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.

13Jan/110

Prince Caspian – C.S. Lewis

Top 100 Book:: Number 33
Star Rating:: ****

Quick Review::

The follow up to the tremendous Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and it does not disappoint. In this story many years have passed in Narnia and the Pevensie children return to help return order to Narnia which has yet again fallen into disrepute at the hands of a rogue false king! Shock Horror.

This book explores the themes of courage and chivalry and is yet again beautifully written by Lewis. The books flow so well and are such a joy to read. Like its predecessor the book was made into a TV series for the BBC in the late 1980's and was released as a major motion picture in 2008. I have yet to see the film version of this book but thoroughly enjoyed the previous one.

13Jan/110

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – C.S.Lewis

Top 100 Book:: Number 33/36
Star Rating:: ****

Quick Review::
By now a classic book and TV series and film! That most people would have heard of :)

I am going to be cutting these reviews shorter still I am afraid! I would love to write the long reviews I used to but time is not on my side! And I want to give you all a quick summary and some feedback before I forget :D

So anyway... back to the book itself! A beautifully written book, set in a fantasy world that can only be accessed by certain people at certain times we meet the Pevensie children who mysteriously find themselves in the magical land of Narnia! They find themselves on a quest of good vs evil and a great battle ensues. Along their journey they meet people both good and bad.

A truly wonderful book to read although really meant for children I thoroughly enjoyed the read and this classic will be read for years to come.

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.

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!

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*

14Aug/09Off

The Phantom Of The Opera – Gaston Leroux

Phantom Of The Opera - Gaston Leroux

Phantom Of The Opera - Gaston Leroux

Top 100 Book: I thought it was number 100, but I got the wrong book! So not in the Top 100

Star Rating:: ****

Quick Review::
The Paris Opera House, early 1900's is mysteriously "haunted" by O.G, the Opera Ghost.
This novel written in a detective Style follows the story of the Christine Daae and her twisted love triangle with the Opera Ghost and Raoul.

Its a pretty gritty novel with love, murder, jealousy, rage, mystery and horror. It's interesting to know that this is based on true facts and the author spent a lot of time investigating the Paris Opera House!

Detailed Review:: *SLIGHT PLOT SPOILERS*