Wednesday, 29 February 2012

February Reads

My reading list for February is a bit feeble...actually, a lot feeble. I only managed to read one book this month but it's one that has been on my 'to read' list for about 17 years, so it was about time.

I've finally read 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' by Oscar Wilde. I studied drama at school and totally fell in love with Oscar Wilde's plays, and this book has been on my reading list ever since.

The book starts with Dorian as a young, beautiful and seemingly untainted man. He quickly becomes damaged by a combination of the adoration of the man who paints his portrait, Basil Hallward, and the cynicism of Lord Henry Wotton, whose take on the world seems to corrupt the young and impressionable Dorian (although I'd argue the corruption was already there, waiting to happen).

I think most people know the premise of the book...Dorian's vanity leads him to wish that he never ages physically - that the portrait painted by Hallward should bear the brunt of the passing years and all of his actions.

His wish comes true. As Dorian explores the darkest recesses of human nature and all the vices it has to offer, he remains as beautiful as ever, while his painting ages and grows ugly.

I won't say any more about the plot, apart from to say I found it much darker and harder to read than I'd expected. Wilde's work is often uncomfortable, with his witty observations cutting to the bone, and this is no exception.

If I'm honest, there were sections of this book that lost my interest slightly, where there seemed to be a lot of descriptive prose which didn't add much for me. That said, I'd definitely recommend it. It's certainly a classic, a fascinating concept and Wilde's writing is as elegant and witty as I'd expected.

I think I might try and find a lighter read for March though!

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