Five Books Everyone Should Read

1) Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov 

Lolita is possibly the most beautifully written book I have ever read with the most sinister plot line. It follows a middle aged man called Humbert Humbert who becomes infatuated with a 12 year old girl. It explores the dark world of a pedophile’s mind and how it was Humbert came to see children sexually. The book is written in first person narrative and while the subject of the novel is horrifying Humbert continually tries to evoke sympathy from the reader. Nabokov’s poetic writing prevents the book from becoming depraved and it remains a psychological exploration into the darkest parts of humanity.

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2) The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer 

The canterbury tales is by no means an easy read but it provides an incredible insight into life in England in the 14th century. Sadly Chaucer died before completing the tales so there are only 24 tales in total and various prologues. The tales are part of a story telling competition for which the winner receives a free meal from the host at his inn. The group telling the tales are a group of pilgrims on their way to Canterbury and each character represents a type of person from 14th century England. From the bawdy miller to the gallant knight each tale is individual, there is truly something for everyone in the Canterbury tales.

3) The Outsider (L’Étranger) by Albert Camus 

Albert Camus was a french writer and philosopher. His ideas on absurdism (accepting that death is inevitable and that we should create our own happiness in the world) are brilliantly explored throughout this novel. The plot focuses on an ordinary Algerian man called Mersault who commits a terrible act of violence for seemingly no reason. Camus cleverly entwines a good story with his philosophical thoughts by using imagery and language to create a fantastic novel that leaves an impression on the reader for the rest of their life.

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4) The Great Gatsby- F. Scott Fitzgerald 

The Great Gatsby is set in 1920s America amid prohibition, The Jazz Age and “The Roaring Twenties”. The novel focuses on the love affair between Gatsby and Daisy while showing the destruction which alcohol, money and status causes. Fitzgerald himself was a victim of wealth, fame and alcohol so throughout the novel the reader can really feel the characters come to life and the atmosphere becoming tense. I highly recommend reading The Great Gatsby before seeing it on film because nothing compares to the elegance of Fitzgerald’s writing.

5) A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess 

The strange world which Burgess creates in A Clockwork Orange is a mixture of communist fashions, rebellion, violence and later extreme control. The novel is written in first person narrative through the eyes of the extremely dangerous Alex who commits violent acts in a gang but later feels the full force of the law. Perhaps the most daunting thing about reading A Clockwork Orange is the language. It is written in a language invented by Burgess called Nadsat which is a mixture of russian and english. I study russian so it was not too hard for me to understand but there are some parts which may be very difficult to read without any knowledge of Russian. However, this should not put you of reading the book as the language adds to the abnormal and perplexing world in which Alex lives.

These are obviously only my personal recommendations so please tell me about anything which you feel should be a must read! Thank you!

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A Rainy Day in Ireland

Here are some pictures I took today just after a rainstorm in Ireland. I love the water droplets in these photos!

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Don’t Censor My Choices.

In our world media gains an audience by shock, you only have to look at Channel 4’s documentaries such as “My Big Fat Fetish”, “Sex, Lies and Rinsing Guys or “My Transexual Summer”. I am happy to admit that these programmes do interest me and I am fascinated by extreme view points. There is no shame in being interested by the shocking as it is in human nature however when do these programmes cross the line? 

Programmes which deal with more extreme subjects tend to be more vulnerable to complaint. The complaints frequently circulate around nudity, drug taking, excessive swearing or blasphemy. These subjects being televised is simply a more obvious way of showing what man kind is indeed capable of. It would be very naive to suggest that people don’t swear or have orgies because they do. If people are interested in the culture of extreme lives and they are happy to watch it at a safe distance from their sofa then let them do so. 

People who complain about these programmes must have a hard time in day to day life. It is hard to walk down the street without seeing rude graffiti, drunk people or rowdy teenagers. Do these people complain about them if they are not directly interacting with them or hassling them? If censorship begins to protect what is on television then we should begin to censorship life. You can not choose what you see in life but you can choose what you see on the television. If the programme is called “Party Paramedics” then expect to see ladies flashing and drunk people throwing up. If you don’t want to watch it then don’t. 

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YOLO and why it’s awful.

We have lived through a series of annoying abbreviations in this internet age from the humble “LOL” to “LMAO” and now we have “YOLO”. For those who may be unaware YOLO means You Only Live Once. It appears to have a million uses. It is used when someone has done something unbelievably stupid and they need an excuse e.g “I just ran over my neighbours cat YOLO”. It is used for underage drinkers to explain the awesome night they are about to have e.g “Going to get drunk and choke on my own vomit YOLO”. It is used when someone does something exceptionaly risky e.g “Going to swim with piranhas now YOLO”.

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Buddhists must be pretty annoyed at YOLO which suggests you only live once when they believe in reincarnation so you live many times. I can never see a buddhist monk texting YOLO at the end of a message.

Perhaps YOLO will never catch on as much as LOL and will die a death in itself and indeed will only live once.

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Pictures From Today

These are pictures of my rather excited dogs as I took them on a walk today.

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Surprisingly the dogs didn’t try to make these ducks their dinner!

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Photographs from my home

These photos were taken with my Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc so they are not of professional quality. However I hope you still enjoy them!

This photo was very difficult to take as my cat kept rolling around and playing. You can really see the playful look in her eyes!

My beautiful dog looks very thoughtful here.

This flower was beginning to die but the colours will still so bright and powerful.

I loved the layers of white in this flower.

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Airport Olympics

Airports are one of the greatest challenges which has ever faced man kind. The first hurdle is check in. There is the balancing act of the passport, boarding pass, hand luggage and main bag. Then the over friendly women asks some ridiculous questions about other people packing your bag. I find it hard to believe that any terrorist is going to turn around and say “oh yes come to think of it my friend Osama bin laden actually packed my bag”.
After check in there is the greatest obstacle. Security. As you organise all your belongings into clear plastic bags, into the tray or out of the tray it is reminiscent of a very complex game of chess. Inevitably when you walk through the metal detector you buzz. Then you are ushered into the side to be touched. As you are standing in the airport being groped it is easy to wonder how teenage boys manage not to get very excited by so much physical contact.
So as I sit here reading a magazine that I picked up which turns out to be in German but I am too embarrassed to put back, I ponder why getting a plane has become such an Olympic event.

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