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2016 50 Book Challenge - Page 102

post #1516 of 3280
Quote:
Originally Posted by Journeyman View Post

I can't help but wonder if the author used this Rolling Stone essay from 2003 as source material when writing about the US Marine company...

Good call. There are many articles describing Ben Fountain's process, and journalism does seem to figure heavily into the initial stages.
post #1517 of 3280
Quote:
Originally Posted by Journeyman View Post

CD, that sounds like an interesting book - I'll have to try to find a copy of it.

I can't help but wonder if the author used this Rolling Stone essay from 2003 as source material when writing about the US Marine company at the centre of the story:

http://longform.org/stories/the-killer-elite

The essay concerns the actions of a US Marine recon company, Bravo Company, during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It's an excellent example of longform journalism and is well worth reading.

A brief excerpt which echoes what the sergeant in the novel said about "cold-blooded killers":

I read that article years ago very good piece of journalism also informed a TV series. I read Billy Lynn's Long Half Time Walk a while back. I was left feeling angry when I finished it by the way the author treated the main characters. As for being akin to Catch 22 not by a long shot.

In 1980 I saw Joseph Heller read excepts from Catch 22 at Melbourne University and explain how he came up with the concept, one of the beat authorial readings I've attended.
post #1518 of 3280

I've been slack, and I'm not aiming for 50, maybe 20 or so. Just finished #1, The Fault in our Stars. Ending was obvious though, I knew it would just stop, and was hinted at from the very beginning of the novel.

post #1519 of 3280
21. Flint 1966 Louis L'Amour

A wealthy New York financier with a diagnosis of cancer heads West to die

A railroad land grab by a self fancied Robber baron. Involves him.

He doesn't have the legal right he thought he had. Despite some fisticuffs and hijinks he is defeated.

Our hero finds out he has ulcers, not cancer.

He divorces his scheming wife and marries a local girl.

This was my favorite L'Amour so far. I highly recommend it.
post #1520 of 3280
22. The Nose 1835 Nikolai Gogol

The List

An officer and a gentleman loses his nose and is rendered Voldemort-like. He is understandably distressed, searching St, Petersburg where he lives to no avail.

The nose in the meantime has been rather enjoying itself racing about town impersonating a human.

Then one morning he re-appears but will not stick to the major's face. Inexplicably the major wakes one morning with the nose reattached.

A short but very humorous read. A- for me.
post #1521 of 3280
23. The Pigeon Patrick Suskind 1988

LIST

A bank guard who is extremely fussy is confronted by a pigeon on his doorstep. It unnerves his world and ruins his day. He forgets to open the entrance for the president's limousine. He puts a large tear in his trousers. He gets completely out of his routine while having a tremendous inner struggle. At one point he even contemplates suicide because of the pigeon.

This novella has many levels of meaning but the primary one is that life is a mere illusion.

Give it an A.
post #1522 of 3280
10. Alex

Alex (Verhœven, #2)Alex by Pierre Lemaitre

My rating: 4 of 5 stars




Alex is one of a series of novels about Parisian detective Camille Verhoeven. Verhoeven is a diminutive, combative figure, still getting over the death of his wife. Against his will, he is assigned to investigate the kidnapping of a mysterious young woman in broad daylight.

As Verhoeven struggles to progress the investigation, or even identify the victim, the girl - Alex - is subjected to torture and an impending death in horrific circumstances. Verhoeven's feelings conflating the girl's potential fate and that of his wife seem to be hindering his progrss, to the annoyance of the supervising magistrate.

To go any further would be to reveal some of the splendid twists and turns in what is a gripping, enthralling and macabre novel. Lemaitre takes the reader on a ride where you are never quite sure what to make of the key figures in the case, and draws you in deeper and deeper until the grim explanation for the kidnapping is revealed.

Alex is the second novel in the Verhoeven series. It is very irritating that, for some inexplicable reason, Lemaitre's English language publishers have chosen to publish it first. At various points in this book, the author gives away most of the plot of the first book, Irene. Bad luck if you plan on reading both. If you get the chance, make sure you read Irene first, but don't miss reading Alex.



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post #1523 of 3280
Klewless book 8/50: Cockroaches by Jo Nesbo

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This is the second book in the Harry Hole timeline, but the most recently published. The writing was strong for the first half of the novel, but the latter portion.....not so much. This seems to be a case of the author knowing where he wants to end up, but consciously trying to insert a few too many plot twists. This may be a reflection of the novel being an early work by the writer.

In any case, this is a fish out of water tale featuring a European police officer sent to Thailand to investigate a diplomat's murder. I will continue to give Nesbo a spot in my rotation, but this title was just not up to the standards I hope for in translated crime fiction.
post #1524 of 3280
43 BUDA'S WAGON A Brief History of the Car Bomb by Mike Davis

First heard about this after listening to podcast with the author.
post #1525 of 3280
Clockwise counting 11/50: Massimo Carlotto - The Goodbye Kiss (2001) 

Took a break from my current reading of Trollope and picked up something with local flavour during a visit to Rome last week.

From Italy's master of hard-boiled crime fiction, a completely immoral tale of a psychopathic but charming ex-terrorist who spends his time robbing and killing while always looking for opportunities to degrade women. While the subject matter is sickening, this is a really good crime novel with a cynical view of a corrupt modern Italian society. Recommended!
post #1526 of 3280
Quote:
Originally Posted by clockwise View Post

Clockwise counting 11/50: Massimo Carlotto - The Goodbye Kiss (2001) 

Took a break from my current reading of Trollope and picked up something with local flavour during a visit to Rome last week.

From Italy's master of hard-boiled crime fiction, a completely immoral tale of a psychopathic but charming ex-terrorist who spends his time robbing and killing while always looking for opportunities to degrade women. While the subject matter is sickening, this is a really good crime novel with a cynical view of a corrupt modern Italian society. Recommended!

This is the Inspector Montalbano series isn't it? The TV series is very popular here, but I've not seen the books until one popped up at the local library this weekend. Sounds like another Euro detective to get into.
post #1527 of 3280
Quote:
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post

This is the Inspector Montalbano series isn't it? The TV series is very popular here, but I've not seen the books until one popped up at the local library this weekend. Sounds like another Euro detective to get into.

No, the writer of the Montalbano series Is Camilleri, this one is Carlotto.

I read a Guardian article about Carlotto and it mentions the "Meditteranean Noir writers" as a group: Catalan writer Manuel Vazquez Montalban, French writer Jean-Claude Izzo and the Italians Massimo Carlotto and Andrea Camilleri. The inspector's name Montalbano is evidently a homage to the writer Montalban. I have not read any of these before but encouraged by Carlotto, I will search them out one by one.
post #1528 of 3280
11. Something Nasty in the Woodshed

Something Nasty in the WoodshedSomething Nasty in the Woodshed by Kyril Bonfiglioli

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Something Nasty in the Woodshed is the find instalment in the Mortdecai trilogy. Charlie and Johanna have decamped to the Isle of Jersey because certain authorities in London have suggested to Charlie that he not show his face in London for a long while.

The wife of one of Charlie's chums is assaulted and raped in her home. Soon after, another of the wives in their circle is also raped. Accounts indicate that the rapes may be linked to a practitioner of witchcraft. Charlie does the obvious thing and arranges for a Satanic Black Mass to entrap the miscreant.

The book has Bonfiglioli's usual quota of arch observations from Charlie, and the ending is good. However I simply could not go along with the idea of building a light-hearted caper story around women being raped. That may have seemed funny in the '70s when the book was first published, but it's far less so now.

I also think this final instalment would have been stronger if it was a continuation of the plot lines of the first two novels. One doesn't get the sense of a story being brought to a conclusion, rather than an additional yarn being tacked onto the end of a two-novel plot.



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post #1529 of 3280
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# 8-9(ish) The Shell Collector, by Anthony Doerr, and Emperor of the Air, by Ethan Canin.

....aaaaaand I've fallen back into the short story hell hole again with these guys, two of my favorite books from.....well....not the last ten years, I guess, but books I've read within the last ten years that still strike a chord. You can read Doerr's O. Henry award-winning story The Hunter's Wife right...HERE.

I've also been working my way through Lydia Davis's Collected Stories --- about four books, I think. I'm hoping that, like a game of Tetris, the rows will align, I'll finish a single volume, and be allowed to count one towards my now dwindling numbers....

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post #1530 of 3280
Clockwise counting 12/50: Anthony Trollope - Phineas Finn (1868) 

Second instalment in the Palliser series is just over 700 pages and has been listed among the 1001.

The book tells the story of young Irish law student Phineas Finn who through some lucky coincidences and a relentless ambition gets a seat in the English House of Commons. This novel only marginally touches upon the events in Can You Forgive Her? and adds significantly more insight into British politics. What is a commonality between the two books is the complex marriage considerations among those belonging to the upper class during the Victorian age.

Phineas is young, charming, handsome and very ambitious but he is essentially penniless and he will not have a chance to extend his career as a politician unless he marries into money and compromises his true believes. Through the 5 or so years of this story, he contemplates marriage with four women, three of whom are wealthy and belongs to the social elite of London and one who is a poor girl from his Irish village.

This is a very interesting story and despite its length less repetitive and tedious than the first book in the series. I really liked it. Trollope is a very nice discovery but if I am to achieve a healthy outcome from this challenge of quantitative reading, he needs to be mixed with some shorter books.
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