Scores out of ten

I apologise if this has been done already but I thought it might be a good idea to share our thoughts about the books we are reading now.  We could give a brief synopsis of the story, our thoughts on the book and a score out of ten.  I have just this morning finished reading -

'The Confession' by John Grisham:

Donte Drumm is an innocent man who has spent nine years on death row for a murder he didn't commit.  Travis Boyette is the real killer and is dying of a brain tumour, he decides to come forward at the last hour in order to save Donte from execution by lethal injection, but how can a guilty man convince lawyers, judges and politicians that they are about to execute an innocent man.

Grisham explores the motivations of the characters that drive the story and considers how their actions lead to the conviction of an innocent man and how this injustice effects the lives of friends, family and the community in general.  I found the book to be moving at times and the writing expressed a sense of urgency as time runs out for Donte Drumm.

This is the first book I've read by Grisham but i enjoyed it and would recommend it to others.

My score is 7/10.

I

Comments
tracybbs's picture

Another review

tracybbs | | Permalink

I was hoping that other people would review the books they are currently reading as I am interested in what you kind of books you read and what you think of them.  However, as no one has commented and I have now read another book and at the risk of boring the pants off everyone, I will write another.  The book I finished last night was:

'Chart Throb' by Ben Elton

Chart Throb is a TV talent show based on X Factor where 95,000 hopeful singers are wittled down to 1 winner over a number of weeks.  Calvin Simms is the powerful, rich and extremely manipulative Simon Cowell like figure who is the genius behind the show, and there are two other judges who are based on Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh.  This year the Prince of Wales has entered the contest to try and increase his popularity and it's in Calvin's interest to make sure he wins!

I have read most if not all of Ben Eltons books now and although this isn't one of his best it is still a good read.  Written in his usual cynical style the book is funny in places but also quite dark as there are so many similarities to X Factor that it makes you wonder if the contestants on X Factor are used as badly as in Chart Throb and whether their individual stories are really more important than whether they can actually sing.

My score is 6/10

Not that impressed

jpcc1 | | Permalink

Hmm, well I went away and read "The Confession".

I’ve read other books by John Grisham and think his later work is not as good as his earlier books. They seem more like they’re just being churned out to order.

Having said that, The Confession does seem to be a step back in the right direction although to a large degree the characters just seem like easy caricatures rather than real people.

Overall I think I’d give it a 5 out of 10.

 

One of the most outstanding books I’ve re-read recently is "The Quiet American" by Graham Greene.

The book tells the story of a British reporter, Fowler, covering the Vietnam war; his relation ship with Vietnamese woman, Phuong, and an American idealist, Pyle.

Like all his books Greene manages to set the scene and describe individuals and circumstances deceptively easily. I don’t know how he can create empathy so readily. I would highly recommend it.

I think its been made into a film twicee but I've not seen the recent version.

 9 out of 10

tracybbs's picture

I'll add it to my reading list

tracybbs | | Permalink

Thanks for your comments JPCC, this was my first experience of Grisham and now i am thinking i should read some of his older stuff as you're not the first person to say he's not as good as he used to be.

Also i am compiling a reading list - some of it taken from best book type lists that i found on the internet, others from personal recommendation etc, as you've given The Quiet American such a good score I will definitely be adding that one.

tracybbs's picture

Another one

tracybbs | | Permalink

After a traumatic morning at the dentist, I spent most of the rest of yesterday curled up on the sofa feeling sorry for myself, and reading.  As this book is only 239 pages long I managed to finish it in a few hours.

'The Winter Ghosts' by Kate Mosse

It is 1928 and Freddie Watson is still devastated with grief with the loss of his older brother, who was killed some years earlier in the Great War. He takes a trip to the French Pyrenees and after crashing his car finds refuge in a small isolated village called Nulle.  Whilst he is there he meets and falls in love with a strange but beautifully captivating woman.  They spend the night talking and he tells her about the loss of his brother and she tells him of her own grief.  Freddie feels that she is the only person who has ever understood his sadness.   In the morning she is gone and Freddie discovers that nobody else saw her or knows of her.  In his search to find Fabrissa; Freddie uncovers a mystery that is 700 years old, and in doing so learns how to cope with the loss of his brother and how to start to live again.

We are told the story in Freddie's own words as he relates it to a translator of manuscripts, it is heavily tinged with sadness and the loss of love is a strong theme that effects not only Freddie and Fabrissa but many of the lesser characters within the story.  Mosse writes beautifully and manages to create an atmospheric and compelling story.  I am now keen to read one of her longer books, 'Sepulchre' or 'Labyrinth', I'd be interested to know if anybody has read either of these and what you thought of them.

Finally - I know you shouldn't judge a book by this....but i really liked the cover!

My score is 8/10

 

mwngiol's picture

Most recent book I read

mwngiol | | Permalink

'The God Delusion' by Richard Dawkins.

Admittedly I'm biased as I'm a devout Atheist but I defy anyone to read this book and still come up with a reasonable argument in favour of the existence of a supernatural, omnipresent and omnipotent God.

Dawkins doesn't try to be subtle or gentle in his approach so many religious types may not like the way he makes some of his points, but any Agnostics who read this will surely come away from it as Atheists.

I'd give it a 9/10, would have been a 10 but there are times when he does go on a bit and could easily have been more concise in several places.

tracybbs's picture

Here's 8 more

tracybbs | | Permalink

I've just returned from a two week holiday in Portugal.  As i had nothing to do but sit by the pool and read I got through 8 books.  It would be too much to review them all so I will just give a score for each one:

'Labyrinth' by Kate Moss - 6/10

'Afterwards' by Rosamund Lupton - 8/10

'Dead Famous' by Ben Elton - 6/10

'Angeology' by Danielle Trussoni - 7/10

'Gridlock' by Ben Elton - 6/10

'Atomised' by Michel Houellebecq - 8/10

'They Thirst' by Robert McGammon - 7/10

'Sirens' by Eric Van Lustbader - 4/10

 

Patrick O'Brian

adam.arca | | Permalink

I don't read much these days (and it's not because I'm a dead-keen accountant, but because my son plays a lot of football); over the summer, however, I have re-read nearly all of my Aubrey and Maturin books by Patrick O'Brian.

It must be nearly 20 years since I read these and, whilst I had not forgotten that they are an exellent read, I had forgotten just how completely they can transport the reader to a milieu which is both very foreign to modern life yet at the same time almost strangely the same in many ways.

If by chance you've not come across these, they are set in Nelson's navy (think Hornblower and C S Forrester, only much much better). You'll obviously need to enjoy historical fiction to make these a worthwhile read (and a passing acquaintance with the wooden world wouldn't come amiss), but actually the action is almost the smaller and less important part of the books: they are at least as much about human relationships (sans any deep and meaningful Booker Prize stuff) and failings, history / geography lessons without realising it, and scene-setting in the most interesting sense of the term.

The books are a little repetitive and contradictory if read in one go as I've done recently, so I'd say 9 or 10/10 for the earlier books and 7 or 8/10 for the later ones. I shall nevertheless now be searching out the final couple which I've never read.

tracybbs's picture

Can you hate a classic?

tracybbs | | Permalink

My latest book club read is Little Women.  I am ashamed to say that I hate it!  I think if i'd read it when i was twelve and into Enid Blyton i could have just about coped with it, but now it's just hard work.  I've told people how i feel and the response i get is 'but its a classic', I know that!!! and thats why im still trying to get past chapter 2 after 3 weeks! 

I think sometimes that people assume that a classic must be good.  I've read penguin classics when they were a £1 and discovered such gems as: Far from a madding crowd, Adam Bede, Mayor of Casterbridge (are they all Thomas Hardy, can't remember) but also hated Frankenstein, Around the world in 80 days.  Sometimes classics are so called just because they are old!

Went to book club feeling really guilty because I couldn't score a book I couldn't finish and found that the majority hated it also and hadn't bothered to finish it.

Has anyone here read this and liked it, can they inspire me to continue?

Signed

Needing help from Wellingborough

 

mwngiol's picture

Classics

mwngiol | | Permalink

Yes it's very possible to hate a classic. A few years ago I bought 'The Old Curiosity Shop' and 'A Tale of Two Cities' from a bargain bucket. I read the former and thought it was awful and didn't read the latter for some months. When I eventually did I thought it was fantastic. It's all down to personal taste and the important thing to remember is that there is no right and wrong.

Dickens

jpcc1 | | Permalink

I thought the "Old Curiosity Shop" was ok, but it had a weak, sentimental ending. "A Tale of Two Cities" was much, much better.

 

I've recently been given a Kindle and even more recenly a copy of the New York Times "1001 Books To Read Before You Die" together with their 100 Top Best Sellers for 2010 and 2009, so I'm doing even more reading than normal.

So many books seem to start well and deteriorate. I 've recently finished "A Bend in the River" by V S Naipul and I'm currently reading "Last Night at Twisted River". Both of these started very well and then tailed off. Is it just that the author had a good idea for a story but couldn't keep up the enthusiasm??

tracybbs's picture

Maybe the clue is in the title

tracybbs | | Permalink

Rivers do seem to start off well and gradually lose momentum and tail off,  Maybe it's a metaphor lol.

tracybbs's picture

Two brilliant books

tracybbs | | Permalink

Have recently read two books that definitely rate amongst the best I've read:

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak - This book is narrated by Death and is the story of a little girl called Liesel and is set in 1939 Nazi Germany.  Its about her relationships with her foster family, her friends and the jew they are hiding in the cellar, but to me I think the real theme of the book is about the power of words.  Its a very powerful book and i would say its one of the best I've ever read - I have to give it 10/10.

The Help by Kathrynn Stockett - This is set in Jackson Mississippi 1962 and is about the relationships between the black domestic help and the white women they work for.  One white woman who wants to become a writer decides to write a book about the black womans experiences, and its about the racism that existed at the time and the risks these women take to get their stories told.  This book made me angry, sad and in places it made me laugh.  I would definitely recommend it - 9/10.

Have read a few more but only feel compelled to tell you about these two.

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An informal group where members can review and discuss books.