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Stoner: A Novel by John Williams

William Stoner entered the University of Missouri as a freshman in the year 1910, at the age of nineteen. – Opening sentence I won this copy of Stoner: A Novel from a Twitter competition by @vintagebooks, and have to admit I had unheard of it before then. Described by The Sunday Times as “the greatest novel you’ve never read”, I was excited to get started and delve into the mystery of this book. Stoner follows the life of William Stoner, the son of a farmer born in Missouri in 1891. After starting as a freshman at the University of Missouri in 1910, Stoner quickly becomes an assistant professor of English and remains a teacher at the same university until his retirement in 1955. A man with no particular talent or interests, apart from his love of literature, Stoner’s life is full of no particular achievement or accomplishment; he doesn’t leave behind any particular lasting impressions when he is…

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

I watched the film adaptation of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest back when I was studying A-Level Psychology, long before I read the book. That’s not the order I like to do things, as I always feel like the film influence’s my experiences of the book, and that was just the case with this story. Despite the book version of McMurphy – the story’s main character – being a redhead, I could only picture Jack Nicholson throughout my reading journey. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as Jack Nicholson plays the role spectacularly, but I imagine I would have viewed the character differently if my first encounter had been through the book. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest has long been considered a classic (it’s on almost every “Top 100 Books to Read” list), as the narrative serves as a study of the institutional processes and the human mind…