The Big Book Review Top 100 Books…. and a few more

12Oct/100

A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole

A Confederacy of DuncesTop 100 Book:: Number 95
Star Rating:: ****

Quick Review::

This hilarious novel set in New Orleans in the 1960’s focuses on the life of Ignatius J Reilly a very well educated but incredibly idle man still living with his mum in the local neighbourhood. For reasons disclosed early in the book he finds himself having to go out and find a job and the novel goes on to describe his colourful adventures with characters in the French Quarter.

This book cleverly brings together the stories of several other minor characters as the climax to the book draws nearer. It is an enlightening read and very entertaining. Incredibly easy to read, highly addictive and laugh out loud hilarity I can very much recommend this book to you.

Written by John Kennedy Toole, this book was not released until 11 years after his death. It was a joint struggle to get it published by his mother, Thelma Toole and writer Walker Percy. Thank goodness they went through the struggle! Toole was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1981.

7Jul/101

How I Paid For College – Mark Acito

How I Paid For College - Mark AcitoRecommended by:: Jonathan Whiting
Star Rating:: ****

Quick Review::
Ferris Bueller Meets Adrian mole in a hilarious novel set in the 80's. Meet Edward Zanni, a teenager in New Jersey, USA whose aspirations to study at the prestigious Julliard School in NYC are quashed when his father refuses to pay his tuition fees. Thus ensues the subtitle of the book

" A Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship, and Musical Theater"

Edward and his merry band of friends go on a mission to get his entry to musical theater by any means possible!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, a cracking debut by author Acito. It is exactly my kind of humour and my style of writing. An easy, laid back read full of sex, theft and friendship :)

I heartily recommend it to you.

14Mar/100

Notes from a small island – Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson - Notes from a small islandTop 100 Book: Number 74
Star Rating:: ****

Quick Review::
Bill Bryson arrived in Britain back in 1973, got a job, got married and had some kids. Eventually the time came when he decided to head back to his native country the USA but before doing that he embarked on one epic tour of the wonder that is Britain. Starting at Dover and ending in Scotland Bryson recounts many memories, meet many friends and tells many tall tales about the adventures he has had in this wonderful land I call home!

Now this book is one of my favourite styles, a diary style (as if you didn’t know that by now) In fact I would link this book very closely to Dave Gorman’s America unchained which I reviewed earlier on. Bill Bryson goes on a journey around Britain recounting many tales he himself has had in various locations throughout. Full of plenty of humour and plenty of opinion this is certainly not a politically correct book, but hilariously funny!

I really enjoyed reading this book, I have to admit at the beginning I was getting a little irritated with his style of writing, very aggressive, very impatient and quite rude but as the book progressed I began to warm to Bryson’s unique style and found myself laughing along to his encounters with the British public.

I can completely recommend this book not only as a worthy top 100 but as a book you yourself should read, it is a very easy read and very relaxing, brilliant if you are looking to chill out and get away from the stresses of the day!

Do pick it up and have a read, I have kept hold of my copy!

10Feb/100

Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding

Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen FieldingTop 100 Book: Number 68

Star Rating:: **

Quick Review:: You must have been stuck in a cave somewhere for the last 10 years if you haven’t heard of Bridget Jones’s Diary! A major movie starring Renee Zellweger as the unlucky in love, eternal spinster Bridget Jones.

So you have seen the film, what about the book? It’s fairly true to the script, a few differences in events and timelines but essentially the same set of characters and the same ending! But I did not enjoy this book at all and am quite surprised it is in the top 100. Fielding’s style of narrative irritated me immensely. I can’t quite describe here what I mean by it, but believe me it is grating after a while.

But moving on to the actual story itself, very cutesy, very funny and very chick flick. I am not surprised it was made into a film. The story follows Bridget Jones a ‘typical’ single woman living in London always conscious of her weight and looks. The character of Bridget is the type that makes you cringe with all her mishaps and misfortune. Completely besotted by her boss Daniel (Hugh Grant) the story follows her trials and tribulations in trying to seduce the boss and deal with the things life throws at her along the way.

The story itself is well written and flows very nicely; it is very warm and cosy and ends how you imagine it will. I just couldn’t wait to finish it though the annoying narrative killed any warmth I had towards the story itself. I haven’t read the sequel yet but I imagine it’s more of the same. I am definitely more a fan of the film then the book in this case!

4Aug/091

The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night- Time – Mark Haddon

The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night- Time - Mark Haddon

The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night- Time - Mark Haddon

Top 100 Book:: Number 59

Star Rating: **** 1/2

Quick Review::

Meet Christopher Boone, a 15 year old boy living in Swindon with Asperger’s syndrome. One day he discovers the neighbour’s dog Wellington has been murdered with a garden fork and he makes it his mission to discover the murderer.

Described as a murder mystery novel with a difference Christopher opens a can of worms that will transform his life, and affect all of those around him. An award winning novel by Mark Haddon that is a real pleasure to read.

Detailed Review:: *SLIGHT PLOT SPOILERS*

4Aug/090

America Unchained – Dave Gorman

America Unchained - Dave Gorman

America Unchained - Dave Gorman

Recommended by :: Fran Day

Star Rating:: ****

Quick Review::

Get A Car, Travel across America from West To East. Piece of Cake eh? Only one slight snag, you need to do all of this without spending a single penny in a chain store, chain gas station or chain hotel. This is Dave Gorman’s quest, and he chooses to accept it.

This book follows his journey across the good old US of A and we learn about the good times, the quirky B&B’s the friendly people of Kansas and then there are the bad times, the director hurting her back, being held at gun point and some of the scummiest motels in the world.

Detailed Review:: *SLIGHT PLOT SPOILERS*

15Jul/090

Inconceivable – Ben Elton

Inconceivable

Inconceivable - Ben Elton

Recommended by :: I was swayed by the Title and Front Cover :)

Star Rating:: ****

Quick Review::

A beautifully poignant Romantic Comedy from Ben Elton. This novel is written in an "Adrian Mole Diary" style and follows Sam and Lucy in their desperate quest for a child. This is full of laugh out loud gags, no really, I found myself chuckling out loud on quite a few occasions but it's not without a few tear-jerking moments, failed IVF treatments, betrayal, jealousy. Its a very easy read and a very enjoyable one too!

Detailed Review:: *SLIGHT PLOT SPOILERS*

26Feb/090

A Matter of Death and Life – Andrey Kurkov

A Matter of Life And Death - Andrey Kurkov

A Matter of Life And Death - Andrey Kurkov

Recommended by :: No-one, a personal choice.....again

Star Rating:: **** 1/2

Quick Review::

This translation of the Russian Novel by Andrey Kurkov is a brilliant read. Incredibly short, only 122 pages but packing quite a punch! Our narrator Tolya is stuck in a rut with no job, a loveless marriage and no aspirations. In a last ditch attempt to leave a lasting legacy of himself he hires a contract killer to take him out, it’s all going according to plan and then he meets Lena….

Detailed Review:: *SLIGHT PLOT SPOILERS*

11Oct/080

Slaughterhouse 5 – Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut - Slaughterhouse 5

Kurt Vonnegut - Slaughterhouse 5

Recommended by :: John C

Star Rating:: *****

Quick Review::

Science fiction, no wait, wartime memoir, oh hang on… comedy…. Autobiography? All of the above! Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse 5 may leave you thinking “huh?” but I seriously could not put it down…. Yes I know people say that all the time but I mean it! So different it’s genius!

Detailed Review:: *SLIGHT PLOT SPOILERS*