Guest Column: Three Books You Need To Read By Convent Guilt’s Ian Belshaw

Lead singer and bassist suggests three books you should add to your reading list

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In our undying efforts to bring you engaging columns you won’t find anywhere else, we’ve reached out to the metal world seeking submissions for a new subject: Three amazing books you have to pick up and devour.

Seeing as you read this blog everyday, we went out on a limb and assumed you’d maybe want to get some decent book suggestions from some of your favorite bands, too. So today, we continue this series on rad, must-reads with an entry written by Convent Guilt singer and bassist Ian Belshaw.

John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath”
I know this is a book many people had to study at school and to be honest, I feel sorry for those who did. I didn’t read this novel until I was an adult and I’m really grateful that was the case.

It is such a powerful and delicately told story that displays uncommon empathy for its characters and their situation. You can’t help but feel for the poor, displaced, Okies as they struggle west — especially Tom Joad and his stoic mother.

Steinbeck truly was a master and the simple yet evocative style he employs is perfect for literature you can get swept away in. The ending is poignant but you expect nothing less after the stunning prose that precedes it.

William Faulkner’s “Light in August”
As with Steinbeck, I could recommend any number of Faulkner’s works, but ‘Light in August’ is both accessible (by Faulkner’s standards) and enthralling. This is real story-telling, with vivid characters, plausible scenarios and harrowing results.

I have never been to the American deep south, but Faulkner brings it emphatically to life. Every character is flawed or misunderstood and there is brutality and sadness throughout, yet somehow I don’t find this a depressing novel.

The cadence and potency of the language shines through, like the very light in August of the title.

Peter Carey’s “True History of the Kelly Gang”
One of Australia’s foremost modern storytellers (along with Thomas Keneally and Tim Winton), Peter Carey used this novel to flesh out the realms of 19th century Australia and the famous story of Ned Kelly and his band of bushrangers.

To Australians, the story of Ned Kelly is one we are all familiar with and whether we romanticize or demonise ol’ Ned speaks of a time when our nation was still in its formative stages and life was far-removed from what it is today. This novel steps into Ned’s shoes and attempts to give the story as he sees it.

As such, much of it is based on fact, with embellishments along the way to fill in gaps and add some zest to the narrative. The harshness of the land and the desperation of people living on it shines through in Carey’s prose.

Ned Kelly has long gained sympathy from vast sections of the Australian public; this gritty and touching account of his life only helped further his renown.

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