Under the Skin

This is fabulous! From the very beginning, the book is a bundle of questions that you are dying to solve. Who, or what is Isserley? What are they doing at the farm and why? As the truth unravels, it paints a disturbing picture of our own humanity. It is incredible how clearly we can judge people who engage in the same practices as we do – the distance allows us to see the error of their (and our) ways. Our hypocrisy is revealed with every wave of revulsion we feel for these creatures. It has made me think a lot, about the food chain in particular, but more widely about how easily we can separate ourselves into an us and a them in order to justify terrible things. The scary thing is we do this so well that it can become very difficult to even realise we are doing so, that there is any underlying reality, a cold hard truth we would rather not face. And if we remain unaware of this curtain that protects us from what we are unwilling to know, it becomes near impossible to do anything about it. You can’t fix something you don’t realise is broken.

But back to the book, it is probably the most realistic, out-of-this-world story I have ever read. The lead character is so relatable, and she faces so many everyday pressures, alongside the scarier aspects of her life that we try to grasp. Even then, her pain and emotions are so vividly described that we can empathise completely. I don’t blame her, even though she plays a major part in what could be described as an evil plot.

I want to know more. This is pretty much standard at the end of any good book, but there are still so many unanswered questions, even leaving aside the main ones. I am so curious about where she comes from, the mysterious Estates and why they were so bad, why such a mad scheme was concocted and how all this applies to our own society.

I think there is something very important in this book and would recommend it to everyone. It serves as a timely reminder that we are not quite as indestructible as we like to believe, but in a much more subtle way than many over-the-top commentaries of life on earth.

Game of Thrones & Wheel of Time

How are these two series similar? Oh, let me count the ways…

1. Long, complicated fantasy series
2. Even the titles!
3. A multitude of characters to try and keep straight in your head
4. Set in a world with lots of different countries and cultures
5. Lots and lots of scheming
6. Magic (I know this isn’t such a big part of GoT yet but I can tell it’s going to be. Winter is coming!)
7. Women wanting to be knights
8. Innapropriate romances galore
9. Swordfighting as an art
10. Wolf-men

Obviously I really like both as well!

Overloading on dystopias

I’m really enjoying reading Farenheit 451, but its raised a significant concern. If I keep reading the same genre of books – over and over again – am I slowly but surely dulling myself to the effectiveness of these books to entertain?

I love future sci-fi dystopias so much that I actively seek them out. And since there are definitely a myriad of different ways in which the human race could quite plausibly mess itself up, along with the planet, I felt like the possibilities were endless!

But maybe I’ve been too greedy, bingeing on books which have such overlapping themes, characters and even plots.

I feel like I would have enjoyed Farenheit 451 much more if I had read it ten years ago.

It’s a bit of a depressing thought that maybe I will have to start reading different things instead (I do anyway, obviously, but still). And my other favourite genre isn’t really officially categorised as such, its just what I think of as ‘heartbreakingly-sad books’, making it difficult to identify a winner before I start reading.