Book Report – The Beach – Alex Garland

This week I re read my favourite book of all time. The Beach by Alex Garland.

I read it first at a time when it was relevant, it had just came out and I was in university leading an adventurous lifestyle. As a rebel the thought of travelling to a forbidden beach full of daring and lust really did appeal.

Despite Decaprios best efforts the book is way better than the film in every way. The characters are quirkier and edgier, the main character has more flaws which makes him deeper.

For those of you unfamiliar, the story recounts the journey of Richard, a traveller who is sick of seeing travelling spots weighed down with tourists and is in search of a purer experience. Cue the dark Daffy Duck who tells a story of a hidden beach in a nearby island. An urban legend among the travelling community. Not on any tourist route it is difficult to get too and forbidden. Not only that but he leaves Richard a map.

This sets Richard and his newly found friends on a dangerous trek, swimming a perilously long way in the sea and hiking blindly through jungles and a very special field.

I love how the hero’s mistakes unravel in this sinister plot, which leads to the novels very dark climax.

I won’t spoil the tale for you because I enjoy the suspense the book brings. But even if you have watched the film, I recommend you read the book as it is a different experience, the end of the book is so much more grisly. I also got the impression that if I was an experienced traveller, or familiar with the Thai culture that there would be a lot more subtle references I could have took from it.

If you like a story with, grit, adventure, suspense and true consequence, this is a book for you.




Harry Potter and the Encouraging Father

My 10 year old has loved reading since she started primary school. Her teachers and her report cards always praised the level and speed she consumed literature.

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Obviously this is something that we have always encouraged. I had the same depth of interest at her age and I connect with her through the thought that this is something that I have gifted to her.

I have bought her a kindle and filled it with classics like Alice in Wonderland and Wizard of Oz. She has read them but thankfully she still has a long collection of actual books and shares the kindred of turning a page, enjoying a well drawn cover and smiling at the smell of a freshly bought volume.

Amongst her paperback collections are the complete works of Roald Dahl, a number of Famous Fives and large Jacqueline Wilson section.

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Recently I challenged her to a competition to see who could read all the Harry Potter novels quickest. Together we had progressed through the films and enjoyed them so I bought the first novel on Kindle and away we went.

It was close all the way but she just cleared the last chapter first. Success. We compared where we were up to, and talked about scenes. She was reading at a level that suited her and I was able to finally read through a batch of novels I wanted to get into for a while.

However it was as we neared the end of the second novel disaster struck. We lost her kindle charger in the move and she was unable to continue.

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Months later I found the best looking collection of the novels and I had to buy them. The covers were well drawn, they came in there own box. I was hooked. And the spark was reignited. I even got my own bookmark made for me.

I won the next novel so I’m on Prisoner of Azkaban while she is still polishing off Chamber of Secrets. But the race is back on.

Who will finish Hogwarts first? Will we ever get our OWL results? How can we get our name in the Goblet of Fire?

Our adventure against the Dark Lord continues…