Book blog

1000 before 30 #51: Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk

Phwoar.

When I picked this up I didn’t expect a rush.

[Slight spoiler alert]

A man is holding a loaded gun, cocked and ready to blow inside his own mouth at the top of a high rise building block.

How does he get there? Well it all starts with the unnamed protagonist’s doctor claiming that insomnia isn’t such a serious thing.
I mean, so what if the only way you can sleep is to take airplanes to random destinations because the altitude helps your brain to relax?

So the man decides to attend several support groups for the terminally ill. It looks like he’s found his new high, but then this woman keeps on appearing in all of the sessions too. She was a fraud, just like him, and frankly was harshing his buzz. When she attended the testicular cancer support group, he decided to confront her. And that’s how he meets Marla.

But the main protagonist isn’t totally alone. In fact, he has a best friend, ex projectionist and overall sociopath Tyler Durden, who is better than him in any way. With him comes fight club, a ‘fuck you’ response to everything that society has constructed – a way to feel something real in a world filled with ties, suits and lies.

But as more people become obsessed with fight club (and its rules) things spiral out of control. Will he be able to stop Tyler?

The book asks the question – should you be afraid of yourself – In an internal Frankenstein-like debate.

My favourite bit of the whole book has to be when the men decide to use Marla’s mother’s body fat – which she has allegedly been sucking out to save for other parts of her body – to make soap that they plan to sell. Marla comes into the apartment to see what the men had done and starts screaming about them ‘making her mother into soap’. And that’s not even close to the most absurd thing in the book.

Let’s just say this is one of those times that even though the film was excellent, the book was something marvellous. I understand the hype, I understand the impact.

This book is part of my 1000 before 30 book challenge. Read more about it by scrolling all over the site! Recommendations are always welcome.

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Six books I have to read right now.

Sometimes you walk past a shelf and realise that you just have to have a certain book.  These are the contenders that have been added to my 1000 before 30 list before August is up! Also worth a mention that I read three of The Walking Dead series over this week, which of course aren’t featured here but deserve a mention.

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Howard Fast’s The Edge of Tomorrow was a find at the Waterstone’s opposite UCL in Central London. They were selling a vintage, battered copy that needed a home. I am almost all the way through it, so it should appear on the list soon!

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole has been on my wishlist for quite some time, as an amusing classic I could never get my hands on when looking for a good read.

Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom The Bell Tolls is one that I’m aware I should have read a long time ago – but am finally going for here.

Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman. Does my wanting to read this need any explanation whatsoever?

Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev was an impulse buy. I have read quite a bit from Dostoievsky, Tolstoy and even Checkhov, but nothing by Turgenev. Hopefully this will prove to be an interesting expansion on my knowledge of Russian literature.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was recommended by a colleague as one of the best things she has read recently – I couldn’t resist the rave reviews!

On that note, as I expand my bookshelves and decrease the amount of money in my wallet through this 1000 before 30 process, I am looking for good book recommendations to add to the future list. If you have any that you think I should read, give me a shout!

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1000 before 30 #25: The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton

‘The Luminaries’ is kind of like when a very drunk person at a pub decides to tell you a very detailed story, only to start at the middle, get confused, tell you a lot of shit you didn’t want to know and is entirely irrelevant, and then condense the interesting ending into three paragraphs.

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1000 books before 30 #22: Life of Pi – Yann Martel

There are very few books that live up to their hype. ‘Life of Pi’ is one of them. Essentially its main character Pi (short for Piscine) is in such a desperate castaway situation that, if swapping tales with Robinson Crusoe, the latter would probably hang his head and admit that life on his island wasn’t so bad.

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1000 books before 30 – kickstarting a literary marathon

I have to have read 1000 books by the time I turn 30. That is to say, on 8 April 2019, I will have read one thousand (ONE THOUSAND!) significant pieces of literature in my lifetime. At almost 26, my time is running out.

So why the sh*t would I want to do that?

The one thing I’ve learned in my 20s is the importance of making lists. Shopping lists, check lists, wish lists, what-can-you-do lists. Most of these are incomplete or just plain ignored as real life gets in the way –  but the intention is there. It’s calming the persistant niggle that says ‘you ought to be doing something important’ — that feeling that used to be reserved for writing letters and actually posting them in the sodding letterbox even though God knows I never have a stamp for the life of me and oh it’s so inconvenient on the way to work and my handwriting is terrible, cheers Miss!

I digress.

The latest plonker of a list was of things I wanted to accomplish before the age of 30. Sure, I want to go on a roadtrip and learn how to drive (come on already!), visit Australia, go mad in a roller disco and do a maze-a-thon, but I thought I had ages to go. Now I know I’m wrong.

Not just about the time thing, but I have a distinct lack of a silver spoon hanging out of my mouth, leaving next to no funds to traipse to the other end of the Earth for the next four years, to indulge myself in igloo-style hotels or Orient Express-style trips. I’m a Londoner, after all. We can’t stray far on our budgets.

What I can do is start all of my travelling and more in books while I work on physically getting myself to a variety of tropical locations – and catch up on all of the brilliant books I have been missing while on the way.

Until I get my hands on all of the books in my boxes, I won’t know exactly how far along the thousand mark I have gotten, but I have already established some ground rules:

1- Baby books don’t count, even if you pick them up years later and read them again, that’s still zilch and, not even Goodnight Moon even if it is an epic classic bedtime story because we have to be serious and have no fillers here

2- I will review every single book I have read this year (until now and in future months).

3- Comic books are only allowed as part of a series, and have to be categorised as one so as not to bulk up the list unfairly.

4- Series like Game of Thrones and Harry Potter count as individual books, despite being the same overall characters.

5- The order of books read is irrelevant – I will read whatever I get my hands on first. I will construct my list based on recommendations, classics and best sellers from the beginning of the written word until now. Recommendations are always welcome in the comments section!

My calculations are – 500 average read books, with two to three books average read a week is 104 read a year which makes it anywhere between 932 and 1124 books. In the coming weeks, I will publish the list of books that I have read in previous years so that the tally can be calculated more effectively. Let’s see what happens, hey!

Featured image: Creative commons courtesy of Texas State Library

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