Monday, September 26, 2011

#104 Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt

Living with The Damp and The Sickness is wretched enough, but add to that The Hunger and you’ve got misery that goes beyond the beyonds. It was in this state of abject poverty that Frank McCourt passed his childhood in 1940’s Ireland. Frank, born in New York, was four when his parents moved the family to their native Ireland following the death of their infant daughter. Frank’s father, an indolent alcoholic, did little to support his family and in Ireland their lives were dogged by despair. McCourt writes also of The Shame, which tore at him as a boy. He finally defeats it with this searing telling of his life story.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

#103 The Beatles: The Biography by Bob Spitz

Only one word describes the phenomenon that drove millions of teenagers to scream, writhe, cry, tremble and faint: Beatlemania. For a decade, John, Paul, George and Ringo-- to say nothing of their music—captured hearts and minds worldwide. This book gives an extraordinarily detailed account of the lives of the four Scousers from Liverpool, England—their turbulent childhoods, larger-than-life musical influences, and the fateful meeting between John and Paul that was the beginning of one of the most legendary songwriting collaborations of all time. The stories behind the music are absolute gems of Beatle’s trivia. (For instance, the guitar we hear gently weeping on George’s haunting song? That’s Mr. Eric Clapton.)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

#102 Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

A great book for the jolly summer time, or anytime. Pippi Longstocking is a kid superhero. She can wrestle a grown man, tackle a bull, and rescue children from a burning building, all before bedtime. She lives in a house called Villa Villekulla with a horse and a little monkey named Mr. Neilson. She never goes to school and plays all day with her friends Tommy and Anika. She also has a suitcase full of gold coins, so she never has to worry about money. Her life would be every kid’s dream, except she has no parents, so she does as she pleases. Wait a minute…her life is every kid’s dream.

#101 Little Bee by Chris Cleave

The blurb on the back of this book instructs the reader not to tell anyone what the story is about. Therefore, all I will say is that this book is about a Nigerian girl and a British woman whose chance meeting on a beach changes both their lives. The story’s intelligent and candid reflections, such as this from the Nigerian girl about horror movies, “Horror in your country is something you take a daily dose of to remind yourself that you are not suffering from it,” give the reader an uncommon dose of compassion for these two brave women, as they suffer through the nightmarish events that have bound them together.

Friday, September 2, 2011

#100 The Princess Bride by William Goldman

True love saves the day in this fantastic, romantic and sarcastic novel. Fantastic, because a dead man is brought back to life; romantic because farm-boy-turned-pirate Westley, climbs one thousand feet, battles a giant and nearly gets eaten by enormous rodents all to be with his true love, Buttercup; sarcastic because Goldman constantly interrupts the story to give fictitious accounts of how the Princess Bride was written—or as Goldman alleges, “abridged.” Goldman writes that S. Morgenstern is the original author of the story and he, Goldman, abridged it to this ‘good parts’ version, but that’s just a literary device used to build suspense and leave the reader hanging at the good parts.