To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
(#6 on The Big Read. My combined score: 27)
First published in 1960.
Another classic that I have somehow never read or seen on screen. I’ve avoided it because I thought of it as one of those books they make you read in high school English. I’m vaguely familiar with the story, I think it’s set in the American south somewhere between 1920 and 1950 and it’s about a white lawyer defending a black man, innocent I think, for murder or something.
Total: 27 out of 30
Overall: I loved this book. Atticus Finch may be the best dad in American literature. At least he’s the best I’ve ever come across. Then of course there is Scout. If you don’t like Scout then I am sorry but we cannot be friends. The only down side to the book is in the final third it tends to get a bit preachy at times. I suspect that was the result of pressure from the editor since there is none of it in the first half.
Recommendations: Anyone who likes to read.
The Twits by Roald Dahl
(#81 on The Big Read. My combined score: 9)
The book was written in 1979 and first published in 1980.
Going in I’ve absolutely never heard of this book. I’m familiar with a few of Dahl’s stories but only through the movies and of those the only ones I’ve seen are Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Fantastic Mr Fox. I decided to read this one first because it’s short and will give me some quick material to throw onto the blog.
Total: 9 out of 30
Overall: Crap. Crap. Crap. What the hell England? Really? This is one of your most beloved novels? It’s crap. This is worse than crap. It’s the crap that crap craps out. It’s obviously intended to be funny but it’s not. Not by a long shot. And who is this book for? It’s too vile and ugly for kids and too stupid for adults. I’m wondering did they save the bathroom stall door Roald doodled this on while taking a dump and stick it in a museum? I am not looking forward to reading any of his other books now. None of them. England, you people are weird. Too much inbreeding on that little island or something. And how on earth is this a novel? It’s like 20 pages long and is nothing but a series of very unpleasant episodes.
Recommendations: No one. Time spent reading the title is wasted. I can’t even recommend this as a means to torture black hearted criminals because it’s too short. Maybe it would make a good gag gift for someone in the office at Christmas if you are their Secret Santa. But only if it’s someone you really hate.
Available on Amazon.com but I can’t imagine why.
Kindle Edition: The Twits
Paperback Edition: The Twits
Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne
(#7 on The Big Read. My combined score: 27)
First published in 1926.
First I have to admit I had no idea Winnie-the-Pooh was a novel. I always thought it was a kids picture book along the lines of Where the Wild Things Are or The Giving Tree. Of course I’ve seen more than one of the movies but that was ages ago. I remember stuff about a honey jar, a blustery day and I think maybe a garden but don’t know if any of that is in this book. I remember all of the characters of course. I’m hoping Tigger and Eeyore show up. Like most civilized people they were my favorites. Actually speaking of Eeyore, I know him. He’s been one of my best friends for about 15 years and is my next door neighbor. He looks a little different than in the the book but it’s him.
Total: 27 out of 30
Overall: Well that was a fun little read. Kind of pushes the bounds on the definition of a “novel” though. I wish I had known about this ages ago so I could have read it to my kids when they were young. It is an almost perfect children’s book. For reading to kids at bedtime I rank it easily up there with all of Dr. Seuss and The Children’s Illustrated Bible.
Recommendations: Obviously I can’t recommend this highly enough to anyone with preschool age kids. But I’d also recommend it to everyone else. Read it at least once just to share a piece of heritage with the rest of humanity.
Available on Amazon.com
Kindle Edition: Winnie the Pooh (Winnie-the-Pooh Book 1)
Paperback Edition: Winnie-the-Pooh (Puffin Modern Classics)
DVD: The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977)