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1001 Books – The Last Round-Up of 2020

The last winners and losers of the year.

First I must confess that December has been a bad month for 1001 reading, my second BOTM has not arrived from the library and I don’t have enough time or inspiration to read my TBR Challenge book. That said December reading included Dickens so it can’t be all bad.

Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens – Quarterly Read. What GR Says: A satiric masterpiece about the allure and peril of money, Our Mutual Friend revolves around the inheritance of a dust-heap where the rich throw their trash. When the body of John Harmon, the dust-heap’s expected heir, is found in the Thames, fortunes change hands surprisingly, raising to new heights “Noddy” Boffin, a low-born but kindly clerk who becomes “the Golden Dustman.” Charles Dickens’s last complete novel, Our Mutual Friend encompasses the great themes of his earlier works: the pretensions of the nouveaux riches, the ingenuousness of the aspiring poor, and the unfailing power of wealth to corrupt all who crave it. With its flavorful cast of characters and numerous subplots, Our Mutual Friend is one of Dickens’s most complex—and satisfying—novels. I agree complex and satisfying.

My Thoughts: December is the perfect time to dive into Dickens and this story did not disappoint. Dicken’s provides the reader with his usual social commentary tied up in a murder mystery which highlights the evil of money and what lengths unscrupulous people will go to for the sake of money.

The beauty of this book is in the reading and the slow unveiling of the various plotlines. For that reason I will say no more.

4 Stars – a long book but worth the time spent reading.

The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch – BOTM. What GR says: When Charles Arrowby retires from his glittering career in the London theatre, he buys a remote house on the rocks by the sea. He hopes to escape from his tumultuous love affairs but unexpectedly bumps into his childhood sweetheart and sets his heart on destroying her marriage. His equilibrium is further disturbed when his friends all decide to come and keep him company and Charles finds his seaside idyll severely threatened by his obsessions. Charles is definitely obsessed.

My Thoughts: I feel slightly guilty saying this but this book felt way too long. I love Murdoch’s writing it is beautiful but by the half way mark I had spent more than enough time with Charles for me the postscript was the final nail in the coffin but that point I was desperate to escape.

The book is full of symbolism and hidden meanings however I must say they largely passed me by. Not sure if this is because of where my head is at currently or because they were just lost in the rambling, delusional thoughts of the narrator.

3 Stars – Beautiful writing, boring story.

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