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2014 50 Book Challenge - Page 59

post #871 of 2310
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

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

 

Habibi's art was spectacular. The story waxed and waned a little for me - I definitely enjoyed many elements of it. It was ambitiously drawn and ambitiously written and one of the most intriguing and unusual graphic novels I've ever read.

 

TIM was a bit lacklustre. Seemed very generic and dull. While I have loved most of HG Wells' work, this one lacked anything even remotely resembling decent characterisation, which is a shame because the story hinges almost completely on characterisation.

 

Happy to be making significant progress once again. Hopefully will be close to 20 by the end of April.

post #872 of 2310
Clockwise counting 34/50: Philip Roth - Zuckerman Unbound (1981)

Second book in the series about Jewish author Nathan Zuckerman. In the first book he was a young man with dreams of literary success, here he is already the famous and wealthy writer of a satyrical bestseller sensation called "Carnofsky", the fictional author's version of Roth's  "Portnoy's Complaint".

Zuckerman is harassed by one or more crazies who read their own lives into the bestseller and either want to be Zuckerman or want to destroy Zuckerman. He is also haunted by the conflict between his success and what amounts to family betrayal, writing disgusting books instead of being the nice Jewish boy his parents have always expected of him. 

Roth's writing is brilliant and these books from 1980s are in my view even better than his famous novels of the 1960s and 1970s. 
post #873 of 2310
13. Open Door, by Iosi Havilio (2006)

A vet moves to the tiny pampas town of Open Door when her partner disappears. The town is near a lunatic asylum of the same name, and the vet becomes interested in its history. She becomes romantically entangled with Jaime, the asylum's nurseryman and also Eloise, a local schoolgirl.

The book is a bit soulless, and the author makes little of his lunatic asylum motif. Scenes that should be erotic are instead clumsy and perfunctory. Some have hailed Open Door as a masterpiece; I don't get that at all.
post #874 of 2310
14. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (2011)

I guess it's appropriate to spend Easter reading a novel about the hunt for an Egg ...

Ready Player One is set in a dystopian world wracked by the after-effects of climate change and an energy crisis. The denizens of this world relieve their misery by escaping into The Oasis, a giant AI universe.

James Halliday, the inventor of Oasis, has died and left an unusual legacy. Somewhere in the thousands of worlds in Oasis there is hidden an Easter Egg in code. The first to find the Egg will inherit his $200 billion fortune. The hunt for the egg becomes a global obsession. At the start of the novel we are introduced to our narrator Wade, who has just found the very first clue to its whereabouts.

Ready Player One is a fast-paced cyberpunk novel that touches the usual tropes of the genre: a universal network, freakishly talented hacker outsiders, an evil corporation etc. it's a rollicking story without being particularly ground-breaking. Since Oasis and the hunt both make heavy use of 70s and 80s pop culture - supposedly because these were Halliday's obsessions - it will appeal more to readers brought up in that era. Who knows what Gen Y readers might make of it all.
post #875 of 2310
Clockwise counting 35/50: Stieg Trenter - The Shadow (1960)

Continuing my completist mission of reading all of Trenter's 28 crime novels.

The star of the preeminent Swedish stage actor of the past couple of decades is on the decline and he is writing his autobiography. The publishing house is nervously awaiting the final chapter before publication but something is holding it up. When a young female editor has tracked the actor down in Copenhagen and convinced him to finalize the book, he is suddenly killed at an outdoor cafe. A medieval spear used as a stage prop is the murder weapon. At the same time a suspicion is raised that the actor had a doppelgänger.

Most of this novel takes place in Copenhagen instead of Trenter's normal Stockholm venue. As always, an entertaining read but not one of his best.
post #876 of 2310
Quote:
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post

12. The Terrorists, by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo (1967)

The final book of the Martin Beck series sees Martin and his team given the responsibility of providing security for a visiting US Senator. In doing so, Martin comes up against a ruthlessly efficient mercenary outfit performing assassinations for hire.

As always, the authors use their plot to air social concerns, in this case about excessive police powers and the helplessness of some individuals in what is supposd to be a welfare state. While the plot is at least partly inspired by the assassination of Olof Palme, it has much relevance for modern audiences, talking to the issue that the root causes of terrorism go beyond the act itself.

The book is taut and exciting, and a triumphant finish to the series. It's a shame there are no more of these gems.

I am reading the series in order now and only read two or possibly three of them many years ago. I look forward to the rest.

One point of objection though, the Palme assassination happened 1986 so the plot couldn't have that as inspiration. smile.gif
post #877 of 2310
Quote:
Originally Posted by clockwise View Post


One point of objection though, the Palme assassination happened 1986 so the plot couldn't have that as inspiration. smile.gif

shog[1].gif Could be foresight on behalf of the authors ...
post #878 of 2310
Quote:
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post

shog[1].gif Could be foresight on behalf of the authors ...

Yes, that's the only obvious explanation. biggrin.gif
post #879 of 2310
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

 

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

 

While I'm not a big F Scott fan, this novel was quite intruiging. I think I missed a lot of what it was really implying and meaning, and got was often not paying attention to the subtler part of the novel. It's essentially a story of vapid, shallow pointless people who eventually realise the depths of their own misery and failure in the last few chapters.

post #880 of 2310
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

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

 

Generic fun fantasy. Nothing outrageous, but well written. One issue with all of David Eddings' novels is that each character is smug and condescending, his characterisation is far from brilliant, but his anrration is rock solid.

post #881 of 2310
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

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

 

Both relatively enjoyable books, continuing on from the previous series. Prophecy, magic, attitude, politics and poison are a great read. Nods its head to lots of famous fantasy works.

post #882 of 2310
51. Blackie and Red 2004 Max Brand

A western about 2 dudes who escape from an orphanage and are taken in by a prospector and his wife. The prospector strikes gold and one of the boys turns out to be a good guy and one turns out to be bad.

My (very recently) deceased dad loved Westerns so I thought I'd try one of his.

52. The Innocent David Baldacci 2012

Assassin is turned detective to foil a presidential assassination attempt that has been 20 years in the making. My brother gave it to me, and I thought it one of the better thrillers I've read.

53. Morvern Callar Alan Warner 1995

LIST

A woman's boyfriend commits suicide. Instead of calling the police she moves the body around their apartment until it starts to smell. Then she cuts in pieces and buries it in various places so that no one will find it. Then she takes his money and hits the rave scene until it's all gone and comes back home. Penniless and pregnant.

I liked it.
post #883 of 2310
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

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

 

Frightfully drawn out conclusion to the series. Enjoyed it, sort of, sometimes, it was predictable, and the narrative explained why, but that's still sloppy writing and pathetic autorship (the Universe WANTS us to repeat the same events again). Characterisation grated me more and more as unique and interesting characters eventually turned into exactly the same person, once again confirming that David Eddings has the ability to write only a single character.

 

Fantasy, for me, is like a very rich food - it's great, then good, then sickening, then I don't want any more of it for "ages".

post #884 of 2310
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

19. Sorcress of Darshiva
20. Seeress of Kell

Fantasy, for me, is like a very rich food - it's great, then good, then sickening, then I don't want any more of it for "ages".

True. That and nearly everybody is just regurgitating archetypal characters that people like Tolkien and Lewis established decades ago. There are very few really new ideas, and I odn't know how people can stick with a massive series of doorstops like GRR Martin's books.
post #885 of 2310
Quote:
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post

True. That and nearly everybody is just regurgitating archetypal characters that people like Tolkien and Lewis established decades ago. There are very few really new ideas, and I odn't know how people can stick with a massive series of doorstops like GRR Martin's books.

Even when I was in high school and read the Tolkien trilogy, I thought that Tolkien himself was regurgitating. I stayed fascinated through book one and half of book two. Then I lost interest although I read it all. CS Lewis religious stuff has however left a lasting impression.
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