Category: 200 Word Book Reviews

‘The Second Coming of Steve Jobs’ Book Review


Dated, and lacking the magic of a truly insightful biography.

The Second Coming of Steve Jobs‘ is an interesting and well-researched account of Steve Jobs’ life through his “wilderness years” after being ousted from Apple in 1985, the failure of Next, almost accidental redemption through Pixar and triumphant return to Apple.

The book presents the good Steve/bad Steve dichotomy that represent this fascinating man’s maniacal genius. This account, while full of interesting anecdotes and little-remembered facts lacks the magic of a truly insightful biography. There’s a certain snidely vindictive tone throughout that smacks of envy and a lack of understanding. The author appears to not much like Steve Jobs, but he remains fascinated with him …

‘Infidel’ Book Review


A courageous, highly important and unavoidably incendiary contemporary work.

In ‘Infidel‘, Ayaan Hirsi Ali takes us on an unforgettable journey of personal transformation. Her 1970’s childhood was a traditional Muslim upbringing requiring submission and obedience.  She grew up in war-torn Somalia, Saudi Arabia and Kenya with an absentee father and abusive mother to come of age as a member of parliament in Holland, and outspoken internationally renown activist.

Her brave and deeply personal memoir is arrestingly provocative because she is our contemporary. She tells of the realities of female subjugation, genital mutilation and arranged marriage because she lived it.  Her overwhelming pain and naturally rebellious spirit fed her passion, leading her first to seek political …

‘Call Me Ted’ Book Review


A visionary entrepreneur tells his extraordinary story.

In 1984 – when my parents were one of the first cable subscribers on a tiny Caribbean island – I had no idea that CNN was a fledgling cable network. It is easy to assume that rich, powerful, outspoken Southern billionaires such as Ted Turner have always been so. Not quite.

Ted Turner was once a rambunctious, badly behaved boy who was chucked off to boarding schools at a very tender age, expelled  several times, and repeatedly physically abused by a controlling alcoholic father. Despite his harsh childhood, there is no pity party in his autobiography ‘Call Me Ted‘. He tells the story of his challenging younger days …

‘Night’ Book Review


A haunting tribute to the power and beauty of the human spirit.

Night is Elie Wiesel’s autobiographical account of holocaust survival. Summon your courage and brace yourself emotionally for the coming onslaught of cruelty inflicted by Hitler on European Jews through an incredibly dark moment in human history.

The first thing that struck me was the purity of autobiographical account being told by Eliezer, a 14-year old Jewish boy living in Transylvanian town of Sighet. As the war raged and the Nazi atrocities mounted, the Jews in that town lived ignorantly contented lives – optimistic that war would soon be over and with a feeling of blissful insulation from its terrors.

Elie Wiesel’s language is plain, devoid …

‘The Good Earth’ Book Review


An worthwhile foray into the agrarian world of pre-Revolution China

Published in 1931, “The Good Earth” is the first in “The House of Earth” trilogy. The book was awarded the Pulitzer prize in 1932, and its author, Pearl S. Buck went on to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

This is the beautifully written story of Wang Lung, a Chinese farmer with a deep and enduring love for his land. The story spans his lifetime from young adulthood until his old age near his death. The setting is rural pre-Revolution China. The language is simple and dispassionate. The characters are flawed but richly presented. The themes are universal, timeless and filled with irony. It is …

‘Tuck Everlasting’ Book Review


A gem of a book for younger readers.

A ten-year old girl, a toad and a family who stumbles upon everlasting life.

Tuck Everlasting‘ is a magical book that grapples with that age-old topic of human fascination – immortality. Winnie Foster meets the Tuck family who have drunk from a spring that gives eternal life – and Winnie has the chance to drink from that spring too – and live forever.

There are also other themes explored in a remarkably mature way: greed, deception, temptation, murder, loneliness, the perfect cycle of life and the true meaning of friendship. This is the kind of story that will allow younger readers to reflect upon life and to …

‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ Book Review


A masterpiece. Alexandre Dumas was a genius.

Published in 1846 as a serial novel, ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ is truly an epic tale – 117 chapters and 1,200 pages long. Translated from the original French, and set primarily in post-Napoleonic France, it tells the story of Edmond Dantes.

We witness Edmond’s transformation from wide-eyed 19-year old sailor, about to become captain of his own ship and marry beautiful Mercedes, the girl of his dreams, to a prisoner, a victim of treachery forgotten in a dungeons of the infamous Chateau d’If, to one of the most enigmatic and multi-layered characters ever written – fabulously wealthy, awesomely powerful and patiently bent on the cleverest, darkest revenge.…