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2016 50 Book Challenge - Page 144

post #2146 of 3284
Clockwise counting 93/50: Edward Wilson - The Midnight Swimmer (2012)

I am for no particularly good reason reading Wilson's spy novels in reverse order. I didn't know that they followed the same spy, the very interesting left-leaning MI6 top field operative Catesby.

In this exciting book, we are following the build-up to the Cuban missile crisis from an English perspective. Wilson's writing is more straightforward and less complex than Le Carre's (who he inevitably has been compared with), it has more of the traditional thriller style and it is full of historically well-researched details with many real life personas from the early 1960s. This is every bit as good as The Whitehall Mandarin which was published this year.

Wilson has so far only written 5 books and I intend to read them all.
post #2147 of 3284
71 GUILT by Jussi Adler-Olsen also published as The Purity of Vengeance don't ask me why they change the names depending on if its a US or European publication strikes me as odd.
post #2148 of 3284
Quote:
Originally Posted by clockwise View Post

Clockwise counting 90/50: Haruki Murakami - Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (2013)
This may not rate up there with Murakami's very best but it's definitely a return to excellent form.

This was reviewed on the ABC’s book program here last night and the panel unanimously shit-canned it.

I was wondering what their problem was when it dawned on me - it was the cultural lens that they were viewing it through.

They all said that Tsukuru is a boring man and he has this life-changing event but he does absolutely nothing about it and has to be prodded into taking any kind of action, blah-di-blah.

The thing is, that’s how you would expect individualistic Australians to deal with the situation. The Japanese are different - they are far more likely to accept the wisdom of the group, and that is exactly what Tsukuru does. They are also socialised to be more self-critical than we are and to always look for things they could have done better. So when Tsukuru acts like a typical Japanese, a bunch of high-profile go-getting Australians see him as being weak and subservient. That’s just a lack of cultural understanding in my view, and the book makes a lot more sense if you keep that in mind.
post #2149 of 3284
Quote:
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post

This was reviewed on the ABC’s book program here last night and the panel unanimously shit-canned it.

I was wondering what their problem was when it dawned on me - it was the cultural lens that they were viewing it through.

They all said that Tsukuru is a boring man and he has this life-changing event but he does absolutely nothing about it and has to be prodded into taking any kind of action, blah-di-blah.

The thing is, that’s how you would expect individualistic Australians to deal with the situation. The Japanese are different - they are far more likely to accept the wisdom of the group, and that is exactly what Tsukuru does. They are also socialised to be more self-critical than we are and to always look for things they could have done better. So when Tsukuru acts like a typical Japanese, a bunch of high-profile go-getting Australians see him as being weak and subservient. That’s just a lack of cultural understanding in my view, and the book makes a lot more sense if you keep that in mind.

Interesting analysis. Murakami's oeuvre is actually full of "boring" protagonists who seem to be blown where the always mysterious winds may take them. I personally enjoyed the Tsukuru Tazaki book and I think most reviews were favorable if not ecstatic. Murakami's 1980s and 1990s writing was stronger than his last decade but I hope (and kind of believe) that he still has it in him to produce something extraordinary. For a real chance to take the Nobel prize, he probably needs to come up with something that matches or surpasses Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.
post #2150 of 3284
88. Final Justice W.E.B. Griffin 2003

The primary hero of the Badge of Honor (cop) series assists in solving a major interstate crime, and a spur-of-the-moment dust-up which puts a third notch on his gun.

I enjoyed the book, as well as the entire series so far.
post #2151 of 3284
Oh, hello, and what is the do, gentlemen?

Foolishly, I made a list of books I've read, then split that list into three or four separate categories: fiction, poetry, essays, practical (diet books, brain health books). Then promptly lost it. Later I tried reading William Gass's The Tunnel, which broke me.

I return to you a new reader, humbled and befuddled. I know, since November, I've hit fifty, better than the year before. Beyond this, it gets hazy.

Consequently, I've had to re-read Jennifer Egan's The Emerald City, a classic of my youth, and, though numbers escape it, one that remains quite grand.

I hope to rejoin the book race soon.

Thank you, and good luck.
post #2152 of 3284
Clockwise counting 94/50: Arturo Perez-Reverte - Captain Alatriste (1996)

The first in a series of Alexandre Dumas inspired novels about a sword-fighting bounty hunter in 1620s Madrid. It's a strange and episodical novel in which the author frequently leaves the main story to describe unrelated events from earlier history and presumably unrelated events from the future. There are also numerous bland poems and songs interjected in the story. The adventure parts are good, well written and very much in the vein of The Three Musketeers. There are also plenty of historical events described and this I found always interesting. However, the whole thing doesn't really hold together as a novel, it is too loose and disjointed, in parts almost rambling. Nevertheless, I will continue to read the second novel in the series since the concept of a modern take on Dumas is intriguing and I mostly enjoyed the old style narrative language.

I now realise better than before that Perez-Reverte's latest, The Siege, was a pretty damn good adventure book. I would recommend The Siege ahead of anything else I have read from this author.

As always, I am reading several books in parallel. Now getting close to the middle of Marlon James' violent Jamaica epic A Brief History of Seven Killings. Reminds me of Roberto Bolano, William Faulkner and Robert Stone. Sometimes tough to take in the Jamaican ghetto language and the grisly content but overall a remarkable read.

I think I will get to 100 before Christmas.
post #2153 of 3284
Quote:
Originally Posted by noob View Post

Oh, hello, and what is the do, gentlemen?

Foolishly, I made a list of books I've read, then split that list into three or four separate categories: fiction, poetry, essays, practical (diet books, brain health books). Then promptly lost it. Later I tried reading William Gass's The Tunnel, which broke me.

I return to you a new reader, humbled and befuddled. I know, since November, I've hit fifty, better than the year before. Beyond this, it gets hazy.

Consequently, I've had to re-read Jennifer Egan's The Emerald City, a classic of my youth, and, though numbers escape it, one that remains quite grand.

I hope to rejoin the book race soon.

Thank you, and good luck.


If it no go so, it go near so.

- Jamaican proverb

Hope you join us for the whole of 2015!
post #2154 of 3284
Quote:
Originally Posted by clockwise View Post

Clockwise counting 94/50: Arturo Perez-Reverte - Captain Alatriste (1996)

The first in a series of Alexandre Dumas inspired novels about a sword-fighting bounty hunter in 1620s Madrid. It's a strange and episodical novel in which the author frequently leaves the main story to describe unrelated events from earlier history and presumably unrelated events from the future. There are also numerous bland poems and songs interjected in the story. The adventure parts are good, well written and very much in the vein of The Three Musketeers. There are also plenty of historical events described and this I found always interesting. However, the whole thing doesn't really hold together as a novel, it is too loose and disjointed, in parts almost rambling. Nevertheless, I will continue to read the second novel in the series since the concept of a modern take on Dumas is intriguing and I mostly enjoyed the old style narrative language.

I now realise better than before that Perez-Reverte's latest, The Siege, was a pretty damn good adventure book. I would recommend The Siege ahead of anything else I have read from this author.

As always, I am reading several books in parallel. Now getting close to the middle of Marlon James' violent Jamaica epic A Brief History of Seven Killings. Reminds me of Roberto Bolano, William Faulkner and Robert Stone. Sometimes tough to take in the Jamaican ghetto language and the grisly content but overall a remarkable read.

I think I will get to 100 before Christmas.

I'd put it more like 110. You're making it hard on me, my friend.
post #2155 of 3284
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post

I'd put it more like 110. You're making it hard on me, my friend.

"Who can read more than Steve B" is a separate competition. biggrin.gif

My target is actually 104. More than 2 books per week is obscene.
post #2156 of 3284
I'd like to get back on The List- but without reading 10 a month, the task is really daunting. And my recent reads have really been duds.
post #2157 of 3284
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
64. When Gravity Fails

 

64. When Gravity Fails

 

This cyerpunk romp was a fucking excellent read with a somewhat rushed finish.

 

Set in a futuristic word made of failed nation states, fragmented nationalities and lawlessness, individuals have the ability to have their brains enhanced - moddys (a personality change) or daddys (small pieces of knowledge added). Marid's story takes place in Buyadeen - an Arabic street that is a centre for crime, sex, sex changes and drug addiction. The novel, often, focuses on the ironically genuine characters who have been modified beyond compare, and the ways that they interact: often in ways that are steeped in tradition, despite most traditions having been erroded away long ago.

 

Marid - an Algerian 'for rent' criminal - finds himself in a whirlpool of intruige, and sadistic murders when a new client is murdered before his eyes in a club. While this initially seems to just 'be another murder', more of Marid's friends and senselessly killed in ways that are frightening, which is emphasised all the more because even hardened gang criminals are reeling and upset,

 

With some typical 'honour among thieves' action, Marid is able to solve the sadistic murders, but instead of coming out ahead he suffers and looses quite a lot in the mean time and ends up with nothing he wants.

 

This novel is pretty old - but really represents what I love about cyberpunk. It's gritty, almost pessimistic at times, and technology is both the bane and saviour of so many people, the rampant drug use underscores the entire novel: in many ways cyberpunk is the cynical reaction to a happy-go-luck 20th century attitude. The writing is snappy, and I found the setting, use of Arabic and Arabic customs different enough to be interesting (though I'll admit these could all be done poorly - I wouldn't know).

 

Yeah, cyberpunk. Get amongst it.

 

CMON LONERMATT, GET TO 75!

post #2158 of 3284
89. Dark Canyon 1963 Louis L'Amour

A young man leaves a small band of outlaws with their blessing. He wins a range war with their help, and they settle down and forsake the outlaw way to punch cows with him. Along the way he gets the girl, and we have a cameo by William Tell Sackett.

Ah...if things were only so simple today.
post #2159 of 3284
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

60. Oliver Twist

61. Trilobites and other stories

62. The Narrow Road to the Deep North

63. Paddle your own Canoe

64. When Gravity Fails

64. When Gravity Fails

This cyerpunk romp was a fucking excellent read with a somewhat rushed finish.

Set in a futuristic word made of failed nation states, fragmented nationalities and lawlessness, individuals have the ability to have their brains enhanced - moddys (a personality change) or daddys (small pieces of knowledge added). Marid's story takes place in Buyadeen - an Arabic street that is a centre for crime, sex, sex changes and drug addiction. The novel, often, focuses on the ironically genuine characters who have been modified beyond compare, and the ways that they interact: often in ways that are steeped in tradition, despite most traditions having been erroded away long ago.

Marid - an Algerian 'for rent' criminal - finds himself in a whirlpool of intruige, and sadistic murders when a new client is murdered before his eyes in a club. While this initially seems to just 'be another murder', more of Marid's friends and senselessly killed in ways that are frightening, which is emphasised all the more because even hardened gang criminals are reeling and upset,

With some typical 'honour among thieves' action, Marid is able to solve the sadistic murders, but instead of coming out ahead he suffers and looses quite a lot in the mean time and ends up with nothing he wants.

This novel is pretty old - but really represents what I love about cyberpunk. It's gritty, almost pessimistic at times, and technology is both the bane and saviour of so many people, the rampant drug use underscores the entire novel: in many ways cyberpunk is the cynical reaction to a happy-go-luck 20th century attitude. The writing is snappy, and I found the setting, use of Arabic and Arabic customs different enough to be interesting (though I'll admit these could all be done poorly - I wouldn't know).
Yeah, cyberpunk. Get amongst it.

Timely article: Whatever happend to cyberpunk?
post #2160 of 3284
Clockwise counting 95/50: Georges Simenon - A Man's Head (1931)

While the quality of Simenon's output was a bit uneven, this crime novel is one of the better. Commissaire Maigret allows a convicted murderer to escape prison in order to understand the reason for the murder and ultimately capture the real killer. A strange cat and mouse dance in the fancy restaurants of Montparnasse and along the banks of Seine. Maigret stubbornly focuses his investigation on an insane and unusually intelligent culprit. Great atmosphere, nice mystery.
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