FANCY) so I'm going to do a video post soon or something because I get tired of writing and you get tired of reading and I'm sure you'd all like to hear my terrible English accent. And I'm watching the cricket and I'm crying because we're nOT GOING TO WIN.

Thanks for reading, I'll update soon!
Rachel x

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