30 Day Book Challenge!

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I was sleepily looking through the new posts of the wonderful blogs I follow yesterday morning and I stumbled across this and thought I would give it a go! Now I’m not particularly good at staying to the rules with challenges like this so expect a few alterations but I am going to try and finish this challenge!

SO… firstly my favorite book I  read last year. So here comes the confession I have the worst memory and cannot remember every single book I read last year, ( I mean come on) but this is a book that I read last year and reviewed in April after I started this blog; so I might have forgotten my favorite from last year but this one is a definite gem and you can read my review right on this blog under the reviews section on the very first page!

Drum roll please……. A week in December by Sebastian Faulks!

Just writing this has made me want to pick it up again and dive straight in all over again. ‘A week in December,’ is so nakedly a diagnosis of Britain’s current woes, from the hazards of walking down to the shops to, of course, the credit crunch. The cast of the book cover such a diverse spread of society the evil financier, the barrister, the entrepreneur, the MP, the suicide bomber, the stoner, the footballer, the glamour model, the literary critic & the Tube driver. The description is brilliant and the characters are full bodied and easy to imagine. At one point Veal’s son Finn a product of the sins of the 21st century high on skunk sinks his teeth into a sugar dusted doughy pizza, his head filled with the fumes of drugs and junk food as he slumps in front of ‘It’s Madness’ each night; a reality TV show that exploits those with mental health problems. The activities of the ‘Barking Bungalow’ clearly parallel those of the Big Brother house.

The book follows the lives of these different and diverse characters with the plot lines, stories and feelings merging as the plot continues. Overall I loved this book the satire, and the every day life of living in London. The cynical style of writing creates a number of hilarious moments however it is laced with woe and worry for the future of society.

“From Havering to Holland Park, from Forest Hill to Ferrers End, from Upminster to Parsons Green, the individuals would shortly leave their flats and houses, fragrant and hopeful, bang the doors, and go like invisible cells into the bloodstream of the city…”

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A Week in December: Sebastian Faulks

London, the week before Christmas, 2007. Seven Wintry days to track the lives of seven characters;’Image

This book written by Sebastian Faulks follows the interchanging lives of a selection of people during a week in December 2007. Throughout the narrative the book dips and bobs between the daily lives and troubles of the characters including a train driver obsessed with a life in the cyber world creating a new identity for herself, a failing teenager hooked on the temptation of skunk and pizza, and a mocking book reviewer, critically reviewing any new author desperate to drive their career into the ground.

However there are three characters pinnacle to the story. A lawyer, the moral compass of the story who not only has the worry of his brother suffering from schizophrenia, but a long lost love; the only image left on a mobile phone that no longer works, Faulks states ‘perhaps the loss of her had made him miserable for ever.’ However we see his paths crossing with Jenny Fortune the tube train driver substituting her life for an addiction in online gaming. The connection between them is a little predictable but lovable. The second is a banker; the baddie of the story- a ‘money-cruncher’ obsessed with making profit and no regards to the effect on his family such as his son Finn obsessed with skunk and with no plans for the future. Throughout Veals story we see his obsession with making and hoarding money but not his wish to enjoy it. Finally Hassan, a teenager led astray by Islamist theory. Throughout the book we see his struggle, swaying between whether to become part of terrorism group or to continue his life as a normal teenager.

The main drive of this book is its continual cynical narrative style that mocks different characters and the lives that they lead. However it is not only the characters. Faulks writes of an era of stupidity arguing that computer spell check has ‘remodelled the world so that ignorance is not really a disadvantage.’ He mocks societies obsession with reality television seen in the reality TV program watched by Finn that mocks and jokes of people with mental illness. Faulks blasts the life of a Londoner, bringing in woes such as the credit crunch and lack of money and employment seen through the lack of cases for character lawyer Gabriel. The dipping and bobbing between characters keeps the reader interested and drives us on to read the finale of the seven characters. A Week in December has so much to recommend, the stories are delicately interwoven with the characters becoming interlaced in other characters stories. The cynical style of writing creates a number of hilarious moments however it is laced with woe and worry for the future of society.

“From Havering to Holland Park, from Forest Hill to Ferrers End, from Upminster to Parsons Green, the individuals would shortly leave their flats and houses, fragrant and hopeful, bang the doors, and go like invisible cells into the bloodstream of the city…”