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2016 50 Book Challenge - Page 115

post #1711 of 3286
Quote:
Originally Posted by clockwise View Post

I'd like to read Goodbye to all that. I understand it should be very very good.

It is.

I know that there were two editions - the original, which was published in 1929, and then a later edition, published in the 1950s.

"Goodbye to All That" is available in the "Popular Penguins" series. I assume that it's a reprint of the second edition from the 1950s:

http://www.penguin.com.au/products/9780141045542/goodbye-all-popular-penguins
post #1712 of 3286
And speaking of Graves and "Goodbye to All That", you might be interested in reading Siegfried Sassoon's trilogy, particularly the middle volume:

- Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man;
- Memoirs of an Infantry Officer; and
- Sherston's Progress.

Sassoon was a contemporary of Graves, and the two met in the army in World War I.

Sassoon is mentioned in "Goodbye to All That", and Graves is mentioned pseudonymously in "Memoirs of an Infantry Officer".

I know that many will have done so already, but it's also well worth reading Sassoon's poetry from WWI, too, for its stark beauty and simplicity and for its brutal excoriation of the British generals for their conduct of the war (particularly since April 25 is ANZAC Day here in Australia).
post #1713 of 3286
23. Bad Day in Blackrock

Bad Day In BlackrockBad Day In Blackrock by Kevin Power

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Bad Day in Blackrock tells the story of a young man kicked to death in a fight outside a Dublin nightclub. Power's narrator recounts these events and their aftermath from the viewpoints of the different players in the tragedy. Those involved in the fracas, their friends, the families of the victims and those of the accused all share the spotlight. Power is not judgmental; none of his characters are out-and-out villains, and few are blameless, either.

The book is a cold, hard look at privilege and the old school tie, and what happens when the people who have always benefited from that system find themselves facing the grim reality of the police, the law courts and social ostracism. It also explores the complex gradations of privileged society, where some are more equal than others, but few can really explain why.

This is a taut, beautifully-written crime novel where Power unfolds the details in his plot by examining his characters' actions, rather than having some kind of investigator character uncover it for us. A terrific read.



View all my reviews
post #1714 of 3286
Clockwise counting 39/50: Jean-Claude Izzo - Total Chaos (1995)

The first volume of Izzo's so-called "Marseille Trilogy" is a very nice representative of the Mediterranean Noir school of crime fiction. The strong melting pot atmosphere of Marseille with its inherent crime, racism and confusion makes this novel great. The chaotic plot with numerous murders and lose ends among the rivalling crime syndicates and the corrupt police makes it a little bit less great. As a piece of well written escapist fiction it can definitely compare with the best.

Our anti-hero, a melancholy, romantic, hard-drinking food and music lover called Fabio Montale is a former juvenile delinquent turned policeman. When his two best friends from his days of petty crime, Manu and Ugo, are killed, Montale is heading off on a mission of private revenge. The further he gets into the investigation, the closer he gets to being eliminated by one or the other competing crime families of Marseille.

Montale has a string of sexy women surrounding him, each a failed attempt at everlasting love. And love of women, love of food, love of jazz and blues music are in many ways more important to the story than the actual solving of the case(s). The book reminded me of James Ellroy. Highly recommended for those who like violent and dark tales of crime.
post #1715 of 3286
everything%20ravaged.jpg?1325011254


17


One of the more memorable collections from recent years, this one manages to be both character-driven and non-resolution-y without eliciting the typical disgust. Also, there's a story about Vikings. Told in a funny modern idiom.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Just as we were all getting back into the mainland domestic groove, somebody started in with dragons and crop blights from across the North Sea. We all knew who it was. A turncoat Norwegian monk named Naddod had been big medicine on the dragon-and-blight circuit for the last decade or so, and was known to bring heavy ordnance for whoever could lay out some silver. Scuttlebutt had it that Naddod was operating out of a monastery on Lindisfarne, whose people we’d troubled on a pillage-and-consternation tour through Northumbria after Corn Harvesting Month last fall. Now bitter winds were screaming in from the west, searing the land and ripping the grass from the soil. Salmon were turning up spattered with sores, and grasshoppers clung to the wheat in rapacious buzzing bunches.



I feel like I've been slacking lately, though really, I'm still reading, just at much slower pace. I seem to have fallen in with a bunch who copy whole poems and stories by hand. How are you guys counting poetry collections, by the way? Two or three equals a standard-sized book?

I dunno...
post #1716 of 3286
28 Arctic Chill A Reykjavik Murder Mystery by Arnaldur Indridason

Starts off slow in terms of police proceduaral but insightful about the main dick interesting subtext as I never knew Iceland had problems with immigrants and emergent racism.
post #1717 of 3286
Quote:
Originally Posted by noob View Post

everything%20ravaged.jpg?1325011254


17


One of the more memorable collections from recent years, this one manages to be both character-driven and non-resolution-y without eliciting the typical disgust. Also, there's a story about Vikings. Told in a funny modern idiom.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Just as we were all getting back into the mainland domestic groove, somebody started in with dragons and crop blights from across the North Sea. We all knew who it was. A turncoat Norwegian monk named Naddod had been big medicine on the dragon-and-blight circuit for the last decade or so, and was known to bring heavy ordnance for whoever could lay out some silver. Scuttlebutt had it that Naddod was operating out of a monastery on Lindisfarne, whose people we’d troubled on a pillage-and-consternation tour through Northumbria after Corn Harvesting Month last fall. Now bitter winds were screaming in from the west, searing the land and ripping the grass from the soil. Salmon were turning up spattered with sores, and grasshoppers clung to the wheat in rapacious buzzing bunches.



I feel like I've been slacking lately, though really, I'm still reading, just at much slower pace. I seem to have fallen in with a bunch who copy whole poems and stories by hand. How are you guys counting poetry collections, by the way? Two or three equals a standard-sized book?

I dunno...

Do you read straight through a poetry collection? I tend to read one or two poems out of a collection or a book of poetry, then read from something else. I am almost never sure if I have actually finished the whole collection. I couldn't personally count poetry here. But if you read straight through a poetry collection I believe it should count as one book. Maybe less words than a novel but can take you more time and sometimes huge effort.
post #1718 of 3286
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

24. Hell's Angels

25. Anansi Boys

26. Steelheart

27. A Hero of Our Time

28. Mona Lisa Overdrive

 

28. Mona Lisa Overdrive

 

This is the fourth Gibson novel that I've read this year, and I think it'll be the last for awhile. Every novel of his seems to follow a fairly scripted pattern: they open introducing 3-4 characters with problems and a limited understanding of their circumstances and events preceeding the novel. The story the follows each one as things get a bit odd, difficult or strange - usually involving further confusion on the parts of the characters (and little revealed to the reader), suddenly, without much build up, things go wild and bizarrely conclude in a racey, bamboozling, not-quite-oulled-off-in-my-opinion way.

 

The opening 50-100 pages is ALWAYS excellent, and the final 40-50 is always completely all over the shop (deliberately so, I think).

 

Instead of watching something complex come together (like origami, for example), it's kind of like watching a chef cook 1/2 of a dish then seeing the end product. I kept hoping I'd find one where I was taken along for the WHOLE ride, but I guess that hasn't been his intention for any of the novels I've read this year.

post #1719 of 3286
Quote:
Originally Posted by clockwise View Post

I tend to read one or two poems out of a collection or a book of poetry, then read from something else. I am almost never sure if I have actually finished the whole collection. I couldn't personally count poetry here. But if you read straight through a poetry collection I believe it should count as one book. Maybe less words than a novel but can take you more time and sometimes huge effort.

Yeah, I'm the same way, with both poems and stories. It's only now, with this challenge and the incentive to quantify everything, that I'm trying to narrow it down to a pool of two or three books to draw from. Poetry is weird, though. For me, it might be the best kind of writing, but at the same time, maybe 95% of it doesn't really appeal to me....so this might also be a good time to try to dig in and find more good stuff, which surely exists.

As for effort, I read somewhere that reading slightly unfamiliar language -- like Shakespeare or very rich poetry -- bulks up the language centers in your brain in ways that 'normal' reading can't, so...it seems like a good idea to throw some of that in every week. (I wish I knew what the benefits were, though, other than the standard anti-aging/more neural pathways bit).
post #1720 of 3286
24. The Swerve

The Swerve: How the Renaissance BeganThe Swerve: How the Renaissance Began by Stephen Greenblatt

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


In The Swerve, Stephen Greenblatt makes a pretty big claim: that a Papal secretary called Poggio Bracciolini discovered a manuscript that kicked off the Renaissance, and thereby changed the course of history.

Poggio was a scribe and secretary immersed in the internecine politics of the Curia at a time when there were rival claimants to the Papacy and lethal crackdowns on heresy. Poggio was a renowned humanist, dedicated to scouring libraries around Europe seeking long-lost classical manuscripts from Latin and Greek times. In 1417, Poggio discovered such a treasure: De rerum natura ("On the Nature of Things"), an epic poem written in 50 BCE by the Epicurean philosopher Lucretius.

Greenblatt mounts a convincing case that Lucretius's work was indeed earth-shattering for the times. The poem states, among other things, that everything is made of the same matter, which consists of infinitesimal indestructible particles in constant motion, called atoms. These atoms exist in an infinite void and, being indestructible, in infinite time. Being made of the same matter, man is no different to all the other species on earth. Matter must be converted from one form to another when someone dies, so there can be no soul, and no afterlife.

Stunning stuff, even today, and Greenblatt traces the influence of Lucretius on the likes of Galileo, Macchiavelli, Boticelli, Montaigne, More and Jefferson. (Jefferson's timeless phrase "the pursuit of happiness" is a paraphrasing of Lucretius). The author certainly makes it clear that this was a highly influential discovery, but I think he overstates his case, and Poggio seems to have contributed little to the manuscript's influence other than to have been the one who unearthed it. The politics of the time seems to have caused this bureaucrat to back away from the implications of his discovery and leave the heavy lifting to others. Given that, one wonders why Poggio commands Greenblatt's attention to such a degree, leaving the reader wanting to know more about key players such as Niccoli and Bruno.






View all my reviews
post #1721 of 3286
27 Silence Of The Grave A Reykjavik Murder Mystery Arnaldur Indridason

A cold case which focus on the skeletal remains found on a construction site. The narrative of the investigation runs in tandem to the unfolding events of how the corpse ended up there. In all honesty Indridason has created one of the most vile characters I have ever encountered in print.
post #1722 of 3286

pyramids-malpighi-steve-gehrke-paperback-cover-art.jpg9780252068980.jpg


P1 - Bruce Bond, Cinder
P2 - Steve Gehrke, The Pyramids of Malpighi
P3 - Corey Marks, Renunciation


http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/bruce-bond

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/steve-gehrke

-- Marks poem --



Three favorite contemporary poets I would (and do) foist upon anyone, real or computer-er-ed .
post #1723 of 3286




They followed the crowd's stoked gaze. They stood and looked. The billboard was unevenly lighted, dim in spots, several bulbs blown and unreplaced, but the central elements were clear, a vast cascade of orange juice pouring diagonally from top right into a goblet that was handheld at lower left -- the perfectly formed hands of a female Caucasian of the middle suburbs. Distant willows and a vagueish lake view set the social locus. But it was the juice that commanded the eye, thick and pulpy with a ruddled flush that matched the madder moon. And the first detailed drops plashing at the bottom of the goblet with a scatter of spindrift, each fleck embellished with the figurations of a precisionist epic. What a lavishment of effort and technique, no refinement spared -- the equivalent, Edgar thought, of medieval church architecture.
.


We shared a vision of the man in his bed, at night, mind roaming back -- the village, the hills, the family dead. We walked the same streets every day, obsessively, and we spoke in subdued tones even when we disagreed. It was part of the dialectic, our looks of thoughtful disapproval.

.

We loved the idea of being everyday crazy. It rang so true, so real.
"In our privatest mind," he said, "there is only chaos and blur. We invented logic to beat back our creatural selves. We assert or deny. We follow M with N."
Our privatest mind, we thought. Did he really say that?
"The only laws that matter are laws of thought."
His fists were clenched on the tabletop, knuckles white.
"The rest is devil worship," he said.


.

I thought about soccer in history, the inspiration for wars, truces, rampaging mobs. The game was a global passion, spherical ball, grass or turf, entire nations in spasms of elation or lament. But what kind of sport is it that disallows the use of players' hands, except for the goalkeeper? Hands are essential human tools, the things that grasp and hold, that make, take, carry, create. If soccer were an American invention, wouldn't some European intellectual maintain that our historically puritanical nature has compelled us to invent a game structured on anti-masturbatory principles?

This is one of the things I think about that I never had to think about before.



18

DON DELILLO, THE ANGEL ESMERALDA



I think I just went crazy. I think I just shit my pants! This book -- nine stories of exquisite range, insight, and depth of feeling -- will become one of those things I recommend to anyone who'll let me. I went in thinking, What does DeLillo care about short stories? Nine in thirty years? Mere castoffs. Trifles, they must be! But....no. No. A salient world of no.
post #1724 of 3286
43. The Warrior's Path Louis L' Amour 1980

Although the Sackett series is supposed to be read in a certain order, this one skips back to the first generation born on American soil. 1620 or so, brothers named Yancey and Kin. They spend most of the book breaking up a white female slavery ring, and Kin falls in love with one of the rescued slaves, reputed to be a witch.

Now who among us gentlemen ever thought of a woman as a witch?
post #1725 of 3286
26 The Bat Jo Nesbo

When i began to read this I had the strangest feeling of deja vu as if I have read the book before, which I haven't. It was unfolding in a way that I knew and was predictable in terms of narrative direction. Maybe it was the Sydney setting? Formula writhing??

I have read a lot of the Cliff Hardy novels by Peter Corris, a Sydney PI Noir series so maybe it triggered a few familiar narrative tropes. Either that or I should stop eating chili at night.
Edited by Geoffrey Firmin - 5/1/14 at 2:49pm
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