or Connect
Styleforum › Forums › Culture › Entertainment, Culture, and Sports › 2016 50 Book Challenge
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

2016 50 Book Challenge - Page 138

post #2056 of 3288
Busy time at work again, so here are 8 titles since my last update:



Klewless Title 56/50 - The 6th Extinction – James Rollins

This is a rip-roaring adventure in the Sigma force series. In this tale, science mixes with fantasy when a prehistoric “extinction event” agent is rediscovered lurking deep within our planet. Government agents fight with shadowy mercenaries in a winner take all contest to control the destiny of mankind. This was a very fast, highly entertaining read, one of the better in the series.


Klewless Title 57/50 - The Button Man – Mark Pryor

This is the 4th title in the Hugo Marsten series, but actually a prequel in the story timeline. Marsten is a retired FBI agent who has been assigned investigative duties to the US foreign service corps. In this case, he is attempting to solve multiple murders taking place around greater London. Very entertaining, quick read and fine as a standalone title.



Klewless title 58/50 – Close Call – Stella Rimington

Rimington is the former head of MI5, and writes a fictional series of espionage novels featuring analyst Liz Carlyle. This most recent in the series takes advantage of ethnic paranoia to set up a story regarding individuals of middle eastern origin plotting a terrorist act in Great Britain. Rimington has a good voice, and her books are quite enjoyable. Recommended that these be read in order, but worth investing in the series.



Klewless title 59/50 – Another Great Day at Sea – Geoff Dyer

A non-fiction account of life aboard a US aircraft carrier. When offered a free shot at accepting an author-in-residence placement, Dyer figured there would be no chance this request would be accepted. He was wrong, and this tale is an account of some of the characters he met, and events witnessed. Fantastic opportunity here, blown by lack of development by the author, and an overall mess with editing. Not worth wasting your time.


Klewless title 60/50 – An event in Autumn – Henning Mankell

Mankell’s Wallender series should be required reading for all eurocrime fans. He has repeatedly stated that he is done with the character, but unearthed this short story for a few extra bucks. This novella is a classic Mankell, but with a bit of a more somber tone. Most entertaining is the “interview” at the end explaining his history with the character. Give the book a miss if you must, but worth reading the endnotes.



Klewless title 61/50 - The Lost Island – Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

This is the latest book in the Gideon Crew series, which should be read in order. Crew is a intellectual genius who has been given less than a year to live due to a medical condition. He has an ongoing relationship with a shadowy quasi-governmental organization that freelances work for making the impossible possible. Crew finds himself paired up with an unwilling partner as the duo globetrots to find a mysterious “cure” for all that ails mankind. A scientific stretch, but entertaining nonetheless.



Klewless title 62/50 – The Marco Effect by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Danish police in “Department Q” (cold case division) face an uncertain future when their division head announces his retirement. Carl Morck, the crusty inspector at the center of this series does not take the news well, and along with his 2 partners set out to try and live under the new leadership while solving another case nobody wants. A central theme in this story regards the status of refugees in society, and does a nice job balancing the issue without becoming too off-putting. This is a solid police procedural with good character development. Read this series in order.



Klewless title 63/50 - Silence of the Sea by Ysrsa Sigurdardottir

This was a pretty good read. This locked room mystery genre is the latest in a series centering on an Icelandic lawyer who finds herself assisting with criminal investigations as they tangentially involve whatever legal case she accepts. This installment involves a luxury yacht mysteriously arriving in port with all hands missing. Pretty fast paced tale, these do not need to be read in order.
post #2057 of 3288
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

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

51. Snow

52. Straw Dogs

53. Wrong about Japan

54. Wish

55. Monkey's Grip

56. The Plains

57. Wild Abandon

 

56. The Plains

 

As boring as the landscape the novel is set in. No idea why this is an Australian classic. The main character was so pretentious the whole book was a chore to read. THe prose is over-worked and almost prosaically dull, there's no point in reading this.

 

57. Wild Abandon

 

This story follows a family of 4 who live in a commune as their lives, personalities, relationships and community undergo some massive changes. Entertaining, not as funny as the reviews quoted on the cover claimed. Better than the author's previous novel (Submarine), no doubt Rich Ayoade would make this an incredible film. Light reading that last a 10+ train trip.

post #2058 of 3288
44. Dead Certainties

Dead Certainties is a bit of a strange book. Simon Schama combines two stories within it: one called The Many Deaths of General Wolfe recounts Wolfe"s demise in battle, and then looks at the mythologising that followed it, in the forms of Benjamin West's famous painting, and the history of Francis Parkman.

The second story, called Death of a Harvard Man, occupies most of the book. It concerns the disappearance and murder of noted Boston capitalist George Parkman (an antecedent of Francis Parkman's) and the subsequent sensational trial of Harvard Professor John Webster for the crime. Schama's somewhat fictionalised account is an engrossing retelling of a quite gruesone and scandalous affair.

I found it a struggle to grasp the point that Schama was trying to make in combining these two stories. Despite both a Foreword and an Afterword where Schama tries to explain his idea, I can only see the most tenuous connection between the two, and would have enjoyed the book just as much - if not more - if Schama focused solely on the story of the Webster trial, and left Wolfe out of it.
post #2059 of 3288
65 The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon.

This is a very engaging and entreating read, more so for some one who as a child read countless Marvel comics and in particular repents of the 1940's pulp heroes. Only been reading it a few days and totally engrossing manages to capture the zeitgeist of the time with aplomb. Very enjoyable and highly recommended.
post #2060 of 3288
Clockwise counting 80/50: Fred Vargas - Dog Will Have Its Day (1996)

Second crime novel in the Three Evangelists series. A small human bone is found at a Paris street corner and the eccentric retired investigator Louis Kehlweiler follows an unlikely trace to a small town in Bretagne where an evil murderer lurks among the locals. Only two of the three historians (the Evangelists) are involved in this story and the protagonist is instead Kehlweiler, a man with a tragic past going back to the end of the Second World War.

This is another very engaging mystery from Vargas, even better than the predecessor.

I think I'll make 100 this year.
post #2061 of 3288
Clockwise counting 81/50: Jean-Claude Izzo - Solea (1998)

The final instalment of Izzo's Marseille Trilogy ends the story on a dark note. The protagonist throughout the trilogy is retired policeman Fabio Montale, hopeless romantic, heavy drinker, gourmet, ladies man and jazz lover. The hopeless battle against the evermore powerful mafia can be fought but never won as long as money and power talks louder than moral and humanity. This is a bloody story with a seriously depressive undertone, at the same time it's a eulogy to old Marseille and a homage to love.

This trilogy is mandatory reading for anyone interested in Mediterranean Noir.
post #2062 of 3288
Clockwise counting 82/50: Georges Simenon - The Grand Banks Cafe (1931)

One of the early Inspector Maigret mysteries and a pretty good one with lots of location atmosphere and a strange case to solve. A trawler has come back to a small fishing village in Normandy after several months at sea. The trawler has had an unfortunate trip, the catch of cod has been badly salted and is ruined, a ship's boy has fallen off the boat and been lost at sea and the night after its arrival at the port, the captain is strangled by an unknown culprit and dumped in the harbour. Maigret is drinking beer and chatting with fishermen, gradually figuring out how to solve the puzzle of what has happened on the unfortunate trawler.
post #2063 of 3288
Got u-verse cable and there's too much sports on TV,..

82. The Quick and the Dead 1973 Louis L'Amour

A seasoned drifter and gunman guides a family of novices (a/k/a Tenderfeet) to a home out West. Nobody gets a girl. frown.gif

EDIT

83. Out of Sight- Elmore Leonard

Focuses on a thrice imprisoned bank robber who escapes prison and is the last of 6 to be caught. First he beds the Federal Marshal charged with apprehending him. She has the chance to take his life but shoots him in the leg instead and brings him in. Decent read- but I like Elmore Leonard. B
post #2064 of 3288
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post

Got u-verse cable and there's too much sports on TV,..

82. The Quick and the Dead 1973 Louis L'Amour

A seasoned drifter and gunman guides a family of novices (a/k/a Tenderfeet) to a home out West. Nobody gets a girl. frown.gif

EDIT

83. Out of Sight- Elmore Leonard

Focuses on a thrice imprisoned bank robber who escapes prison and is the last of 6 to be caught. First he beds the Federal Marshal charged with apprehending him. She has the chance to take his life but shoots him in the leg instead and brings him in. Decent read- but I like Elmore Leonard. B

I almost caught up with you Steve! I am now reading Philipp Meyer's The Son, an epic story of one of those BIG Texas families. If you haven't read it yet, I think it would suit you very well.

And... what about the Clooney / Jennifer Lopez movie version of Out of Sight? Pretty good!
post #2065 of 3288
You did catch up with me. Plus you read harder books. I don't really feel like doing another 125- but you could make it.

That does sound like an interesting book. I'm beginning to abhor TX less and less every day. Maybe I'd like it.

I don't remember the movie. Guess I'll have to rent/stream it.
post #2066 of 3288
Warning: Spoiler! (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

51. Snow

52. Straw Dogs

53. Wrong about Japan

54. Wish

55. Monkey's Grip

56. The Plains

57. Wild Abandon

58. The colourless Tsukuru Tazaki

 

58. The colourless Tsukuru Tazaki

 

Murakmi's latest book was, for me, a fairly pleasant read. Tsukuru is a man in his late 30s, who designs railway stations for a living (classically quirky Murakmai), he leads a 'simple life' of eating, exercising, working and a few, small, pleasures. However, his life changed dramatically when he was 20, and the narrative focuses on his remembering of the change, and the way he tries to deal with it. More broadly, the novel seems to be Tsukuru's change from someone who is almost identity-less and dull, into someone who has a personality.

 

Murakami's prose is consistently enjoyable, and the same, consistent, tropes are there: the everyday routines described in detail, the hints at something bizarre, or surreal, the long considerations of events and conversations past, and a lot of secondary characters rendered in vivid and interesting detail. Much of the novel seems to be about how people perceive each other: the ways in which those are closest to us always seem a bit more colourful, exciting, special or real.

 

There's been some talk that the novel felt a little rushed, and I think that's true. There are really only two story arcs in this narrative (Tsukuru examining his past, and Tsukuru falling in love) and one of those goes completely unresolved, which is strange because it's so pivotal. It's not like previous Murakmai novels where the implication is that not all the threads are tied up, not all stories resolved, but here not even the main narrative is completed (or it's too subtle for me).

 

Additionally, I'm wondering if the novel was a bit safe. 19Q4 was ambitious and long and extreme and wonderful, and by comparison, this is a small, simple and, I felt, safe piece. I enjoyed it, but that's because I like Murakami's prose, but it wasn't spectacular - it wasn't heart wrenching like Norweigan Wood or South of the Border, it wasn't confusing and tense like Dance Dance Dance or 19Q4, it didn't have the fascinating weirdness of Kafka on the Shore, or WUB. It was better (easily) than Hard Boiled WOnderland, but like the main character it lacked anything too definitive or personable.

 

Read it if you like Murakami, if you don't, or haven't read much of his stuff, read a different one instead.

post #2067 of 3288
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

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

51. Snow

52. Straw Dogs

53. Wrong about Japan

54. Wish

55. Monkey's Grip

56. The Plains

57. Wild Abandon

58. The colourless Tsukuru Tazaki
59. Homage to Catalonia

 

59. Homage to Catalonia

 

My least favourite, Orwell by far, some great pasages, but largely botign. I don't know if I would have enjoyed it more if I knew anything about the Spanish Civil War.

post #2068 of 3288
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

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
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
51. Snow
52. Straw Dogs
53. Wrong about Japan
54. Wish
55. Monkey's Grip
56. The Plains
57. Wild Abandon

58. The colourless Tsukuru Tazaki

59. Homage to Catalonia

59. Homage to Catalonia

My least favourite, Orwell by far, some great pasages, but largely botign. I don't know if I would have enjoyed it more if I knew anything about the Spanish Civil War.

Really? this was one of my favourite Orwell works. I think that the Spanish Civil War was one of the major turning points of the 20th Century for the failure of the the democratic west to stand up to the machinations of Hitler directly resulted in the horrors of 1939-45. A very good book from the journalists perspective of the SCW is We Saw Spain Die by Paul Preston and The Battle for Spain by Antony Beevor is worth reading novelistically Waiting for Robert Capra by Susana Fortes is a very good read.
post #2069 of 3288
45. Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage

Matt said it all.Still trying to figure out what I’m supposed to do with the free stickers that came with the book.
post #2070 of 3288
Quote:
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post

45. Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage

Matt said it all.Still trying to figure out what I’m supposed to do with the free stickers that came with the book.

Been contemplating whether to read this or not as I have read most of his work but you and Matt has provided the answer on this for me.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
Styleforum › Forums › Culture › Entertainment, Culture, and Sports › 2016 50 Book Challenge