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50 Book Challenge - Page 5

post #61 of 112
1. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho- Not a bad book at all, not life changing as so many claim, but an enjoyable read about reaching your goals and searching through your heart. Im thinking of short stories next, anyone have any suggestions? I was thinking of Button Button by Richard Matehson..,
post #62 of 112
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dashaansafin View Post
1. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho- Not a bad book at all, not life changing as so many claim, but an enjoyable read about reaching your goals and searching through your heart.

Im thinking of short stories next, anyone have any suggestions? I was thinking of Button Button by Richard Matehson..,

See if you can pick up a collection of Irish short stories.
post #63 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dashaansafin View Post
1. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho- Not a bad book at all, not life changing as so many claim, but an enjoyable read about reaching your goals and searching through your heart.

Im thinking of short stories next, anyone have any suggestions? I was thinking of Button Button by Richard Matehson..,



Have you read Raymond Carver?
post #64 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr T View Post
Have you read Raymond Carver?

Nope, I will look for it. Any particular works from him?

Ed- Irish short stories in general?
post #65 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dashaansafin View Post
Nope, I will look for it. Any particular works from him?

IMHO his best are:
http://www.amazon.com/What-Talk-Abou.../dp/0679723056
post #66 of 112
9. Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman by Jon Krakauer.

I always appreciated the personal drive that got Tillman to the NFL. He was almost undrafted out of college and was undersized by NFL standards. But he always found a way to succeed. When he joined the Army it was additional proof that he was a dedicated and conscientious young American.

I feel I need to clarify my feelings about Tillman because I am now going to tell you how disappointing this book is. Not only is it poorly written, but Krakauer makes no attempt to hide his politics (his right I suppose but it detracts from the book), and spends an inordinate amount of time writing about events that have nothing to do with Pat Tillman; for instance, the rescue of Jessica Lynch. I estimate a full 1/3 of this book has no real connection to Tillman.

Save your money and time and don't bother with this one.
post #67 of 112
2.) Denis Judd, The Lion and the Tiger: The Rise and Fall of the British Raj, 1600-1947 (NYC: Oxford Press, 2004). I think the best word is "unimpressed." This is a very small book; the edition I read is a petite hardcover with very big type. It numbered a little over 200 pages but that is deceiving, as it took 2 hours to read. Quite simply, you cannot tell a tale this grand in such a small number of pages. Judd has an annoying tendency to touch on a sensible point...and then shift gears. There is a sore lack of analysis as a result of that. Also, he likes to throw in random primary source passages without providing background. Honestly, I wouldn't even recommend this to people who need an intro. to the British Indian Empire. It's just not a very good study. Next, hopefully by the coming week, will be a comprehensive review of Robert Caro's The Power Broker.
post #68 of 112
10. Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones de Sierra (audio book). This historical novel follows the protagonist from childhood to old age in fourteenth century Barcelona as he rises from poverty to wealth and his eventual downfall in the Inquisition. The author spends a great deal of time setting his scenes with historical background information. I liked this but others might not. All things considered a great read (or should I say listen as this was an audio book).



11. El Dorado Canyon by Joseph Stanik. The author does a great job researching and reporting on the events leading up to the US air strikes on Libya in 1986. I was a teenager then and remember following the events on the news. This book showed me what I had been oblivious to during that time such as the sometimes tense interplay between Weinberger and Shultz. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in modern military history.
post #69 of 112
Thread Starter 
#10 A Death in Brazil by Peter Robb

Picked this up at a used bookstore...

It starts out good enough but pretty quickly loses its focus and becomes confusing as to what was the book's purpose. I believe it was a travel book, but Robb spends 90% of his time in one restaurant in Recife. To be fair, though,Robb does make a couple trips, and spends a weekend at the restaurant owner's beach house a little down the coast. He intersperses his "traveling" with stories about Brazil's history, and this is where the book starts its failure. Robb never really establishes if his book is also presenting a history of Brazil (he kind of stops giving history lessons at the start of the 20th century, and doesn't really give a comprehensive overview, choosing to focus on a few stories and halfheartedly tying them together), a political history of Lula, or an anthropological survey of Brazil.

I think if Robb was just trying to give a story of Brazil, the book would have been much more coherent and provided a stronger narrative. Instead he tries to figure out Brazil's endemic and unique problems that other developed societies didn't have. Problems that weren't unique, such as "why power and money...[were] personal and dynastic, why interests were personal, why wealth and political power clung so closely together". Also frustrating was Robb's typical practice of introducing characters and only after bringing them in to the story, explaining who they were or there relevance.

What makes A Death in Brazil: A Book of Omissions (a misleading title indeed. I believe the "death" referred to a still not fully solved murder of a key political figure in the late 90s. I have no idea what the "omissions" refers to) is that Robb clearly is fluent in Portuguese which gave him access to a wider range of sources and interviews that a non-Brazilian reporter would have access to. I can personally attest to how difficult it can be. His stories are incredibly interesting and worth reading, even when they do get bogged down in far too literal translations "if we don't deal with the thing, the thing will deal with us" being the worst.
post #70 of 112
2. Peter Jennings, A Reporter's Life. I always liked Peter Jennings so I was hoping this would be an insightful biography about his life. Instead it is just remembrances about his life from people who knew him. Interesting, but not what I wanted.
post #71 of 112
6.- Hannibal by Thomas Harris: Excellent book to know better the mind of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, and much much better than the movie.

7.- Rue des Boutiques Obscures by Patrick Mondiano: An interesting novel about a man that knows nothing about his past and his adventure on trying to find it.
post #72 of 112
Love the idea!

#1 1984

Was on my reading list for a while but had to finally read it for political philosophy (it counts right ) I found the book interesting and definitely worth reading if just for the references. The only thing that bothered me about it was that it was very general, at least in my view he tried to get across a lot, some of which could be interpreted as contradictory depending on which part you draw from. Otherwise it's hard to critique Orwell, I immensely enjoyed Animal Farm but it was a good 5 years ago maybe time to re-read?

#2 Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

I'm on the edge for this one, I found it immensely entertaining but he does make some pretty bold statements based on some pretty questionable evidence. I don't know if it's just me or this has been on for a while but I've stumbled into the '10,000 hours to mastery' hypothesis on a few blogs lately. I've read the book in one seating just because of how smooth and easy it is to read. I say if you have free time, and can swallow your need for more evidence than a couple of anecdotes and a study or two from the 50s.. go for it.

Coming up: My Start-Up Life, Mornings on Horseback.

Good reading gents!
post #73 of 112
12. NATO's Air War for Kosovo: A Strategic and Operational Assessment by Benjamin Lambeth.
This study re-looks at the political and military effort to stop the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. Lambeth's study is thorough but does not answer the (unanswerable) question we have wondered for the past ten years...why did Milosevic really stop fighting when he did?

13. The Bomber Boys: Heroes Who Flew the B-17s in World War II by Travis Ayres.
I love histories like this book that focus on individuals rather than campaigns because they remind me of the universal story of war known since Odysseus. Young men go to war and, if they live, return as men changed from their experience. In this account Ayres shares vignettes of five B-17 crews and the hardships they endured over Germany. This book is well written and I recommend it highly.

14. Requiem for an Assassin by Barry Eilers (audio book).
To be honest, I had never heard of this author before finding this audio book on clearance. But I was pleasantly surprised at how captivating the story was...perfect for long commutes. I may even look out for the five books that apparently came before this one in the series. The reader for this book (not sure about the rest of the series) is Scott Brick - IMHO the best male reader in the business.
post #74 of 112
Thread Starter 
#11 The Politician by Andrew Young

I'm not sure if this was a memoir meant for people who follow politics or a memoir for people who read National Enquirer. There was a lot of re-hashing of the 2004 election and Edwards' ascendancy in the Party (the latter I didn't know much about so I enjoyed it). Who it was ultimately written for didn't matter to me. The juice of the story was seeing how bat-shit crazy Rielle Hunter is and how something either triggered a change in the Edwardses or showed them for what they really are...two crazy, narcissistic, incredibly egotistical people. Young at times really dumbs down explaining things like GPS, and the internet as if people wouldn't know about them. Very good overall though.
post #75 of 112
#3 My Start-Up Life

I found Casnocha through his blog http://ben.casnocha.com/, he has some interesting posts. His book is a short summary of how he started a company in his teens. Not too bad, but I'm sure that even if you know a little about business there is nothing of value in it for you; fortunately (!?) this wasn't the case for me.
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