These books have had a profound effect upon my life and have entertained me greatly I hope that you read them and enjoy them as much as I have.
4. The Dubliners by James Joyce
This is an excellent book, it tells a number of short stories about different people in Dublin. It deals with a number of everyday issues including death,love,jealousy and religion. While the book at most times is quite sad (I found the first story to be very sad, as it reminded me of the death of one of my relations when I was young), there is also quite alot of tounge in cheek humor present in some of the stories. But each one of these stories has some effect upon the reader as we associate the characters with people we have known or know today. While the book is relatively short, I would not suggest you read it all at once, rather take your time and read each story individually as Joyce can become relatively complex in his story telling methods, Ulysses for example is excellent but extremely complicated.
3. No Country For Old Men by Cormac Mc Carthy
I adore this book massively as it does not overwhelm you with a deeply complex narrative and it has some massively engaging characters. The book feels like a western novel even though it is set in the modern day it has three main characters who all present the three extremitys of human nature. Anton Chigurh the scarily psycopathic hitman on the hunt for drug money that has gone missing in what looks like a drug deal gone wrong, all though Chigurh is a bad guy you sort of develop an admiration for the character for sticking to his very strange code of conduct. Llewelyn Moss is a vietnam veteran who is a sort of neutral character, he is neither good nor evil, he wants to use the money to improve his life and just wishes to survive being hunted by gangsters and Chigurh so that he can live happily with his wife, he is a very likable character and his fight for survival is fantasticaly engaging. Sheriff Ed Tom Bell represents the good side of human nature and he like Moss is a veteran but of World War 2 he is effectively the narrator of the story and he attempts to track down Moss and take him into custody before Chigurh can kill him. As with all of Mc Arthy's novels the book ends with a climactic conclusion which leaves you wanting to know more, this book is well worth a read.
2. Little Big Man by Thomas Berger
This is a relatively unkown book for many people and it deserves so much more. I considered the film adaption of the book reasonable(taking into account it was made in the 1970's its not really that bad) but regardless of this I suggest that you avoid it like the plague until you have read the novel first.
Firstly Little Big Man is an epic tale set in the American west about a young white boy who at an early age is adopted into a tribe of native americans and over his childhood he effectively becomes a member of their tribe and is given the name Little Big Man.
The story has many twists and turns but what amazed me was how Thomas Berger brought in many characters from history and incorporated them into the story these people include, Wild Bill Hickock, Custer, Wyatt Earp and many others. I particularly enjoyed how the main character swayed between his indian "heritage" and his typical white man perspective of the time e.g. he participates in the slaughter of the buffalo and the great gold rush, but also has a almost father-son relationship with an indian chief in his tribe after disassociating himself with his white father. All in all this book is fantastic it's very funny and entertaining, its also a fantastic way of learning a bit of American History.
1. Shogun by James Clavell
I absoloutely adore this book it explores the most interesting areas of fuedal Japan and Clavell's method of storytelling always keeps you entertained. Usually I would never consider reading a book that was over one thousand pages in size but by the time I got to the end I actually wanted more, unlike War and Peace. The book tells the story of John Blackthorne who is shipwrecked in Japan and is gradually brought into the Japaneese culture, he slowly becomes a samuria through out the novel and even go's so far as to consider seppuku (I wont tell you what this is as it will ruin some of the excitement of the novel, and if you already know what it is well i've only said considered.) I would not suggest that you read the novel if you are of a non-violent nature as the book is very bloody at times, but Japan was a nation built on war in these times and the novel would not be the same without the violence. The book has an ever flowing story line which constantly explores the ideas of treachery, murder, power and social rank. As I stated before I was quite dissapointed though that the book ended were it did, because throughout the book you have a feeling that the story is building towards something which is mentioned often through out but then when it occurs it is more like a foot note at the end of the novel, but regardless of this the book is excellent as it teaches you a great deal about Japaneese history even though some of the names of historical figures are changed and some events are entirely fictionalised. Pick it up today and read it, you will not regret it.
Feel free to send me a message to suggest a book or tell me your oppinion of the review/books reviewed. Thanks.