After last week’s soul crushing compilation of the worst Amazon reviews on my favourite books, I feel it’s time for a more uplifting account of each book, from some not-so-biased sources.
So here, primarily to build up my wounded book-reviewing pride, are the best reviews of my favourite books.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
The majority of reviews on this classic were positive, so it’s just a matter of picking the best. Put simply, by Mrliteral, To Kill a Mockingbird is “a true classic”. But Bett Norris articulates her feelings beautifully: “I have always liked books better than people. Some books are better friends than many people I know… To Kill a Mockingbird will remain a treasured, dear old friend.”
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.
1,703 people gave this book top marks, including A Customer, who calls it “a brilliant coming-of-age novel.”
James Tyler says he “can remember enjoying this book the first time I read it. But I had no idea that with each subsequent reading I would find more and more to enjoy…”
Finally, B. Michini says Catcher is “a timeless, honest, controversial, superbly written tale” because protagonist Holden Caulfield “made me feel like there were others in this predicament that we call adolescence.”
Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann.
It seems most reviewers enjoyed this book, too, if only for it’s so-bad-it’s-good qualities. Childof80s—naturally—says it’s “more addictive than the pills its heroines take. Sure, it’s trashy, but trash is by far the most entertaining form of literature.” Thankyou for proving my point.
DevJohn01 goes as far as to say that “this cult classic is just what the doctor ordered,” while Timothy R. Wilkins says it’s “a classic and necessary primer for all lovers of pure camp!”
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova.
Feelings about this vampire tale were split fairly evenly across the board. Nancy B. Miller summarises it nicely, saying “Kostova has crafted a slow-building story that blends scholarship and the supernatural in a unique and fascinating way.”
When this book was released in 2006, it was compared to The Da Vinci Code, as so many works with an historical mystery plotline are. I probably enjoyed The Da Vinci Code more than The Historian, but just by a hair. 340bookfan is having none of this, calling The Historian “a real writer’s answer to The Da Vinci Code.” I will agree that The Historian is written in a more complex manner, and the author spent ten years bringing the pieces of Dracula’s puzzle together, so Kostova’s practically an historian herself!
Tietam Brown by Mick Foley.
Much like The Catcher in the Rye, Tietam Brown is a coming-of-age tale that deals with controversial subject matter. R. A. Ward has “a hard time quantifying it for this review,” and I had a similar reaction to it, too.
Big-noter Aaron J. Palmer, with a multitude of MAs, and BAs and PhDs, who has “read a lot of [novels]” calls Tietam Brown “without a doubt, one of the best novels I’ve ever read.” Finally, Charles E. Henry commends Foley for “some great character development” and the way the book “manages to be funny, disturbing, sad and hopeful all at the same time.”
I will agree that its appeal is very hard to put into words, but I think it is a novel that almost anyone would enjoy.
Watership Down by Richard Adams.
Richard Adams’ tale of talking bunnies gets an “A+ rating” from B. Merritt, who thanks the publishers for taking a chance on a novel that “really wasn’t a children’s tale, nor adult literature”, because “if they hadn’t, we surely would have been denied a true literary classic.
A common theme here is Watership Down’s nostalgic presence in the reviewers’ lives. David Huber and Lawrance M. Bernabo both recall coming of an intense J.R.R. Tolkien ride, thinking nothing they would ever read could live up to the standard set by Lord of the Rings. They both admit how wrong they were, with Huber marvelling at “how one person can actually produce such lovable characters… that actually make [sic] you feel various emotions for each of them.” Now I want to revisit this classic (bunny) tale!
I’ll add you to my list, Watership…
A Lion’s Tale by Chris Jericho.
If I can refer back to last week’s post regarding this title, it is not hard to find positive reviews on this one. Ranging from being “the best wrestling book I’ve ever read” (C. Sawin) to a “book wrestling fans can honestly recommend to non-wrestling fans about wrestling” (S. Albert) to, plain and simple, “the best wrestling [auto]biography ever!” (Pwa Y. Soo), I pretty much agree with all of them.
Another City, Not My Own by Dominick Dunne.
This is my Achilles heel; it just so happens that my favourite book ever is universally panned by critics—which is not uncommon for a Dominick Dunne book—and the general public alike!
But there are a few good ones, which is not as disheartening as going through all the negative ones! Cecilia Sheppard shares my sentiments in saying she “devour[s] this man’s books like fine chocolates.”
A Customer pinpoints the strange feeling I had after completing this “novel in the form of a memoir”, calling it “unnerving”, while jtj3 says he “was an O.J. trial junkie”, just as I became after reading this book. He “literally could not put the book down” and believes it is “Dunne’s fictionalised autobiography”, as so much of his career centred around O.J. Simpson.