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50 Book Challenge - Page 4

post #46 of 112
I just finished Angela's Ashes, but I started last year. I normally read one chapter a day before I go to sleep.

So 50 books a year is mission impossible for me. I am aiming for something around 20. Great idea though.
post #47 of 112
4. True Compass: A Memoir. Written by Edward Kennedy.

I am always a bit skeptical when reading autobiographies. I know that if I were writing my own life story it would not be balanced. However, I really enjoyed this book. Ted Kennedy wrote it without trying to lead the reader to any predetermined conclusion. I especially enjoyed his description of his childhood and what it was like growing up in the Kennedy household and, later, as each of the Kennedy sons entered politics. This is a side of Ted Kennedy that I knew little about having come of age in the 1980s.

Kennedy seems to have found peace in the final years of his life which he attributes to his (second) wife Vickie. His final words to us are to always persevere.
post #48 of 112
Where do you guys get the motivation to read? I want to...but no titles interest me at all. Also its hard to get into the book...
post #49 of 112
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Dashaansafin View Post
Where do you guys get the motivation to read? I want to...but no titles interest me at all. Also its hard to get into the book...

Where does one get the motivation to watch TV or play video games? It is all a form of entertainment.
post #50 of 112
Originally Posted by edinatlanta View Post
Where does one get the motivation to watch TV or play video games? It is all a form of entertainment.

Watching TV and playing video games is infinitely easier to be motivated to watch and play.
post #51 of 112
# 1.- Foucault Pendulum by Umberto Eco : A great historic/ suspense novel that proves the academic level of Mr. Eco and guide you through the history of the templars.

#2.- Baudolino by Umberto Eco: A novel that narrates the history of a man that lived by his lies, not as good as other works of Mr. Eco.

#3.- The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris: The story of agent Clarisse and the story to capture Buffalo Bill with the help of Dr. Hannibal Lecter.

#4.- Hannibal Rissing by Thomas Harris: The story of Habinnal Lecter from his childhood in the WWII until his trip to Baltimore.

Tomorrow in going to buy red dragon as I've never seen the movie and want to get the story complete.
post #52 of 112
Watch Manhunter instead of Red Dragon.

Working on Joe Hyam's James Dean: Little Boy Lost, The 50th Law, and The 48 Laws of Power
post #53 of 112
Thread Starter 
#3 Fool's Gold by Gillian Tett

Very good. As someone said in the WAYR threak, it is the best book explaining how the crisis came about. The one thing I took away is that it wasn't a shock that the entire game would collapse. It is that the market was able to sustain the game for as long as it did.

#4, 5, A Man in Full/The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe

I'm a big fan of Tom Wolfe. I'm an even bigger fan of stories involving my hometown. So it is no surprise that I enjoyed A Man in Full. While after a while it became apparent Wolfe wasn't trying to create realistic characters and that he was creating a farce, there were several character traits that just left the book feeling hollow. Perhaps first and foremost is that Charlie Croker's accent WAS NOT a Georgian accent. It was more of an aristocratic Virginian accent with some back country drawl not found in Georgia. That would make sense though as Wolfe was born in VA. Second, Croker was disappointed that his son had not taken up hunting like his father. The problem is, in the South, if your daddy is a hunter with a plantation, you are too. It is highly unlikely that the progeny doesn't follow the father in that regard. Third, there is no lingering racism in Atlanta (and probably most of Georgia) that white folks just casually drop in conversation, which was a major problem in Wolfe's characters. For as much research as Wolfe dedicates to his books, there were a few major disappointments. The black mayor kept referring to "get out the vote money". While there is GOTV money, it is "walking around money". Also he mentions the use of shotguns to shoot quail. Yeah, you can do that but rifles would likely be what Croker used. Anyway, not sure why I got so hung up on those points.

His description of city politics was absolutely spot on however and it is amazing how 12 years after the book was published, we still have the same style of arguments. City life has also changed very little. There has been a rise in the African American upper and middle class that was probably unforeseeable but even then, Atlanta now looks and feels just like Atlanta of almost a decade and a half ago (when Wolfe began his research for the book). That is not a bad thing. I just can't wait for the follow up, whenever that may come out.

Now, Bonfire of the Vanities... It became clear in AMIF that Wolfe uses pretty much the same characters and same techniques in his books. TBOTV proved that. In the past week when I finished the books, I've read "solar plexus" more times than I have in my entire life, and probably more than a med student does in an entire year. The omnipotent narrator uses profanity in a gratuitous and unnecessary way, and the crude descriptions of lustful thoughts and then no mention of sex at all except allusions to what may have happened, and the way Wolfe hides who he is really talking about with a wink-wink so that you can figure out exactly who or what he is referring too (Omega Zeta Zeta is not Omega Psi Phi, the fraternity of Bill Campbell who was mayor at the time of writing AMIF [the mayor, also, interestingly enough, blends EVERY QUALITY of Campbell and Andrew Young; Pierce % Pierce is not J.P. Morgan, Croker sounds a lot like John Hunsinger although I don't think JH was a "sixty minute man", etc.).

Perhaps if I hadn't read Bonfire so quickly after AMIF I might have appreciated it more. But being able to predict exactly when the lead character (an egotistical "Master of the Universe", not unlike an egotistical multi-millionaire real estate developer) would begin to have his existential doubts and have a dramatic change of heart after developing a sever case of insomnia as his woes continue to mount becomes boring. As a result,I found myself skipping ahead and not losing any sense of plot or character development.
post #54 of 112
Thread Starter 
#5 All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy

As I said in the WAYR thread, this was my first foray into McCarthy. I have to say I was quite impressed. Not surprisingly there was a complete lack of sentimentalism, but a lot less death than I expected. From what I gather though, this book is not indicative of McCarthy's other works. All the characters were completely believable and plenty of mystery still surrounds Blevins. I wish there was more to discover about him. Perhaps my favorite part of ATPH was the dialogue. It was free of any poeticism and at times reminded me of Mamet:

What did you do?
You aint got a cigarette do you?
No. What did you do?
Didnt think you did.
What did you do?
Lord what wouldnt I give for a chew of tobacco.
What did you do?
I walked up behind him and snatched it out of his belt, that's what I done.
And shot him.
He come at me.
Come at you.
So you shot him.
What choice did I have?
What choice said John Grady.

Reading the British version of ATPH was kind of fun as well, having a cowboy story using "colour" and hectares.

#6 The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho

It was interesting at times. Coelho goes on such extreme spiritual quests though it becomes tough to tell if his work is fiction (at times maybe even farcical) or autobiographical. Whatever is the reality, Coelho manages to expertly present the situation and is able to transport the reader to wherever he is. The funny thing about the book for me, however, isn't so much about the book itself. I picked it up yesterday after telling my father I wanted to complete Santiago de Compostela later this year (which is what the book is about). He said you should read The Pilgrimage, I have a copy. So I picked it up before Mass, then read it last night. One of the immediate lessons Coelho is reminded of is "there are no coincidences in life." A little later on, at the start of Coelho's journey, a woman instructs him to do whatever his guide tells him. The main point of the priest's homily last night was Mary's command to the waiters at the Wedding in Cana: "do whatever He tells you to do." Shortly thereafter Coelho is reminded of the miracles Christ performs in people's homes throughout the Gospel, another key theme of the homily.

I've read a few of Coelho's other works, and for some (foolish) reason, I expected more of a travelogue or at least more dealing with the Compostela itself. There was almost none of that. I don't expect to take the same journey as Coelho did but it was still a good story.
post #55 of 112
#1. American Salvage by Bonnie Jo Campbell Collection of short stories about desperate characters searching for salvation in rural Michigan. These stories stayed with me long after I finished the book. It's no surprise this was a finalist for the National Book Award. Will definitely re-read in the future.
post #56 of 112
5. Ann Veronica by H.G. Wells.

I am reading the collected works of Wells this year and since it is alphabetical this book was first. Although I consider myself well read I have little experience with Wells and was surprised that he wrote novels other than science fiction. Ann Veronica is about the plight of women prior to WWI and the protagonist's effort to live the life she wants despite those social restrictions. Not a bad read really.

6. Chasing Life: New Discoveries in the Search for Immortality to Help You Age Less by Sanjay Gupta, MD.

I like Dr. Gupta - he seems well intentioned and makes medicine understandable. But most of what he covers in this book is already known by anyone paying attention the past ten years. Still, it was a good reminder on how to age gracefully and in the best health possible.
post #57 of 112
Well finally getting going, but #1 - The 50th Law by Robert Greene and 50 Cent.

While I think it's a little far-fetched to compare a former crack dealer and current rapper/music industry CEO to Napoleon, I do think Greene has done a better job here of translating his ideas about power and influence to modern times than he did in The 48 Laws of Power.

The book actually has some good takeaways and lessons about living without fear in your life.
post #58 of 112
# 5.- Red Dragon by Thomas Harris.
post #59 of 112
Thread Starter 
#7 Celtic Myths and Legends T.W. Rolleston -- Rolleston needs to be praised for his work here. I'm not sure how you take some of the most interesting and exciting stories ever told and turn them in to such tedious dreck (with a healthy dose of anti-Papism thrown in for good measure) but he does.

#8 Going Rouge Sarah Palin: An American Nightmare

Picked this up for a little pre-"Going Rogue" reading. As I read it, I realized I hadn't heard of a significant number of the contributors. And as I kept reading, I thought, "this is really the best collection of Sarah Palin critiques around"? The answer is no. In fact it is nowhere near the best. Another that thing that cooked my grits was how the book was structured. By choosing such similar essays that kept hitting on the same points, the book was at times repetitive, rather than reinforcing points already made. Something that was, amusing, was the poor copy editing done. With questions raised of Palin's intellect or intelligence, reading "oneof" or other such inappropriately fused words made me chuckle.

#9 Inside the President's Secret Service by Ronald Kessler

Kessler loves to fill IPSS with gossip, most of which is already well known, and make it sound ground breaking in fresh (Spoiler alert: JFK was a womanizer, LBJ was a lush, and Nixon was paranoid). At times his bias comes through quite clearly, praising Republicans, having to do a lot of work to find somethinggood to say about Democrats and making marital infidelity a key dis qualifier for any job. He never really gets in to too much substance about the challenges facing USSS agents, relying more on their quotes about how much their job sucks and the annoying things about it. Still Kessler manages to create an interesting peek into the agency, even he is barely lifting up the covers. What deserves more mention (and frankly, more reporting on Kessler's end) is the rampant corner cutting going on in the agency, and all the management problems leaving our Executive Branch at risk.
post #60 of 112
7. The First Men in the Moon by H. G. Wells. This book was disappointing. Obviously one must grant science fiction authors from a century ago much leeway, but Wells is definitely not in the same league as Jules Verne. Since I am committed to reading more of him I hope this changes.

8. Lawyers are Liars: The Truth About Protecting our Assets by Mark Kohler. I was hoping for a very basic introductory book on asset protection and this fit the bill.
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