Monday, March 9, 2015

Top Hundred books

This is the top hundred books by BBC and my review. I also included the Guardian's list. The first few are according to the order I liked(the original bbc order in bracket and the one with 'G' only in guardian list), but the later ones are according to the order I am reading it.
Of course, I haven't read all the books as you can guess, I only comment about the books I read. But I am reading the books one by one and will be adding the books as and when I read them. ( I got almost all books(of BBC) though not all)
If you like any books for me to read and review you may suggest it, and I will read once I complete all the books right now I got. (I bought most books from BBC list and some from Guardian too).
And please leave your comments and opinions regarding the books listed especially if it is contrary or contradictory to my views for that will help people who want to read these books.
1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,JK Rowling
2. (22). Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone,
3. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
4. (23). Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets,
5. (24). Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban,
6. (5). Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,
7. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
This last two book were not published at the time of the list and according to me the last one is the is the best book of all time. And all the seven books are to be considered as a single one. If you like adventure and fantasy, and if you have not read this you will miss one of the classic books ever written. The first few books are more children oriented while the last ones are adult. If you want to read each book separately that is also fine as each book is complete in itself. The order is mine. But if you are an old man ( or woman), who has seen enough of the world you may not like it.
The whole series tell us about the story of a boy and his fight against evil and his adventures in school. Each book covers his each year in his wizard school. It tells as how he make friends with two other people how he thwart attempts by evil to gain power each year with the help of his friends.
It is also a funny book to read with adventure and comedy and tragedies. It also tell you that every humans are equals irrespective of the 'abilities' one got. It may be taken as an analogy of the blacks fight against the whites to be recognized and treated as humans, too.
8. (2). Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
Great read. If you are a classical lover and you like all the ingredients of a novel like romance, humor some tragedy and a happy ending this is the book to go for. The is THE Romance.
It is not one but two love stories, one ordinary and the other "extra ordinary"(Unexpected)
(for that time, though that is an old theme now), where the heroine initially dislikes the hero and eventually fall in love with him surprising everybody. The novel describes the events that happened to change the opinion of the heroine. And it is funny to read too.
9. (20). War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
The only bad thing about the book is its length. Great story and good language and a lively book with a happy ending. It goes through tragedy and human fragility and emotions. It has too many characters too give a brief.
This also is a love story, again many. But we may take it as a narrative of many life affected by the war(by Napoleon) and how it changed the course of otherwise ordinary lifes.
10. (21). Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
Do not miss this at whatever cost. It even teaches you a little history. But if you are looking for a funny book, this is not it. It is the strange love story of Scarlet O 'Hara who miss all important things in life, who has to struggle a lot, but still manage live a life.
It say how the girl struggled, how her life is affected by another war(American civil war), how she loved one persona and lived for him and finally realizing that her real love is different only to loose it.

11. (47). A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
At the end you will have a tear in your eye and still be smiling. This should be in the first place.
It tells the story of a miserly jew who had a dream and magnificently transformed.
12. (34). David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
If you are interested in good reading, read this more than great expectations. It gives the struggle of a boy against unfortunate circumstances his perseverance and final triumph and happy life. You can also read the tale of two cities and Oliver twist. Classic as novels, with all the ingredients.
13 (54). Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
A tragedy, but one should not miss it even if one do not like tragedies. I read it only because I read war and peace. But once I started I couldn't put it down till I finished it. A compelling read. It describes the emotions and the mental anguish Anna is going through and her illegitimate relationship with Vronsky her lover, her husband, and her son.
14. (60). Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Another tragedy? not exactly. Again very interesting in a strange way. It tells us the thoughts of a murderer and his reformation
15. (91). The Godfather, Mario Puzo
Another one you cannot put down. A fast racy and vivid novel. If you like mafia, adventure and intrigue, this is the book. Especially good for youngsters. It tells how a don is formed and how another is made.

16. (94). The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
More than a story, this is a great motivator. If you are following your dreams, read this.
A boy sees a dream and decides to follow it. He encounters many hurdles and many things that dissuade from his dreams yet follow it and finally get it.

17 (6). To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
Like serious reading, like politics and philosophy read this.
18 (7). Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
For children. Hundred acres land, a little toy and many talking dolls and the routines and their adventures. Every children will love it, sometimes adults too.
19 (9). The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
The new testament in children's format. Interesting read if you like total fantasy. If you are a dreamer and like christian philosophy read this
Two children get into a new world and they take evil along with them(instead of the snake). There is a lion akin to Jesus, then his sacrifice and finally heaven in the last book.
20 (96). Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
A modern novel, as good as any classic. Deals with the fight of two modern men from two different backgrounds and how fate plays a role in their life. . One is banker who is born in a bankers family another a self made millionaire and they fight each other based on a misunderstanding and nearly ruin each other, yet fate decided differently.
21 (36). Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
Read it as a child and liked it as a child. I do not know if I read it now, whether I like it. It tells us the story of a boy who follows a treasure told to him by a pirate who came to stay in his inn. He and his friends find a ship and follow the treasure hidden by the pirate flint. Some pirates joined him against his wishes and final they reach the island where the treasure is hidden, then....
22 (44). The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
Good book with a twist. Great read for time pass. One good man is betrayed by his close friend for a woman. The betrayer marries the women and they have a child. The one who is betrayed came back and nobody recognize him except .. He was challenged to a duel by his lover's son and then.....
23 (46). Animal Farm, George Orwell
Interesting - comical and philosophical. The analogy with communism is striking. Animals in a farm get freedom by kicking out its owner under the leadership of two pigs. The real and good leader is ousted by the other pig(think Stalin is the analogy) and gradually grab the power and curtail all the freedoms. In the end animals couldn't distinguishing the pigs from the oppressing humans...

24 (63). A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
I already commented on it. Good novel with a strange twist. A couple caught up in the French revolution. Another man who looks like the lover and his sacrifice...

25 (48). Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
A tragically comic novel, just like the mayor of casterbridge. At the end of the novel you will also ponder about the meaning of life.
A man loved a girl who he saw as just like him, a poor person. She refuses and then she moves out. He suddenly loses all hi livelihood and went in search of job and find himself employed strangely by the girl who he loved who now is a rich person. It is about how things turn out between them.
26 (58). Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
Read it your children. The story is about a horse who move from owner to owner, suffer many good and bad and finally get back to the original good owners and get settled in his life.
27 (17). Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
Book for critiques. But if you are an easy reader then do not read this one. A serious book and at the end you are not satisfied. Pip the protagonist is a child of humble origins. So many good offers come in his way and he misses it all, between the cup and lip. At the and at least we expect him to get something better but alas....
28 (43). The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
Nothing much to recommend. An ordinary one. But compared to catcher in the rye, this is a book. It tell us about the story of Gatsby who has a great building and a lost lover. It tell us how he lose his life in pursuit of his lost love.

29 (11). Catch-22, Joseph Heller
One paragraph is funny and interesting, a catch 22 situation. I am doubtful whether it worthwhile to buy and read the entire book for this one paragraph.
30 (1). The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
I have not read the book, but have seen the movie. Frankly I didn't like it. Harry potter and chronicles of Narnia are any day better. Harry potter the movie is not even half as good as the book.
PS: Take back what I wrote.  Along with hobbit this is one of the best fantasy,  the best after Harry Potter. It is about a different world where there are many types of human like beings,  let us say each character of humans became a species, magic and the pursuit of a goal. Don't miss it.
31 (8). Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
A parody of totalitarian regimes. It tell us how it oppresses some while exalts some other. It tell us a love that blossoms in oppression.

32 (10). Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
Want to read.
33 (15). The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
If you want to read a small top 100 book, read this. For me it is a waste of time.
It tells as what is going in the mind of a failed student.
34 (26). Fairy Tales and Stories by Hans Christian Andersen
Stories for children with morals. ‘Emperor’s new clothes’ is the most famous one and probably the best one.

35 (70). Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
Very interesting read. I don't know how to describe it. It tell the story of a few children stranded in an island.  It describes human nature at its purest.

36 (78). Ulysses, James Joyce
Absolute waste of time if you really want to understand what you read. But if you like literature and if you want to derive meanings out of what is written, you should not miss it.
37 (79). Bleak House, Charles Dickens
Didn't like it much and even after a year I haven't completed reading it.

38 (85). The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
If you want to get some new uncommon words read this, I do not recommend though.
39Mother by Maxim Gorky
Do not know why this is not included in the list, may be because it is communist. When I revise the list I surely will give it a better place. It tells as the political turbulence in Russia through the eyes of simple women, a mother, who is caught up in the middle of it.
40. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
Funny novel. A parody of the nonsense of relativity. Arthur is rescued by his friend just before the earth is destroyed. This tell as the story of where all he goes and whom all he meets. But you will not laugh out loud like when you read a Wodehouse. There is no particular theme, just like a travelogue with some digs at relativity in between.
41. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Funny one. The Armageddon is near. Heaven and hell is preparing for war, alas someone has misplaced the Antichrist, that too mistakenly.... And there is the prophesies of Agnus Nutter witch and the two friends an angel and a demon trying to thwart Armageddon...
42 (6G)The Bible
Not a single book as you all probably knows. I do not know what is there to recommend in it other than it is read widely. Some stories are good while some are quite bad. The first part mostly deals with Jewish law while the second Christian. Not a great read, but if you select the stories alone, might be an ordinary fiction.
43(72G)Dracula Bram Stoker
Here is a book. It is wonderfully written. It tells us how a blood sucking vampire gets to London and the havoc he wrecks and how he is defeated. Great read and it is written in the diary format.
44(88G)The Five People You Meet In Heaven Mitch Albom
A man dies and meets five different people. He find that heaven is very different from what he thought it was... Nothing much to recommend unless you are philosophically inclined.
45(89G)Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
A real detective story. interesting and funny. It is a collection of many adventures by Sherlock Holmes and his companion Dr. Watson. It include four Big Novels and many short stories..
46(92G)The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Another children's book. Tell us about a little prince who traveled from a different star to earth. Good only for children.
47 (98G)Hamlet, William Shakespeare
Not a good one if you ask me. It tells us the story of a prince who is always confused. "to be or not to be", is the famous one from this one..But beyond that...
48(G) Gilgamesh Mesopotamia
Forerunner of Noah’s story. An epic worldwide flood and a hero who rescues..
49 (G) Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift,
Interesting one. A fellow go for worldwide travel and get into strange places where ther are giants and tiny humans. More like a children’s book.
50 (G)The Iliad by Homer
Not a good one. Just describe an ancient battle. But one of the first epic.
51 (G) King Lear by William Shakespeare
Another tragedy by Shakespeare. An old king gave everything to his two daughters who paid lip service to him and regret later.
52 (G) Mahabharata, India
The largest book ever written and an epic. It mainly describe the fight between two groups of princess who are cousins. It contains their family tree in great detail and many other stories. The complete versions are not freely available now. What we usually get is abridged versions, which are far more easy to read and very interesting unlike the original which has too much philosophy and hence sometimes feel boring. But one should not miss a healthy abridged version. Another problem is the English translations cannot match the Indian versions
53 (G) The Odyssey by Homer
Another epic by homer, a great story. It describes the travels by Odysseus and his adventure. A book from which the author of the gospel of Mark heavily copied.
54 (G) Oedipus the King Sophocles
A Greek tragedy. It tells as the story of an upright king who was doomed to marry his mother.
55(G) Othello by William Shakespeare
Another tragedy from Shakespeare. Othello marries his master’s daughter and then fell into the disease of suspicion.
56(G) The Ramayana by Valmiki
Another Indian epic. It tells the story of Rama who was a great king and his fight against Ravana to retrieve his wife.
57(G) The Recognition of Sakuntala by Kalidasa
An interesting one. A king Dushyantha marries a sanyasin’s daughter and later forgets her. It describes the incidents that lead to the forgetfulness and what happened after that.
58(G) Thousand and One Nights, India/Iran/Iraq/Egypt
Ancient stories of wisdom. A collection of stories that helped a king to defeat a demon.
59(37G) The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini
It tells about a boy who was caught up in the Afgan war, whose childhood was lost. A serious read. Not sure whether I enjoyed.
60 (29G) Alice in Wonderland Lewis Carroll
Children’s book. Alice went after a rabbit and reach a magical world where inanimate things are animate and all beings talk.

End of part I