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2014 50 Book Challenge - Page 123

post #1831 of 2053
Clockwise counting 51/50: Anthony Trollope - The Warden (1855)

After having read the first three (very thick) volumes of the Palliser series earlier this year, I now tackled The Warden, the first novel of six in Trollope's so-called Barsetshire Chronicles. This is a much shorter read and maybe, to my personal taste, not as fulfilling as the Palliser novels.

The warden of a home for the elderly, the good-hearted and moral Mr Septimus Harding, is accused of earning a huge income from the position he has been granted by his friend the Bishop or Barchester. The young reformer John Bold campaigns for a fair distribution of money to the poor elderly, which threatens the warden's comfortable life style. Bold is however in love with the warden's daughter and he is confronted with the moral dilemma of pursuing his righteous campaign and sacrificing his love. The warden, while willing to accept the reformers' criticism and sacrifice his comfortable income, is reluctant to go against the old traditions of the clergy. A very good Victorian novel albeit less entertaining than the Palliser books.
post #1832 of 2053
Clockwise counting 52/50: Robert Harris - Imperium (2006)

The first novel in what will eventually be a trilogy about Roman power politics during the time of Cicero. Here, through the memoirs of Cicero's slave / private secretary Tiro, we follow the great orator's rise to the highest power of the republic of Rome. This is a novel about conspiracies and power struggles and it is excellent entertainment for anyone interested in ancient history.

The second novel called Lustrum in the UK and Conspirata in the US is just as good. I accidentally read part 2 before part 1. I am now eagerly awaiting the publication of the final instalment, hopefully later this year.
post #1833 of 2053
Quote:
Originally Posted by clockwise View Post

Anthony Trollope - The Warden (1855)

So does the shorter one go into a bunch of elderly-related stuff? Because that sounds like it could be interesting.
(Incidentally, it also sounds exactly like the subplot of 1989's Say Anything. laugh.gif)

You make a strong case for Trollope! Unfortunately, he will have to linger on my list for a least a year or two; I managed to find one of those Palliser books recently -- picked it up; put it down. Drew a salt bath and rubbed my shoulder back to health.
post #1834 of 2053
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

List (Click to show)
1. All Tomorrow's Parties

2. Undivided: Part 3

3. High Fidelity

4. Hard Boiled Wonderland at the End of the World

5. Polysyllabic Spree

6. Armageddon in Retrospect

7. South of the Border, West of the Sun

8. What we talk about when we talk about love

9. Norweigan Wood
10. The Master and Margherita
11. The Fault in Our Stars
12. Of Mice and Men
13.Fade to Black
14. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
15. Watchmen
16. Captains Courageous
17. A Brief History of Time
18. The Trial
19. Wind up Bird Chronicle
20. A Visit from the Goon Squad
21. Neuromancer
22. Count Zero
23. Shadowboxing
24. Hell's Angels
25. Anansi Boys
26. Steelheart
27. A Hero of Our Time
28. Mona Lisa Overdrive
29. The Complete Collection of Flannery O'Connor
30. The Last Blues Dance
31. Gularabulu
32. The Glass Canoe
33. The Lies of Locke Lamora
34. Handmaid's Tale
35. Girt
36. Museum of Innocence
36. Museum of Innocence

What a book - this was a really, really enjoyable and fascinating book.

I've had that one on my bookshelf for a while now. I need to get into it.
post #1835 of 2053
Quote:
Originally Posted by clockwise View Post

Clockwise counting 51/50: Anthony Trollope - The Warden (1855)

After having read the first three (very thick) volumes of the Palliser series earlier this year, I now tackled The Warden, the first novel of six in Trollope's so-called Barsetshire Chronicles. This is a much shorter read and maybe, to my personal taste, not as fulfilling as the Palliser novels.

There is an excellent TV series going around called Barchester Chronicles, made from these books. Nigel Hawthorne is the Archdeacon and the always-reliable Alan Rickman is a despicable Obadiah Slope. Donald Pleasance plays the Warden and there is a stack of other big names form English rep theatre in smaller roles. Well worth seeking out, even if you can't come at reading all the books.
post #1836 of 2053
Quote:
Originally Posted by noob View Post

So does the shorter one go into a bunch of elderly-related stuff? Because that sounds like it could be interesting.
(Incidentally, it also sounds exactly like the subplot of 1989's Say Anything. laugh.gif)

You make a strong case for Trollope! Unfortunately, he will have to linger on my list for a least a year or two; I managed to find one of those Palliser books recently -- picked it up; put it down. Drew a salt bath and rubbed my shoulder back to health.

Not much about the elderly, it's more about social justice and breaking up the economic power of the landed gentry and the church. And mainly about moral dilemmas in the Victorian age. The Warden is the only Trollope you can lift for any length of time, most of his books seem to be 700-1000 pages.
post #1837 of 2053
Quote:
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post

There is an excellent TV series going around called Barchester Chronicles, made from these books. Nigel Hawthorne is the Archdeacon and the always-reliable Alan Rickman is a despicable Obadiah Slope. Donald Pleasance plays the Warden and there is a stack of other big names form English rep theatre in smaller roles. Well worth seeking out, even if you can't come at reading all the books.

Sounds like a great TV series. I plan to watch it after finishing the Barchester Chronicles, only 5 volumes to go.... somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 pages... shog[1].gif
post #1838 of 2053
Quote:
Originally Posted by clockwise View Post

Sounds like a great TV series. I plan to watch it after finishing the Barchester Chronicles, only 5 volumes to go.... somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 pages... shog[1].gif

That will take you at least a week, no doubt.
post #1839 of 2053
Quote:
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post

That will take you at least a week, no doubt.

Yes, probably 10 days. But I will spread them out over the next 2 years to avoid tennis elbow.
post #1840 of 2053
Quote:
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post

20. One Helluva Mess

One Helluva Mess (Eurocrime)One Helluva Mess by Jean-Claude Izzo

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


One Helluva Mess (also published as Total Chaos) features Izzo's Marseilles-based detective, Fabio Montale. Montale is a product of Marseilles' mean streets, and the mess referred to in the title is kicked off when one of his childhood companions returns from abroad with revenge on his mind.

Montale has been politically sidelined into a dead-end police liaison role, but his personal involvement in this case drives him to get involved as much as he can, and also allows him to pursue avenues of inquiry that are not open to the official investigators. As the book progresses, Montale's personal reasons for finding the villains mount up, and he finds himself out on a very long limb.

As with Ian Rankin's Rebus novels, Izzo really makes you live and breathe Marseille as a place; the geography, history, sights and smells are all conveyed subtly, without distracting the reader with excessive detail. Montale is a splendid central character, with the personal flaws that fictional detectives need to be rounded characters; his background as a criminal himself is an unusual twist.

I really enjoyed this book. It brought back memories of Marseille and made me want to visit it again, and the writing was elegant and prosaic. Yet the plot was also satisfyingly complicated and suspenseful. Montale's problematic and unhappy life makes him a very sympathetic character, similar to Martin Beck and Kurt Wallender. Izzo's books are hard to find, but I will be seeking them out.



View all my reviews

As we already found out earlier this year, Izzo is really good. I am now reading Chourmo, the second part of the Marseille Trilogy. It's just as good as the first part, if not better. Fabio Montale has now left the police force "to follow the placid rhythms of his native town; the sea, the fishing and the local bar". But the crime-infested city with its deep ethnical, educational and economical divides sucks him right back into danger... Beautiful and violent melancholia, probably my favourite of all Mediterranean Noir I have been reading.
post #1841 of 2053
Quote:
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post


I've had that one on my bookshelf for a while now. I need to get into it.

 

Yes, you do!

 

List (Click to show)
1. All Tomorrow's Parties
2. Undivided: Part 3
3. High Fidelity
4. Hard Boiled Wonderland at the End of the World
5. Polysyllabic Spree
6. Armageddon in Retrospect
7. South of the Border, West of the Sun
8. What we talk about when we talk about love
9. Norweigan Wood

10. The Master and Margherita

11. The Fault in Our Stars

12. Of Mice and Men

13.Fade to Black

14. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

15. Watchmen

16. Captains Courageous

17. A Brief History of Time

18. The Trial

19. Wind up Bird Chronicle

20. A Visit from the Goon Squad

21. Neuromancer

22. Count Zero

23. Shadowboxing

24. Hell's Angels

25. Anansi Boys

26. Steelheart

27. A Hero of Our Time

28. Mona Lisa Overdrive

29. The Complete Collection of Flannery O'Connor

30. The Last Blues Dance

31. Gularabulu

32. The Glass Canoe

33. The Lies of Locke Lamora

34. Handmaid's Tale

35. Girt

36. Museum of Innocence

37. Neverwhere

 

37. Neverwhere

 

With signature whimsy, imagination and weirdness, Neil Gaiman's book Neverwhere follows an incredibly average protagonist - Richard - as his life is completely reshaped after a Good Samaritan moment. Richad is thrown into London Below, a place where all the forgotten people and things that have fallen through the cracks end up.

 

The narrative is quick, witty, easy to read and enjoyable. It's refreshingly straightforward, and the characters are all relatively unique (relative to each other) and interesting. I can't help but feel there's a Gaiman way of writing that is almost becoming formulaic, but I suppose that's true of all authors to some extent.

post #1842 of 2053
Clockwise counting 53/50: Jean-Claude Izzo - Chourmo (1996)

Second part of Izzo's Marseille trilogy is another masterful crime noir, full of cynicism, violence and heartbreak. The tastes and smells of Marseille make Izzo's books unusually readable.

Our protagonist, Fabio Montale, has retired from the police force but when his beautiful cousin Gelou's son disappears, he is called back into an investigation deep inside the underworld of the city. Maybe Izzo is the founder of Mediterranean noir, maybe he is just one of the very best.
post #1843 of 2053
Quote:
Originally Posted by clockwise View Post

Clockwise counting 53/50: Jean-Claude Izzo - Chourmo (1996)

Second part of Izzo's Marseille trilogy is another masterful crime noir, full of cynicism, violence and heartbreak.

Another one to add to my list.

Anybody here read The Story of a Crime series by Leif Persson? A mini-series based on it popped up on TV this week and it looked quite good.
post #1844 of 2053
LIST (Click to show)
1. All Tomorrow's Parties
2. Undivided: Part 3
3. High Fidelity
4. Hard Boiled Wonderland at the End of the World
5. Polysyllabic Spree
6. Armageddon in Retrospect
7. South of the Border, West of the Sun
8. What we talk about when we talk about love
9. Norweigan Wood

10. The Master and Margherita

11. The Fault in Our Stars

12. Of Mice and Men

13.Fade to Black

14. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

15. Watchmen

16. Captains Courageous

17. A Brief History of Time

18. The Trial

19. Wind up Bird Chronicle

20. A Visit from the Goon Squad

21. Neuromancer

22. Count Zero

23. Shadowboxing

24. Hell's Angels

25. Anansi Boys

26. Steelheart

27. A Hero of Our Time

28. Mona Lisa Overdrive

29. The Complete Collection of Flannery O'Connor

30. The Last Blues Dance

31. Gularabulu

32. The Glass Canoe

33. The Lies of Locke Lamora

34. Handmaid's Tale

35. Girt

36. Museum of Innocence

37. Neverwhere

38. The Ghost's Child

 

38. The Ghost's Child

 

Sonya Hartnett's novel the Ghost's Child is an icnredibly coherent, but nearly overly whimsical coming of age story that's bizarrely romantic and satisfyingly strange. The main character, Matilda, tells her story to a young boy who has randomly appeared in her house - it's a story where she recounts her life. Surprising, for Matilda, coming-of-age was not a teenage thing, nor even an end-of-school thing, but seemed to begin once she experienced a miscarriage and then moved away from the grief.

 

Instead of focusing on that event - the story is masterfully crafted around the relationships between family, love, place and space - Hartnett's fascination with the world and sense of beauty is explicit and joyful - and her descriptions ooze with wonder and amazement. Aimed at the Young Adult crowd I found this book refreshingly romantic - it is not overly dramatic, it isn't obnoxiously preachy, it's not the cotton candy love of the usual suspects, but rather an honest, subtle and profound story. Indeed, Hartnett's only sole moments of cloying romance are used to demonstrate the complexities and pitfalls of such all-consuming love - rather than a cheap mechanism though which to sell more books. The audience are not patronised or over-indulged.

 

It's not difficult, particularly philisophical or insightful - it doesn't need to be - what it is, though, is a book that is simultaneously magical, fantastical, everyday and relateable and, to me, that makes it worth reading.

 

I would encourage all parents - especially those with daughters - to pass it along.

post #1845 of 2053
I’m related to Sonya Hartnett in some fashion, so I approve. smile.gif
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