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

2014 50 Book Challenge - Page 51

post #751 of 1978
Clockwise counting 10/50: Philip Roth - The Breast (1972)

This is Roth's shortest novel, more like a novella actually, and it's on the list of the 1001 you should read (2006 edition only). The story is a modern version of Kafka's Metamorphosis. Our main character, university professor David Kepesh, does not suddenly wake up and find himself turned into Kafka's beetle but instead transforms into a 155 pound gigantic breast. 

It is a funny story with Freudian overtones and existential questions. Although it has been hailed as one of Roth's best books, I have difficulties taking it seriously. It seems I am now aiming to read everything by Philip Roth but it will take time, he has been a very productive writer who has maintained an exceptionally high standard over 5 decades. 
post #752 of 1978
Clockwise counting 11/50: Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö - Roseanna (1965)

First book in a series of 10 Swedish police procedurals written in the 1960s and 1970s. I have read a couple of these books (including Roseanna) a long long time ago. Now decided to have a go at reading the whole series in order, inspired by California Dreamer and the fact that the whole series has recently been republished in very attractive (but expensive) hardcover binding.

I was surprised how good and unique in style this book actually is. I had forgotten a lot of the plot and it was a great experience to re-read this classic after so many years. The various characters are interesting and very well described. The hero/anti-hero Martin Beck and his team of police investigators working on monotonous assignments in a grey, windy, rainy and rather depressive Stockholm remind me of Simenon's best efforts but there is also the obvious link to Ed McBain's American procedurals. 

In this book a strangled, unidentified, naked woman is discovered somewhere in the Swedish lake and channel system. She has been sexually molested, killed and probably dumped from a boat. With almost no clues, Martin Beck's team need luck and tremendous patience to solve the case and catch the killer.
post #753 of 1978
Excellent choice Clockwise. I should finish the series soon.
post #754 of 1978
16. The Last Templar 2006 Raymond Khoury Story flashes back and forth from the late 13 th century and the present day with an FBI agent and an archaeologist. The denizens of the 13th century were former crusaders; of the order of the Templar. They've hidden an ancient document of Jesus' journal, proving that he was only a man. Needless to say, this puts a huge price on it's and their head. A real page turner vis a vis Angels and Demons. Too many holes in the plot and underdeveloped characters. I wouldn't recommend it.

Wow- that's my 8,800th post. Only 40,000 to go!
post #755 of 1978
Clockwise counting 12/50: Charles Cumming - A Foreign Country (2012)

I was tricked by some very favourable reviews in NY Times and Guardian more or less saying that Cumming is the new Le Carre and Deighton combined. Having read his latest English spy yarn I now know that he is not. This novel is however a very decent entertainment for a long haul flight or a few hours of escapism, a reasonably intelligent and "cinematic" story of spies and counterspies roaming around England, France and Tunisia.

Amelia Levene has been appointed the first female head of MI6 and just weeks before she is due to take up her position, she vanishes. A disgraced ex-spook who is a former friend of Ms Levene is brought in from the cold and asked to find her. She is in trouble and the ex-spook needs to decide if his loyalty is to Her Majesty's government or to Amelia.
post #756 of 1978
Quote:
Originally Posted by clockwise View Post

Clockwise counting 12/50: Charles Cumming - A Foreign Country (2012)

I was tricked by some very favourable reviews in NY Times and Guardian more or less saying that Cumming is the new Le Carre and Deighton combined. Having read his latest English spy yarn I now know that he is not. This novel is however a very decent entertainment for a long haul flight or a few hours of escapism, a reasonably intelligent and "cinematic" story of spies and counterspies roaming around England, France and Tunisia.

Amelia Levene has been appointed the first female head of MI6 and just weeks before she is due to take up her position, she vanishes. A disgraced ex-spook who is a former friend of Ms Levene is brought in from the cold and asked to find her. She is in trouble and the ex-spook needs to decide if his loyalty is to Her Majesty's government or to Amelia.

Why CW...I think you're making a run at my title. At the rate you're going you'll read 144. Kudos!
post #757 of 1978
17. The Templar Salvation 2010 Raymond Khoury Once again story flashes back and forth from the early 13 th century and the present day with an FBI agent and an archaeologist. The denizens of the 13th century were former crusaders, but only 3 were discussed this time. Jesus' journal was a fake, and used as blackmail against the Catholic Church to create the Templars and advance their position. They used this position to guard the real prize- 3 trunks of the lost writings edited out of the Bible at the Council of Nicea in 325.

It was also a real page turner, and with the presence of a really bad Iranian bad guy I liked it better than the first.

I also wonder how much of this stuff is really true. Some of it has to be...
post #758 of 1978
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post

Why CW...I think you're making a run at my title. At the rate you're going you'll read 144. Kudos!

I'll get into a slow period later this year. Target remains 50, well maybe 60...

And you? On pace to break the mythical 200 barrier.
post #759 of 1978
18. The Devil and Miss Prym Paulo Coelho 2006

LIST

A struggle between good and evil involving a stranger, a young woman,set in a (very) small town.

To divulge any more would spoil the book.

Which I thought was excellent.
post #760 of 1978
Quote:
Originally Posted by clockwise View Post

I'll get into a slow period later this year. Target remains 50, well maybe 60...

And you? On pace to break the mythical 200 barrier.

Definitely, but I got offered a job today- I think. The one I was waiting for, which may slow me down quite a bit.

And I'm thinking of replacing the family hedge hog, much beloved, who died prematurely last week. They require a lot of love and attention. Even though they rarely return it. smile.gif
post #761 of 1978
19. Gabriel's Gift 2001 Hanif Kurieshi

LIST


The story of an adolescent named Gabriel living in London. His parents at the beginning are estranged, but get back together through many tribulations. He had a twin brother who died at an early age, which has put an occasional pall on the entire family. Gabriel speaks with him on a regular basis. His hopes, dreams, and creativity put him on the road to a bright future.

This book was excellent.
post #762 of 1978
Clockwise counting 13/50: Philip Roth - When She Was Good (1967)

This must be the only Philip Roth novel which doesn't focus on "male Jewish experience in modern America". Instead we follow a young female WASP in a small midwest community. The reader will initially sympathize with the difficulties of the protagonist, Lucy Nelson, telling her story in first person. As the novel develops, we start to doubt her "goodness" only to by the end be disgusted by her grievances, selfishness and outright hatred to her family. 

This was Roth's third book and it is maybe quite far from his best but is nevertheless a very impressive and extra-ordinarily Depressive family story. This is a novel that doesn't leave you uplifted but it does leave a lasting impression.
post #763 of 1978
20. Fire in the Hole and Other Stories Elmore Leonard- 2002

The primary story was a shoot-em-up/detective story between a federal marshall and a bunch of skinheads. Not too hard to figure who won there. The other stories were very good as well.

I liked the book. My thanks again for CW for recommending the author.
post #764 of 1978
Clockwise counting 14/50: Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö - The Man Who Went Up In Smoke (1966)

The second of ten novels in the series about police detective Martin Beck. A Swedish journalist has disappeared on an assignment in Hungary and Beck is tasked to find out what has happened to him. Most of the story takes place in Budapest where Beck is operating on his own in a hostile environment. The story reaches its surprising conclusion in Stockholm where Beck and his team finds the answer to the mystery of the lost journalist through diligent police work. Maybe not fully up to the standard of Roseanna but nevertheless a good read.
post #765 of 1978
21. Choke 2001 Chuck Palahniuk

LIST

The protagonist is a mid 20s USC med school student who drops out to try and care for his dying delusional hilarious mother. He chokes on food in restaurants for sympathy from whoever saves him and the continuing money they give him. He cruises sexaholic groups in search of casual sex.

His motto is What Would Jesus NOT Do.

This book produced more than a few belly laughs for me. Easily the best book I've read this year, and right up there with Never Let Me Go.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Entertainment and Culture
Styleforum › Forums › Culture › Entertainment and Culture › 2014 50 Book Challenge