Con-nerd-sseur Log Book #11- The Time Traveler’s Wife

•January 25, 2012 • 2 Comments

Let me just begin by saying, “this hurt…really.” This is one of the first books I have read by a woman author on this list (in fact, she may be the first) but I don’t think I have been this upset over a book since Ender’s Game. This books is fantastic. A fantastic choice for my Eleventh tasting of science fiction/fantasy literary flavors. The list I am drawing from is NPR‘s list of the Top Sci-fi and fantasy books. Clearly this is not all the best books…they are missing NK Jemisin for one, but it’s a great start for a guy who has always been a slow reader and scared to pick up a massive sci fi or fantasy text.

Book: The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger

Date: January 14th-January 24th

Source: Westminster Library Audiobook

As you can tell from the bit above, I really liked this book. I knew I would like the time traveling and all that, but I didn’t know it would be this enjoyable. The only complaint I have is that some of the details in their lives got a bit much for me, but this is only a few instances. The things that I felt this book excelled in were the complexity and humanity in the main characters, the relatable of seemingly everyday moments and situations, and the heartrending struggles of these two. I don’t want to give you the wrong impression when I say this, but Niffenegger’s portrayal of our world is done in such fine detail that her world felt as tangible as Frank Herbert’s Dune. I love both of these books and I think they did a great job of world creation in their own respective universes. For instance, Christmas with the in-laws was one of many laugh out loud moments for me. Her humor about families and their attempts to hold a temporary cease fire during the holidays while gathering ammo for later was great. I also loved the vividity of the love making of the main characters. It was both sensual and primal. Awesome. There were many times where I was like, “Oh my God…his tongue can do that?” This is just another example of the passion charged world that we are beckoned into by the story. I also enjoyed seeing the issues that the two lovers shared, both small and large. Their coping with each other’s sexual past, with miscarriages, and Henry’s struggle to be with Clare (like the wedding) as well as Clare’s desire to be with Henry were all very relatable and human. This amazing sense of humanity was what made the ending so heart breaking. The entire book they were both seemingly bound by fate, and I wanted Henry to be able to survive. I wanted my happily ever after…but the world doesn’t operate this way (nor would I want it to-I just wanted to see them happy :D). But the heartbreaking separation of the two and Henry’s plan to see Clare as she died so she wouldn’t be alone were just beautiful. I had no idea that love could make me so upset (especially someone else’s… a fictional someone else’s mind you!), but it did.

This book was fantastic. I think the reason it really resounded for me is that most of these books have been set in entirely alien worlds or drastically different ones-with a few exceptions of course- but this world was ours. This book took our simple, basic world (yes I am terribly oversimplifying our world) and made it mysterious and interesting. For me, it was the most emotionally involving because it was the most relatable. This is not to say that the other books on this list are bad by any means. But the humanity and commonalities the readers share with these characters are predominantly more relatable than Paul Atreides or Ender Wiggin, because the characters in this book draw on more commonly shared experiences. They don’t just draw on the large things like love and betrayal (like Ender’s Game and Dune) but they draw on the tiny little things that we’ve all had one or two of in our lives and that was what made this such a resounding novel. I love this book, I still think Dune and Ender’s spoke to me much more in terms of my interests but in terms of a great book that just speaks well to me as a man, this book nailed it. Great book. I would love to read it again. Just funny, alive, and vibrant.

Hope you guys enjoyed this post. Please comment if there is anything I can do to make my blog more relatable and enjoyable for you guys. Again, likes and shares are always appreciated. Thanks again for the read and I look forward to sharing another book with you guys soon.

Con-nerd-sseur Log Book #10- The Road

•January 19, 2012 • Leave a Comment

First off, I can’t believe it took me this long to get around to it. Actually, I can. I had 2 of my 3 best (and at some times only) friends come up and visit me in Maryland. We played all the way through Horde, beat Beast on hardcore (or got close-I forget…all the carnage blends after a while), went climbing at the Rockville Earth Treks (which kicked my ass and made me jealous of their walls), and beat Jet Set Radio Future. After those three days, I pretty much flew out here and then started my internship the day after and school the next. I have been catching up on sleeping patterns, cooking for myself (healthier cooking for myself…no more Hamburger Helper for this guy) and just getting things back in order.

The holidays were great. I was able to get some much needed reading done (as you all are privy to) and to start eating healthier, go to a Raven’s game, catch up with family, get some time to catch up with old friends and start making some new ones. But, enough about me. I’ve got some school work  I need to start on and some more sleeping to get through (and with my dreams taking on such vivid and lucius (sp?) form, I can’t wait to get to some more dreaming). But here it is, book 10!

Book: The Road, Cormac McCarthy

Time Period: January 12th-January 13th

Source: Audiobook-Westminster Library

This post accounts for the 10th book of my literary taste testing NPR‘s list of the top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books. I liked this book but I felt that viewing the trailer for the movie skewed and sullied my expectations. So on one note, I felt a little let down because there was something I was expecting the entire time that didn’t materialize. On the whole I liked how intimately we see the father and son, the haunting view of their world, and the father’s struggle to keep his son away from the “bad guys” as they search for more “good guys.” I liked the intimate nature of the story. It was on a smaller, more manageable scale than say Dune or Ender’s Game, and I like it for that. It felt almost like reading a Neil Gaiman book like Stardust with how briskly we pass through this smaller world. This helps create the theme of isolation of course and makes it more haunting the further we get in the story. I liked the haunting world we find ourselves thrust into. I particularly liked when they would run into conflicts like the man stealing the shopping cart or the final confrontation. I loved the grittiness of the people and the father’s apprehension toward and distrust of others. When he shot the flare gun into archer’s house and he starts screaming, I cringed to think of the flame burning away at this hollow, emaciated being. When the father is about to shoot the stinking man that stole the cart, I could see the stink of the man accused in my head and loved the dialogue. The truly Darwinian nature of this world (he would steal our food and kill us, why should we not do the same-juxtapozed with the child’s innocence) is most palpable in the small scenes of conflict. Lastly, the father’s struggle to keep his son oblivious to the terrible position they were in was almost painful to read. I mean, the kid isn’t dumb…just innocent, but watching the father trying to protect the kid and do what is necessary while having to show him love, affection and keep him from going completely insane was what made this book a strong favorite for me.

My only complaint is of my own fault. I saw the trailer for the film and assumed the movie was about this man and child on the run from a band of armed men trying to extinguish the last threads of society. So, the entire time I was expecting the man that we saw in the beginning to have his group of people track them down and the father would have to start offing them. Needless to say this was not the case and I will not comment on which I would have preferred. But, with that expectation, I was even wary in the end when the child was alone and that man came to get him. I was just waiting for the man to turn on the kid and just kill him. But nope, didn’t happen. Thank God. I mean, I was expecting it but, if it had happened I would have been livid. So…thanks Hollywood for distorting my reading experience.

All around, this is a good book. Not entirely up my alley. I think I am more of a Dune, Ender’s Game, 30,000 Leagues kinda guy, but I can certainly see why people would enjoy this book. I may not read it again, I may. Just depends. Good book overall, certainly worth at least the initial read.

On a side note, I have now completed 10% of the readings on the literary taste testing list. So I feel it is time that I share a couple stats updates with you as I have grown a bit over the past few weeks.

+150 EXP, Reading speed -.5% Story Comprehension +2%, Story Reference Ability +4%, Story Craft +3%

Level Up!

Thanks for reading guys. I hope you find these things some what helpful. I’m not the most eloquent writer (my syntax and diction can be a bit spotty if you couldn’t tell from reading anything I have written)  so comments are always welcome. I enjoy sharing these little literary explorations with you guys and I hope you find something enjoyable in them as well. Shares, follows, and likes are all welcome as well. Until next time (which may be a good while as I am getting acclimated to the grind again-but eventually), keep on the look out for something interesting to read or to write.

P.S.S.S.

Play Jet Set Radio Future (great game and story-my favorite game next to Fable), read Y the Last Man (super funny and thought provoking), listen to the Prairie Home Companion podcast (if you are from South or Midwest and a bit of a sarcastic fellow or gal you may like it), watch the Maltese Falcon (first movie I watched in Film Noir class-so freaking good) and…read MY BLOG! 😉

Con-nerd-sseur Log Book #8/9- Dune/ Slaughter-House Five

•January 9, 2012 • Leave a Comment

 Books: Dune, Frank Herbert and Slaughter-House Five, Kurt Vonnegut

Time Period: January 1st-January 7th (late in the evening)

Source: Audiobook-Westminster Library

This post account for both the 8th and 9th books of my literary taste testing NPR‘s list of the top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books. The majority of the reading time was taken up by Dune, but I finished it so early in the morning that I had to listen to Slaughterhouse while I was still in such a good mood. I find that the further I get in this list, I either have less to say about each book or I am just too much in awe and internalizing what I just read to have much to say. But maybe commenting on two books instead of one will spice up this little situation. So let’s get down to it.

The pairing of the two made a very interesting and satisfying combination because of the differences of the two. Dune was phenomenal, there is no question about it…it’s really no wonder this is the highest selling science fiction novel to date. Herbert’s world creation, character development and exploration of themes (particularly politics, religion, and time) were all executed well throughout and kept me immersed in this book right to the end. Conversely, the considerably smaller scale of Slaughter-House, the great humor, and the pace of causality (like all moments happening at once and Billy traveling in-between them) were my favorite points in Slaghter-House.

The world of Dune is hard to put into words for those who haven’t read it. The connection of all the characters, the rules and social structure, the wholeness and humanity of the characters and anything else having to do with Arrakis was intricately crafted. The depth of these characters was also quite good, Herbert capitalized well on characterization in this story. Lastly, themes like the mixing of religion and politics (that we see quite a bit of today) and time (like all moments happening at once, etc.) are well done as well. My words can’t do this novel justice. Just read it. If you have, read it again. I certainly will.

Slaughter-House was also quite incredible. The thing I enjoyed most about Vonnegut (this is my first novel with him) was his shifting between events and his humor. The switching between Tralfamador and Earth are quite interesting because the meaning of events are paralleled on the two places. I enjoyed very much the discussion of time and the end of the world with the Tralfamadorians. Their characterization of living creatures as machines, their perspective on war, free will, and Earth’s role in the universe was enlightening and added to the experience of the read. I’m not sure what else to say on this as well. The humor of Vonnegut is on point and off kilter enough to keep my interest. One thing I found particularly amusing and enlightening was the idea that making an anti-war movie (or book) is like making an anti-glacier movie, glaciers aren’t going to stop being their no matter how much you don’t want them to be. There isn’t much else to say about this book either. Just another great read.

These two are great complementary reads because the differing scope and style of the two authors give two well-paired perspectives on similar things such as humanity, tim, and causality. These books were two more reasons I am glad that I started working on this list. They are great, certainly worth re-reads-especially Dune. If you have any comments or concerns, please voice them so I can shape these responses better for you guys. Also, likes and shares are always appreciated. Until next time, hope you guys find something interesting to read or write!

Con-nerd-sseur Log Book # 7- Ender’s Game

•January 2, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Book: Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card

Time Period: December 30th-December 31st (traveling to and from Grandparents in W. VA)

Source: Audiobook-Westminster Library

This is going to be a relatively short post followers. I finished Ender’s Game last night and was thoroughly pleased both with the script as well as the postscript interview. I am already making some headway into the sci-fi giant Dune and do not expect to get to you guys for a good while. So let’s get to it.

The only thing that I noticed off was that I could predict where some of the story was going (Dink showing up to help Ender in the bathroom, the inclusion of all Ender’s best friends in the Commander training, and the fantasy games foreshadowing) but this didn’t detract from this story. In fact, I think that the claim it is “predictable” in plot could even be interpreted as the inevitable path it would take based on the likelihood of how characters act. Nonetheless, I will neither designate this as a strength or weakness. My favorite parts of the story were the plot twists, the characterization (the higher-ups’ asides, Ender’s personal thoughts) and the tying together of everything in the story.

The world Card creates is vivid, tangible, well-crafted and above all human. This enduring sense of humanity is what makes the world so wonderful to explore. I found it great to get into the motivation of why the higher-ups are doing what they are doing to Ender because their moral apprehension and sense of necessity made them complex and very human. The plot twists (which you are all aware of if you have read the book) are awesome. The discovery near the end about the training program was especially great. As you can tell I am relatively speechless about this because it was so intense and relatable that I am certain to read and re-read this story for further understanding.

All-in-all, the themes explored in the story are adequately addressed through predictable events (but an overall twisty and interesting plot) as well as thorough, complex characters. Of course Ender’s complexity gets the most attention (he is one of the most complex and deeply fleshed out characters I have read thus far in any book), but he does not steal the show from side characters. The humanity that we see in characters such as Dink, Valentine, Bean, Graff, Rackham, and Peter, to name a few, create a more intricate set of relations and challenges for Ender. The twists are the result of these complexities and made me unable to stop listening to this story. I found myself not even sleeping just to know what happens next. This story is fantastic, one of my favorite so far. I find it hard to believe that any other story on this list will be able to match this one in my book, but I would be glad to be proven wrong. Read, re-read, and re-re-read this book.

Hope you guys enjoyed this quite short post. Comments and likes are always welcome. Thanks again for reading. Hope to post again for you guys soon!

 

Con-nerd-sseur Log Book #6- Fahrenheit 451

•December 30, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I just finished book six from the my literary taste testing NPR‘s list of the top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books. This one was a rather brief read (well, listen) but still a very good story nonetheless.

Book: Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury

Time Period: December 28th-29th (traveling to and from Grandparents in Virginia)

Source: Audiobook-Westminster Library

This novel is one that I generally liked. I would definitely re-read this again. The primary reason I would re-read this is that I wasn’t as into it in the beginning. I didn’t see how the pieces were going to line up and I found Bradbury’s reading of his own work to be slightly distracting. He is a phenomenal storyteller but being used to very refined and brisk readers, I found Bradbury’s deliberative reading to be a bit slower than I am used to and his intonations were a bit off in my opinion. However, this is a minor concern in comparison to what this novel does well.

I think that my favorite parts in this were the relationship between Montag and Capt. Beatty, the tension between he and his wife, and the focus on the importance of books and literature both on a personal and societal context. The tension between Montag and his wife was done well because she is the exact opposite of him. She is content to know nothing and Montag cannot stand that books could be more than just subversive, morally muddying material that make you unhappy. I found Montag to be like any half-conscious person that just wants a little truth and life and Mildred to be the totally pleasure seeking drone that doesn’t care if there is more to life than she sees or not because she is going to see it how she wants to. This is why it was done so well, the contrast is explored well and to good effect for the themes. The tension between Montag and the Captain were also used to good effect. I like how this is parallel to O’Brien in 1984. There is a more powerful, higher ranked man in the guise of a friend that tries to dissuade our main character against his goal. This was not as suspenseful as O’Brien and Winston, but it was still used to good effect nonetheless. I particularly liked the discussion about fire, burning things away, and the importance (or lackthereof) of books to society. Lastly, this book’s exploration of the importance of free-thinking, discovery, and literature to society as a whole is quite thorough. The bit at the end with his escape from society (this was very suspenseful and I enjoyed it supremely) and finding a new place in a new world, are primarily where we discuss the importance of books. My favorite idea about this was that books are like ghosts of the past and they are what is eventually (hopefully) going to propel humanity from its phoenix-like stupor and dig the deepest grave for war.

This book was a great complement for the lingering taste of 1984 that I finished the other day. They both have very similar themes and plot arcs, but the divergences give the two stories even greater impact when paired together. In fact, thinking of the two worlds as parallel or even the same place, we see can give more shape to the novels in the book and more relation to our own world. Thus, the lingering bitterness left in your mouth by 1984’s conclusion is best paired with the semi-sweetness of Fahrenheit 451 for optimal taste. The utterly hopeless ending of 1984 left me thinking, “well, what about the power of NATURE or God that Winston said the party would fall to?,” 451 responds well to this query. The possibility that humanity can find itself again in nature, emerging from the ashes of its hubris sparked fire, and try to strive towards a hopefully brighter future is a little more satisfying for me. Conversely, the depth of detail in Orwell’s world far eclipses that of Bradbury’s. By considering the truths and social structure we see in Winston’s world to be the same as the one in 451’s more intimate telling, we can give 451 a far greater context than it presents us with and take even more from the story. Again, this is a great story, (I really cannot wait to get my hands on Illustrated Man) and it is a great pairing with 1984.

On a side note, we just reached over 200 views today. Thanks to all you guys (all 3 of you wordpressers! :D) who keep checking up on the posts, it is really gratifying to know that other people find your ideas interesting enough to read. Again, it is helpful to me, as well as yourselves, to post comments, concerns, feedback, or even a friendly “like” to make this blog even better. This is has been another con-nerd-sseur entry, enjoy the last of 2011 and I hope to share more of my reading responses with you soon!

Also, since this was such a short read, I was able to read the second book of Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis and Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughn and Pia Guerra.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both are exceptional reads. After reading such dense subject matter with 1984 and 451, the humorous yet thoughtful material of these two graphic novels were a welcome change. Proving that it’s nice to be able to think well and hard at the world, as well as look more playfully and light at things.

Con-nerd-sseur Log Book #5- 1984

•December 27, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Oh my goodness, the past few days have been insane. I spent almost the entirety of Christmas Eve day at the Ravens game, I spent Christmas doing Christmas-y stuff and spent today traveling around to my grandparents for the festivities. Compound this with my loss of an internet connection and you can see why it took so long to get through another entry of literary taste testing from NPR‘s list of the top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books. Before I get onto the rest of my response, I want to address a comment I received about why I chose to use audiobooks primarily if the aim of this taste testing is to better my writing skills. Certainly a great comment, and one that I too considered, at the beginning of this journey through great literature. My film teacher beat into our heads this semester that content determines form (not just in a movie, but in any story), simply put, the needs of the story are what determines the stylistic form of the work. My primary goal with this is to better craft my stories first, craft characters and plots (making sure I’m not copying anyone, or if I am, then I am copying the correct people at least), so for the task of visualizing all the stories and experiencing them, I feel that audiobook is the most convenient method-based both on busy-ness and reading speed. Surely I plan to go back and read the stories that most speak to me and try to learn from each of the styles. But, for this process of taking in the story and giving my initial response, I will be relying on audiobooks. Now, let’s get to the fifth installment from the list.

Book: 1984, George Orwell

 

Time Period: Friday, December 23rd– Tuesday, December 26th

Source: Audiobook borrowed from Westminster Library

This book was rather interesting. I know that the book is great and I like it a lot, but I am still reeling from the ending (and if you have read this book too you will understand). The things that I enjoyed the most about this book were the plot (just the whole world and everything was great), the depth of the characters (as deep as you can go in this world), the juxtaposition of Winston and O’ Brien, and the themes discussed in this book. I’m pretty tired (mentally) and this book is the main cause of it, so I will keep this one short.

I liked the way the plot lead Winston and the reader (me at least) to believe that there was some way he could subvert the Party. I enjoyed his ups-and-downs throughout the whole novel. I enjoyed the depth we got to see Winston with, like the little bit about him and the cookies, his anxiety and any other response that we see from him. I felt like this focus on him gave a great deal of emphasis to his character, which builds up a good relationship for the reader with him. The relationship with Winston and O’Brien was played out very well too. I thought O’Brien would somehow save him, I was completely blindsided when they just got caught in their little Eden and  O’Brien tortured him and broke him. The part when Winston is imprisoned was by far the most moving and intellectually stimulating for me. The discussion of power and the like, was just interesting and well done. I thought that it was interesting how Winston maintained his individuality up until Room 101 (it reminded me of Doctor Who: The God Complex). I was really torn up when Winston became just what the Party wanted him to be (he even got thicker-like O’Brien) because I hoped he could hold out. But, it makes sense. Whether you interpret it as politics or if you look at it existentially (the party being almost like God or death or something like that) the fate of being swallowed up and forgotten is inescapable, but we do it anyway because there is some hope that endures in some of us.

That’s my little response to this book. I think the briefness of my response says more about the book than my rambling on and on. This is a great book, a definite re-read, not just for story but for the style as well. Orwell is very good with his symbolism, etc. and this is certainly levels deep in terms of meaning. Well, that’s the fifth book of my con-nerd-sseur literary taste test. I’m searching out the next book presently and I will get a response to you all as soon as possible. As always, please give me comments or feedback, it makes me better and more enjoyable for you all to read. Until next time, have a great winter season!


Con-nerd-sseur Log-Book #4- A Clockwork Orange

•December 23, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Brought the grandparents back to West Virginia today, so I got a good chunk of time to hammer out my fourth literary taste test of NPR‘s list of the top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books-A Clockwork Orange.

Book: A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess

 

Time Period: Thursday December 22nd- (early) December 23rd

Source: Audiobook borrowed from Westminster Library

This is the first book on the list I felt a little torn on. There were parts of it that I enjoyed, but it wasn’t as satisfying a story as I thought it would be. For example, I liked the author’s commentary at the beginning, the use of linguistics, the commentary on society and the individual (control, blame, etc.), and Alex’s terrible nature throughout the story. But, the thing I didn’t like about it was the end, which Burgess addressed a bit in his foreword, which left me feeling cheated in terms of the story.

Burgess begins by commenting that this is a book he feels obliged to take “responsibility for” and he hoped it would die away and not have to remember. This is one of his earlier pieces in which he was still testing his literary chops, so he says the ending is a bit too didactic and there are other works of his he considers far better than this one, which he must now suffer the immortality of thanks to the film adaptation. He also comments on the final chapter that both the American version of the novel and Kubrick’s film omit-which I feel rightfully do. And my reasoning will be explained shortly.

First off, I loved the use of linguistics. Initially I was put off because I didn’t understand what they meant and why the author felt compelled to make me think this hard, but I came to find it rather tasteful because it adds further to Alex’s subversion and mockery of the controls placed upon him by society (like the moral and social expectations of others and the government). This is initially a hard character to sympathize with because of what seems to be morally reprehensible behavior (mind you, some of it is) but, when you see the lead-up to and the repercussions of these actions, we discover society’s role in Alex’s issues as well. Alex is the personification of all the terrible things society does to itself but concentrated into one character. Alex not only reflects society’s own woeful behavior but reveals it through his own struggle and even mocks it. For example, while some would think that Alex taking the two young girls home and getting them drunk and doing the ole’ in-out is a terrible thing, I found it rather the right thing to do. Alex’s actions do not show the poor morals of him, but of the girls. These girls want to seem sophisticated and older (like when they are choosing a restaurant) but they have a very innocent view of the world. However, this innocence seems to be a bit of a guise. These girls knew damn well what Alex intended to do by bringing them home, yet they are the ones that blame him for being terrible and perverted when they sober up to what they were doing. This causes me to sympathize more with Alex. Also, when Alex kills the old lady as well as the man in prison I sympathized with him. He broke into the house (which is bad) and the old lady fought him (no complaint here). But when she starts telling her cats to fight him (which they do) and then getting on his case for hitting her cats pissed me off at her (the intended effect of the author). This lady had a separate set of expectations for herself and others, Alex, which I feel characterizes the relationship of society to the individual well. When it is concerning her, she is will sink to any level, but when Alex is trying to fight back, she refuses to see his perspective (the getting his face scratched off perspective) that prompts Alex to finish her off. This tendency of society to see the wrong of others and not themselves is continued in the prison when everyone cheers on Alex to beat the man, but when there is authority to answer to he is thrown to the dogs.

One thing I found incredibly satisfying was that Alex maintained his character right until the government intervened with their process of destroying the individual. Alex is this asshole throughout the entire story and his parallel with society depicts the worst side of the collective self. Alex is the leader of his group and just like the government because both of the two seek to control people (Alex tells his droogs what to do, the government does the same). Throughout the whole story, I felt sympathy for Alex because he just seemed to be society’s receptacle. He is always taken advantage of by those in power, his three droogs, the government and even the three men at the end. This is seen best when Alex’s free will has been inhibited and the officials are mocking him (the part when the minister hits him and he can’t do anything to fight back-yeah, that bit). I felt for this character more than I ever did. When Alex jumps out the window (something society drove him to do) and then everyone clambers to him to look like the good guy, I felt even more for him because while he is a seemingly bad person, it is his choice to do certain things…just like the repercussions of these actions are the choices of others (but he is the only one that really owns up to the responsibility of their actions). When Alex finally regained his ability to hate and fight, I was overjoyed because this meant he had finally regained his free will, by himself, after society had fought to stomp it out of him. This is what made the last chapter so disappointing.

I felt the last chapter was rushed and disingenuous to Alex. After years of fighting society and finally succeeding (by regaining his free will) Alex just gives up….Bull shit! I just don’t buy it. Alex fights his whole life and NOW he just gives into fate without even fighting it? I don’t buy it. And this chapter is way too short and rushed to sell me this. Had I seen Alex going around with his new droogs, raping some girls and fighting some people and then saying “I’m bored, fuck this” I would totally buy it. But just saying, I’m growing up, I feel bored and I feel something inside me changing was a tough sell. I agree with Burgess when he calls this too didactic of an ending. I would have liked this ending were it more typical Alex-with the fighting and all that.

The entire human race is a clockwork orange (something that appears to be living on the outside but is really governed by hard and fast rules, no exceptions…lacking variation and uniqueness) hence, why everyone seems to be all good or all bad. But Alex is the actual human because he made choices and didn’t just let things happen or blame others for the responsibility of actions. So, with this in mind, you will see why I find this to be a disappointing and unsettling ending. Burgess commented early on that the idea of art, a novel in particular, is to show characters change. The arc this novel took (or attempted to) was Alex goes from thoughtless violence to thoughtful non-violence. But the ending just didn’t convey this. He just seemed to be letting society manipulate him by succumbing to the pressure of having a life and a family-just like it pushed him to destroy himself-showing no change at all. He could just have easily chosen to be violent and continue mocking society’s tendency to de-humanize individuals in the guise of the common good. But he didn’t. He just perpetuated the thoughtless adherence to social paradigm that makes him just another ticking gear in the clockwork orange. Thus, I did not find the ending satisfying.

While this is a great book for many reasons, I just didn’t buy the reasoning behind the ending. This book was on point pretty much the whole way through and then it just fizzled at the end. Mind you, it could have ended either way (Alex being good or bad), but not having Alex really struggle to SHOW his revelation, the reader is cheated. Alex goes from being our humble narrator to being a pathetic man that gives into fate and doesn’t even try to fight it. While this does piss me off quite a bit, the book is still great (real horrorshow 😉 ) and I would recommend the read. I may even try a re-read.

I know I’m not a reviewer or a literary expert, so you don’t have to take my word for it. This is just my initial response to my first reading of the text. There are many ways this could be interpreted and somewhere in there I likely made some mistakes or misinterpretations. But, I do hope that my humble perspective at least helped you in your understanding of this dark and very philosophical novel. This has been the fourth entry of my con-nerd-sseur literary taste testing. Until next time, have a happy holiday! I look forward to giving you more feedback on my reading exploits.