Category: My Favourite Books

Aug 28

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa

The Housekeeper and the Professor
by Yoko Ogawa
(5/5)

Contemporary Fiction/Japanese Fiction
Publisher: Vintage
First Published in August 2003

Review


This is one of my favourite books that I have read this year. It’s actually turning out to be a bit of a Japanese reading year for me, with Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 trilogy keeping me busy from January to March.


I had read a favourite books of the year newspaper article in January and along with 1Q84,  The House Keeper and the Professor was among the chosen few. It’s a heartwarming story about a housekeeper, a professor and the housekeeper’s ten year old son. Using the word ‘heartwarming’ to describe this story may cause it to sound trite and mushy, but having just finished this short novel just an hour ago, that’s how my heart feels – warmed.

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Jul 19

And Furthermore by Judi Dench

And Furthermore

by Judi Dench

as told to John Miller

(5/5)

Autobiography: And Furthermore by Judi Dench

Autobiography / Biography / Memoir / Non-Fiction
Publisher: Phoenix
First Published in 2010

Click here to buy the book And Furthermore by Judi Dench (with free delivery)

Book Review:

This autobiography of Judi Dench’s career was a fun and easy read. As an actor myself, I loved reading about her stage productions and the different experiences, directors and actors she encountered. Dench comes across extremely down to earth and hard working actor with a playful sense of humour. I read the book with a mixture of envy and awe – Dench was actually fought over to play Shakespeare’s Cleopatra by two directors, Peter Hall and Terry Hands, who had both decided to direct the play at the same time!

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Apr 01

The Help – Audio Book Review

The Help

by Kathryn Stockett

(5/5)

Fiction
First Published  in 2009
Publisher: Penguin

Click to buy the book The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Click to buy the audiobook The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Book Synopsis:

1962 in Jackson, Mississippi, three women, as different as can be, Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny come together for an underground project, which if exposed, would put them all at risk.

Skeeter is a 22-year-old white woman who has just returned home after graduating from university. But in 1962, mothers care more about their daughter’s marriage prospects than their career hopes.

Aibileen is an astute black maid who is bringing up her seventeenth white child. When Aibileen’s own son died, as his employers looked the other way, something changed inside her. She is dedicated and caring towards the little girl she is raising, but she knows that they will have to part ways someday.

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Jan 01

Infidel

Infidel

by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

(5/5)

Picture 1Autobiography / Non-Fiction
First Published in 2007
Publisher: The Free Press

Click to buy this book (free delivery)

Book Synopsis:

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is among today’s most controversial yet admired political figures. She made international headlines when her friend and colleague Theo Van Gogh was assassinated in the Netherlands for making the film Submission with Hirsi Ali. His Islamist murderer stabbed a note to his body threatening that Hirsi Ali would be next.

This celebrated writer of The Caged Virgin, and courageous champion of free speech has led an extraordinary life.

In her astonishing memoir, she tells of growing up in Somalia in a staunch Muslim household, to escaping an arranged marriage, to her intellectual re-birth in the Netherlands, to becoming a member of the Dutch parliament, and finally of her life under constant security protection because of her open critique of Islam.

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Dec 30

The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters

The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters

by Elisabeth Robinson

(5/5) Picture 3Fiction
First Published in 2004
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
International Bestseller

Click to buy this book (free delivery)

Book Synopsis:

This novel is told in the form of letters from Olivia Hunt to her sister with cancer, Michael her ex-boyfriend, her parents and her best friend. Along the way we find out about the progress or non-progress of Olivia’s feature film that she’s trying to get off the ground in Hollywood.

Through Olivia’s letters we track the progress of her year, and are privy to her thoughts, the varied way she communicates with people, her highs and lows and also just the plain usual things that happens day to day that find themselves into her letters. Simply yet powerfully told, this novel simultaneously funny and sad, tragic and heart warming.

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Dec 20

The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle

a memoir

by Jeanette Walls

(5/5)

Picture 1Memoir/Autobiography
First Published in 2005
Publisher: Scribner International

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Book Synopsis:

The Glass Castle is an extraordinary memoir of a dysfunctional yet effervescent American family. Jeanette’s father is an intelligent, compelling figure, who educates his children on geology, physics and joie de vivre. However, more often than not, he was a drunk who was caustic and dishonest.

Jeanette’s mother was a free spirit who loved painting but hated conformity and the domestic life of raising children.

And so, Jeanette and her siblings grew up taking care of themselves. Jeanette became a successful writer in New York, a place where her parents eventually moved, choosing out of their own free will to live homeless.

In The Glass Castle, the behavior of Rex and Rose Mary Walls is shocking and unacceptable, yet at the same time, it is abundantly clear that they possess deep love and loyalty for their children. It is this contradiction that makes this memoir so gripping.

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Dec 06

The Hours

The Hours

by Michael Cunningham

(5/5)

Picture 2Fiction
First Published in 1998
Publisher; Fourth Estate, A Division of Harper Collins Publishers
Set in: London, New York City and Los Angeles (1920s/1940s/1990s)
Won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
Won the 1999 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

Click to buy this book (free delivery)

Book Synopsis:

Three women.

1920s London. Virginia Woolf attempts to begin her new novel, but she is struggling to settle her unruly mind.

1940s Los Angeles. In the stifling heat, Laura Brown, a young mother and wife aches to abandon her domestic life to escape to the solitude of reading Mrs Dalloway.

1990s New York. Clarissa Vaughan hosts a party for a dying friend.

Michael Cunningham uses the life and works of Virginia Woolf as inspiration for a moving reflection on love, failure, despair and artistic behaviour.

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Nov 30

The Giving Tree

The Giving Tree

by Shel Silverstein

(5/5)

Picture 1Children’s Fiction
Ages 6-10
First Published in 1964
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers

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Book Cover Synopsis:

“Once there was a tree…and she loved a little boy. So begins a story of unforgettable perception, beautifully written and illustrated by the gifted and versatile Shel Silverstein.

Every day the boy would come to the tree to eat her apples, swing from her branches, or slide down her trunk…and the tree was happy. But as the boy grew older he began to want more from the tree and the tree gave and gave.

This is a tender story, touched with sadness, aglow with consolation. Shel Silverstein has created a moving parable for readers of all ages that offers an affecting interpretation of the gift of giving and a serene acceptance of another’s capacity to love in return.

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Nov 30

Bridget Jones’s Diary

Bridget Jones’s Diary

by Helen Fielding

(5/5)

Bridget Jones PictureFiction
First Published in 1996
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Set in: London, present day

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Book Cover Synopsis:

Bridget Jones wants to have it all – and once she’s given up smoking and got down to 8st 7lbs, she will. Bridget Jones’s Diary is about a year in the life of a single girl on an optimistic but doomed quest for self-improvement. A dazzling urban satire of modern human relations? An ironic, tragic insight into the demise of the nuclear family? Or the confused ramblings of a pissed thirty-something? Bridget Jones is everyone’s favourite Londoner. This is your chance to reacquaint yourself with the funniest, most heart-warming young lady ever to grace the pages of a Picador book.

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Nov 28

Drowning Ruth

Drowning Ruth

by Christina Schwarz

(5/5)

Picture 3Fiction
First Published in 2000
Publisher: Doubleday Publishing
Set in: Wisconsin, USA.
Part of Oprah’s Book Club
International Bestseller

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Book cover Synopsis:

At the close of World War One, Amanda Starkey leaves the city and travels to her family farm in rural Wisconsin to recover from a traumatic love affair. Instead, she is caught up in a tragedy that will take her beloved sister’s life, and leave Amanda to raise her niece Ruth. What happened the terrible night when Mattie died? Why does Ruth say she can remember drowning? For years the consequences of the tragedy reverberate; the truth, when it is revealed, is both dramatic and extraordinarily moving.

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Nov 27

The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner

by Khaled Hosseini

(5/5)

Picture 2Fiction
First Published in 2003
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Set in: Afghanistan, USA

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Book Cover Synopsis:

Over five years on the New York Times bestseller list, and published in 42 different languages.

Taking us from Afghanistan in the final days of the monarchy to the present, The Kite Runner is the unforgettable, beautifully told story of the friendship between two boys growing up in Kabul. Raised in the same household and sharing the same wet nurse, Amir and Hassan nonetheless grow up in different worlds: Amir is the son of a prominent and wealthy man, while Hassan, the son of Amir’s father’s servant, is a Hazara, a member of the ethnically shunned minority. Their intwined lives, and their fates, reflect the eventual tragedy of the world around them. When the Soviets invade and Amir and his father flee the country for a new life in California, Amir thinks that he has escaped his past. And yet he cannot leave behind the memory of Hassan behind him.

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Nov 27

A Thousand Splendid Suns

A Thousand Splendid Suns

by Khaled Hosseini

(5/5)

Picture 5Fiction
First Published in 2007
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Set in: Afghanistan

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Book cover synopsis:

After more than 189 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list for The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini returns with a beautiful, riveting, and haunting novel that confirms his place as one of the most important literary writers today. Propelled by the same superb instinct for storytelling that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once an incredible chronicle of thirty years of Afghan history and a deeply moving story of family, friendship, faith, and the salvation to be found in love.

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