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2014 50 Book Challenge - Page 85

post #1261 of 2310
53. The Even More Complete Book of Australian Verse, by John Clarke (2003)


The Even More Complete Book Of Australian VerseThe Even More Complete Book Of Australian Verse by John Clarke

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


In The Even More Complete Book of Australian Verse John Clarke, one of the great satirists, turns his attention to poetry and reveals how nearly all of the world's great poets were really Australian. He presents selections from the works of literary legends such as Rabbi Burns, Very Manly Hopkins, b.b. hummings and Carol Lewis (renowned author of Alison Wonderland and Who are You Looking At?).

The book has been through a few editions from 1989 to 2003, so some of the target's of Clarke's satire may be a bit obscure to a contemporary audience, and might make little sense to a audience not au fait with Australian politics and sport. I'm not a huge poetry reader but recognised enough of the references to get a lot of belly laughs; those more familiar with the poetry that Clarke is lampooning will get a lot more out of it.



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post #1262 of 2310
54. We Need New Names, by NoViolet Buluwayo (2013)

We Need New NamesWe Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


NoViolet Bulawayo's first novel made the 2013 Booker shortlist, which gives an insight into her talent. We Need New Names is the story of Darling, a young child living in poverty in a Zimbabwean shanty town. Darling and her friends run riot amid the squalor, and their games innocently reflect the horror going on around them.

Darling eventually escapes this environment and moves to the USA, where she struggles to get to grips with her new life. She feels the strings attaching her to her old country, but knows she can never go back.

The first half of the book is both amusing and shocking as Darling describes the games she plays with her friends. However, the second half is a more mundane account of a young immigrant in a new country. That said, there is one chapter called How They Lived which is as good an account of the experiences of a third world migrant to the new world as I've ever read. Gems like this chapter make We Need New Names a very worthwhile addition to African literature.



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post #1263 of 2310
List (Click to show)

1. The Undivided pt 1

2. The Undivided pt 2

3. No Country for Old Men

4. The Difference Engine

5. Wake in Fright

6. The River of Doubt

7. The Pearl

8. Crytonomicon

9. Shot in the Dark

10. Malcolm X - Biography

11. Final Empire

12. The Quiet American.

13. Habibi

14. The Invisible Man

15. Tender is the Night

16. Guardians of the West

17. King of the Murgos

18. Demon lord of Khandar

19. Sorcress of Darshiva

20. Seeress of Kell

21. Once We Were Warriors

22. Winter of our Discontent

23. Othello

24. A Scanner Darkly

25. The Well of Ascension

26. Hero of Ages

27. Alloy of Law

28. Marrow

29. The Prince

30. Leviathan Wakes

31. The Meaning of Sarkozy

32. The Death of Ivan Illych

33. The Devil

34. Lucifer's Hammer

35. The Yiddish Policeman's Union

36. Rainbows End

37. Palimpsest

38. Red Shirts

39. Caliban's War

40. The Ocean at the End of the Lane

41. The Communist Hypothesis

42. While Mortals Sleep

43. Spin

44. Werewolves in their Youth

45. Heart of Darkness

46. A Model World

47. Throne of the Crescent Moon

48. Darkness at Noon

49. Abaddon's Gate

50.  Into the WIld

51. Ready Player One

52. 1Q84

53. Red Pony

54. Bright lights, big city

55. All the pretty horses

56. A Short walk in the Hindu Kush

57. The Brief, Wonderous life of Oscar Wao

58. Ubik

59. Return of a King

60. In trouble again

61. Dance, Dance, Dance

61. Dance, Dance, Dance

 

Fantastic characterisation paired with nearly flawless narration. Masterclass in elegance and subtlety. A joy to read from start to end, with just enough weirdness to keep things interesting. High entertaining, engaging and provoking.

 

Should be 62 by the end of today fellas.

post #1264 of 2310
Why was I not told of this. plain.gif

This is great. Will there be a 2014 thread?
post #1265 of 2310
Quote:
Originally Posted by noob View Post

Why was I not told of this. plain.gif

This is great. Will there be a 2014 thread?

First you have to qualify, by reading and reviewing 50 books this year. Off you go...

smile.gif

Welcome to the team. Never too late to start.
post #1266 of 2310
109. A Princess of Mars 1912 Edgar Rice Burroughs

Like a big-budget Hollywood action film. An earth man mysteriously ends up on Mars and fights green men and red men and wins the girl. Somehow he winds up back on earth girl less. I think he'll be back as there are 11 books in all.
post #1267 of 2310
62. This is how you lose her

Unmatched. Gorgeous. Brilliant.
post #1268 of 2310
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

I just that there was so much happening in Blood Meridian - each page was a separate story - impressive, but compeltely draining.

Outer Dark is probably my second favorite book of his. Completely demented, but really good.
post #1269 of 2310
55. The Testament of Mary, by Colm Toibin (2012)

Another from the 2013 Booker shortlist.

The Testament of MaryThe Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The Testament of Mary is an account of the death of Jesus from the point of view of the one who knew him best, his mother Mary.

Toibin's Mary is an aged woman preparing herself for the end of her life and seeking to clarify in her own mind the events surrounding her son's death. She recounts her son's inexorable slide into the clutches of his political enemies and gives us a grim eyewitness account of the crucifixion. Mary's account of the aftermath varies dramatically from the traditional account.

Toibin's novella is ridden with heresies that are subtly and gently delivered in a way that is absolutely believable, although the book will no doubt ruffle many feathers. It is however a succinct and beautiful account of a mother's special bonds to her child, and a very human portrayal of a person who tradition has presented as more of a semi-divine figure.



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post #1270 of 2310
Clockwise counting 87/50: Fred Vargas - This Night's Foul Work (2006)

The Adamsberg policiers maintain a high and even standard. I will try to read the whole series. 

Two men are found in a Paris suburb with their throats cut, a number of stags are killed in Normandy and have their hearts cut out, some people report seeing ghosts and a few graves of recently diseased young women are disturbed. Commissaire Adamsberg has a sense of an evil presence, connects the various events and relies more on intuition than logic.
post #1271 of 2310
Clockwise counting 88/50: James S.A. Corey - Caliban's War (2012)

The continuation of Leviathan Wakes is another classic adventure / horror story in a magnificent space setting. The three super powers are Earth, Mars and the Outer Planetary Alliance (OPA). A serious threat to all three powers is the mysterious virus that made its powerful presence in our solar system known in the previous book. This new power is now taking unexpected shapes and initiates violent action but Earth and Mars fail to keep peace internally in order to make a united front against this future enemy.

This book has a more pronounced political focus compared to its predecessor. There is also a strong emphasis on human relations, even if often presented in a rather simplistic way, as is often the case in adventure stories. Very little high-tech geek-friendly stuff. 

This is decent entertainment and the 600 pages turn quickly. But it is nowhere near the level of Iain Banks' best, e.g. Player of Games.
post #1272 of 2310
Clockwise counting 89/50: Yasunari Kawabata - Thousand Cranes (1952)

A brilliant little novel about tea ceremony rituals, guilt and love. The protagonist is 25-year old Kikuji whose father has recently died. At a tea ceremony, he is introduced to a beautiful intended future wife by one of his father's old mistresses. He instead falls in love with another of his father's mistresses, the guilt-ridden and highly emotional Mrs Ota. After Mrs Ota's death, her daughter Fumiko enters his life as a continuation of the guilt and hopeless love.

Despite its small format, this novel tells a lot about human relationships and it leaves many questions unanswered in a perfectly satisfactory way. This is a minimalistic masterpiece and very similar to Snow Country, which I read earlier this year. Highly recommended.
post #1273 of 2310
List (Click to show)
1. The Undivided pt 1

2. The Undivided pt 2

3. No Country for Old Men

4. The Difference Engine

5. Wake in Fright

6. The River of Doubt

7. The Pearl

8. Crytonomicon

9. Shot in the Dark

10. Malcolm X - Biography

11. Final Empire

12. The Quiet American.

13. Habibi

14. The Invisible Man

15. Tender is the Night

16. Guardians of the West

17. King of the Murgos

18. Demon lord of Khandar

19. Sorcress of Darshiva

20. Seeress of Kell

21. Once We Were Warriors

22. Winter of our Discontent

23. Othello

24. A Scanner Darkly

25. The Well of Ascension

26. Hero of Ages

27. Alloy of Law

28. Marrow

29. The Prince

30. Leviathan Wakes

31. The Meaning of Sarkozy

32. The Death of Ivan Illych

33. The Devil

34. Lucifer's Hammer

35. The Yiddish Policeman's Union

36. Rainbows End

37. Palimpsest

38. Red Shirts

39. Caliban's War

40. The Ocean at the End of the Lane

41. The Communist Hypothesis

42. While Mortals Sleep

43. Spin

44. Werewolves in their Youth

45. Heart of Darkness

46. A Model World

47. Throne of the Crescent Moon

48. Darkness at Noon

49. Abaddon's Gate

50.  Into the WIld

51. Ready Player One

52. 1Q84

53. Red Pony

54. Bright lights, big city

55. All the pretty horses

56. A Short walk in the Hindu Kush

57. The Brief, Wonderous life of Oscar Wao

58. Ubik

59. Return of a King

60. In trouble again

61. Dance, Dance, Dance

62. This is how you lose her

63. Drown

 

63. Drown

 

Junot Diaz's second short story collection was generally enjoyable. Focusing more on the effects of immigration and a little less on the effects of love, lust and lost, Diaz explores what one has to assume is part of his heritage and upbringing in a nostalgic, but unromantic way. Balanced, engaging, entertaining the stories contain elements of magic realism (impossible to tell where one stops and the other starts, or where biography begins and fantasy ends), but I was a bit tired of his subject matter and prose after reading his other two works recently.

 

An excellent author with a unique voice, I highly recommend any of Diaz's works.

post #1274 of 2310
110. Scarecrow Returns 2012 Matthew Reilly

A plot by a well armed revolutionary army takes an old Russian army base. They leak gas into the atmosphere to ignite it and cause havoc and a geopolitical shift. They are foiled by the Scarecrow.

Plenty of credulity strains but I liked it overall.

10 more to go.
post #1275 of 2310

"Plenty of credulity strains, but liked it overall."

 

...that's how I feel about all MR books.

 

Great guy (met in person several times) though, instantly likeable.

 

Temple is still my favourite of his works.

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