Novels from Upper Secondary School

This is part of a series of wrap-up posts I’m doing for books I read before I started noting down the time I read them, and writing reviews for them, but I still noted down that I had read them, along with a star rating. These are some novels I read as set reading during Upper Secondary school.

Of Mice and MenOf Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Publisher: Covici Friede
Released: January 1, 1937
Pages: 106
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As drifters in search of work, George and his simple-minded friend Lennie have nothing in the world except each other - and a dream that they will one day have some land of their own. Eventually, they find work on a ranch, but their hopes are doomed as Lennie becomes a victim of his own strength.

I’m confused at seeing myself having given this three stars, as I, from memory, am pretty sure I liked it enough for it to warrant a four-star rating. If anything I think I found it to me too short, but Of Mice and Men is a classic that I’m very glad to have read. The last scene especially was very impactful, and I still remember the move in my head that played out at the end of this book.

The OutsiderThe Outsider by Albert Camus
Publisher: Éditions Gallimard
Released: January 1, 1942
Pages: 119
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Meursault will not pretend. After the death of his mother, everyone is shocked when he shows no sadness. And when he commits a random act of violence in Algiers, society is baffled. Why would this seemingly law-abiding bachelor do such a thing? And why does he show no remorse even when it could save his life? His refusal to satisfy the feelings of others only increases his guilt in the eyes of the law. Soon Meursault discovers that he is being tried not simply for his crime, but for his lack of emotion - a reaction that condemns him for being an outsider. For Meursault, this is an insult to his reason and a betrayal of his hopes; for Camus it encapsulates the absurdity of life.

The Outsider is another book I really enjoyed reading. There was something about the sterile nature of the narration that really appealed to me, and then, and since, I’ve come to really enjoy first-person perspectives from people who it might be easy to describe as insane, but who, when reading their perspectives, might be surprisingly justified in thinking about things the way they do.

Naiv. SuperNaiv. Super by Erlend Loe
Released: September 8, 1996
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Tilværelsen raser sammen for hovedpersonen når broren slår ham i krokket. Sakte bygger han seg opp igjen og finner ut hva han har og ikke har.
Den 25 år gamle hovedpersonen har to venner. En god og en dårlig. Og så har han en bror som ikke er så altfor sympatisk. Når denne broren slår ham i crocket, raser tilværelsen hans sammen. Naiv. Super. er en enkel historie om veldig kompliserte ting.

Naiv. Super is one of those books I think most people who go through the Norwegian educational system end up reading at some point, and that is for the best. It’s different from pretty much everything else, easy to like, and a nice introduction to Erlend Loe which really is a bit of a national treasure.

Across the BarricadesAcross the Barricades by Joan Lingard
Series: Kevin and Sadie #2
Publisher: Puffin Books
Released: January 2, 1973
Pages: 174
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Kevin and Sadie just want to be together, but it's not that simple. Things are bad in Belfast. Soldiers walk the streets and the city is divided. No Catholic boy and Protestant girl can go out together - not without dangerous consequences . . . The second of Joan Lingard's ground-breaking Kevin and Sadie books

And finally, Across the Barricades, one of the few books I was set which I really disliked. I’m sure there were some interesting historical elements in it, but there has to be better ways to learn about the conflicts that took place in Ireland than reading, what seemed to me, a silly, unrealistic, love-novel. I’m sure there is a target audience for this book, and I’m sure it is important and great for many reasons, but I didn’t enjoy it at all.

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