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2016 50 Book Challenge - Page 110

post #1636 of 3283
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post


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.


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.
Voices.
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."

Great book. I read it in high school and, as you say, it took a second reading whilst at uni to really sink in.

It's got a great first line - "The sky above the port was the colour of television, tuned to a dead channel." - although I do wonder what kids nowadays, raised on digital TV, would make of that given that TVs don't really show static anymore.
post #1637 of 3283
Clockwise counting 27/50: Chris Morgan Jones - The Jackal's Share (2013)

After his debut with An Agent of Deceit (US title: The Silent Oligarch) in 2011, Jones was praised as the new Le Carre. Whilst not exactly Le Carre, his private investigation novels are set in the world of big and shady finance and they have elements of both classic thriller / espionage literature and the private eye genre.

The Jackal's Share is about an exile Iranian billionaire seeking the private investigation company Ikertu's help in conducting due diligence on his own investment company. The purpose is to clear the company's name from any suspicions of illegal activities prior to acquisition talks. Ikertu investigator Ben Webster, sympathetic but with some inevitable character flaws, discovers (not surprisingly) that the billionaire's empire is hiding something. The novel soon turns into a straight-forward but well written thriller. Definitely superior to most airport fodder.
post #1638 of 3283
Klewless title 16/50: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

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While I don't usually touch rom-com titles, this one has a twist that sounded well worth the time. The main character has Asperger's Syndrome, and lives life outside what most would consider "normal" social conventions. Highly intelligent, the narrator decides that he wants to try and find a wife. In his typical highly organized method of solving problems, he devises a survey that he will provide for prospective partners, trusting the scientific method to find the perfect mate. Comedy ensues when he predictably finds himself attracted to the most unworthy of candidates.

This book is very well written, and has received worldwide acclaim. The rights are currently being negotiated for a motion picture, which I am confident will ruin the story as usual. In any case, this is a highly recommended title for those who are seeking escapist fiction.

Klewless title 17/50 Double Silence by Mari Jungstedt

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This is the seventh book in the Anders Knutas series. Knutas is a police chief in Sweden, and this is a very formulaic ScandiaCrime novel. While that does not detract from the enjoyment of the book, I found this title to not be up to the author's previous works, and it was somewhat easy to predict the outcome very early into the book. This series is best read in order, and while this tale may be read alone, there are some overarching storylines relating to the ongoing characters that may be missed to the reader unfamiliar with the series. Not bad, but not great.
post #1639 of 3283
Quote:
Originally Posted by clockwise View Post

Clockwise counting 27/50: Chris Morgan Jones - The Jackal's Share (2013)

After his debut with An Agent of Deceit (US title: The Silent Oligarch) in 2011, Jones was praised as the new Le Carre. Whilst not exactly Le Carre, his private investigation novels are set in the world of big and shady finance and they have elements of both classic thriller / espionage literature and the private eye genre.

The Jackal's Share is about an exile Iranian billionaire seeking the private investigation company Ikertu's help in conducting due diligence on his own investment company. The purpose is to clear the company's name from any suspicions of illegal activities prior to acquisition talks. Ikertu investigator Ben Webster, sympathetic but with some inevitable character flaws, discovers (not surprisingly) that the billionaire's empire is hiding something. The novel soon turns into a straight-forward but well written thriller. Definitely superior to most airport fodder.

Yum!

32. Mojave Crossing Louis L' Amour 1964

Tell Sackett sets off to cash in his gold in Los Angeles because of 2.00 more per ounce. Smart move- even if you do have 30 lbs of it. He is hoodwinked, waylaid, but finally. wins out. Is Tell's life worth 2.00 an ounce?

33. The Sackett Brand Louis L'Amour 1965

Tell Sackett and his new wife head off with his sold gold in cash to buy a ranch. On the way Tell's wife is murdered. He swears revenge but the perpetrator is the owner of a large ranch and he's outgunned 40-1. He's trapped and cornered UNTIL the Sackett cavalry arrives. He lives to fight another day.
post #1640 of 3283
Quote:
Originally Posted by klewless View Post

Klewless title 16/50: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Klewless, Simsion is currently working on a sequel to Rosie.

Also, the novel actually started as a screenplay, for which he won an award. He couldn't get the film made, so he turned it into a novel. So there's reasons for believing that the film version might be pretty good. I think for this one, the casting will probably make or break it.
post #1641 of 3283
19. Darkness on the Edge of Town

Darkness on the Edge of TownDarkness on the Edge of Town by Jessie Cole

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Darkness on the Edge of Town is a pretty good effort for a first novel, but it's little more than that. Cole's central character Vinnie is a 40 year old living in the hills above a small town. One night, Vinnie encounters Rachel, a young woman after an accident in which her baby has died. Vinnie's protective instincts kick in, which leads him into a host of trouble with his teenage step-daughter, his current flame and the townsfolk.

Cole seems to be trying to write a disturbing psychological thriller but can't carry it off. The book has more accounts of leaking breasts than anyone could want to read, making one suspect that Cole may have had some life-changing issues in that area herself. The chemistry between Vinnie and Rachel is not really believable given their age difference, and some of Cole's plot developments and resolutions are just a bit too pat. I was disappointed in the ending, which I thought was a bit forced and silly.



View all my reviews
post #1642 of 3283
Klewless title 18/50 Black Horizon by James Grippando

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Another tale from the Jack Swyteck series. Jack is a Miami lawyer who can't seem to avoid controversial cases. In this story, which borrows heavily from the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, Jack finds himself in an eco-disaster created by an offshore oil spill. Taking place in Cuban waters, there are some political overtones, but the focus of the story is on the oil rig itself, and if there was a conspiracy to create the accident. Bouncing between the Floridy Keys and Havana, this is another mildly entertaing entery into the series. Not a must read, but not a total waste of time either.


Klewless title 19/50 Murder at CapeThree Points by Kwei Quartey

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The latest title in the Darko Dawson series. Dawson is a detective in Ghana with the national force. In this installment, he is tasked with investigating a grizzly double murder that is discovered in proximity to the nation's newly established oil refining industry. While the subject matter is serious, the author approaches the stories with a light hearted tone, and while not comic, the writing appears to be more fluff than hardcore. A somewhate entertaining series, but not for the most stringent fans of hard boiled detective fiction.


Klewless title 20/50 Without Warning by David Rosenfelt

without-warning-by-david-rosenfelt.jpg


This was a great fast read. Not part of his usual Andy Carpenter series, this story is a small town Maine police chief who is framed for a series of murders. A very well paced whodunit that is worth the day that it will take to finish. Recommended.
post #1643 of 3283
34. Mustang Man Louis L' Amour 1966

Battle between Nolan Sackett, the outlaw of the clan, and a bad woman. A good woman comes along to defeat the bad one, and Nolan rides off in the sunset with her.

35. The Lonely Men Louis L'Amour 1969

Involves Tell Sackett, Laura his brother's wicked divorced wife, and Apaches. Laura lies to Tell and sends him South with a story that the Apaches stole her child. When he gets to their encampment he rescues 5 other children, all of whom have heard nothing of a pint sized Sackett. Tell is protected by an Indian chief because of mutual respect and makes it back. As we fade out Laura is trying to mount a horse to ride back in town from the middle of nowhere. Even the horse is having none of her.

As you can tell by now, I'm particularly fond of Mr. L'Amour's intellectual masterpieces.
post #1644 of 3283
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

22. Count Zero

 

22. Count Zero

 

Not as good as Neuromancer - one too many narrative threads that 'slickly' came together in the last 30 pages a little too conveniently. A little too contrived, but with some generally decent story arcs.

post #1645 of 3283
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

22. Count Zero

23. Shadowboxing

 

23. Shadowboxing

 

CD's review broadly covers this book: a cycle of short stories covering one man's growing up and growing old in the inner suburbs of Melbourne. My father grew up in the suburbs over from where this book is set, at the exact same time, so it was something that was incredibly personally satisfying and illuminating for me. While Dad's parents were teetotallers, he's told MANY stories about the abuse and alcoholism that defined many of his friends' lives.

 

The prose is competent and straightforward, minimal flourishes, and minimal minimalism, but there's a very humanistic streak that runs through these stories. They don't condemn the characters, the society or the time, but simply revel in what was. I liked it a lot. Thanks for the recommendation CD.

post #1646 of 3283
32 Ideas A History of Thought and Invention, from Fire to Freud by Peter Watson

27,000 BCE the bone needle appears giving birth to the tribal tailor. "Now do you want cuffs on these seal skin trousers Gronk?"
Edited by Geoffrey Firmin - 4/4/14 at 9:44pm
post #1647 of 3283
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

Thanks for the recommendation CD.

Pleasure. You were very quick to get onto that one!
post #1648 of 3283
36. Son of a Wanted Man Louis L'Amour May 1984

Mike Bastian is the foster son of Don Vito (Ben Carey), head of an outfit that makes the James gang look like pikers. Cary is grooming him for the top job.

Bastian pulls Carey's real family out of a mess and winds up with Carey's younger daughter, and decides against his "father"'s ways with his blessing.
post #1649 of 3283
Clockwise counting 28/50: Jean-Philippe Toussaint - Reticence (1991)

The fourth short novel by Belgian existentialist writer Toussaint makes a clear departure from his first three. This reads more like an enigmatic detective story and is full of detailed descriptions of the Mediterranean Island where the action takes place.

The protagonist is a single father in his 30s, arriving in a small fishing town together with his 8-month old baby. While the baby is sleeping in the hotel room, the protagonist goes exploring the town and is repeatedly drawn to the house of a certain Biaggi, with whom he is acquainted since before. He repeatedly fails to make contact with Biaiggi, maybe due to his own reticence, reluctance to act, or possibly due to Biaggi having left town, or maybe Biaggi is avoiding him and secretly spying on him or, as we start to suspect later in the story, even being dead, possibly murdered.

This is a really good short novel, with a claustrophobic feeling and more questions raised than answered. Of Toussaint's first four books, I hold this one to be on par with Camera. Recommended!
post #1650 of 3283
Clockwise counting 29/50: David Gilbert - & Sons (2013)

An ambitious New York family saga with Salingeresque cult writer A.N. Dyer and his three emotionally afflicted sons in the focus. In many ways an excellent novel, written in a wonderful language and often reminding me of Updike (reviewers have compared with Jonathan Franzen, whom I have not yet read).

This is a novel about fathers and sons and it would have been better if it stuck to its main theme rather than so often get side-tracked with numerous subplots. Overall it is anyway a very enjoyable read but with a surprisingly tame ending.
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