The Stranger (L’Etranger)

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Written by: Albert Camus
Translated by: Matthew Ward

Original release date: 1942
Number of pages: 159
Genre: Philosophical Fiction
Readability: Medium
Link to book: The Stranger (Thriftbooks)

Rating: 8.5/10

Review:
In The Stranger, the main character Meursault begins his story by visiting his mother’s funeral. The opening line, “Maman died today,” sets a perfect tone for the rest of the short novel. Throughout the book, Meursault’s uncaring and apathetic disposition about his mother’s death, his neighbor’s actions, his girlfriend and even his own life begin to form an absurdist individual, which is Camus’ specialty.

After getting himself in trouble, Meursault finds himself in a courtroom where the guilty penalty means execution. Throughout his time in jail during the trial, Meursault undergoes many changes and begins thinking differently.

After an altercation with an unrelenting priest who continues to annoy and vex Meursault, he finally snaps and begins expressing his true thoughts and feelings.

As the title suggests, Meursault is truly a stranger in society. People don’t understand him. How can a man not cry at his own mother’s funeral? How can a man defend a man who beats his wife? How can a man not ask a god for forgiveness when he has committed a terrible crime?

Throughout the trial several witnesses attempt to stick up for and defend Meursault. Will this be enough to save him? Will Meursault’s lawyer be able to convince the jury that Meursault is a good and decent man despite his flaws or will the hive mind of the jury sentence him to death? Pick up a copy of The Stranger to find out.

The Martian Chronicles

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Written by: Ray Bradbury

Release date: 1950
Number of pages: 222
Genre: Science Fiction
Readability: Easy/Medium
Link to book: The Martian Chronicles (Thriftbooks)

Rating: 7.75/10

Review:
This book fully captures Bradbury’s writing style which is filled with beautiful prose that does an excellent job of describing everything from the mundane to heavy philosophical concepts.

The Martian Chronicles isn’t just a book you read, it takes you on an adventure whether you want to go or not. It covers various and different types of groups who have made the expedition to Mars from Earth from 1999-2026. Having penned the book in 1950, this book is filled with fictional representations of what Bradbury thought the modern world would be like. Along with envisioning human space travel to Mars, he also theorized that humans would become a very uncaring species who lost its culture. Humanity has become sterile.

As mentioned above, this book truly takes you on a journey to strange, funny and grim places including a psych ward, Poe’s House of Usher, space vehicles, deserted cities and even a hot dog stand in space.

Intrigued yet? If so, pick up a copy of this book, it’s definitely worth the read.

Will humans meet aliens? If so, will they look like monsters, be something entirely new or resemble humans? Or, will Mars be completely empty and devoid of any living beings … which could be just as sinister?

 

 

I Am Not a Serial Killer

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Written by: Dan Wells

Release date: 2009
Number of pages: 288
Genre: Horror fiction, thriller
Readability: Easy
Link to book: I Am Not a Serial Killer (Thriftbooks)

Rating: 6.5/10

Review:
This book was gifted to me by my great aunt. I had no idea what to expect from the book — I’m quite certain she picked it up at a garage sale. Needless to say, the book turned out to be a decent read, overall.

I also managed to get 3/4 of the way through the book before realizing there was a recently released movie adaptation.

John Wayne Cleaver, a psychologically-troubled teen, who has all the general symptoms of being a sociopath, is the main protagonist in I Am Not a Serial Killer. After a grisly murder takes place in Clayton County, serial-killer-obsessed Cleaver is convinced it is the work of murderer, despite rumors in town that it was an animal attack.

Cleaver gets a closer look at this murder firsthand, as well as the subsequent killings, because his mother and aunt own the mortuary in Clayton County.

This book is filled with suspense and continues to keep the reader guessing right up until the final pages. It includes an unexpected twist of events, eerie excitement and hair-raising uncertainty.

Is John Wayne Cleaver a serial killer? Will his urges get him in trouble? Is there any good in him? Pick up this book to find out.