Saturday, December 12, 2009

Book 22: Magician by Raymond E. Feist

Of course being number 22 in the top 100 books as voted by the Australian public and being fantasy I've already read the Magician but since it was in my classic fantasy collection and on the list I was very pleased to have an excuse to read it again.

This story of Pug, the keep orphan, and his journey through life is a bit of a door stop running to 831 but it is epic fantasy at its best. As a young adult I loved fantasy because it gave me an escape from the real world and the Magician is a book that I would recommend to people in their early teens.

Some more cynical than myself, ok no it's actually me, might draw scathing comparisons between Magician and Tolkien's famous trilogy Lord of the Rings and it's true there are some similarities. Elves in a magical Elven place like Lothlórien, lead by an ageless stunning queen like Galadriel, dwarves and a journey under the mountain through old tunnels (like the Mines of Moria), which results in the loss of a party member to the baddies and epic wars but there is enough strong character development in the main character Pug to keep me interested.

The part that doesn’t mirror Tolkien doesn't have is a vibrant and well thought out alternate universe, called Kelewan which is as different from our traditional kings, castles, damsels in distress fantasy as chalk is to cheese. The alternate world reminds me somewhat of feudal Japan with it’s honour codes and political intrigue.
There’s a smattering of love interests and some nicely tied up plot endings that make this a read which won’t leave you crying into your bellybutton. I would say that this is a feminine book even though it was written by a man, Raymond E Feist, and enjoyed by many a gentleman the world over.
I would heartily recommend you all to read the story of Pug as he journeys between these two worlds to find his path to become a Magician.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Book 50: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I finished reading The Great Gatsby around the 19th October, 2009. I started it first out of the hundred because it was at arms reach and it's a couple of hundred pages and I knew that re-reading it would be a pleasure.

The internet informs me that the book has a theme of the destruction of the great American dream by the moral and social decay brought on by too much money in the early 1920's. In F. Scott Fitzgerald's mind that might be what he was writing (which was the same time the book is set) but when I read it this time out of that milieu my experience is of a story of love gone wrong and commentary on how people can devalue eachother, cause a mess and then run away but that running away doesn't solve the problem because if you don't fix what's wrong with you the same problems arise wherever you go.

The story is by the character Nick Carraway who moves to the east coast of the US to become a financial worker. He learns about his neighbour Jay Gatsby who is nouveau riche and throws crazy parties where people go who don't even know him. Nick has a cousin in Long Island near where he settles who is in a fundamentally busted ass relationship with a once famous sports guy he went to college with who is now suffering from a bit of small man syndrome. Nick finds out that Daisy and Gatsby have a past which comes to impact all their lives.

So anyway I won't write too much more about it. If you haven't read it then do so, it won't take much time, it's a simple tale that is well written and worth reading and for some reason people always refer to it even recent TV (e.g. Greek Series 1 Episode 12) of all things.

It also has the best closing line of all the books I've read which I won't spoil for you here, which sums up the futility of trying to recreate the past or striving for goals which are unattainable.

Until we turn the next page :) have fun!

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Nation's 100 Favourite Books

In case you were wondering what those 100 favourite books that the Australian public voted on way back on the 5th December 2004. Here they are :)

1. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein

2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

3. The Bible (Various Contributors) - Refuse to read :)

4. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee - Read February, 2010

5. Cloudstreet by Tim Winton - listened to in July/August 2010

6. Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix (Book 5) by J. K. Rowling

7. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

8. The Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams - Read April, 2011

9. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown and Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

10. A Fortunate Life by A.B. Facey

And the rest of the top 100 are:

11. Dirt Music by Tim Winton- Read May, 2011

12. 800 Horseman by Col Stringer - Refuse to read. Some weird hate mongering Christian dude wrote this one.

13. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

14. Zhaun Falun by Li Hongzhi - Refuse to read :) like the bible I'm just not interested but I am surprised that it got this high up on the list. I didn't think that Falun Dafa was that popular in Australia.

15. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban (Book 3) by J.K. Rowling

16. Captain Underpants And The Invasion Of The Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies From Outer Space by Dav Pilkey

17. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - read August, 2011

18. The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

19. The Wind In The Willows by Kenneth Grahame

20. The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger

21. The Pillars Of The Earth by Ken Follett

22. Magician by Raymond E. Feist - Read November, 2009

23. Possession: A Romance by A.S. Byatt

24. Dune (Dune Chronicles) by Frank Herbert

25. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

26. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

27. A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth

28. One Hundred Years Of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

29. 'Fighting' McKenzie Anzac Chaplain by Col Stringer - Refuse to read. Some weird hate mongering Christian dude wrote this one.

30. Deltora Quest Series by Emily Rodda

31. Tomorrow, When The War Began by John Marsden

32. Perfume: The Story Of A Murder by Patrick Suskind

33. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

34. The Ancient Future Trilogy by Traci Harding

35. The God Of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

36. Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire (Book 4) by J.K. Rowling and The Power Of One by Bryce Courenay

37. The Shipping News by Annie Proulx - Read August, 2010

38. Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis De Bernieres

39. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

40. Anne Of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

41. Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell

42. Cross Stitch by Diana Gabaldon

43. Persuasion by Jane Austen

44. Ice Station by Matthew Reilly

45. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

46. Life Of Pi by Yann Martel

47. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

48. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

49. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

50. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald - Read December, 2009

51. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

52. Love In The Time Of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

53. Rage by Steve Gerlach

54. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

55. The Mists Of Avalon by Marion Zimmer-Bradley

56. Cafe Scheherazade by Arnold Zable

57. The Bone People by Keri Hulme

58. Jessica by Bryce Courtenay

59. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets (Book 2) by J. K. Rowling

60. The Fortunes Of Richard Mahony by Henry Handel Richardson

61. My Family And Other Animals by Gerald Durrell

62. War And Peace by Leo Tolstoy

63. Wild Swans by Jung Chang

64. Mao's Last Dancer by Li Cunxin- Read November, 2010

65. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

66. Eragon by Christopher Paolini

67. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

68. Memoirs Of A Geisha by Arthur Golden

69. The Riders by Tim Winton

70. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

71. Angela's Ashes by Frank Mccourt

72. The Age Of Reason by Thomas Paine

73. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

74. Middlemarch by George Eliot

75. Emma by Jane Austen

76. Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie

77. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

78. Matilda by Roald Dahl

79. Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig

80. On The Road by Jack Kerouac

81. The BFG by Roald Dahl

82. Animal Farm by George Orwell - read September, 2011

83. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

84. A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving

85. Boyz Rule by Felice Arena and Phil Kettle

86. Scarecrow by Matthew Reilly

87. The Secret History by Donna Tartt

88. Looking For Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

89. Watership Down by Richard Adams

90. The Thorn Birds by Colleen Mccullough

91. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

92. Winnie The Pooh by A. A. Milne

93. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone (Book 1) by J. K. Rowling

94. The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton

95. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

96. Heart Of Darkness by Conrad

97. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

98. Goosebumps by R. L Stine

99. The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay

100. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo and David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Sunday, October 4, 2009

100 favourite books voted by the Australian Public

Hi All,

It's been forever and no one might ever read this but I want you to know that I'm going to read the 100 favourite books as voted by the Australian public on the ABC. Except for the bible because I'm an atheist and I would rather stab my own eyes out. Actually there were three spots that tied so it's the 103 best books as voted by the Australian public, minus the bible, so the 102 books to read :) Well if you want to get all semantic about it, some of them are more than one book e.g. The Lord of the Rings at number one. So I'll just let you know how I go shall I.

I've read quite a few of them before but I'm starting from scratch. The Great Gatsby is first and I'll review them all as I go.

Love Kat