Reading Maze For Book Reviews

Reading for the Young & Old

Lace by Shirley Conran

Lace is a classic women’s novel. Written by Shirley Conran in 1982 it was made into a highly successful mini-series. The numbers don’t lie – over two million copies have been sold in the UK alone. It’s an intriguing tale of love, hate, deceit, and shame; you really won’t be able to put it down.

The plot centres around five main characters. Famous film star Lili is trying to trace her birth mother and knows that a mysterious benefactor sent money to her adoptive parents to pay for her upkeep – her mission is to find out who that was. The story jumps back to 1960, where we meet four schoolfriends, Pagan, Kate, Judy and Maxine. The girls are close and we follow them as they progress through school and blossom into beautiful young ladies. Each girl begins an illicit romance and eventually, one of the girls becomes pregnant. The baby is named Elizabeth Lace and put up for adoption – the mothers name listed as ‘Lucinda Lace’ – but who is the mysterious Lucinda Lace?

As the lives of the four girls’ progresses, each one of them maintaining a fabulously successful career, they receive news that the baby has died. The years of lies, resentment and shame cause them to fight and they each go their separate ways. Lili in the meantime is determined to find her mother, the woman who abandoned her and left her to suffer – she will stop at nothing until she uncovers the truth.

Eventually, the four women are summoned to New York, where Lili asks “Which one of you bitches is my mother?” It’s a spellbinding end to the novel, which will leave you gagging for more. Luckily Conran agreed and Lace 2 followed with the explosive revelation of the true identity of Lili’s parents.

For the perfect holiday novel, you can’t go wrong.

The Damned United

This fictionalization of Brian Clough’s legendary 44 days at the helm of the most famous and notorious football club in the land takes us on a journey through the tormented mind of a man wrestling with his demons. It’s an extraordinary tale of Clough’s inner angst.

Switching rapidly from real-life to the meandering emotions in Clough’s head playing back his time at Derby County, taking the manager’s job at Leeds United A.F.C in July 1974 was clearly the worst decision he could have made. Instantly alienating the players, branding them cheats at the very first training session, the relationship between both parties rapidly deteriorated.

His deep disdain for Don Revie, who had left Leeds United to become England manager, was no secret, before and after his appointment. This was at odds with the players, who regarded Revie as a God and who would remain loyal to him throughout Clough’s brief reign; with Revie, Leeds were regarded as one of the finest teams in the world and that side is still regarded to have been one of the best sides ever to play football.

David Peace, who describes his work as “fiction based on a fact”, has been criticized for his portrayal of events – with Johnny Giles successfully suing the publishers, Faber, for libel.  Faber subsequently made changes to the book and paid Giles substantial damages. This didn’t stop the making of the film though, which was released in 2009 much to the dismay of Clough’s family.

Overall, the book leaves you with a sad, painful feeling in the pit of your stomach. Clough, clearly a genius in the world of football management, comes across as a paranoid, drunken fool whose love of drink turned him into a deceitful and confrontational monster; his subsequent brilliance and achievements with Nottingham Forest almost overshadowed by his inept handling of the First Division champions, resulting in his sacking on 12 September, 1974. For many Leeds fans Clough would never be forgiven.

Dan Brown

Dan Brown leapt to fame and fortune in 2003 with his fourth novel, The Da Vinci Code, which was made into a big-budget Hollywood movie in 2006.

Brown has come in for some criticism, notably from the Catholic Church and some Christian groups: feathers were ruffled by his depiction of the Catholic organisation Opus Die in The Da Vinci Code as a sinister underground organisation full of secrets, riddles and even ruthless assassins, bent on preventing scandalous ancient truths becoming public.

Perhaps the most important point to remember is that no one reads a Dan Brown novel for religious enlightenment, or even for literary finesse: he is a story-teller extraordinaire, with a fantastic talent for keeping you frenetically turning his pages until the book is finished. Fascinated by cryptology (the art of concealing secret messages in symbols), Brown places this subject at the heart of his Robert Langdon novels, the fictional Professor of Symbology from Harvard University. The stories offer compellingly enigmatic examples of covert ingenuity and coded concealment, whilst yielding abundant edge-of-the-seat, heart-pounding thrills along the way. Brown’s novels are lengthy, but his prose style is addictive: he writes in short bursts, a technique that keeps you compulsively glued to the text.

The success of Da Vinci boosted the sales of Brown’s earlier works, including Digital Fortress and the first Robert Langdon novel, Angels and Demons. The third Robert Langdon novel, The Lost Symbol, is reportedly due for release in September 2009; set in Washington DC, it apparently features the byzantine secrecy of the Freemasons.

The Da Vinci Code

Stephanie Meyer

This young mother of three is a ‘demon writer’ as well as writer of demons. In other words, she is a most readable prose stylist who also writes darkly romantic stories about demons. Her first novel, ‘Twilight’ written in 2005 has been made into a blockbuster movie and began as a dream – literally.

Stephanie Meyer dreamt of a teenage girl who became the focus of a vampire’s romantic longing – even though he also longed for her blood. The tension between the vampire’s two appetites – for love and for destruction – haunts the novel compellingly. Whilst it is a rattling good read and is almost impossible to put down once you start reading, Ms Meyer drew from numerous literary works for inspiration, including Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice for the first novel in the three-book series; Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet for the second (New Moon), and Bronte’s Wuthering Heights for the third (Eclipse).

The stories bring to the fore the often impossible contradictions love seeks to navigate – between good and evil, the permissible and the forbidden, the safe and the dangerous – and it may be that in narrating these irreconcilable tensions, the novels touch all of us who sense them at work in out own loves and life paths. That they have sold in their millions suggests a universal appeal.

In writing novels for teenagers, which can be (and are) read avidly by adults, Ms Meyer’s extraordinary literary talents and excellent story-telling powers are a dark delight. A graphic novel of Twilight is about to be published.

Twilight Series

The Indian in the Cupboard

The first book that I can actually remember reading through in its entirety is The Indian in the Cupboard.
The book I had was a derivative of the 1995 film that was released by Paramount Pictures and Columbia Pictures.

From what I can remember it was about a boy, who on his birthday received a cupboard as a present, he soon discovers that by placing a toy figure into the cupboard locking the door and then unlocking it comes to life.

He placed a toy Red Indian in his cupboard first which in turn brought it to life. His fun was a little spoilt when his friend decided to stick Darth Vader and Robo Cop in though

I remember been captured by this book in reading it every night for about 1 week.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book when I was younger and would still probably enjoy reading it now.

I can’t remember ever watching the film but you can watch the trailer below. Also after looking you can watch the entire film in parts.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is another book that I can remember reading at an early age.

The book really captured my imagination as a child and i would imagine that it would still do so now. As a child it was very easy to believe that this could happen to you. The story was based around a little boy from a poor family who lives with his parents and both set of grandparents. There is a big marvelous chocolate factory in the town where Charlie the little boy lives and they decide to run a competition for 5 people to go and visit inside the chocolate factory and meet Willy Wonka the creator of all these marvelous confectionaries. This is a once in a lifetime trip as no one is ever seen entering or leaving the chocolate factory.

There have been 2 film adaptations of the book, but these have been called Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory which was released in 1971 and stared gene wilder which nearly everyone has seen.

And the modern Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 2005 film which was produced by Tim Burton which help create a dark side to the film and starred Johnny Depp.