Review: Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski

Sad and comic autobiography of an outcast’s youth during America’s Great Depression. Vivid descriptions and honesty to the past are two of the “pros” for this novel. The “cons” include a lack of any real plot or character development (static, everyone) and humor that was too often infused with violence or sex. Overall, though, it is an enjoyable work for any fan of Bukowski, particularly those interested in Bukowski’s youth and home-life.

 

Reviews: The Earlies Part 16

Goat: A Memoir by Brad Land

Interesting.. twisted at times.

The Order of the Poison Oak by Brent Hartinger

Not that great.

Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes

Wonderful young adult book about a boy growing up during the Revolutionary War. Fun fiction story which includes meetings with the likes of Ben Franklin, John Adams, etc.

A Son Called Gabriel by Damian McNicholl

Such a great find! I don’t remember where I came across this book, but I’m glad I did. Story about a boy growing up in Ireland during the war.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

Kind of sappy, but good. Makes you think about the important thigns in life.

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

Very cute. Worth the read – it’s quick.

Reviews: The Earlies Part 15

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

Wonderful, wonderful book. Highly recommended.

The Blithedale Romance by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Probably one of my favorite Hawthorne novels. I think I like it even better than The Scarlet Letter.

Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

Beautiful ‘writing back to empire’ book. Rushdie is pretty amazing.

Geography Club by Brent Hartinger

Simple. Kinda boring.

Jack Maggs by Peter Carey

This is another ‘colony strikes back at imperialism’ boko – like Wide Sargasso Sea. Jack Maggs takes on the story of the character Magwitch from Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. Beautiful and intelligent telling of the characters – cunningly writes a Dickens-esque character into the book.

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

This is a brilliant prequel to Bronte’s Jane Eyre. If you read Jane Eyre and liked it – read this book! Actually, read it anyway. I read it before reading Jane Eyre and still loved it.. but it’s definitely better to get the back-story first – makes you appreciate the symbolism and storyline even more. A wonderful ‘colonial’ book.

Reviews, The Earlies Part 14

The Coming Storm by Paul Russell

Another book about the blurred lines between teacher/student and adult/teen and lover/lover relationship. A boarding school boy falls for and seduces a new young teacher… and all the mayhem follows close behind. Actually a very good read.


The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

Wildly intelligent and fun. Almost as good as Angels and Demons.

Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt by Anne Rice

Very interesting fictionalization of the story of Jesus Christ’s childhood. Very much enjoyed this book.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Great, great book. Don’t know what else to say except ‘read it.’

Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

Amazing! Incredibly funny and intelligent. One of my favorite books.

England, England by Julian Barnes

Hilarious irony. Brilliant.

Totally Joe by James Howe

So cute and funny. An easy, enjoyable read. Something for a lazy summer day.

Reviews: The Earlies, Part 13

The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green by Joshua Braff

Such a good, relaxed read. Very, very funny. And also very moving.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

One of the best British Victorian novels.. or any novel.. of all time. I absolutely loved this book. The Bronte sisters are incredible.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Very beautiful story about the life of two black sisters in the 1950’s. Takes place in southern U.S.A.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

Awesome! Simultaneously hilarious and haunting.

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

A classic… but ‘meh.’

The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy

Beautiful commentary on living “the good life.” Highly recommended.

Reviews: The Earlies, Part 12

I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier

Awesome book. Wonderfully mind-bending. Definitely my favorite young-adult fiction thriller.

Brothers: Life, Death, Truth by Ted Van Lieshout

Very touching. Short and sweet.

Angels & Demons by Dan Brown

Best mystery/thriller I’ve ever read. Even better than Brown’s famous ‘Da Vinci Code.’

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The epitome of Romantic (capital R).

A Million Little Pieces by James Frey

Would have been terrifying if it weren’t so obviously self-centered and contrived.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Sad. Beautiful. Great. Horrible. Read it.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

Really great book about a boy learning of his ancestry and history. Definitely recommended.

That Eye, The Sky by Tim Winton

Interesting. Not much to the story, but the writing is certainly creative. I suppose I’m glad to have read it because it’s just.. ‘different.’

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by R.L. Stevenson

Typical Romanticism. Comparable to ‘Frankenstein.’

A Prayer for the Dying by Stewart O’Nan

Scary and sad.

Reviews: The Earlies, Part 18

A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer 4.0/5.0

Amazing book. Sad, disturbing, heart-breaking, and maddening.

Tears of Rage by John Walsh 4.0/5.0

Incredibly sad story (true story) about a child’s kidnap and murder. Tear-jerking and intense. Very good book.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding 4.5/5.0

So awesome. (I warned you that some of these reviews were simplistic! I must have been in my “minimalist” period.)

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger 5.0/5.0

Best book ever. Well, maybe not, but it’s certainly a favorite of mine.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie 4.5/5.0

I read this book in seventh grade, and it is what first got me interested in reading for fun. Until that point, I had only picked up the stray Goosebumps or Choose Your Own Adventure book. I’ve read this book three times and will probably read it again.

Moby Dick by Herman Melville 4.0/5.0

Stunning. One of the most – no, the most elaborately detailed book I have ever read. Not the most exciting plot, not the easiest language, not too many exciting sub-layers to the story. But definitely, positively one of the best books ever written. It took me 7 months to get through (and I’m an insanely fast reader) but it was well worth it.

The Pearl by John Steinbeck 4.0/5.0

Beautiful story about the evils of wealth and greed.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling 5.0/5.0

Amazing finale to an incredible series. Well done, Ms. Rowling. Well done.

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