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2016 50 Book Challenge - Page 143

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There are no Louis L'Amours on that list
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Clockwise counting 90/50: Haruki Murakami - Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (2013)

I am a big Murakami fan since many years but have been quite disappointed by his more recent "big books". Kafka on the Shore seemed to regurgitate old material and 1Q84 was an overlong tedious metaphysical thriller which could have been written by a team of ghostwriters, imitating but never quite mastering Murakami's style.

Reviews of Colorless Tsukuri Tazaki were generally favorable but a bit mixed so I didn't have high hopes for a return to his best form. However, I am positively surprised and can unequivocally say that this one is just what I expect from Murakami. Existential issues with parallel worlds, a story full of mystery, love, loneliness and desperation.

Tsukuri belonged to a tightly knit group of 3 boys and 2 girls during his high school years in Nagoya. When he suddenly and inexplicably finds that his 4 close friends all at the same time turn their backs on him, his life is shattered. He becomes increasingly introverted and focuses on his engineering studies to become a "maker of railway stations". Many years later, through the help of a newly found girlfriend, Tsukuri decides to confront the past in order to understand what had happened to him and his 4 high school friends during those formative years.

Like many of Murakami's novels, there are no clear conclusions when you reach the end of the book. Instead, through various mysterious events, we have been given an insight into Tsukuri's life in such a way that it's hard to not draw comparisons to your own life, to any life in general and realize that Murakami tells us something valuable about the human condition. This may not rate up there with Murakami's very best but it's definitely a return to excellent form.
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Clockwise counting 91/50: Carlo Lucarelli - The Damned Season (1991)

Commissario De Luca is hiding out under an assumed name. At the end of the War, fascists are being hunted down and executed or imprisoned. De Luca was a completely apolitical policeman under the fascist government but this fact will not help him if his true identity is discovered. In a small city, De Luca gets reluctantly involved in a murder case and he needs to build the case against the killer before his own past is revealed. Lucarelli is an interesting writer of short historical crime novels.
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70 A Conspiracy of Faith by Jussi Adler-Olsen book 3 of the Department Q series highly recomended.
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86. King and Maxwell David Baldacci 2013

Sean King and Michelle Maxwell solve a crime involving a missing 1 billion euros and a plot to assassinate the president.

Kinda dull for a thriller.
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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
60. Oliver Twist
61. Trilobites and other stories
62. The Narrow Road to the Deep North
63. Paddle your own Canoe


63. Paddle your own Canoe


Nick Offerman's autobiography: read it if you're interested in him, and thespians, skip if not. Loved the chapter on being a manly man, but being a thespian = irony.

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Well, I got there. Finally. I’m not going to make my target of 70, but will plough on anyway and see where I end up.

49. Two More Pints
Two More PintsTwo More Pints by Roddy Doyle

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Two Irish guys get together regularly in the pub and indulge in craic over a pint. Doyle has them chatting about who’s died, the Royals, football, celebrities and politics. Zero insights. Not funny. Even at this brief length, not even remotely worth your time.

View all my reviews

50. Lost For Words
Lost For WordsLost For Words by Edward St. Aubyn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

With this biting satire on literary prizes, I guess Edward St. Aubyn has announced his lack of interest in ever winning one again. He unmercifully skewers the judges, the process, the publishers and the authors in a very funny account of a dysfunctional prize committee trying to choose between a range of truly awful novels for the awarding of a major literary prize (a very thinly-disguised Man Booker).

The judges are a mixed bunch of political appointees, academics and arty types who can never agree on anything, even the definition of a novel. Each has his or her favoured candidate, which they advocate passionately throughout the Long list, the Short List and the final judgment. Merit has virtually nothing to do with their grimly-defended choices.

The authors are a weird bunch of a commitment-phobic nymphomaniac whose current boyfriend lets her down, a spoilt Indian aristocrat astounded that his 1200 page epic can’t find a publisher, his old aunty whose recipe book gets entered by mistake, and so on.

St. Aubyn has a lot of fun, including writing up excerpts from his imaginary novels, which include some truly awful writing that he must have struggled to get that badly wrong. These include, for example, a brilliant pastiche of Irvine Welsh from a novel called wot u looking’ at?.

This is a very good novel, maybe a little predictable, but still a lot of fun.

View all my reviews
post #2141 of 3242
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post

Well, I got there. Finally. I’m not going to make my target of 70, but will plough on anyway and see where I end up.


Congratulations CD! I think that makes 5 who already made it this year.
post #2142 of 3242
Just commenced the mammoth task of reading the newly published Jamaican War and Peace - A Brief History of Seven Killings. About the third world slum nightmare of West Kingston ghetto gang life, CIA and political corruption. Close to 700 pages and one of those dense heavy hardcover books that make a deep dent in your chest when you try to read it in bed. Judging from the first 80 pages, this might be the novel of the year!
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Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post

Well, I got there. Finally. I’m not going to make my target of 70, but will plough on anyway and see where I end up.

Congratulations CD I just hit 70 dont think i'll crack the ton but should at least reach 80
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87. Gangster Squad 2012 Paul Lieberman

Non-fiction story of organized crime in LA and the cops who fought it. It begins with the original 8 in the 1940s and follows them all through life to their deaths. The same is done with the criminals.

The book was disorganized and dull, but I do plan to see the movie.
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Clockwise counting 92/50: Yasunari Kawabata - The Sound of the Mountain (1954)

Shingo is a man in his 60s who is starting to be affected by his aging. His memory is failing him and he is reflecting on disappointments in life. His daughter has a failed marriage behind her and his son is irresponsibly promiscuous. Shingo himself is living in a monotonous and depressing marriage. His most important relationship is instead with his beautiful daughter-in-law.

This is another of Kawabata's masterpieces, I have now read 4 of his exquisite novels and I definitely intend to read more.
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