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2015 50 Book Challenge - Page 171

post #2551 of 2565
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
1. A Wrong Turn at the Office on Unmade Lists
2. Acceptance
3. Shipbreaker
4. Winter's Bone
5. Dhmara Bums
6. Istanbul
7. On the Trail of Genghis Khan
8. Holy Bible
9. The Boat
10. Collected Stories
11. Lost and Found
12. Blind Willow, Sleeping woman
13. White Noise
14. Clariel
15. Off the Rails
16. Sabriel
17 Hitler's Daughter
18. Quack this Way
19. Grapes of Wrath
20. Every Man in this Village is a Liar
21. The Twelve Fingered Boy
22. Riders of the Purple Sage
23. The Sheltering Sky
24. How to Travel the World for Free
25. Deliverance
26. Trigger Warning
27. It's Complicated

 


27. It's Complicated

 

Dana Boyd is a researcher who has spent seven or eight years researching how teens use social media. This non-fiction book presents his findings and his opinions, as well as many perspectives on teens, their use of social media, and parental and social reactions to those things. Boyd paints a broad picture about teens being basically fine, and in many cases the parents and society around them assuming more than is fair.

 

Boyd provides consistent insight into how many teens use social media - as a platform to strengthen existing conditions and as a way to deal with stresses, burdens and difficult home lives. He delves deeply into the implications behind social media use and touches on sexuality, privacy (my favourite chapter), race and social segregation, as well as a few comments around mental health and internet use.

 

I felt that Boyd's work was the most balanced I've read: it is neither a moral panic, nor a book that proclaims everything is perfect. Instead, Boyd has made significant effort to understand the age, its issues and strengths, and how social media interacts with these. Thorough, insightful, well-written and detailed.

 

 

post #2552 of 2565
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post



27. It's Complicated

Dana Boyd is a researcher who has spent seven or eight years researching how teens use social media. This non-fiction book presents his findings and his opinions, as well as many perspectives on teens, their use of social media, and parental and social reactions to those things. Boyd paints a broad picture about teens being basically fine, and in many cases the parents and society around them assuming more than is fair.

Boyd provides consistent insight into how many teens use social media - as a platform to strengthen existing conditions and as a way to deal with stresses, burdens and difficult home lives. He delves deeply into the implications behind social media use and touches on sexuality, privacy (my favourite chapter), race and social segregation, as well as a few comments around mental health and internet use.

I felt that Boyd's work was the most balanced I've read: it is neither a moral panic, nor a book that proclaims everything is perfect. Instead, Boyd has made significant effort to understand the age, its issues and strengths, and how social media interacts with these. Thorough, insightful, well-written and detailed.


You and I seem to be working from the same reading list Matt. BTW, it’s danah boyd, and he is a she.
post #2553 of 2565
Whoah, thumbs up to this whole page, and the synchronicity continues as I've also just picked up that one, as well as everything by Dylan Horrocks. (Great reviews, btw).


I think I found Horrocks through this Rolling Stone list -- about the best Google will deliver on the subject -- and spent a good deal of time hunting everything down, both digital and in print. So excited to see you you guys reviewing the comics.

(Best Non-Superhero Graphic Novel List: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/lists/drawn-out-the-50-best-non-superhero-graphic-novels-20140505 )

Related: I just discovered the best thing ever: with an HDMI cable, you can connect your laptop to the hugest tv you can find, turn off the lights, and scroll through your comics as if they were a widescreen movie. (And if its superhero fare you're after, throw in an official movie soundtrack, like the score to the recent Kingsman or X-Men: First Class, and you've hit perfection).

Regrettably, my numbers are terrible for this month until I actually finish some of the many collections of stories and poetry I've dipped into. I've also been reading, in slow thoughtful chunks, The Man Without Qualities, which is as good as people say (and surprisingly fun and not 1/100th as stuffy as you'd imagine from a towering classic).

Also I am losing the fight against TV.

Carry on...
post #2554 of 2565
Quote:
Originally Posted by noob View Post

Also I am losing the fight against TV.

Me too. I start work again tomorrow, so I’m hoping I can catch up by reading on my commute.
post #2555 of 2565
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
1. A Tale for the Time Being
2. The Sun is God
3. The Keeper of Lost Causes
4. Lost and Found
5. Murder on the Eiffel Tower
6. How to be Both
7. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
8. Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
9. Levels of Life
10. The Seventh Day
11. Fortunately the Milk
11b. The Sleeper and the Spindle
12. The Agile Project Management Handbook
13. Reykjavik Nights
14. The Siege
15. The Torch
16. Being Mortal
17. Hicksville
18. Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen
19. The Buried Giant

20. Another Time, Another Life
Another Time, Another LifeAnother Time, Another Life by Leif G.W. Persson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Persson’s follow-up to Between Summer’s Longing and Winter’s End mostly takes place after those events. Many of the same characters reappear, although most have moved on in both their careers and their social lives.

The book starts with the siege of the West German Embassy in Stockholm by the Red Army Faction in 1975. The Swedish authorities have always known that the terrorists must have had local help, but have never identified who was involved. After the collapse of the Berlin Wall, new information emerges.

Fourteen years after the siege, a man is found dead in his apartment, stabbed and left bleeding on the floor by somebody he apparently knew. The venal and irascible DI Backstrom heads the investigation, and quickly settles on a theory that the killing was a homosexual crime. No culprit is found and, despite some outstanding questions and loose ends, the investigation is mothballed. As with the suicide in the first novel, there are some who suspect there is more than meets the eye.

Another ten years pass, and Lars Johansson is now head of the Secret Police, succeeding the shadowy Erik Berg. Johansson is asked to conduct a clearance check on an up-and-coming politician. His inquiries lead him back to these two crimes.

Another Time, Another Life is much more of a police procedural compared to the first novel, which read more like a Cold War spy novel. Persson still gives his characters internal dialogues at the end of their conversations that reveal their secret thoughts. In this case, though, it is more about their snarky feelings towards their interlocutors than the bafflement and paranoia conveyed by this device before. This is a good detective story, but it doesn’t have the secret agendas, paranoia and sense of foreboding that the first book had.


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Edited by California Dreamer - 4/19/15 at 6:20am
post #2556 of 2565
Just further to this, I didn’t make the connection at first, but there is a US TV series starring Rainn Wilson called Backstrom, which is based on Persson’s character. From what I saw of the pilot (available free on iTunes), the producers have turned him into a far more sympathetic character than the universally-detested Backstrom of the books.
post #2557 of 2565
List (Click to show)
1. A Wrong Turn at the Office on Unmade Lists
2. Acceptance
3. Shipbreaker
4. Winter's Bone
5. Dhmara Bums
6. Istanbul
7. On the Trail of Genghis Khan
8. Holy Bible
9. The Boat
10. Collected Stories
11. Lost and Found
12. Blind Willow, Sleeping woman
13. White Noise
14. Clariel
15. Off the Rails
16. Sabriel
17 Hitler's Daughter
18. Quack this Way
19. Grapes of Wrath
20. Every Man in this Village is a Liar
21. The Twelve Fingered Boy
22. Riders of the Purple Sage
23. The Sheltering Sky
24. How to Travel the World for Free
25. Deliverance
26. Trigger Warning
27. It's Complicated
28. Fight Club

 

28. Fight Club

 

Given how often I misspell author's names I'm not even going to try with this one (I'm not sorry, I really do not pay attention or bother to look them up).

 

I never got this movie. I always enjoyed it. I feel the same about the book. It wasn't as shocking or entertaining having seen the movie 3-4 times, but it was still an interesting read. I've no idea what the author is trying to get at, nor what the book is trying to say. I feel that's always annoyed me about this text - what's the point, what's the message?

 

Ideas?

post #2558 of 2565
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

28. Fight Club

Given how often I misspell author's names I'm not even going to try with this one (I'm not sorry, I really do not pay attention or bother to look them up).

I never got this movie. I always enjoyed it. I feel the same about the book. It wasn't as shocking or entertaining having seen the movie 3-4 times, but it was still an interesting read. I've no idea what the author is trying to get at, nor what the book is trying to say. I feel that's always annoyed me about this text - what's the point, what's the message?

Ideas?

Sorry, haven’t read it.
post #2559 of 2565
35 Carl Jung Wounded Healer of the Soul Claire Dunne

An interesting biographical approach to Jung and his work through the use of quotes and reminiscences which breaks down the specific aspects of his work to present an insightful representation, more for the novice than those familiar with his work but discovered anew a few things in there.
post #2560 of 2565
List (Click to show)
1. A Wrong Turn at the Office on Unmade Lists
2. Acceptance
3. Shipbreaker
4. Winter's Bone
5. Dhmara Bums
6. Istanbul
7. On the Trail of Genghis Khan
8. Holy Bible
9. The Boat
10. Collected Stories
11. Lost and Found
12. Blind Willow, Sleeping woman
13. White Noise
14. Clariel
15. Off the Rails
16. Sabriel
17 Hitler's Daughter
18. Quack this Way
19. Grapes of Wrath
20. Every Man in this Village is a Liar
21. The Twelve Fingered Boy
22. Riders of the Purple Sage
23. The Sheltering Sky
24. How to Travel the World for Free
25. Deliverance
26. Trigger Warning
27. It's Complicated
28. Fight Club
29. Past the Shallows

 

29. Past the Shallows

 

Favel Parrett's debut novel is a pretty intense read about the lives of three brothers: Joe, Miles and Harry. Living on the south-east coast of Tasmania, the brothers grow up in the shadow of their father's moods - which are often dark, destructive and abusive. The plot of this text is very simple and straightforward and takes place over a single school holiday. The strength is in the character of Harry and the boy's father. THe writing is blissfully simple - Parrett writes with the sort of elegance that seems to come only from working and reworking a place, character or idea over and over again until it's short enough to breathe and lengthy enough to sweep readers away.

 

I enjoyed this book a lot, despite the plot being fairly predictable and straightforward.

post #2561 of 2565
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

List (Click to show)
1. A Wrong Turn at the Office on Unmade Lists

2. Acceptance

3. Shipbreaker

4. Winter's Bone

5. Dhmara Bums

6. Istanbul

7. On the Trail of Genghis Khan

8. Holy Bible

9. The Boat

10. Collected Stories

11. Lost and Found

12. Blind Willow, Sleeping woman

13. White Noise

14. Clariel

15. Off the Rails

16. Sabriel

17 Hitler's Daughter

18. Quack this Way

19. Grapes of Wrath

20. Every Man in this Village is a Liar

21. The Twelve Fingered Boy

22. Riders of the Purple Sage

23. The Sheltering Sky

24. How to Travel the World for Free

25. Deliverance

26. Trigger Warning

27. It's Complicated

28. Fight Club

29. Past the Shallows

29. Past the Shallows

Favel Parrett's debut novel is a pretty intense read about the lives of three brothers: Joe, Miles and Harry. Living on the south-east coast of Tasmania, the brothers grow up in the shadow of their father's moods - which are often dark, destructive and abusive. The plot of this text is very simple and straightforward and takes place over a single school holiday. The strength is in the character of Harry and the boy's father. THe writing is blissfully simple - Parrett writes with the sort of elegance that seems to come only from working and reworking a place, character or idea over and over again until it's short enough to breathe and lengthy enough to sweep readers away.

I enjoyed this book a lot, despite the plot being fairly predictable and straightforward.

You and I are definitely working off the same reading list, although you are much further down it. smile.gif
post #2562 of 2565
34 the illuminations Andrew O'Hagan after reading this I am not sure of what all the hype surrounding it was all about.
post #2563 of 2565
Quote:
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post


You and I are definitely working off the same reading list, although you are much further down it. smile.gif

 

Ha!

 

If your method is: walk into Dymocks on Collins St, head to the Australian Literature section, pick out a book (that generally 'Kym' loves) and go from there, then we are on the same page.

 

Recommended this (and Shadwboxing) to be studied for Year 9s next year.

post #2564 of 2565
I got the feeling Chuck P____ was kind of using satire to circle around a bunch of nifty ideas about masculinity and capitalism, but ultimately just wrote something he thought was wicked cool. The movie is pretty much the same.

Jameson would apply (to both this and American Psycho), but I find Jameson overblown and insensitive and fucking tacky to no end.
post #2565 of 2565
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
1. A Tale for the Time Being
2. The Sun is God
3. The Keeper of Lost Causes
4. Lost and Found
5. Murder on the Eiffel Tower
6. How to be Both
7. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
8. Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
9. Levels of Life
10. The Seventh Day
11. Fortunately the Milk
11b. The Sleeper and the Spindle
12. The Agile Project Management Handbook
13. Reykjavik Nights
14. The Siege
15. The Torch
16. Being Mortal
17. Hicksville
18. Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen
19. The Buried Giant
20. Another Time, Another Life

21. The Corpse Reader
The Corpse ReaderThe Corpse Reader by Antonio Garrido

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


It is perhaps unusual to find a detective novel by a contemporary Spanish author set in 12th century China, during the Song Dynasty. Song Ci, the Corpse Reader of the title, was a historical figure, one of the founders of forensic science. Garrido came across Song Ci while researching forensics, and thus got the idea for this unusual character and setting.

While Ci is investigating crimes, it is perhaps better to read this novel as historical fiction. That’s certainly how the author describes it in a self-congratulatory afterword. In that light, Garrido has done an excellent job of portraying medieval China. His accounts of rural peasant life, strict family hierarchies and the complicated protocols of the bureaucracy and the Imperial Court feel authentic.

The problem is that the book is overly melodramatic in a Perils of Pauline sense. Almost anything that could go wrong for Ci does, yet he is always saved by a lucky intervention, a timely stroke of ingenuity, or his invulnerability to pain, the legacy of a neural disorder that the historical Song Ci does not seem to have had. Exposition is also clumsy, with lots of chapters ending in trite “little did he know” fashion.

For reasons best known to himself, Garrido has given all of his characters Chinese names except two: Gray Fox and Blue Iris. The reason for this departure is never explained, and it somewhat mars the feeling of authenticity that the author is seeking.

The crimes that Ci is investigating are baffling and there are many twists and turns to the plot. Too many, in my opinion, adding to the sense of melodrama rather than suspense. I liked the way that he linked the denouement to real events of the time and the somewhat open ending. I’d like to read more novels about this character, except that Garrido has marred a great idea with cheap and unrealistic tricks instead of giving us the gravitas that the Song Ci character merits.



22. Portrait of a Man
Portrait of a ManPortrait of a Man by Georges Perec

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


It would be churlish not to acknowledge that Portrait of a Man is a major literary event; the publication of a long-lost novella by a major 20th century novelist. Unfortunately, being a major literary event is not the same as being a major work of literature.

I’m not familiar enough with Perec’s ouvre to be excited by the parallels between this book and his better-known works, and there are many references and connections that will please the cognoscenti but elude someone such as myself. I can only review this book based in its inherent interest and, to me, it simply does not measure up.

The story is about Gaspard Winckler, a forger who commits a murder. The book starts with Winckler describing the immediate aftermath of the murder and his desperate attempts to escape the scene. The second part of the book essentially retells the story in the form of a dialogue between Winckler and another character, where Winckler enlarges on his forging career and why he committed the murder.

Characterisation is almost entirely absent; the victim and all of the supporting characters are pretty much cyphers. Perec’s story suggests that Winckler’s persona is just as much a forgery as his art works so, in the end, there is nobody in the novel with a complete backstory that we can identify with. There is no nemesis pursuing Winckler over his crime, and no real development of the plot beyond the murder and what led up to it.

This was Perec’s first work of fiction, and the book was rejected by the publishers; maybe they were right.


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