16. Most thought-provoking book.
Once again, I’m not going to answer this with just one book. I can think of multiple books, but I’ve settled on three:
1. Dreams of Speaking by Gail Jones
For this question I just couldn’t avoid mentioning (again) the novel I am writing my thesis on. Gail Jones is definitely one of my favourite Australian authors, and this book, published in 2006, is definitely one of the most interesting books I’ve ever read. The story is about Alice Black, a woman in her early-mid twenties who is attempting to write a book called The Poetics of Modernity. During her travels in Paris she develops a friendship with an old Japanese man called Mr Sakamoto, who is a survivor of the US bombings on Nagasaki in 1945. Basically, Mr Sakamoto becomes her confidant in the world of modernity, as he also is writing a book about modern inventions. I won’t give anything away about the plot, but really the novel winds through fragments of memory and everyday life in a way that brings up a lot of questions about modern society, death, destruction and the transience life and the construction of self.
2. Vurt by Jeff Noon
If you haven’t read this book before, you’re in for a wild ride. This is a wacky, out-of-this-world piece of science fiction will definitely make you think on your toes. It’s a wonderful novel, driven by complex characters and plots all hooked on Vurt, the feather drugs that everyone wants to get a hold of. While the novel might sound like it’s as mindless as a tale about stoners might be, it really isn’t. This is a surprising, unpredictable novel, and I dare you to have your mind blown.
3. Paper Towns by John Green
Paper Towns will always be my favourite John Green novel. I found, even though she’s a bit crazy, that I could relate to Margo in some ways. That desire to run away from responsibility, from the life we’re all told to have, that might often seem futile. I see that, I really do. Quite often I feel angry and sad because I just want to write novels, but, in order to support myself and the future family I want, I have to chose a career that’s more practical. I loved this novel because it really drew me into that idea, and that knowledge that, even though Margo is fictional, others feel this way, too. It’s sad to me that young people today are so depressed by the pressure they feel at the prospect of growing up and becoming an adult. I thought John Green’s exploration of that in this novel was so moving, real and really provoked a lot of feelings in me. I love Quentin and his furious attempts at solving the mystery that is Margo was so exciting and interesting to read. I have nothing bad to say about this novel. Though I remember it did leave me with a kind of hollow feeling when I finished reading it.
Note: I’ve never seen this book cover before! It’s so pretty. Anyone know what edition it is? Even though I’ve already got my copy, I’d still buy this one.