Books you love: 29th July – 5th August

We have well over 100,000 reviews on Waterstones.com, and we value each and every one of them. So much so, that we have decided to reward the best review we receive each week.

Win a £10 Waterstones gift card

We will feature a small selection of the week’s best customer reviews on this page, and the writer of the best review (as judged by the .com team) will receive a £10 Waterstones gift card. So tell us about the book you love today, and a £10 gift card could be yours. Well, what are you waiting for…?

To submit a review simply click on the Write a review link next to the book of your choice.

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

 

Birdsong

by Sebastian Faulks

Five-star review

Reviewed by Tim D

This is a novel best reviewed sometime after completion as it lives long in the memory, encouraging reflection some time after turning the last page. Reading it is a visceral experience with the recurrent imagery of blood coming to symbolise the tragic death of the combatants but also the hope of new life.

Faulks brilliantly contrasts the madness of war with the incredible resilience and solidarity of humanity. From the claustrophobia of the tunnels, to the literally missing bodies completely annihilated by shells and the use of the fallen for target practice, the reader is shocked into the realities of war and the sacrifice made by a generation of young men- our ancestors.

Whilst you are left in no doubt that participation in the Great War left combatants as broken men with little hope of a return to reality, Stephen’s epiphany of being part of a greater universe which will succeed us all offers solace, spiritual comfort and peace.

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The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks

The Bunker Diary

by Kevin Brooks

Five-star review

Reviewed by Piedwarbler

This is a very powerful and disturbing book but it has proven extremely popular with my year 8 class – a lot of them have requested a copy. It is a deserving winner of the Carnegie in my view, even though I can see why it took so long to get published, because it is unremittingly bleak and grim.

I do think this book needs handling with care and not recommending to all youngsters – however, teens do know what sort of books they are ready to read and whilst for some it wouldn’t appeal, for others who are questioning the purpose of life, they are ready to explore these issues with the help of a bleak book like this one.

Brooks is famous for the philosophical ideas he carefully adds into his narratives and I think that’s what gives this book its heft. A remarkable, ground-breaking book, and one that will haunt you, no matter how young or old you are!

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The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass

The Tin Drum

by Gunter Grass

Four-star review

Reviewed by Nicholas Casley

I wanted to read the book before I saw the film. I came to the book blind, knowing it had a reputation, but unaware of its content or style. For those equally ignorant of the book, the story concerns the life of Oskar, born between the wars in a world where Pole rubs side-by-side with German, and whose physical constitution means that he remains the size of a child.

Like all good novels, Grass’s work acts on many levels. Putting aside the symbolism, he mixes into the text considerations of philosophy and history: Rasputin as Dionysius and Goethe as Apollo. And there is also much to marvel at on the literary level. For instance, a bullet fired is a “lead projectile” on a “death-dealing change of habitat”.

I enjoyed Oskar’s company (most of the time), and felt I understood his outlook on life (most of the time). It’s not the easiest novel to read, but a good reader likes a good challenge, so long as he gets paid well for his labours. I wonder, though, as I open the DVD packaging, how they have translated Oskar’s journey into film…

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The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner

by James Dashner

Five-star review

Reviewed by davetheminion

My friend recommended this book to me, at school, so i thought would give it a try, because i wanted it to live up to the standards of The Hunger Games and Divergent series (my FAVOURITE books!!! and Ultraviolet and Quicksilver, read them!!!)) and it did, it is an amazing book, with action and mystery, and lots of other amazing things!!! i couldn’t put the book down!!

i have also read the other books in the series, and am now on The Kill Order and they all have the same amazing quality of writing, and the characters are described beautifully, so i can’t wait until the movie comes out!!!! seriously read this book!!!!!

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What do you think?