What I’m Reading

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It’s been a while since I shared what I’m currently reading, which is mostly because I’ve not been reading anywhere near as much as I’d like. I recently finished To Kill a Mockingbird which I loved and still intend to review on here… Before that though, I’d really like to share what I’m currently reading, and what I think so far.

First things first, I’ve been reading Russell Brand’s Revolution since Christmastime deliberately slowly. I’m really enjoying it and am finding it such a good read that I’m trying to savour it rather than read the whole thing in a day. It’s the first physical book I’ve acquired in a long time (I’m abroad and tend to read when travelling so eBooks are just more practical) so I’ve been reading this one a chapter at a time when at home.

My favourite thing about Revolution so far is that you can hear Russell Brand saying it. For those of you not familiar, he’s a British comedian-turned-kinda-activist and has a YouTube channel called The Trews which you should watch if you’re interested in corrupt politicians and current affairs.

I was never a huge fan of Russell as a comedian, partly being too young and partly finding him a bit intense. I was skeptical about his political statements at first and still a lot of people don’t take him seriously, but really it all boils down to the fact that what he is saying does make sense.

Revolution seems to be a more detailed approach to the things he usually discusses in The Trews. He’s still funny and makes jokes, and is terribly scatty, but I’d love to have a chat with him over a cuppa tea.

He’s usually criticised for complaining and not offering any solutions, which he tackles in Revolution. It’s not a story book of course, but he includes a lot of anecdotes and experience which makes it much more interesting than other political books (says the girl who has John Major’s autobiography on her bookshelf…).

It’s not that the book will come to an end, since these things he discusses are still occurring. I just find it refreshing for someone who is so brutally honest to get involved with the political scene, even if all he’s doing is educating those who would be apathetic otherwise about what’s going on.

He’s from a working class background too and a lot of what he talks about is true. People say he’s exaggerating but I’ve seen it with my own eyes as well – and I’m just glad he’s using his celebrity status to help and encourage people!

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I love to read when I travel, despite the queasiness. I find it so relaxing whilst zooming through Tbilisi traffic and it really helps me to realign myself. So, since Russell’s book is quite big and heavy I tend to opt for eBooks when I’m out and about. At the moment I’m sort of flitting between James Joyce’s Ulysses and Albert Camus’s The Stranger.

I’m only going to talk briefly about these since I’ve recently started them, so let’s start with Ulysses.

Of course it’s a classic, and I love my Modernist literature, but Jesus is it hard. I haven’t been reading as much as I’d like so I’m trying to ease myself into it with some easy-read fiction books (Nabakov’s Lolita was perfect for that).

Ulysses is fiction, sure, and the pace of it is incredible. It’s just there’s so many external references and idioms that I’m finding it hard to wrap my head around what he’s saying! I read somewhere that Joyce did that intentionally, but if anyone has any tips on how to stay focused when reading this kind of book it’d be much appreciated!

Nevertheless, I love the characters. What I have managed to understand about them that they’re all seemingly likable so far, and the personalities shine through Joyce’s use of dialogue rather than detailed descriptions. I suppose most people talk about Ulysses for the writing style (like the longest sentence ever) rather than the plot… It’s gonna be something I keep coming back to and slowly delve into.

As much as I love taking books slowly, I need something easy and lighter to read to entertain me on a day-to-day basis. I downloaded the PDF of The Stranger a while back and finally started reading it last week. I think I’m already halfway through and again I’m sort of trying to take it slowly.

The writing is easy to read, but I can’t snap myself past the voice and tone of the character which reminds me a lot of 1984 if I’m honest. Maybe it’s just me, but the character seems so melancholy and distant, despite saying and doing some nice things like complimenting his girlfriend and meaning it.

Of course it’ll be deliberate, it’s written by Camus. I’m a huge fan of his thinking, but have never read one of his books all the way through and I thought this would be a good place to start. I’m interested to see what will happen next, despite it not being so fast-paced and dramatic. By the end of the book I’m anticipating an Existentialist epiphany, and I think it’ll be something I should chew on for a while after.

I haven’t finished yet and will review when I do, but I find myself skipping back to this book in my head when I’m busy doing other things. As far as I’ve read so far, the tone is the most prominent aspect for me and I have to concentrate to read past it’s monotony and remain an open-mind when Meursault goes about his days. No doubt the reason for this will be revealed but it’s already making me question why we do things the way we do… I dunno, I haven’t been awake long enough to discuss Existential philosophy but all I can say is I’m enjoying it thoroughly!

What are you reading at the moment? Can you recommend anything to me for when I finish these ones?


11 thoughts on “What I’m Reading

  1. Mr. Wapojif says:

    I’m currently re-reading Camus’ The Plague which is a remarkable novel. I’d recommend you head to that one next, as The Outsider’s quite bleak and too existential for some folk. I can highly recommend Sartre, too, particularly The Age of Reason.

    As for Mr. Brand, being English myself, he’s been ubiquitous in politics and the news of late. Whilst I appreciate some of his comments, and he helps get younger generations interested, telling them not to vote was disastrous. We could end up with right wing lunatics UKIP taking over the country.


    • itstartedinoxford says:

      Great, thanks! Noted them down (:
      I don’t think him just telling people not to would stop them but his point is that it makes no difference which one you vote for because the same things happen anyway.. I think he’s the opposite of apathetic in that case like the media try to portray, and he addresses it well in this book too!


  2. Chewie says:

    Meursault IS melancholy and distant. You’re not reading it wrongly at all.
    It took me three readings at three different ages (17, 26, and 28) to fully understand and appreciate The Stranger. I’d written the book off after the second reading. Something about the story didn’t gel with me. I understood how Meursault had isolated himself from society, I understood what he meant how a man needs only to live one day to have all he needs to think about in prison, but the story didn’t leave much impact. “Life is bleak, man.” That sort of thing.

    It was only later, at the insistence of a friend, when I took up the book again because he’d been so enthusiastic about it. Even then, I didn’t come to any big revelation, but somehow liked the book more. Good lucking with your reading of it. I’m eager to hear your thoughts.

    And to answer your question about what to read next…I haven’t decided that one yet.


  3. dailycitylife says:

    Hi there! Thank you for following my blog! I’m impressed that you’re able to read while traveling and just ignore the queasiness. I get terribly sick if I don’t sit in the front seat, sit perfectly still and stare out the front window. Thanks again!



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