1001 Books Round-Up: October 2021
This month’s winners and losers…
Billy Budd – Sailor by Herman Melville – Tackle the TBR – What GR says: A handsome young sailor is unjustly accused of plotting mutiny in this timeless tale of the sea. Short and to the point.
My Thoughts: This is a relatively short book which manages to capture a lot of different ideas. Chief among these appears to be good vs evil and law vs savagery.
Without giving away too much of the plot – Billy is handsome – Billy is naïve – Billy is loved by most – Billy is set up – Billy does something stupid – Billy is punished – Billy’s name becomes tainted by rumour.
3 Stars – This is a short book which makes interesting points about the black and white of naval court judgements vs the grey areas that would be allowed on land.
Them by Joyce Carol Oates – Previous BOTM – What GR Says: As powerful and relevant today as it on its initial publication, Them chronicles the tumultuous lives of a family living on the edge of ruin in the Detroit slums, from the 1930s to the 1967 race riots. Praised by The Nation for her “potent, life-gripping imagination,” Oates traces the aspirations and struggles of Loretta Wendall, a dreamy young mother who is filled with regret by the age of sixteen, and the subsequent destinies of her children, Maureen and Jules, who must fight to survive in a world of violence and danger. Hmmm this doesn’t sound like the book I read…
My Thoughts: I have just one word for these characters – unlikeable. Loretta is an unlikeable daughter who becomes an unlikeable mother to you’ve guessed it unlikeable children.
There is not one character in this book that was anything other than unlikeable and that includes all the secondary characters as well.
3 Stars – 546 pages spent with people I would run away from in real life, but it’s not the worst book on the list so it wouldn’t be my last choice to read.