Thursday, August 1, 1996

The 306 Greatest Books #6 - The Catcher in the Rye

I am going back and posting all of my previous book reviews so that they are listed on my site in chronological order. The reviews are dated for the time when I read the book, hence the reason many of them will be listed for times before this website existed. 

The next up on my reading of the 306 greatest books is The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. This book can be found on the Observer Book List and the BBC Book List.


The Catcher in the Rye seems to have been relegated to "cult" status stemming from the obsessive love of the book that Mark David Chapman had for the book. Chapman is well known as being the murderer of the beloved John Lennon. Whether the book deserves this cult status is up for debate but I personally don't understand it. The book is a rather depressing novel about a 16 year-old adolescent, just kicked out of prep school, and learning to deal with the adult world of "phonies." It's a very well written book and really enjoyable to read. However, it has been a long time since I have read the book, so I will place this on my must reread list to hopefully be able to solve this cult classic mystery for myself.

Saturday, June 1, 1996

The 306 Greatest Books #5 - Animal Farm

I am going back and posting all of my previous book reviews so that they are listed on my site in chronological order. The reviews are dated for the time when I read the book, hence the reason many of them will be listed for times before this website existed. 

The next up on my reading of the 306 greatest books is Animal Farm by George Orwell. This book can be found on the BBC Book List.



I had read Animal Farm in high school, like so many other great books, but I was able to go back and reread it as part of my official 100 Greatest Books read through. I find this novel fantastic and insightful, especially knowing what I know now about communist Russia and society as a whole. The book is very fast paced (I read it in about 2 hours) and it's a fun read. The story is like a children's book, which had been forced through a harsh realism filter. In essence, the story is about a group of farm animals who find that their Master has gone over the line one too many times and they take over the farm. They run the farm well as equals (at first), but then dissension starts to appear when the two "leaders" start to fight and one ousts the other from the farm. Orwell's portrayal of communistic society is chilling and he makes it understandable both to the point of how this can happen and why people let it happen. The concept of the book can be generalized in these famous lines near the end: "All animals are equal. But some animals are more equal than others." Definitely on my must read list.

Monday, April 1, 1996

The 306 Greatest Books #4 - The Great Gatsby

I am going back and posting all of my previous book reviews so that they are listed on my site in chronological order. The reviews are dated for the time when I read the book, hence the reason many of them will be listed for times before this website existed. 

The next up on my reading of the 306 greatest books is The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. This book can be found on the Sybervision Book List, the Observer Book List, the BBC Book List, and the Zane Top 10 Book List.



Along with a host of other significant stories of the early 1900's, The Great Gatsby finds itself as another mandatory school read. And like many of those books, this is one I need to go back to some day to truly understand the details that I likely missed as a high school student. The book follows the life of a man in the 1920's, who created his fortune (a member of the nouveau riche) while living around people who inherited theirs. These separate worlds clash during the Roaring 20's when people accustomed to "the old ways" must learn to adapt to the new ways that are up and coming. However, Gatsby's excesses may be a bit more than even the most liberal of people could withstand (at the time). A novel about religion, poverty to wealthy, love, and a whole host of other themes interwoven into the fabric of the quintessential 1920's American story.

Thursday, February 1, 1996

The 306 Greatest Books #3 - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

I am going back and posting all of my previous book reviews so that they are listed on my site in chronological order. The reviews are dated for the time when I read the book, hence the reason many of them will be listed for times before this website existed. 

The next up on my reading of the 306 greatest books is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. This book can be found on the Sybervision Book List, the Norwegian Book List, the Observer Book List, and the Zane Top 10 Book List.



Huckleberry Finn is one of the many novels on this list which I had read as a result of a high school assignment. I actually had to read it a couple of times for school and I have since come to love the book. It is a rather contentious book because of the language used in the book, specifically the "N" word used so prolifically throughout, however I feel that is one of the reasons it should be read. The book forces people to look at where we were as a country, where we are now, and how far we still have to go. The main plot revolves around a childhood adventure story, where Huck runs away from home getting into all sorts of trouble along the way. He travels on his trip with escaped slave Jim, whom Huck goes from seeing just as a slave to eventually seeing him as a person and a friend. This book is a must read, if only because people try to ban it.