Saturday, 5 May 2012

Top Ten Books

Welcome to another instalment of my 'Top Ten' lists.

Today's deals with books.  I'm pretty certain this isn't a true list as most of my book collection was a victim of a house-move many years ago where due to space concerns, they had to go.

Nonetheless, feel free to browse and make any comments you wish.

Jack Reacher Series - Lee Child

A work colleague of mine introducd to me this author, but giving me 'Bad Luck and Trouble' to read.  From within the first few pages, I was hooked and I can now say that of the 16 books he has written with character Jack Reacher (an ex Army Military Police Major), I have 13 of them, and looking forward to adding the remainder in the not too distant future.

Yes, he is a man's man, and a hero to the ladies, but not in a over obvious way.  He acts on his own high personal moral code which sometimes conflicts with the law.  

All of the books are very well written, most of which done from the third person's perspetive, but a few done from the first-person's point of view as well.  I normally don't like reading a first-person's perspective but these are well put together that I have no problem with these.

It's difficult to say which in the series is the 'best' book so have plumped for the first book that I read.

The Chronicles of Thomas Convenant - Stephen Donaldson

I cannot remember how I picked up this set of fantasy novels but got the first three books pretty much at the same time, and when realising that I was starting to enjoy them, I promptly went to buy the second set of three.

It has to be said that I am not normally a reader of fantasy novels but these again were written in such a way that I could easily picture 'The Land' in which these characters dwelled and symptised with the characters as the story was told.

The thrust of the first two set of chronicles is largely about Thomas Covenant, a writer who has leperosy and is shunned by the world in general but appears fated to become The Land's saviour or destroyer.  The Second set of chronicles introduces another main character in Linden Avery who interacts with Covenant and forces him to to re-evaluate his experiences ond conclusions where 'real' people are affected. 

The books in this series are:

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever

Lord Foul's Bane (1977)
The Illearth War (1978)
The Power that Perserves (1979)

The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant

The Wounded Land (1980)
The One Tree (1982)
White Gold Wielder (1983)

The Last Chronicles of Thomes Covenant

The Runes of the Eart (2004)
Fatal Revenant (2007)
Against All things Ending (2010)
The Last Dark (expected 2013)

The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

This book tells of a love story about a man with an extremely unusual genetic disorder, in that he can time travel unpredictably.  

The style of the book is a little unusual in that t jumps from present to past and future and back, and from the man's point of view, Henry DeTamble, and then from the females, Clare Anne Abshire.  But after a while, it becomes second nature and you begin to enjoy the book.  This is part of why I liked this book as the way it is written, leap-frogging from different time-periods and from different people's perspective, means you need to concentrate a bit more on the book, and that is rewarded as you become accustomed to it.

Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

I was very fortunate to have had an omnibus with all of the stories that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote when I was 14 and considering there was quite a lot of pages, I went flying through them in no time.

To know that this was written at the end of the 19th Century shows not only the amazing story telling of the author, but the fact that even unto this day, he has mesmerised us with a detective unlike any other and seems to be the bar in which all other detective novels are judged.

Cotton Malone Series - Steve Berry

The Templar Legacy was the first book I read from Steve Berry, which is one of seven that the author has written about the hero, Cotton Malone, a one time operative for the U.S. Justice department.

It could be said that it follows in the mystery dectective trend made more famous by Dan Brown and his book 'The Da Vinci Code'.

In this book, Malone seeks to help his former supervisor, Stephanie Nelle, he seeks to crack vital clues to age-old puzzles scattered across Europe in an attempt to locate the legendary cache of wealth and forbidden knowledge thought to have been lost forever when the order of the Knights Templar was exterminated in the fourteenth century.

To me, this is one of the better 'page-turners' that I have seen on the market (others being Chris Kuzneski, Sam Bourne and Tom Knox) that I am also intent on acquiring all of his books.

Shogun – James Clavell

I read this tome of a book back in 1983 and it isn't simply a book, but a submersion into a Japanese lifestyle of years gone by.  You don't read this - you live it.  I picked up words and phrases and undertood more about the Japanese customs, mannerisms and their outlook on life than I have from any other media in the years that have passed since.

Of course, this was picked up and made into a BBC television series of which Richard Chamberlain starred, but even this couldn't fully justify the words from the book.

It's been quite a while but having listed this here, I am toying with the idea of getting this (again) and re-reading.

Necroscope – Brian Lumley
The Necroscope is the first book in a series of horror stories which currently stands at 16 books.

It introduces us to the Necroscope, a man called Harry Keogh, who has the ability to speak to the dead peacefully, and how, with the aide of the British E-Branch (E being for ESP), helps to overcome the threat to the world of vampires, and leads us to their domain in a parallel world.

Now I'm not normally a fan of horror (in both book and film) but found this to be better than most, and that includes Stephen King and Anne Rice.  True, the first five books stands in their own series, and yes, I felt the fourth and fifth book were padded out, but retained my interest to finish them.

There are other series in the 16, which all emcompass the E-Branch and relatives of Harry, but I felt none bettered the original first five books, but definiately one to be added to the wish list if you haven't already read.

The Dead Zone – Stephen King

Yes, a Stephen King book, and there are many that I have read (and many I have not) but it was a choice between this and 'The Last Stand'.  Maybe my choice was infuenced by the film from the book, but I preferred this book and it was tighter, and better developed, with a more darker undertone than The Last Stand.

It is about Johhny Smith, who through an accident on a roller coaster ride, and a subsequent five year coma, emerges with an ability to foresee the future. 

After some incidences where he has heped people avoid accidents, he is refused a teaching job, and accepts a position tutoring a wealthy young man's son.

It is whilst doing this job he encounters a Presidential candidate, Greg Stillson and when shaking his hand, sees a horrific vision of him, as President, causing a massive worldwide nuclear conflict.  He then decides that it is up to him to prevent this from occuring.

No Time for Goodbye - Linwood Barclay

A more recent discovery was this book and Canadian author Linwood Barclay (yes, a man).

The story revolves around Cynthia Archer who wakens with a hangover, and goes to face the music from her parents only to discover that both they, and her brother Todd, have vanished.

Twenty five years have since passed with no explanation for this loss and agrees to go on a TV docmentary in the hope that someone will step forward with answers.  However, a letter she receives afterwards makes no sense but chills her to her soul as somebody returns to the Connecticut town to finish was was started all those years ago.
Harry Potter - J K Rowling

Well yes, ahem, I know this was originally written for the children's market but has been read and enjoyed by many, myself included and has also been transformed onto the silver screen.

I first encountered Harry Potter in 2003/04 when I was due to go into hospital for an operation, and my then boss lent me the first four books in the series.

I'm a fast reader now, but whizzed through those in record time and was as keen as everyone else to find out what transpired in the new books as and when then came out.

BUT, the seventh book in my opinion was a huge let down, being 'padded-out' as well as having the finale over and done with in 'a blink of an eye'.  A poor finish to what was an excellent series of children's books.

Any others??

So there you have it. I could have added quite a few more, but my previously mentioned cull has had it's effect.  Noble House, by James Clavell however is one I do remember and could easily have been added, but I decided to put 'No Time For Goodbye' in it's place as I already had Shogun in the list.  

Anyway, there you go.  As mentioned, feel free to place any comments. 

Thought for the Day

If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?  

Others in my Top Ten list  Films  :  Books  :  Comedy Moments  :  Music 

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