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

23Feb/111

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

Top 100 Book:: Number 48
Star Rating:: *****

Quick Review::

Wow-ee! This book, blew me away! No wonder so many of my book loving friends recommended it! The Handmaid's tale was first published in 1985 by the Canadian Author Margaret Atwood, interestingly this was based on Chaucers, The Canterbury Tales.

Not too dissimilar to the idea behind 1984 this story is set in the not too distant future where the US Government has been overthrown and a totalitarian life is being inforced on the citizens.

The book follows the tale of Offred, seperated from her husband and daughter when the Republic of Gilead was formed. She is a fertile woman and belongs to a Commander only to procreate.

A lot of the stor is deeply unsettling, especially to those who go against the rules.. much like 1984. Instead of Big Brother you have the Angels. This is a truly haunting tale of a future no-one would dare dream of, but it was still a fascinating read, I found myself turning page after page desperate to find out what would happen to our protagonist.

This book has once numerous awards and been adapted for TV, Film, Stage and Opera. A compelling read I heartily recommend it to you. A very worthy Top 100 book.

If you read it let me know,  I would love to know your thoughts.

23Feb/110

Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom

Tuesdays With Morrie - Mitch Albom

Tuesdays With Morrie - Mitch Albom

Top 100 Book:: Not a Top 100 - Personal Choice
Star Rating:: *****

Quick Review::

Some of you may remember that I read a book in the Top 100 called The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Review HERE) This book is just as fabulous.

I managed to pick this up from the library at my local University. It is a non fiction book and just like my previous Mitch Albom encounter I could not put this book down!

The story is based on Mitch Albom himself and his chance encounter with his old college professor. This professor, Morrie Schwartz is a huge inspiration to Mitch and they had not met for 16 years, since his graduation.

This story is a series of life lessons between Mitch and Morrie, held every Tuesday at Morries house. It is a fabulous story, no tall tales and drama, just a true account of lifes little gems and lessons. It really makes you think about your life and this book, although quite weepy left me feeling elated and positive.

 

I genuinely recommend you take a look at this book if you get the chance! It's not a long book and it is really highly recommended by me! You won't regret it! Let me know what you think!!!

12Oct/100

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle

The Adventures of Sherlock HolmesTop 100 Book:: Number 89
Star Rating:: *****

Quick Review::

This novel is a set of 12 short stories by Arthur Conan Doyle based on his character Sherlock Holmes and the sidekick Doctor Watson. Cleverly the stories read as memoirs from Dr Watson’s time with Sherlock Holmes and are re-told as 12 short tales.

The 12 stories are as follows:

  • A Scandal In Bohemia – The longest of the stories in this book. Holmes is asked to find some incriminating evidence to enable Count Von Kramm to happily be wed….. But is Sherlock about to be outwitted…..
  • The Adventure of the Red-Headed League – A red headed man comes to Sherlock asking for help with a conundrum he faces regarding the “Red Headed League”. Who are the league, who are they working for and what did they want with Jabez Wilson?
  • A Case of Identity – An elementary case for Sherlock Holmes! A fiancé gone missing and a controlling stepfather… What will be the outcome of the disappearing fiancé?
  • The Boscombe Valley Mystery – A murdered man, his estranged son accused… All signs point to the son but can Sherlock unlock the mystery as to the real murderer.. or is it the son all along?
  • The Five Orange Pips – A short story involving the receipt of five orange pips signed by K.K.K. The recipient ends up dead a few days later. Can Sherlock solve the mystery before more people die?
  • The man with the twisted lip – A woman appears to Sherlock Holmes desperate to find her missing husband who is an Opium Addict. Sherlock and Watson go on an adventure to discover the whereabouts of the missing husband.
  • The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle – A Christmas Goose with a hidden present inside. Will Sherlock and Watson be able to trace it back to the criminal!
  • The Adventure of the Speckled Band – A young woman suspicious of her sisters untimely death contacts Sherlock for help in the case. Sherlock and Watson venture out to the home of the young lady to uncover criminal activity… Will they find anything before it’s too late?
  • The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb – Dr Watson is woken to discover a young engineer minus his thumb in urgent need of medical attention. After the details of his unfortunate “accident” Watson directs him to Sherlock and they go on a journey to discover what has become of the poor engineers thumb!
  • The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor – A newlywed bride disappears during her wedding breakfast shortly after the disruption of a previous lover of her husband… Why has she gone missing and is this old lover involved?
  • The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet – A very expensive Coronet is left in the home of a banker, only he awakes in the night to find his son holding it and 3 gems missing. Holmes is called to look into the mystery and determine once and for all who stole the 3 gems.
  • The Adventure of the Copper Beeches – To accept a governess job with an incredibly good wage or not? This is Violet Hunters predicament… Holmes and Watson try to discover whether there is anything suspicious in this incredibly good job offer.

A brilliant book! I thoroughly enjoyed the 12 storied, each different, and each varying in their crime levels. I heartily recommend this book to you! The Original Crime Detective at his best! Very worthy of its top 100 position, I can’t wait to read the rest of the Sherlock Holmes books.

7Jul/100

Nineteen Eighty-four – George Orwell

George Orwell - 1984Top 100 Book:: Number 8
Star Rating:: ****

Quick Review::
Wow! What a book! Incredibly scary and as has been mentioned in numerous reviews an eerie look at our own world.

This story follows Winston Smith works for the ministry of truth in London. Posters of Big Brother cover the streets and every move anyone makes is captured there is no free speech, no free thinking. For those with independant thought.... there lies Room 101.

A truly fascinating book from George Orwell. Thoroughly enjoyable to read with twists and turns at every chapter. A brutal book with no holding back and no happy endings. Just a gruesome look at a world under totalitarian control.

Worth a read!

5Apr/100

To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee

To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee

To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee

Top 100 Book:: Number 5
Star Rating:: *****

Quick Review::
To kill a Mockingbird is one of those books that almost everyone has heard of! It is one of those books that a lot of kids read in school (unfortunately I was not one of those) and is still a top seller 50 years after it was written.

To kill a mockingbird is a semi-autobiographical novel written through the eyes of Scout Finch a young girl growing up in a fictional town in Alabama. I absolutely love the fact that Lee chose to write the book through the eyes of Scout, the innocence makes the book just so much more appealing to read. Covering so many touchy subjects Lee manages to make the book so playful and pure through the eyes of a child.

The main plot of the book focuses on Scout’s father Atticus Finch, a very well respected lawyer in the town he is handed the case of a black man accused of raping a white girl. In a time where prejudice was rife across the US the Finch family have to deal with the racial reactions to Atticus being given the case. Written with warmth and humour this beautifully written book explores love, hate, friendship, family and race in the deep south of America.

This is a truly moving book, I found myself getting very emotional throughout the book, I could relate to Scout’s innocence about race and prejudice and the struggles her father faced trying to give his children a normal upbringing. A truly magnificent book that is very much worthy of its top 100 status. If you haven’t read this yet I recommend that you do before you read anything else.

14Mar/101

The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro

Kazuo Ishiguro - The Remains of the DayTop 100 Book: Number 84
Star Rating:: ***1/2

Quick Review::
One of Kazuo Ishiguro’s most famous works, The Remains of The Day is an interesting novel about Stevens, a very creditable English butler reliving his life through this book in order to clarify its meaning to himself.

The book begins with Stevens taking a holiday from his current employer and during his travels he tells the tales of his past with focus on particular characters including the lovely Miss Kenton with whom he was never able to declare his affections towards.

I won’t go too much more into the story but this gives you a general picture of the storyline and the plot it doesn’t stray much from the line. So where do I sit... well it isn’t my kind of thing! I can understand completely why it is in the top 100, it is totally different from any other book I have ever read, but it just didn’t grip me, I found myself getting too excited as the end was approaching and I could move onto something else.

This is now a very famous movie starring Anthony Hopkins and I haven’t yet got round to watching this film. From what I have heard it is pretty good! So my low down, I would give this book a read so you can say “done that” but I wouldn’t go out of your way to make it your life priority there are plenty of better books in the sea in my opinion!

10Feb/100

Memoirs of A Geisha – Arthur Golden

Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
Top 100 Book: Number 39
Star Rating:: *****

Quick Review:: I thought that this was an absolutely amazing book! Full of so much emotion and cultural references it drew me completely from page 1. Memoirs of a Geisha follows the story of young Chiyo-chan an orphaned young girl from a fishing village and her sister Satsu as they are thrust into the world of Geishas. The book follows young Chiyo-Chan as she grows into a young teenager, the struggles she faces in the Nitta okiya and her transformation into a beautiful Geisha.

Arthur Golden develops the characters beautifully and you build real connections to the characters in the book, in particular Chiyo . The narrative is descriptive and slow. Although the book covers most of her life it doesn’t feel rushed in any way and has a wonderful flow to it. I couldn’t put it down when I started it and managed to finish it in one sitting. Thoroughly recommended as a poignant insight into an art that is slipping away into history.

9Dec/090

The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

Top 100 Book: Number 19

Star Rating:: ***

Quick Review:: Now a successful film the Time Traveler's wife is the story of Henry and Clare. Henry has a condition which means that he travels through time regularly and is unable to control it so he goes forward and backwards without any control! I likened it to Journeyman if anyone has seen it. This book tells the story of Clare and Henry in a diary style as they meet at various points through Henry's travels.

A wonderful concept which would have been more highly recommended if it had been around 200 pages less. It got a little repetitive and seemed to keep going over the same stories again and again. The beginning and the end were very well written, lose some of the mindless middle dribble and it would have been a much more enjoyable read.

Detailed Review:: *SLIGHT PLOT SPOILERS*

15Jul/090

The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom

The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

Top 100 Book: Number 88

Star Rating:: *****

Quick Review::
Wow, is all I can say. What an absolutely amazing book. A beautifully written exceptionally heart warming book.

I genuinely could not put this book down. Sat up til very late reading this book, I just had to finish it.

It follows the story of Eddie, an 83 year old man who dies in a freak accident trying to save a little girls life. After awaking in the afterlife he learns that his earthly life will be explained to him by five people who were in it, loved ones or strangers, each of them changing his life forever.

Detailed Review:: *SLIGHT PLOT SPOILERS*

9Jul/090

The Brief History of The Dead – Kevin Brockmeier

The Brief History of The Dead - Kevin Bockmeier

The Brief History of The Dead - Kevin Bockmeier

Recommended by :: Yet another personal choice

Star Rating:: *** 1/2

Quick Review::

Very clever novel by Kevin Brockmeier, this slightly comforting story is split into two parts. We follow the inhabitants of 'the city' a place people go when they die and also the story of a young traveller named Laura Byrd we quickly see these two woven together as we discover just how much Laura is impacting on the city and its inhabitants. Its a good novel but the conclusion leaves you wanting more.........

Detailed Review:: *SLIGHT PLOT SPOILERS*