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2014 50 Book Challenge - Page 37

post #541 of 2310
46. In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larson (2011)

This is an extremely absorbing book about William Dodd, an academic who became, almost by default, the US Ambassador to Germany just as Hitler came to power. Dodd and his family start from a position of trusting naivete about the new Nazi government and its agencies, such as the Storm Troopers. Gradually their eyes are opened and their view of Hitler's regime moves from naivete to distrust to revulsion after the Night of the Long Knives.

Dodd's daughter Martha is another key focus of the book. A promiscuous socialite, she formed several alliances with dangerous men such as the head of the Gestapo and a KGB agent, dismaying the Embassy staff working for her father. Meanwhile Dodd makes a range of enemies in the State Department, and finds it impossible to get across just how serious the situation with Hitler is.

The Dodds lived near a major park called the Tiergarten, that is gardent of beasts. It lends the book its title, which also serves as a splendid metaphor for the Berlin of the early 30s.
post #542 of 2310
When yer Internet's down for 10 days, yes do a lot of readin...

71. Breathing Under Water 2011 Richard Rohr a spiritual take on the 12 steps and how they fit with other religious practices.

72. The Road 2007 Cormac McCarthy The only reason I read this was because it was on the List. The previews of the movie looked horror-ish and I'm not a big fan of those sorts of movies. But the book turned out to be a good read. A father and his son set out to find warmer weather after an Apocalypse. Bleak, as are all the McCarthy books I've read to date, but still worth reading.

The latest thrillers recommended by the brother:

73. Point of Impact 1993 Stephen Hunter. A retired marine sniper gets framed for a murder. Pretty exciting, twisted plot. In the end the good guys win and each get a girl, and eat apple pie What could be more American than that?

74. Night of Thunder 2008 Stephen Hunter A hill billy inbred crime clan (yes I meant inbred) try to pull off a big unusual heist. In the process our hero, Bob Lee Swagger, has an attempt made on his daughter's life which leaves her seriously injured. Bob Lee comes a huntin', sniper rifle in hand. The final 3 pages are AWESOME.

75. I, Sniper 2009 Stephen Hunter A series of killings of 60s radicals are traced to another Vietnam vet. He then blows himself away. But the case is too perfect so the FBI calls on Swagger to make sure the pieces truly fit. One of the killed radicals greatly resembles Jane Fonda. The villian is Ted Turner.

76. Dead Zero 2010 Stephen Hunter A Marine sniper company in Afghanistan is commissioned to assassinate its man in power. The order is rescinded by unknown parties in the US. The former villain becomes a friend of the United States. BUT other members of his merry little band show up with an attempt to kill the president. Foiled. Perpetrator hunted down and killed.

77. Soft Target 2011 Stephen Hunter This tome features Ray Cruz. He's shopping with his g/f in some Mall slightly differently named from Mall of America. But the same thing. A 20s computer geek enlists the help of a dozen Somali warriors. They hold hostages, shoot a few, before Ray and another FBI sniper who's made a hole in the roof, take them down.

All thriller books by Stephen Hunter and Lee Child are must-reads. I have spoken.smile.gif
post #543 of 2310
I was wondering if everyone had gone all illiterate on me or something. Good to see you back

You've mentioned "the list" a few times. Pardon my ignorance; what is that?
post #544 of 2310

Stephen Hunter Novels

 

The first one I read was I, Sniper. I picked it up off of a discount book shelf, they had it marked down to $5.99.  Best book buy that I ever made.  I couldn't put it down.  I have since gone back and started from the beginning with Point of Impact.  I have been hooked on Stephen Hunter books ever since.  It is nice to see other fans of his here.

post #545 of 2310
Quote:
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post

I was wondering if everyone had gone all illiterate on me or something. Good to see you back
You've mentioned "the list" a few times. Pardon my ignorance; what is that?

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, there are 3 editions out there (of the English language version).
post #546 of 2310
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post

70. Smiley's People 1980 John Le Carre This one's on the list and I can see why. Tension-filled, but not as racy as a Reacher novel. George Smiley, back from retirement finally unravels all the loose ends and gets his Russian nemesis to defect. Highly recommend it. I though it was much better than Tinker, Tailor...

The Honourable Schoolboy is my favourite. Did you skip straight from Tinker, Tailor to Smiley's People?
post #547 of 2310
Quote:
Originally Posted by LimboJimbo View Post

Stephen Hunter Novels

The first one I read was I, Sniper. I picked it up off of a discount book shelf, they had it marked down to $5.99.  Best book buy that I ever made.  I couldn't put it down.  I have since gone back and started from the beginning with Point of Impact.  I have been hooked on Stephen Hunter books ever since.  It is nice to see other fans of his here.

There are some after POI that feature Bob Lee's father Earl(which I'm sure you know) I'll be posting my review of that and another Bob Lee book by the end of the wknd. I'm also trying to finish Hesse's Steppenwolf.

Quote:
Originally Posted by clockwise View Post

The Honourable Schoolboy is my favourite. Did you skip straight from Tinker, Tailor to Smiley's People?

Yes. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, Tinker Tailor, and Smiley's people were all on the list. I decided to skip Honourable Schoolboy because I thought Tinker Tailor was so bad. I may go back and pick it up later in the year.
post #548 of 2310
47. The Dreyfus Affair, by Piers Paul Read (2012)

I first heard of the Dreyfus case as a teenager when I read about him in Readers Digest. While the case is famous and oft-referenced, I've never read anything substantial on it, until now.

You can't really go wrong with this story, and Read does a good job of portraying the politics that prevailed in France at the time, and the complex and conflicting motives of the Dreyfusards. He regularly takes your breath away with his description of the Institutionalised racism and bloody-minded arse-covering that led to a man being consigned to a hole in Devil's Island because people could not bring themselves to admit there had been an obvious injustice.

Now to the Booker Prize shortlist, starting with Hilary Mantel.
post #549 of 2310
78. Pale Horse Coming 2001 Stephen Hunter This book features Earl Swagger, Bob's father, and a MOH winner at Iwo Jima. Swagger and his friend Sam Vincent get involved with a colored only penal farm in MS in 1951. The place is particularly vile. Earl helps Sam escape and then is captured, tortured, and remains a prisoner for 3 months or so. With the help of an inmate he escapes. Then he brings 6 friends back and they destroy the camp and free the prisoners.
2 thumbs way up-I even liked it a little better than Point of Impact

79. 47th Samurai 2007 Stephen Hunter Swagger's father Earl kills a Japanese officer with who possesses a Samurai sword in a bunker during the incident that got him the MOH in Iwo Jima. Because the Japanese uses it to commit hara kiri, Earl feels uncomfortable keeping it. He gives it to his CO. Years later, the killed man's son comes to America to ask Swagger if he might give it back because it would mean a lot to the family.Bob Lee tracks it down. He and takes it back to Japan. The 2 men discover it's a very ancient sword, highly important to the Japanese culture. That night it's stolen and the Japanese man and his entire family are murdered. Swagger sets out to right the wrong. He studies samurai and kills a bunch of guys with his sword, including the biggest, baddest Samurai guy. The sword play strains credulity, but otherwise a decent book.

I'm going for 100. 7 a month for next 3 mos. Very doable.
post #550 of 2310
Clockwise counting 34/50: John Dickson Carr - She Died a Lady (1943)

From the golden age of the mystery novel , the puzzling cases of John Dickson Carr's books are a lot of fun. In this one an apparent straight-forward lovers' suicide pact proves to be something much more complex and sinister. I like this style and will read more of Dickson Carr.

I have a bit of catching up to do if I want to get the 50 done by the end of the year. A few mysteries should get me back on track.
post #551 of 2310
Clockwise counting 35/50: Thich Nhat Hanh - The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching (1999)

After having read and appreciated lighter zen buddhism fare such as The Miracle of Mindfulness and You Are Here, I decided to study more of the core of Buddhism as taught by Vietnamese monk and zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, or Thay ("master") as he is often called.

This was a bit like studying rather than reading for pleasure and I must admit that I couldn't fully take in much of the second half of this book. I am not (yet) a proper Buddhist so it all became too technical for my simple taste. I will read more of Thay's writings and I am especially eager to tackle his biography of Buddha, Siddharta Gautama.

If I don't finish the 50 books before the end of the year, you will find me meditating under a tree somewhere.
post #552 of 2310
80. The Plague 1948 Albert Camus Tale of a town scourged by the Bubonic Plague in North Africa, The town is quarantined,;bodies are burned or cast into pits because they can't be buried fast enough. The town is sealed for 10 months so that the Plague is kept from the general populace,. There are quite a few interesting character studies. This book was on the List. Like The Stranger I found it easy to read and very enjoyable.
post #553 of 2310
81. Hot Springs Stephen Hunter 2000 Some more literary crack starring Earl Swagger and the mob town of Hot Springs after WW II. Earl and his men clear it out in a fairly predictable way. Hunter books are like Clint Eastwood movies. There is some basis in fact for this one. The situation did exist and the town did throw out the racketeers but the violence wasn't as intense.
post #554 of 2310
82. Dirty White Boys Stephen Hunter 1994 A story of 3 escaped convicts and their implausible trek across Texas and Oklahoma a mruderin' and a thievin'. The hero chases them while he's busy fucking his partner's wife. He gets shot 3 times, twice in the face and he doesn't die. Not as good as the usual Stephen Hunter fare- I don't recommend it.
post #555 of 2310
83. Time to Hunt Stephen Hunter 1998 Much better than the last one. Swagger is being hunted by the KGB. Or so he thinks. Turns out the hunters are after his wife because of an incident in the 60s because of someone she saw. The CIA guy who's supposed to be protecting them is a Soviet Mole. Swagger takes him and his whole team out with a hidden Claymore. Definitely worth reading.
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