or Connect
Styleforum › Forums › Culture › Entertainment and Culture › 2014 50 Book Challenge
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

2014 50 Book Challenge - Page 106

post #1576 of 2241
13. Gotland

GotlandGotland by Fiona Capp

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Gotland, an island off Sweden, is the place that heroine Esther Chatwin escapes to, mentally and physically, in order to deal with her high-pressure life. Prone to panic attacks in her youth, Esther finds herself catapulted into the limelight after the death of a colleague results in her politician husband David becoming Leader of the Opposition weeks away from an election. This is a disruption in their lives that she was unprepared for and, coupled with the news that her sister is dying of cancer, Esther finds her composure starting to unravel. She accepts her sister's long-standing invitiation to join her and her friend Sven on Gotland. It is there that Esther must face up to the realities of her life and find some equilibrium.

The book alternates between Esther's experiences in Australia in the wake of David's political career and her September idyll on Gotland, which has become the one place she can hold onto to help stave off her rising fears about the impact on their lives of David's success. Capp varies her style of writing as the scene changes, with the Gotland chapters coming across as moody and pastoral, whereas the Australian chapters strike the reader as gritty, urban and rushed.

This is not a book I expected to like, but it is very good and very well-written. I found myself wanting Esther to find peace but Capp manages to preserve empathy for all of her main characters, even David, who could so easily have been made into the villain of the piece. A very readable, absorbing and gratifying book



View all my reviews
post #1577 of 2241

18. The Trial

 

I feel a review would be superfluous. My translation was poorly edited, which made it harder to read than it should have been (no paragraphs, but that's what you get for $.72). I found it OK, not great, not awful, not amazing, just OK. I've never found Kafka's prose particularly enaging, nor do his stories excite me much.

post #1578 of 2241
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

18. The Trial

I feel a review would be superfluous. My translation was poorly edited, which made it harder to read than it should have been (no paragraphs, but that's what you get for $.72). I found it OK, not great, not awful, not amazing, just OK. I've never found Kafka's prose particularly enaging, nor do his stories excite me much.


I remember reading the Castle when I was 21 it started to drive me crazy, I gave it up out of sheer frustration. Little did I realise then this is how government bureaucracy works.
post #1579 of 2241
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

18. The Trial

Nice going Matt. To stay on track to meet my target, I need to hit 18 by the end of the month. That is not going to happen. frown.gif
post #1580 of 2241
37 Verdun The Longest Battle Of The Great War by Paul Jankowski.

An overview of the battle of Verdun from a soci-cultural historical perspective the author attempts to analyse the Battle of Verdun in terms of the human cost, the egos and stupidity of both general staff the politics (futility), the main actors and their motivation, the home front and specifically the poor bastards on both sides who had to fight it. He acknowledges the horror but does not dwell on it, a good analysis of a ghastly event in European history.

The authoritative text on Verdun is still regarded as The Price of Glory by Alistar Horne
post #1581 of 2241
Quote:
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post

Nice going Matt. To stay on track to meet my target, I need to hit 18 by the end of the month. That is not going to happen. frown.gif

Winter is coming and aside from the footy there is nothing to be had on TV so those long winter nights are perfect for a good book. And the odd glass of shiraz biggrin.gif
post #1582 of 2241
How can say nothing's on TV when you reference the upcoming greatness in your very post? happy.gif
post #1583 of 2241
Quote:
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post


Nice going Matt. To stay on track to meet my target, I need to hit 18 by the end of the month. That is not going to happen. frown.gif

 

It's been a slow month for me actually. Barely feel like I've finished anything.

 

January was just a great month. Must try to dominate the April holidays.

post #1584 of 2241
noob GOT is 1 hour a week nothing else on now that True Detective has finished. Mind you Rugby is 4 hrs each Friday and Saturday night.
post #1585 of 2241
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoffrey Firmin View Post


I remember reading the Castle when I was 21 it started to drive me crazy, I gave it up out of sheer frustration. Little did I realise then this is how government bureaucracy works.

 

It's one of those cases when the novel's brilliance is also what makes it frustrating.

 

Another great example, for me, is Jane Austen's work: unquestionably brilliant (in part) as it exposes the lives of women in the 19th century. Incredibly boring (to me) for the exact same reason.

post #1586 of 2241
25. The Sixth Man David Baldacci 2010

Nefariousness in the defense industry (imagine ?). Two sides battling for a genius with a photographic memory. Lots of dead bodies, but in the end the good guys win and Sean gets to keep Michelle.

26.Caught Harlan Coben 2010

Alleged pedophiles. A college suite mate from Princeton takes revenge on his former roommates. A 17 year old girl is missing and then found dead. No one wins. Almost everyone loses. But an interesting book.

27. Over on the Dry Side Louis L'Amour 1975

A gunfighter/drifter. A father and son seeking to make their way in the West. A gang of outlaws who are convinced that a treasure exists nearby try to drive them away. Amongst their ranks is a beautiful girl who falls for the gunfighter and switches sides. Game, set, match.

Have the whole Sackett series coming. Looking forward to it.
post #1587 of 2241
Dubus_Cover.jpg


#11 Garden of Last Days, by Andre Dubus


I read a big book this time! It had this many pages!

Along with short stories, it's also wrecking my numbers. Big time.

The shortest possible review: Read this before House of Sand and Fog.

Slightly longer: The book suffers in comparison to House of Sand and Fog. Like that National Whatever - nominated book, Garden has not one, but -- more than one -- protagonist, three or so people sharing the limelight, stories that intersect in and around a strip club in tacky Florida. Unlike that book, this has three, not two, protagonists, eventually widening to include minor characters, and as a result is simply longer, and less intimate. The plot is also less tragic, though technically -- well -- I think crucial elements are actually supposed to be a surprise, making it difficult to comment.

This one is entirely narrated in what James Wood likes to call a 'close' third person POV, which also lacks a little zing of the previous book's alternating first person accounts.

Anyone who's read Updike's Terrorist, covering similar ground, may also find one of Garden's storylines a bit lacking in terms of its skewering of us fat godless westerners. (Where Updike's rendering was much more nuanced, evoking assloads of pathos and wry humor, this one felt merely adequate, like it just aimed for the standard kind of empathy reserved for literary villains). However, Dubus really excels at taking you inside his characters' heads, and the others fare much better.

All that said, Dubus always rocks, this was still an awesome book, and you should probably read it. Just read it before you read House of Sand and Fog, or risk lowering your nose into a bouquet of mild disappointments.


.

Edited by noob - 3/12/14 at 10:59pm
post #1588 of 2241
Klewless book 13/50: I Can See in the Dark by Karin Fossum

icanseeinthedark200.jpg

Karin Fossum is one of my favorite Scandiacrime authors. This title is not part of her Inspector Sejer series, but an excellent read nonetheless. This story centers around a very disturbed individual who works as an aide at a senior residential facility. He hids his illness well, but eventually breaks with society and we are treated to the inner thoughts of a true monster. This is not an action packed tale, but an excellent character study penned by one of Norway's great storytellers.

Klewless book 14/50: Killer's Island by Anna Jansson

9789187173998.jpg

This is book 11 in the series, but the first book to be translated into English. The story centers around a group of characters in a small Swedish island community, and how a murderer is persued by the local police force. The author does a decent job of spending ample time with each character to keep the plot moving, but overall not the most exciting reading. Not sure if I feel invested enough to continue with the characters, which may be a reflection of this title being deep in the series.
post #1589 of 2241
Clockwise counting 20/50: Anthony Trollope - The Eustace Diamonds (1873)

The third novel of the Palliser series is quite different from the previous two. The heroine is the thoroughly amoral and manipulative Lady Eustace, the beautiful young widow of a wealthy Lord. She claims that her diseased husband presented her with a magnificent diamond necklace but the family lawyer wants it returned to the family's care since it is a heirloom that can't be disposed of. This is a tale of greed and selfishness presented in a humorous way over 770 pages. Entertaining throughout but in my view not as good as the two preceding novels of the series.
post #1590 of 2241
14. The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The Ocean at the End of the LaneThe Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The Ocean at the End of the Lane starts in a fairly mundane fashion. An unnamed middle-aged man at a family funeral drives away from the wake to visit the scene of his childhood. He goes to the farm at the end of the lane, where there is a pond that he and his childhood friend Lettie referred to as an ocean.

From this unremarkable beginning, Gaiman launches into a wildly imaginative tale where our protagonist starts to recall his childhood with more clarity as he sits by the pond. A terrifying encounter with a malign spirit posing as his nanny, ravening carrion birds feasting on spirits and humans alike, and the true nature of Lettie, her family and the pond at the end of the lane.

Gaiman's brief novel is quite scary and tense at times, but is overall quite sweet and elegiac in tone. A very imaginative and enjoyable read.



View all my reviews
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Entertainment and Culture
Styleforum › Forums › Culture › Entertainment and Culture › 2014 50 Book Challenge