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50 Book Challenge - Page 3

post #31 of 112
Originally Posted by NorCal View Post
I say no hard and fast limits, literature is like porn, I know it when I see it.

I'm planning on a mix of "literary" fiction, non-fiction, and pulpy trash.
post #32 of 112
Originally Posted by Mr T View Post
Sounds good. Like DakotaRube, I also have no life and read voraciously.

I am considering being offended by this ^.
I'll get back to you with my final answer.
post #33 of 112
Originally Posted by globetrotter View Post
I'm up for the challenge

YOU fly a lot. I call no fair.
post #34 of 112
OK - I guess I will be first.

1. Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami.

I am a fan of Murakami and have actually read this book several times. All of the typical Murakami symbols (or are they signs?) of his writing are evident. Cats, ears, the sense that there is something living just beneath our physical grasp are included. In this book, as in The Great Sheep Chase , Kafka on the Shore, and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (and others), the protagonist must seek answers in isolation and, as in real life, must live his life regardless of whether those answers arrive.

I think Sputnik Sweatheart is the best introduction to Murakami because the elements that make him unique are all present but not overwhelming. A woman's ears are only briefly mentioned and cats are referred to from the third person perspective. In other of his novels the cats are known to hold conversations with the main character which must seem strange to the new reader. Of course, it also serves a purpose; once the reader accepts talking cats anything is possible.
post #35 of 112
Have we determined whether to include audio books? I have a bit of a commute most weekends and typically listen to 3-4 books a month this way.
post #36 of 112
I will give this challenge a shot.
post #37 of 112
Originally Posted by Mr T View Post
Have we determined whether to include audio books? I have a bit of a commute most weekends and typically listen to 3-4 books a month this way.
Not my place to say, but I don't see why not.
post #38 of 112
2. Tiger Force: A True Story of Men and War (audio book), by Michael Sallah & Mitch Weiss.

I have a 6 hour commute on the weekend and tonight filled the time with this audio book. I was not expecting to be moved by this story of Vietnam. Everyone knows atrocities were committed by both sides and we have had a steady diet of recent war coverage for 8 years. War is hell. But the atrocities uncovered by the original Army investigation and reported in this book are truly shocking.
post #39 of 112
Thread Starter 
#1: Into Tibet by Thomas Laird

Ostensibly the story about Douglas Mackiernan, the first CIA agent killed in the line of duty. However, the death of "Mac" happens around the middle of the book and pretty quickly the book no longer becomes about him but instead his comrade on the trip, Frank Bessac. This is Laird's first foray into non fiction and it shows. Often the connection between characters and the people themselves become unclear and creates a confusing story. Mackiernan's mission is a fascinating story and it gets told well. However,some of the more intriguing aspects of the story (the who knew what and when did they know it in the intelligence community) gets glossed over or without too much digging which was disappointing. Especially considering FOIA requests were needed to complete key aspects of the research for the book. Considerable amounts of time are devoted early on to Mackeirnan's personal life with no real explanation given which made the book sluggish at times. However, it becomes clear at the end why his personal life was important to the story.

I'm not sure what else to say about Into Tibet. It is a good story and it takes some will power to get through certain parts of the book, but it is a story that has been classified for so long (and guarded so well) that it added a sense of intrigue to reading the story.
post #40 of 112
Thread Starter 
#2 The Devil's Playground: A Century of Pleasure and Profit in Times Square by James Traub

While the title may lead you to think it is a history of the nefarious, seedy side of Times Square, the book is really anything but. Much of the history revolves around the early, formative days of Times Square while devoting only a short chapter to the crime riddled Times Square of the 70s and 80s. The book rarely strays past the history of two blocks of 42nd Street and often devotes more time to the history of American theater than it does to Times Square. Traub does have a lot of good research and is often too eager to share that information (such as saying such and such a theater was the place to stage popular plays and then proceeding to list seemingly every profitable play staged there) and too eager to shape the readers' minds ("We want to have a Times Square that is hospitable to Izzy Yereshevsky...[b]ut we cannot have it back", well no shit Sherlock). That isn't necessarily a fault of the book. The last third of the book isn't so much a history as an amateur sociological discussion of contemporary Times Square and is a bit of a bore.
post #41 of 112
I AM SO IN. Dibs on the New and Old Testament of the Bible.
post #42 of 112
3. Afghanistan: A Short History of Its People and Politics. Written by Martin Ewans.

Nice, relatively short (299 pages + notes) look at a country we are spending a lot of time and money trying to fix. Truthfully, the first half of this book was a bit boring up until the Soviet invasion, the subsequent struggle for home rule, and the emergence of the Taliban as a government. Interestingly, when the Soviets were trying to find an honorable exit out of the country they used terms like "winning the hearts and minds" to win their counterinsurgency and spent much money trying to protect the locals from the mujaheddin (complete failure as most Afghans saw the Afghan government as Soviet puppets). These concepts have been known for many years in counterinsurgency doctrine but it seems the US has only recently found them again. As for this is now on the US Air Force Chief of Staff's reading list - a positive sign.
post #43 of 112
So....I read The Moviegoer by Walker Percy. I don't really feel capable of talking intelligently about it without reading it for at least a second time. It's set in New Orleans in the late 50's. It's very existentialist. It's an easy read, at least superficially, which I think is why I don't really feel like I have a grasp on it. I just breezed right through it, which was a mistake. I do recommend it though. I intend on rereading it at some point.
post #44 of 112
I'm going to give this a shot. #1: The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God, by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan A posthumous printing of Sagan's 1985 Gifford Lecture. He begins with a detailed examination of cosmology and discusses all sorts of things: pseudoscience, astrophysics, intelligent design, etc. He goes through theistic proofs and demolishes them; the arguments he uses aren't new but it's a concise summary of those proofs. He argues, pretty effectively, that the feelings we attain from religious experience are equally powerful in science. The rational discovery of truths and a reason-based appraoch to the world can be very stimulating, which I think is true. Like all of Carl's work it is elegant, concise, and profound. Seriously, the world is poorer without him.
post #45 of 112
Wow Edinatlanta already finished a first book? or am I reading this wrong. Anyways, #1. The Castle by Franz Kafka I'm about half way through and I have to say this book is bizarre. It's intelligent, but soporific and absurd. I feel like I'm reading an adult version of Alice in Wonderland. I guess we're writing what the book's about? The Castle is about K. who is an unnecessary unwanted land surveyor in a rural castle and village. He's not admitted to the castle, not accepted by the village, and unwilling to leave. In the beginning it seemed that he was merely pretending to be one for conversation's sake, but he keeps going with it and so does the administration at the castle. Bizarro world Upcoming is Tolstoy's War and Peace, so I'm probably not going to be able to read a full 50 books, but hopefully somewhere near
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