This is the next post reviewing books in the BBCs Big Read challenge that I participated in many years ago. For details of the overall challenge, see this post.
94. The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago’s journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.
This is one of those books whether you either love it or you think ‘huh?’. I’m afraid I was the latter. It didn’t stick with me, so I re-read the summary on Wikipedia. And having read the summary, I’m still not quite sure what this book was about. I think I was expecting something great because it’s a highly spoken of book, but it didn’t really leave me with much.
93. The Colour Of Magic – Terry Pratchett
Somewhere on the frontier between thought and reality exists the Discworld, a parallel time and place which might sound and smell very much like our own, but which looks completely different. Particularly as it’s carried through space on the back of a giant turtle (sex unknown). It plays by different rules.
But then, some things are the same everywhere. The Disc’s very existence is about to be threatened by a strange new blight: the world’s first tourist, upon whose survival rests the peace and prosperity of the land. Unfortunately, the person charged with maintaining that survival in the face of robbers, mercenaries and, well, Death, is a spectacularly inept wizard…
The Disc world series had been a favourite of mine long before I took on this challenge so it was little hardship to re-read the first book in the series. This book really has to be read in conjunction with the second book, as it follows directly on.
The Luggage was my favourite character. Yes, it’s weird that an anthropomorphised suitcase can be a good character, but that is precisely why Discworld is a great place to hang out.
If you read this and don’t enjoy it, I’d suggest trying another book in the series as they deal with a range of reoccurring characters. My particular favourites are the ones with Death and Susan, and also Granny Weatherwax and Co. I have family members who like the books involving the City Watch the most. Basically, if you like fantasy and humour, somewhere in this series you will find a book you enjoy.
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear – Jean M Auel
A natural disaster leaves the young girl wandering alone in an unfamiliar and dangerous land until she is found by a woman of the Clan, people very different from her own kind. To them, blond, blue-eyed Ayla looks peculiar and ugly–she is one of the Others, those who have moved into their ancient homeland; but Iza cannot leave the girl to die and takes her with them. Iza and Creb, the old Mog-ur, grow to love her, and as Ayla learns the ways of the Clan and Iza’s way of healing, most come to accept her. But the brutal and proud youth who is destined to become their next leader sees her differences as a threat to his authority. He develops a deep and abiding hatred for the strange girl of the Others who lives in their midst, and is determined to get his revenge.
The Clan of the Cave Bear is another foray into historical fiction, only this time, it deals with pre-history. I really enjoyed this first novel. The author has done extensive research into the period and they are rich with descriptions of life in this time period, as far as can be extrapolated. I loved the main character and the story of her struggle as a Cro-Magnon being brought up by Neanderthals.
I went on to read most of the series, and it’s worth doing, but in my opinion the first book was the best. However, this series was another great discovery on this reading list.
91. The Godfather – Mario Puzo
When Mario Puzo’s blockbuster saga, The Godfather, was first published in 1969, critics hailed it as one of the greatest novels of our time, and “big, turbulent, highly entertaining.” Since then,The Godfather has gone on to become a part of America’s national culture, as well as a trilogy of landmark motion pictures. From the lavish opening scene where Don Corleone entertains guests and conducts business at his daughter’s wedding…to his son, Michael, who takes his father’s place to fight for his family…to the bloody climax where all family business is finished, The Godfather is an epic story of family, loyalty, and how “men of honor” live in their own world, and die by their own laws.
This book was one I thought I’d find pretty dull, but actually really enjoyed. It’s not the kind of book I’d go out of my way to read, but it was easy to get through, a page turner, and filled with action. A good story. I didn’t go on to read any of the sequels–and I’ve never seen the films either, although I suppose I should do at some point.
That’s all for this time. More coming up soon!