Sunday, 25 November 2012

Books, from Oxford with love

I went to Oxford a couple of weeks back to visit my mum’s best friend’s daughter who took us for a very lovely walk around Oxford. I shan’t bore you with every detail of the day but I’ll just let you into a couple of things for walking in Oxford by day. The best things in Oxford tend to be the buildings covered by railings, there’s some really pretty buildings behind gates, and some really pretty gates in front of buildings. I learnt that apparently (as shown in the picture) students are only allowed in the park till 7pm during certain parts of the year because they’re more likely to be two sheets to the wind at those points. There’s also this darling little cafe inside a church off the main street where you can eat some of the best scones I’ve ever tasted. On a Sunday you can also see the renowned Oxford rowers sweating it out on the water, whilst you stand there like a tourist gawking.
The most important thing I’ve learnt? Something about Oxford’s charity shops. Their fashion is poor, but their selection of books is ruddy brilliant. I suppose that makes sense. Mother was in a giving mood so she bought me a few and I also got a couple of books and a film from the girl we were visiting. I thought I’d share them with you.


‘Far from the Madding Crowd’- Thomas Hardy: It’s the tale of the young farmer Gabriel Oak and his love for and pursuit of Bathsheba Everdene whose defiant nature leads her through the gateway to tragedy and true love. It also gives you a look into Sergeant Troy (who’s apparently a looker) as well as the shy Mr Boldwood who is scared of loving Bathsheba- I’ve got a feeling I’m going to like the boys. I really like Hardy, after reading ‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles’ and thoroughly enjoying this I snapped this book up in an instant.
‘A Clockwork Orange’- Anthony Burgess: I picked this one up because it perfectly fits with me studying English and Philosophy. It’s not only an exploration into the morality of free will but one of those books on the recommended book list as well. Also, it’s ruddy short. It spurred one of the most notorious films of all time, and I’m most interested about it since it was once banned. Let’s put it this way ‘Fifteen-year-old Alex doesn’t just like ultra-violence- he also enjoys rape, drugs and Beethoven’s Ninth’. Normal is definitely something this book isn’t.


‘The Hunger Games’ and two sequels – Suzanne Collins: If you haven’t heard of these books then you have evidently been living in a cave, at which point you’ve probably been a runaway from some form of Hunger Games. Well, just in case you haven’t heard it here is it summed up: Voice of Katniss who lives in post-apocalyptic nation where the Hunger Games are a yearly event in which a boy and girl from each of the twelve districts are selected by lottery to compete in a televise battle to death. It’s sort of like the Coliseum meets the Big Brother. I’m fed up of being one of those people who are ‘superior’ to the big time books, and as any book is able to open up the mind, when my mother’s best friend’s daughter who researches for the physics department in Oxford said she’d enjoyed them I thought how could a potential English graduate like me be so foolish as to cast them to the trash? So I’m going to around to reading these, someday...


‘death du jour’- Kathy Reichs: This is probably a book for Mini, who wants to cut up dead things in the future.  It regards Temperance who is brought to a scene of arson, which a family has been a victim of, there seems to be no witnesses or explanation. The scene leads to a trail of cult activity and a terrifying showdown. However, I don’t think I’m actually going to get around to trying this one, as according to my mum it’s hardly the most pleasant thing to read, and I faint at the silliest of things.


‘Sophie’s world’- Jostein Gaarder: I saw it on the shelf and since starting to study philosophy and my secondary school teacher raving about it, I thought ‘why not?’ then I looked at how thick it was and I bought it none the less. It whittles about 6000 years of philosophy down into 300 pages so I guess I can get over the length if it’s done that much summarising.


We bought a zoo: When it was offered to me I genuinely only took it because Scarlett Johansson is in it, yes not for Matt Damon. It tells the story of a man who with his children move into a dilapidated zoo with the hope of ‘fixing’ it before it reopens. I like watching childish films, because it does exactly that for me: reduces me to a child. They make me feel warm and giddy inside.

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