Arc Book Club- 1st June 2018
Luiza's current read- Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
What appeals to Luiza most in the essential classic Catch 22 is the satirical dark humour Heller uses, which consistently juxtaposes serious and often painful topics such as war and death with humour. The book brings up philosophical questions about the ethics of war and how people react in the face of death.
A fascinating thing to note about Joseph Heller is that he flew around 60 combat missions with the U.S. Air Forces in Europe during World War 2- thus, giving him a unique perspective on the subject matter in Catch 22.
“Some scenes in it will have you laughing, even though the subject matter is so dark.”
Noma's current read- Little Suns by Zakes Mda
Noma describes Little Suns as a love story fused with a fascinating account of history. Set in 1903, this book follows Malangana and his beloved horse on a quest to find his true love whom he was separated from.
The novel is at times a historical account of the Eastern Cape and Lesotho, and the then British efforts to overrule traditional leaders of those regions. At other times however, it is a magical look at the fantastic power of love. Noma finds the stubborn, hard-headed main character’s connection with his horse beautiful. In her view, it makes him sympathetic despite his general sourness toward the people he encounters.
Little Suns captures both the simplicity of the time it is set in, as well as the complexity of human emotion and a illuminates a side of South Africans that isn’t commonly found in literature.
“Zakes Mda is a story-teller and I deeply respect him.”
Zapriana's current read-1984 by George Orwell
1984 had been on Zapriana’s “to-read” list for a while, but she finally decided to sink her teeth into it a couple of days ago after hearing the term “Orwellian” referenced by yet another political pundit.
1984 follows the story of Winston Smith- a man with the misfortune of living in “Airstrip One”- a dystopian society in which everyone is essentially enslaved and kept under constant surveillance under Big Brother’s watchful eye.
“It’s a great book but it’s quite a scary read- there are sinister parallels to what we’re faced with in reality.”
Nicole's current read- Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett
Although Nicole doesn’t usually go for fantasy books, she got a copy of Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett a few years ago from a market in Cape Town. It’s one of those books she’s been reading for a while but finds herself going to when she’s looking for a humorous, fantastical and fun read.
Reaper Man is the strange and imaginative tale in which Death will need to retire soon, which of course sets off a series of events.
“I like that Terry Pratchett doesn’t take his writing too seriously. He plays with fantasy elements and that’s what makes his books fun to read.”