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2016 50 Book Challenge - Page 131

post #1951 of 3283
36. The Swan Book, by Alexis Wright

Matt has already reviewed this at length, so I won’t say much. I will say the writing is incredibly sloppy in parts: “etching out a living”, “stuck in a grove”, “a slitter of bone” and “Ghandi” are among the pearlers I found in this. Unless it’s done intentionally - and it clearly isn’t - I find this unacceptable in a major work from an award-winning novelist. Apart from that, bugger-all happens in almost 400 pp apart from a great deal of musing about the main character’s relationship with swans. The little that does happen goes unexplained for the most part. I like my magic realism and dystopian novels, and the idea of a dystopian society resulting from the Howard-era Aboriginal Intervention is a promising one, but this book is pointless, poorly-written drivel.
post #1952 of 3283
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post

http://www.abebooks.com/?cm_mmc=msn-_-US_AbeBooks_Brand-_-Mispellings-_-abebooks%20com

I've gotten a number of books for them at about $3 per, with shipping.

And I haven't even started on the remaining Louis L'Amours.

Is there really a cache of mispelled titles?, because that would be awesome. The link just takes me to the main page, though.
post #1953 of 3283
I've never fooled with the misspelled titles, but books are cheap and arrive relatively quickly.
post #1954 of 3283
I like Abe Books, but it's effed me up before when trying to sell back something of value to my local bookstore, and a n00b has unknowingly listed it for cheap. ffffuuuu.gif

Cool site, though.

In Louis L'Amour news, it turns out I will not be inheriting the full set, as my grandfather deemed some of them great, but a lot of them 'crap', and consequently, had them donated. More as the story develops.
post #1955 of 3283
37. Caravaggio: A Passionate Life
Caravaggio: A Passionate LifeCaravaggio: A Passionate Life by Desmond Seward

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Seward has written a fairly pedestrian biography of the great artist. In part this is because of the paucity of source material on major aspects of Caravaggio’s life, including his origins, the major conflicts that blighted his career, his travels during exile and his death. So there is not a lot for the author to work with. He still manages to present an intriguing story of an ambitious young man with a great deal of talent, yet also in possession of a violent temperament that caused his premature downfall. It’s an entertaining story; you can’t help but like somebody who, when a painting of his was publicly criticised, ripped it up with a knife and then went away and painted a masterpiece.

I read the Kindle version of this book, and regretted it. The plates reproducing the works that Seward refers to would have been much better in printed form.



View all my reviews
post #1956 of 3283
I have also found some of the L'Amours crap, but probably 2/3 of them are good reads. I plan on assembling at least 1 copy of each of his 126 books.

Contrast w/The List. Unfortunately I've found recently they are 4/5 junk.
post #1957 of 3283
77. Arcanum 17 Andre Breton 1944

THE LIST

If possible, this was an even stupider book.

78. The Iron Marshall Louis L'Amour 1979

A New York tough heads West and is drafted into service as a town marshal. He foils a train robbery and gets the girl.

79. The Key-Lock Man Louis L'Amour 1965

Matt Keelock gets the girl first, and then is forced to defend her and himself from a blood thirsty posse ready to hang him for a crime he did not commit.
post #1958 of 3283
38. River of Shadows
River of ShadowsRiver of Shadows by Valerio Varesi

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


River of Shadows is the first in a series of detective novels set in Italy’s Po Valley. The novel begins with the Po River in flood and a barge floating down the torrent out of control. When the barge is finally brought to rest, its owner has disappeared. That same day, his brother falls from a window in a local hospital.

Commissario Soneri pushes to have these two seemingly unrelated cases investigated, against his superiors' wishes. He heads to the Po, giving priority to the bargeman’s baffling disappearance, crossing swords with taciturn locals determined to give him little to go on.

The plot of this novel is not that remarkable, developing gradually rather than with any breathtaking twists. Varesi’s real achievement is how he has placed the Po River at the centre of the story, providing an atmospheric and unusual setting for a murder mystery. His description of life on the river and its vicissitudes is compelling.

Soneri is not a bad character as the basis for a series. My one demurral is that every good Euro detective needs a source of angst, and Soneri's mostly seems to be that his girlfriend is a nymphomaniac who likes to have sex in semi-public situations. I find that less believable and less compelling than the dark forces haunting characters such as Wallender and Erlendur.



View all my reviews
post #1959 of 3283
55 The Rembrandt Affair a Gabriel Allon Thriller by Daniel Silva

CD M by Peter Robb is a stimulating and informed biography of Caravaggio’s life.
post #1960 of 3283
Daniel Silva's Allon series is awesome.
post #1961 of 3283
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post

Daniel Silva's Allon system is awesome.

I've found them very entertaining and I like the way Silva incorporates current events into time sequence of when he writes his narratives. One of them reminded me of an incident from a few years back in Dubai. However he put a very interesting twist on the original incident.
post #1962 of 3283
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoffrey Firmin View Post

CD M by Peter Robb is a stimulating and informed biography of Caravaggio’s life.

That's on my bookshelf somewhere. I should dig it out.
post #1963 of 3283
WList (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

29. The Complete Collection of Flannery O'Connor

30. The Last Blues Dance

31. Gularabulu

32. The Glass Canoe

33. The Lies of Locke Lamora

34. Handmaid's Tale

35. Girt

36. Museum of Innocence

37. Neverwhere

38. The Ghost's Child

39. Picnic at Hanging Rock

40. Submarine

41. Name of the Wind

42. Wise Man's Fear

43. A Million Little Pieces

44. The Promise

45. Father's Day

46. Swan Book

47. Red Seas under Red Skies

48. Republic of Thieves

49. Labyrinths

50. Carpentaria

 

50. Carpentaria

 

Ugh, what a slog. At almost 2 weeks for 500 pages, well, this did not hold my attention.

 

Most reviews, favourably, describe this book as a farrago of styles and influences, a combination of magic realism, narrative, myth and characterisation. While the incredible differences in pacing, structure, direction and meaning are obvious, I'd struggle to argue that the writing successfully navigates the writer's diverse influences. A lot of the time the book feels directionless and lethargic, characters dull and one-dimensional, chapter after chapter rolls by and reading it feels like being in the doldrums. If the author was trying to create a reading experience similar to a desert road trip she's done a fantastic job.

 

Annoyingly, the book starts quite well, and many of the characters are stereotypical enough to be political, but quirky enough to be interesting. Alexis Wright wasted another excellent opportunity to really delve into the diverse and remote communities of Australia, although the odd comment of brutal commentary rings like a bell among the lazy and meandering boredom of the rest of the book.

 

I often found myself day-dreaming, losing my place, struggling to concentrate and rarely giving a fuck about this story.

 

Would not re-read, would not recommend, would recommend for serious editing and to be turned into about 50 pages of short stories.

 

Now back to an author that deserves their accolades: Pamuk.

post #1964 of 3283
Congratulations on the 50, LM!
Target for the year 75??
post #1965 of 3283
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

WList (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
29. The Complete Collection of Flannery O'Connor
30. The Last Blues Dance
31. Gularabulu
32. The Glass Canoe
33. The Lies of Locke Lamora
34. Handmaid's Tale
35. Girt
36. Museum of Innocence
37. Neverwhere
38. The Ghost's Child
39. Picnic at Hanging Rock
40. Submarine
41. Name of the Wind
42. Wise Man's Fear
43. A Million Little Pieces
44. The Promise
45. Father's Day
46. Swan Book
47. Red Seas under Red Skies
48. Republic of Thieves
49. Labyrinths
50. Carpentaria

50. Carpentaria

Ugh, what a slog. At almost 2 weeks for 500 pages, well, this did not hold my attention.

Most reviews, favourably, describe this book as a farrago of styles and influences, a combination of magic realism, narrative, myth and characterisation. While the incredible differences in pacing, structure, direction and meaning are obvious, I'd struggle to argue that the writing successfully navigates the writer's diverse influences. A lot of the time the book feels directionless and lethargic, characters dull and one-dimensional, chapter after chapter rolls by and reading it feels like being in the doldrums. If the author was trying to create a reading experience similar to a desert road trip she's done a fantastic job.

Annoyingly, the book starts quite well, and many of the characters are stereotypical enough to be political, but quirky enough to be interesting. Alexis Wright wasted another excellent opportunity to really delve into the diverse and remote communities of Australia, although the odd comment of brutal commentary rings like a bell among the lazy and meandering boredom of the rest of the book.

I often found myself day-dreaming, losing my place, struggling to concentrate and rarely giving a fuck about this story.

Would not re-read, would not recommend, would recommend for serious editing and to be turned into about 50 pages of short stories.

Now back to an author that deserves their accolades: Pamuk.

Congratulations on the 50 LM
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