Book Reviews · Challenge · Reading

Mini Reviews: Books 80 – 71

Starting a challenge of 100 books, following a set list, no matter how long or boring the book is, seems daunting. I can’t believe I finished 30 of the books in total! Below is an overview and mini reviews of books 80-71 on the list.

(You can find the mini reviews of books 90-81 here and 100-91 here.)

#80: Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey

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Grade: F
Favorite Quote:

“To know you will be lonely is not the same as being alone.”

Mini Review:

Tough novel to get through. Very confusing and I did not feel any connections to the characters whatsoever.

For a full review click here.

#79: Wide Saragasso Sea by Jean Rhys

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Grade: B
Favorite Quote:

“Unhappily children do hurt flies.”

Mini Review:

I really enjoyed this book that set out to humanize Bronte’s mad ghost, Bertha .. and truly achieved it.

For the full review click here.

#78: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

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Grade: D
Favorite Quote:

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here? That depends a great deal on where you want to get to, said that cat.”

Mini Review:

I had high expectations of this classic but was very disappointed. To me, it was too crazy, too whimsical, to scattered, didn’t make much sense, and plain annoying.

For a full review click here.

#77: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

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Grade: C
Favorite Quote:

“You know, that might be the answer – to act boastfully about something we ought to be ashamed of. That’s a trick that never seems to fail.”

Mini Review:

I could not stand this book for the first 100 pages and could not fathom how I will possibly finish it. Later on in the book I really like Yossarian and his logic, and really hoped he found his happy ending.

For a full review click here.

#76: The Trial by Franz Kafka

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Grade: F
Favorite Quote:

n/a

Mini Review:

**Closing the book** What in the world happened? Throwing it clear across that room wishing I can get back the time wasted on this book.

For a full review click here.

#75: Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee

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Grade: F
Favorite Quote:

n/a

Mini Review:

A 200 page story with almost nothing happening .. and the “almost” was an attempted rape of a disabled girl. Enough said.

For a full review click here.

#74: Waiting for the Mahatma by RK Narayan

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Grade: B
Favorite Quote:

“Human beings have done impossible things to other human beings.”

Mini Review:

I really enjoyed this read. It was entertaining and taught me a number of things about India’s history and shed some light on Ghandi’s teaching. A recommended read from me.

For a full review click here.

#73: All Quiet on the Western Front

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Grade: B
Favorite Quote:

“The war swept us away. For the others, the older men, it is but an interruption. They are able to think beyond it. We, however, have been gripped by it and do not know what the end may be.”

Mini Review:

It clearly states on the cover of the book that this is “the greatest war novel of all time.” I agree 100%.

For a full review click here.

#72: Dinner at the Homesick Restaraunt

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Grade: B
Favorite Quote:

“When you have children, you’re obligated to live.”

Mini Review:

I really enjoyed this book. Her writing is comfortable to read and flows beautifully. This is the most “real” book I read so far in this list. Another recommendation from me.

For a full review click here.

#71: Dream of the Red Chamber by Tsao Hsueh-Chin

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Grade: D
Favorite Quote:

“When the unreal is taken for the real, then the real becomes unreal.”

Mini Review:

This is like an 18th century reality show.. keeping up with the Chia’s. A book full of gossip and scandal, and supposedly revolves around true love.

For the full review click here.

 

And there you have it. The mini reviews of the previous 10 books I read from the greatest book list. There were some memorable books but nothing that wowed me. The bad though was really bad.

Here’s to hoping for a much nicer and more exciting next 10 reads.

Till next time. Happy reading!

Book Reviews · Reading

Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant Book Review

Book: Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler

#72 on the Telegraph’s 100 greatest novels of all time.

Grade: B

What is the book about?

The story is about Pearl’s life: her marriage, her 3 kids, their ups and downs, until her death.

Verdict:

I really enjoyed this book. I think out of all the books i read so far on this list, this is the most realistic life story so far. Any of these kids can be any one of us today. It was just so relatable, so very real.

Tyler’s writing is so comfortable and flows in such a beautiful way that it was really comforting picking up the book late at night after being locked up with my kids at home and the craziness of this lockdown.

True there wasn’t alot of things or action going on in this story, except life itself. A beautiful look into a family trying to make sense of life.

I honestly think more than the story itself, I loved Tyler’s writing and the comfort of it. I will definitely be reading more of her books in the future.

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Next book on the list:

The Dream of the Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin.

Book Reviews · Reading

Wide Sargasso Sea Book Review

Book: Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

#79 on the Telegraph’s 100 greatest novels of all time.

Grade: B

What is the story about?

The story follows the life of Antoinette Cosway, beginning with her life in the West Indies to her marriage to her demise. It is supposed to be a prequel to Jane Eyre. Antoinette is Rhys’ attempt to humanize Bronte’s mad ghost, Bertha, from Jane Eyre.

Verdict?

The book was a short and easy read, even though it covers a dense subject like mental health. Now i don’t feel so bad for giving the last book an F because this book, in comparison, flows so nicely and easily.

I do remember that I enjoyed reading Jane Eyre but I forgot a lot of it as read it maybe 15 years ago. I was worried that I wouldn’t ‘get’ this book because it’s meant to be a prequel.

But that was not the case at all. This can be read as a stand alone book and you don’t need any prior knowledge about Rochester, Bertha, or Jane Eyre to enjoy it.

To be honest, I enjoyed reading the book. Maybe because it’s within the classic genre that I am comfortable with or is connected to a classic that I remember I loved.

I do realize it’s not for everyone but I liked it. It was a breath of fresh air after reading such dense and difficult novels. Weird to say this about a book that revolves around mental illness. So i guess Rhys did exactly what she intended to do .. she humanized the insanity of Bertha.

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Next read:

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Believe it or not I haven’t actually seen the entire cartoon, so this will. E the 1st time I will be introduced to Alice’s story.

Looking forward to it!

Book Reviews · Reading

Oscar and Lucinda Book Review

Book: Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey

#80 on the Telegraph’s 100 books everyone should read.

Grade: F

What is the story about?

I would like to say Oscar and Lucinda, but seeing that they only met page 270, not really convinced.

Verdict:

I usually average reading 2 novels a month, this took me around 4 months to finish. It was such a hard novel for me to finish as I didn’t feel any connection to it at all.

It was very confusing too. Each chapter is short, around 2 or 3 pages max; but each chapter has a different narrator or can jump between regions/time. It takes me awhile into a chapter to figure out what is actually going on or who/what I am reading about.

I almost feel bad for giving this book an F .. almost.

It shows that Mr. Carey tried his best, maybe he over tried. Mr. Carey himself says he was anxious while writing the novel. He says he “would take other books off the shelf to check my chapter length was ok.” Mr. Carey I am sorry to say that even though your chapter length was ok, your book length was not. The entire story could’ve been told in 100 pages or so, not 500.

The best way to describe what I feel about this is like watching an anxious cook who wants to get a Michelin star dish but ruins it by trying way too hard and overdoing it.

I can see that you tried, but i’m sorry to say Mr. Carey, you ruined your dish.

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Next book:

Wide Saragosa Sea by Jean Rhys.

Book Reviews · Reading

Book Review: The Stranger by Albert Camus

Book: The Stranger by Albert Camus

#82 on the Telegraph’s 100 novels everyone should read.

Grade: C

What is the story about?

The story is about a French Algerian, Meursault, who finds himself committing a crime, shooting an Arab 5 times.

Verdict?

I didn’t love it and I didn’t hate it. After finishing the book, I don’t hold any strong feelings for the character or the story to be honest.

The book was a very short and quick read (123 pages). At first it was awkward a bit. Thought it might be from the translation but I think it’s deliberate to build up the characters awkward personality.

I don’t know why people are so bothered by his nonchalant character and lack of empathy. Honestly, maybe I just feel this way because I read much worse books on this list lol. But his attitude is real, it’s not overdone or made up. It’s real. It’s just the way the world is now (and I guess back when the book was written too).

What annoyed me the most is that there was no definite closure to the book. Was he executed or did he get his pardon? Most likely I think he got his pardon because that’s the way life is .. isn’t it? People are almost always pardoned when it’s a crime against a minority .. sad but very true.

I think the major debate and uproar about this book is Meursault’s lack of empathy or concern for his crime. Coming from a person who is over emotional about everything, I almost envy his thick skin. Of course not to the point of shooting a guy 5 times just because you’re bothered by the sun. But the thick skin that will make you resilient and can adapt to any situation thrown at you.

All in all, a short read that to me was just mediocre.


Next read:

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. The novel is set in a 14th century Italian monastery .. should be interesting.

Till next time ❤