These ‘about me’ sections, or even sections that inform you about blogs, have never been my forte. Much to my chagrin, I was never taught the unwritten rules of what you are supposed to say. The links at the side of the blog – Twitter and Goodreads, for example – are liable to tell you more than I could ever say in words.

Mostly, this will be a book blog. I read a lot, and I love to share my views on my most recent reads. I try to read a little bit of everything, but if you look closely you’ll notice I will occasionally become obsessed with one specific genre for a short period of time. Old books, new books, yet to be released books – I read them all. If you’re an author looking for advance readers or just wish for more reviews of a book you’ve already released, please feel free to contact me. There is a contact form at the side of my blog – if you scroll down below the Twitter and Goodreads sidebar you will find it – so drop me a message and I’ll be sure to get back to you in double time. After all, finding new authors is what makes the book world go around.

Thanks for taking your time to read this. With a little bit of luck, you will find my blog much more interesting than this mundane introductory section.

Friday, 30 September 2016

Review: The Big Sleep

The Big Sleep The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Big Sleep is one of those books that I never really knew if I’d get around to it. I would look at the book on Goodreads and think ‘I really need to read this’, then I would get distracted by another book, and in the end I decided I wasn’t interested enough to read it but I would put it on the backburner as a maybe. This cycle continued until I realised the university library contained The Big Sleep and some other Raymond Chandler books. Thus, the choice was taken out of my hands: I was to go into the library and hunt down the book.

I went into it with a mix of preconceptions, not of which really tallied up. I was told this was a violent book. I was also told you see more violence on the television in shows that are considered daytime television. I was told this book had a deep mystery you could sit and work out. I was also told the mystery was all over the place. I was told this book was easy to get through despite the time it was published. I was also told this book felt somewhat outdated. Thus, my notions were all over the place. I expected so much and so little all at once, I had an idea of what I would be given and yet I had no clue at all about what would arise. It was an odd place to find myself, leaving me both tentative and overly eager to pick up this book.

Due to this, the book was both more and less than what I had expected. I’m still not one hundred percent sure about my feels – I had fun, but my emotions are mixed into how I feel as a whole – and I feel as though this mashup of prior knowledge is to blame for the state I’ve been left in.

It’s a story that can easily be completed in one read: the story short and snappy, the chapters shorter and snappier. It needs some attention but it’s not a case where a slight wavering of attention will lead to massive confusion about the plot and characters. It’s an easy read, which grabs your attention every so often to ensure you’re keeping tabs on all that is occurring. Sometimes such a thing can make it easy for you to lose interest in what is going on, yet such is not the case here. You’re pulled in from earlier on and the grip is almost consistently tight throughout. I admit there were a couple of moments where my interest lessened slightly, but for the most part I was unable to put the book down.

In terms of my preconceptions, I’ll level with you regarding how I interpret each of them. In terms of violence, I say there is little. There are shots fired and fists punched, but it is nowhere near the level of the modern-day books in this genre. A fair amount of this violence is a product of the views at the time, a product of how people treated those of certain groups. In terms of the mystery, even I’m conflicted. It’s not one of those convoluted tales. You can work things out if you put your mind to it. At the same time, there seem to be quite a few leaps that appear out of nowhere. The main character’s synapses seem to be firing when a little bit more information is required to go beyond mere guesswork. This seemed to be a way to ensure so many different aspects of the story were brought to light, ensuring all the different criminal aspects were included. In terms of the book feeling outdated, I both agree and disagree. The slang was lost on me, if I’m honest. The ways in which certain groups were represented annoyed me, more than it probably should have. All of this works to show the era of the book. It is a great representation of the time. This does not mean it is outdated, it merely mean it does not jar with our views and knowledge of the world. Admittedly, it made it difficult to read at times – if nothing else, I was groaning whenever a woman was given a scene because of the way they all came across as carbon copied brainless broads – but it is much easier than trying to understand the language from hundreds of years ago.

Overall, it was an interesting read. It wasn’t as solid as I had hoped for, but it has certainly left an impression. I’ve now reached the internal debate of whether or not to continue the series – I want to, and yet it is not at the top of my list. I guess I’ll just have to see which of Chandler’s other works the university library actually contains. Hopefully, should I get around to reading them, the future books will be a bit more solid than this one.

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