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2016 50 Book Challenge - Page 109

post #1621 of 3237
Clockwise counting 26/50: Maurizio De Giovanni - Blood Curse (2008)

Commissario Ricciardi is an unlikely hero. Pale and introverted, a lonesome bachelor who lives with his complaining old mother. But Ricciardi has a rare ability, which gives him a unique advantage in his murder investigations - he can hear the last thoughts of dead people.

There are 4 books in the Ricciardi series and I started with book 2 for some reason. I will definitely read the other 3 since this was an unusual and very good reading experience. The setting is 1930s Naples, where poverty, violence and a fascist government blend with the charm of the old city. A tarot card reading and loan sharking old woman is brutally murdered and a number of suspects can be identified. Ricciardi and his sympathetic colleague Maione conduct their investigation with compassion and stubborn search for the truth.
post #1622 of 3237


1. Psychiatric hospital patients -- Fiction. 2. Mentally ill
women -- Fiction. 3. Solitude -- Fiction. 4. Fucking awesome
-- Fiction. I. Title.
post #1623 of 3237


From the mind of clockwise comes a bold new recommendation : We The Animals : Three lone brothers, poor, meandering, puertoricueño ! -- shuffling, speaking, getting down to the dirty and up to no good.

Told in a series of super-brief chapters, each one a tiny polished gem, each one also maybe a shiny bead, fun but interchangeable. It shows great promise. It causes great enjoyment. If there is any issue to be had, it is probably not with the work itself, but its hyperbolic reception (surely there are other, similar works that exceed it, though at the moment, could not be as popular, for various reasons).

Anyone who really enjoyed this, as I did, I would implore to check out Stefan Kiesbye and Reinaldo Arenas, as well....
post #1624 of 3237
34 FaB: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney

Just started last night so no comments.Was surprised by the George Harrison biography presented a totally different perspective on the Beatles as to what is enshrined in myth.
post #1625 of 3237

My wife is wide, wide-hipped and long-waisted, and, surveyed from above, gives an impression of terrain, of a wealth whose ownership imposes upon my body a sweet strain of extension; entered, she yields a variety of landscapes, seeming now a snowy rolling perspective of bursting cotton bolls seen through the black arabesques of a fancywork wrought-iron balcony; now a taut vista of mesas dreaming in the midst of sere and painterly ochre; now a gray French castle complexly fitted to a steep green hill whose terraces imitate turrets; now something like Antarctica; and then a receding valley-land of blacks and purples where an unrippled river flows unseen between shadowy banks of grapes that are never eaten. Over all, like a sky, withdrawn and cool, hangs—hovers, stands, is—is the sense of her consciousness, of her composure, of a non-committal witnessing that preserves me from claustrophobia through any descent however deep. I never felt this in Joan, this sky. I felt in danger of smothering in her. She seemed, like me, an adventurer helpless in dark realms upon which light, congested, could burst only with a convulsion. The tortuous trip could be undertaken only after much preparation, and then there was a mystic crawling by no means certain of issue. Whereas with Peggy I skim, I glide, I am free, and this freedom, once tasted, lightly, illicitly, became as indispensable as oxygen to me, the fuel of a pull more serious than that of gravity.

post #1626 of 3237
18. Shadowboxing

Shadow BoxingShadow Boxing by Tony Birch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm not a big fan of modern short-story writing, although I have enjoyed collections by writers such as Raymond Carver and Tim Winton. I was attracted to Shadowboxing because it is set in Fitzroy, the suburb that my mother grew up in, albeit in a different era.

Shadowboxing is a series of linked stories about Michael Byrne, a young boy growing up in Melbourne's working-class inner suburbs of Fitzroy and Richmond. Michael is the son of an abusive father, who is a renowned drunk and brawler. The stories are in chronological sequence, and follow a narrative arc that starts with Michael as a very young boy terrified of his father and follows his transition to adulthood and a very different father-son relationship. This narrative arc makes the book read very much like an episodic novel, with re-occurring characters and events that are referred to and have implications in later stories.

I particularly enjoyed The Bulldozer, The Sea of Tranquility and Ashes, all of which touch on aspects of working-class life in a credible and heartfelt fashion. All of the stories engage the reader's interest and Birch's characters are empathetic and believable. He resists the urge to demonise Michael's father, which makes the final story much more effective. Shadowboxing is a slice of Melbourne's history and social life that rings true and is highly readable and rewarding.

View all my reviews
post #1627 of 3237

Will read.

post #1628 of 3237
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

Will read.

Wife liked it too, and she's a teacher from the Mallee. smile.gif
post #1629 of 3237

For reals? We probably know some of the same people (apart from you).

post #1630 of 3237
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

For reals? We probably know some of the same people (apart from you).

She's from the Mallee (Manangatang), but she hasn't taught in the North since 1981 (at Mildura High).
post #1631 of 3237
31. The Daybreakers Louis L'Amour 1960

Orrin Sackett has the gift of oratory and is elected through the aauapices of his scheming wife and her father. Father wants to disolace Mexicans and make claims on their land.

Owen's brother Tyrell is literally the fastest gun in the West. He becomes marshal of the town and foils everyone's evil plots.

Except his own- to get the girl.

32. Sackett Louis L'Amour 1961

William Tell Sackett is a drifter who finds the mother lode in Montana. He fights off those after his claim.

And in a cliff hanger, the reader thinks he gets the girl but isn't sure.
post #1632 of 3237


# padding numbers with non-fiction # books that are actually useful # books I wish I had a decade ago
# hopes # regrets

Deliberate practice. If you've got insights as to what this could mean for fiction writing, or would like to have some, or would like to discover some, please PM.
post #1633 of 3237
Re Paul McCartney

Read about 170 pages very different take to the George bio. He goes into great length about the early days does some muck raking which is a bit of a cheap shot in some ways. Its like here is this anecdote I'm not sure its true but here it is anyway, you can make your own mind up. Very insightful into Beatlemania but going to put it down for a couple of nights and digest it.

Found this the other day

33 Ubik by Philip K Dick
post #1634 of 3237
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post

She's from the Mallee (Manangatang), but she hasn't taught in the North since 1981 (at Mildura High).


Yeah, we DEFINITELY know some people in common.



post #1635 of 3237
List (Click to show)
1. All Tomorrow's Parties
2. Undivided: Part 3
3. High Fidelity
4. Hard Boiled Wonderland at the End of the World
5. Polysyllabic Spree
6. Armageddon in Retrospect
7. South of the Border, West of the Sun
8. What we talk about when we talk about love
9. Norweigan Wood

10. The Master and Margherita

11. The Fault in Our Stars

12. Of Mice and Men

13.Fade to Black

14. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

15. Watchmen

16. Captains Courageous

17. A Brief History of Time

18. The Trial

19. Wind up Bird Chronicle

20. A Visit from the Goon Squad

21. Neuromancer


21. Neuromancer


I read this first when I was about 19. I remember being confused a lot by it and didn't really understand what was going on.


This time around, though, it rocked. The story is convoluted and complex, but it essentially follows a hacker called Case who is slowly dying in Chiba - a district of Japan. He is given a second life as long as he commits to an unexplained mission presented by an weird guy called Armitage. Along the way, the plot thickens as Case learns his job is to hack through a powerful AI, and that his real employer is a part of that AI called Wintermute.


Visionary and amazing. Still incredibly powerful.


I want to add to this and say that Gibson's prose is incredibly light (it's not labourious, and convoluted sentences using words particular to this novel just roll off the page), but simultaenously powerful and paced so well, an example:


"Cold steel ice odor. Ice caresses his spine.

Lost, so small amid that dark, hands grown col, body image fading down corridors of television sky.


Then black fire found the branching tributaries of the nerves, pain beyond anything to which the name of pain is given..."


"The landscape of the northern Sprawl woke confused memories of childhood for Case, dead grass tufting the cracks in a canted slab of freeway concrete.


The train began to decelerate ten kilometers from the airport. Case watched the sun rise on the landscape of childhood, on broken slag and the rusted shells of refineries."

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