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

2016 50 Book Challenge - Page 146

post #2176 of 3274
Quote:
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post

Interesting. Guess who listed “Glow” as one of his best books of 2014.

I read it earlier this year and found it very interesting had a lot of cyberpunk tropes, evil corporate types, fringe dwelling underground heros a good read.

72 In Montmartre Picasso, Matisse and Modernism in Paris 1900-1910 by Sue Roe
post #2177 of 3274
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoffrey Firmin View Post


72 In Montmartre Picasso, Matisse and Modernism in Paris 1900-1910 by Sue Roe

I read Sue Roe's The Private Lives of the Impressionists a few years ago. Fascinating and informative! I am frequently in Paris and spend more time in Musee d'Orsay than is probably healthy. I love the impressionists but never became as infatuated with Picasso. I was at Centre Pompidou just 10 days ago and had lengthy discussion with my wife about some Matisse paintings which I thought excellent. She prefers Chagall and since she is the artist in the family she knows better.

I'll probably buy this one but will appreciate your thoughts.
post #2178 of 3274
Quote:
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post


Interesting. Guess who listed “Glow” as one of his best books of 2014.


Yes - and now for MY review.

 

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
65. Glow

 

65. Glow

 

This is a delightfully implausible novel that is reminiscent of cypberpunk and great crime fiction. The protagonist, Raf, is a drug-taking, sleep-cycle disrupted, generally marginalised and woefully under-prepared teenager who finds himself at the centre of a bizarre plot involving drugs, mining companies, drugs, actors, drugs, Burmese separatists, sex, drugs and a lot surveillance after the disappearance of his friend and boss, Theo. The plot thickens when a girl Raf meets, and hooks up with after a rave draws him further into an incredibly covert and extreme international situation which, is so ridiculous (in the best possible way) I can't even summarise it effectively, suffice to say an struggling and evil corporation is trying to claw back power and Raf and his friends are in the middle of it.

 

Raf, an essentially decent human being, does his best to understand and act rationally and morally and, by the end of the novel, has appeared to make the best of a bad situation. He doesn't emerge a shining hero, nor does the novel end on a massive high - I found this an excellent resolution that grounded the narrative quite well. The high octane plot is also grounded by Raf's character - he's not smooth, witty, cool or capable, which definitely takes the novel down from the impossible stratosphere to the potentially relatable.

 

The writing is absolutely fun. It is lyrical, incredibly snappy, blisteringly fast, and romantic in a harsh and gritty way. I really, really enjoyed the writing - like a slightly less bombastic and more pharmecutical Snow Crash. I'll get to it tonight. The minor characters are just a joy: Isaac (Raf's best friend) is so wonderfully typical of a paranoid teenager drug user, and the others (not wanting to spoil the plot) are just so genuine the novel really sung to me. While the plot can often be a bit over-the-top, and a little forced, the writing was really something.

 

An extract:

 

"She’s half white and half something else, maybe half Thai; and she has one of those faces where the entire bone structure seems to ramify from the cheekbones in such a way that the result looks like a 3D computer graphic from the eighties because it’s composed of such an economical number of sharp, flat planes, except that the angles are confused here by strands of long black hair escaping from where she’s pinned the rest of it up at the back of her head; and she has a small mouth folded towards a natural semi-pout that must be a good shape for when she’s pretending to disapprove of something while trying not to laugh; and she’s wearing a black hoodie unzipped over a slouchy grey vest. There are about sixty people dancing in the corridor of space between Raf and this girl, like a rush-hour Tube carriage that’s learned to vibrate to a determinate rhythm, and he considers pushing through them all to talk to her – ‘Will you immediately become my wife?’ – but then Isaac knocks him on the arm with aplastic water bottle to hurry him up."

 

noob - this novel is definitely 'plausible' in the sense that the main criminal isn't a person but a faceless corporation with no regard to law, exploiting a lot of situations, and I guess it mirrors reality also in the sense that surveillance technology and paramilitary corruption are rife within it.


Edited by LonerMatt - 11/10/14 at 2:11pm
post #2179 of 3274
Quote:
Originally Posted by noob View Post



That's interesting. What put you off about White Noise?

I remember, back when I first tackled it at 21, I was almost deaf to its charms; it just struck me as too half-assed for a wholesale assault on American culture. If I fell hard for its nutty, serio-comic premise, then I was also too spellbound by writers like Joseph Heller and David Foster Wallace to enjoy any book not cycling through that particular kind of mania. DeLillo, by contrast, felt too restrained. Too boring, even. But then later -- years later -- I reread it, and I fell in love with his prose, that artful cadence, that weave of poetry and comedy perfectly tailored for the subject matter. I still don't know if there are any bad books; maybe just bad readers, or bad timing.

It's interesting you mention McCarthy, because he is another writer I just can or can't get into depending on the year.

Anyway, what kind of stuff are looking to dive into now that L'Amour's off the bill?
Yeah, I gotcha. I was wondering, with Eggers' new book, if that kind of thing was making a comeback. It never really seems to go out of style. And I do find the whole subject thoroughly, scarily, increasingly relevant -- though my interest is more practical than philosophical, and I get my fix from non-fiction.


I'll have to check out this 'Glow' and put it on my list.
.

I think your experience with White Noise describes mine perfectly, except I never re-reread it. Your belief that that there are no bad books, only bad readers. is spot on as well.

Part of my plans for 2015 are to finish the 40 or so remaining L'Amours; they're not really off the table. I've also got 5 non-fictions lined up.

How about McEwan? I've read Saturday and Cement Garden, and really enjoyed them.

I'm waiting for some suggestions from Clockwise...Although we tend to have dissimilar tastes except Graham Greene. What was the bio of the TX family again? I'm also going to read The Invention of Curried Sausage, and at least 20 from Bonsall's List of 1001 to read before you die.

He's making it really hard to maintain my crown this year. frown.gif

I'm really encouraged by how many books everyone is reading.
post #2180 of 3274
Bought this but have not started yet:


post #2181 of 3274
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post

I think your experience with White Noise describes mine perfectly, except I never re-reread it. Your belief that that there are no bad books, only bad readers. is spot on as well.

Part of my plans for 2015 are to finish the 40 or so remaining L'Amours; they're not really off the table. I've also got 5 non-fictions lined up.

How about McEwan? I've read Saturday and Cement Garden, and really enjoyed them.

I'm waiting for some suggestions from Clockwise...Although we tend to have dissimilar tastes except Graham Greene. What was the bio of the TX family again? I'm also going to read The Invention of Curried Sausage, and at least 20 from Bonsall's List of 1001 to read before you die.

He's making it really hard to maintain my crown this year. frown.gif

I'm really encouraged by how many books everyone is reading.

It's Philipp Meyer - The Son. This Meyer is the next great American novelist and this book must be what Texas is all about.

McEwan is really good. You will probably like Amsterdam.

My recommendation however is that you try one of two Javier Marias: A Heart So White or Tomorrow in the Battle Think On Me. This is a next Nobel Prize winner and these two are fascinating and entertaining (with some serious depth).
post #2182 of 3274
91. The Mayan Secrets Clive Cussler 2013

Good couple (Sam and Remi Fargo), bad girl wrestle over ancient Mayan literature and loot. Predictably, the good guys win, and the bad girl loses.

An engaging thriller, albeit cheesier than some of the other authors I've read.
post #2183 of 3274
Quote:
Originally Posted by ter1413 View Post

Bought this but have not started yet

James Corden seems quite young to be doing an autobiography. Still, I guess he has packed a fair bit into his career to date. One Man, Two Guvnors must be one of the best modern adaptations of a classic farce going around, and he did a lot to make that the case.
post #2184 of 3274
Quote:
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post

James Corden seems quite young to be doing an autobiography. Still, I guess he has packed a fair bit into his career to date. One Man, Two Guvnors must be one of the best modern adaptations of a classic farce going around, and he did a lot to make that the case.


I think I read someplace that the publisher approached him to write it and offered 7 figures. He initially said/thought that he really had "nothing to say." The book has gotten some good reviews and I am a fan of "Gavin and Stacy".
post #2185 of 3274
51. Dark Secrets

Dark SecretsDark Secrets by Michael Hjorth

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


As with all of the best Nordic Noir heroes, Sebastian Bergman is a complex character carrying a truckload of emotional baggage into his work life. In Sebastian’s case, he is a criminal psychologist who lost his wife and daughter, and seems only able to subsume his pain by indulging in compulsive sexual behaviour. Even prior to his personal loss, he seems to have been a pretty unlikeable colleague anyway.

This, of course, makes him the perfect candidate for a series of Scandinavian crime novels.

Dark Secrets is the first in the series. Bergman involves himself in the case of the gruesome murder of a teenage boy for ulterior motives of his own. He convinces his old boss to add him to the investigative team, which stirs up resentment amongst his colleagues. Bergman cannot help himself from fanning the flames by baiting and putting down his team-mates, being indiscreet during interviews and generally choosing his own eccentric course, despite orders to the contrary.

Hjorth and Rosenfeldt have created a gem of a character, a very flawed man who still attracts our sympathies, and deliver a twisting and hard to predict story line. The authors feint in several directions and keep you guessing right up to the end, in both the main plot of the investigation and the secondary story line of Bergman’s personal search. There is certainly enough interest to make me want to come back for a second helping.

I would probably have enjoyed this book a lot more if I hadn’t chanced upon the Sebastian Bergman TV series on Amazon. In a one-line summary of this episode, they managed to give away one of the biggest plot developments in the entire book. Thanks Amazon.



View all my reviews
post #2186 of 3274
92. In Watermelon Sugar Richard Brautigan 1968


THE LIST


Brautigan creates what I assume is a little commune around watermelons- sort of a Lucy in the Sky with watermelons. The prose is good, the characters shallow, the structure excellent. But..I...just...couldn't... figure out what it was about. The best theory I can come up with is it was written as a hallucinogenic experience.

Another ListDud
post #2187 of 3274
Clockwise counting 98/50: Carlo Lucarelli - Almost Blue (1997)

In my recent mania for Mediterranean Noir, I have read a lot of Italian crime / police procedurals this year. Lucarelli's first novel in the De Luca trilogy was quite impressive and I enjoyed the idea (shared by Maurizio De Giovanni, a better author) about police work under a fascist government. Almost Blue is however set in modern day Bologna and has the completely psychotic serial killer and young inexperienced but pretty female police officer theme.

Through inner monologues we follow the female officer, the killer and a deaf and disturbed material witness. There is a lot of promise in the writing and the story but I found character development as well as plot development inadequate and rushed. Average at best.
post #2188 of 3274
Quote:
Originally Posted by clockwise View Post

I read Sue Roe's The Private Lives of the Impressionists a few years ago. Fascinating and informative! I am frequently in Paris and spend more time in Musee d'Orsay than is probably healthy. I love the impressionists but never became as infatuated with Picasso. I was at Centre Pompidou just 10 days ago and had lengthy discussion with my wife about some Matisse paintings which I thought excellent. She prefers Chagall and since she is the artist in the family she knows better.

I'll probably buy this one but will appreciate your thoughts.

I have read a number of books on Picasso and eagerly await John Richardson's final volume of the biography, that said I have only read volume 3. Currently I am in the Blue period of Picasso in the Roe book, which for me is good as its not a period I know much about. Historically Roe paints an immersive picture of the lives of the artists and citizens of Montmartre.

I find with Impressionist work its all about the hang, if the picture is hung correctly and not dysfunctionally e.g. drowned in halogen, lit then you get the full experience of the 'light'. Australia produced some spectacular Impressionist works and you can clearly see the difference between the Northern and Southern hemisphere interpretations of the light.

Picasso I always find invigorating dynamic and inspiring as his works and styles evolve through his life. Know its not on topic but one of the pluses of life in Canberra is Jackson Pollock's Blue Poles.
post #2189 of 3274
93. The Tombs 2012 Clive Cussler

The Fargos make a mad dash around Europe and outwit 3 heavyweight criminals in finding the 5 separate locations where Attila the Hun buried his plunder. Fargos win, but their house gets destroyed by revenge seeking gangsters.

Reading about treasure hunters makes me want to spend money. We'll give old Clive a rest for a while.
post #2190 of 3274
Clockwise counting 99/50: Georges Simenon - The Two-Penny Bar (1932)

Commissaire Maigret listens to a story of a condemned man who will be executed the next day. It's a story of a murder committed several years ago by a frequent guest to a place called the Two-Penny Bar. Maigret starts his methodical and patient investigations, falls in with a crowd of people who always frequent the bar and gradually gets to the bottom of the case. As typical for Simenon's books, the terrible crime is hidden among normality and it's through the psychology of the people he meets that he eventually draws his conclusions and finds the killer.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
Styleforum › Forums › Culture › Entertainment, Culture, and Sports › 2016 50 Book Challenge