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2016 50 Book Challenge - Page 147

post #2191 of 3274
Clockwise counting 100/50: Yasunari Kawabata - The Old Capital (1962)

This was my 5th Kawabata and just as excellent as the others. Kawabata is very traditional writer and The Old Capital, which refers to Kyoto, is even more traditionally Japanese than the others I have read. Although if is not a thick book, you need to read it slowly and there is not a lot happening in the first half of the story. The appreciation of cherry blossoms, maple leaves and cedar trees take an important part, so does tea ceremonies, geishas, kimono designs and weaving.

Chieko is a young beautiful girl who has been adopted by a kimono designer and his wife. She is courted by three young men through this novel. She is also searching for her past, never having known the parents who once abandoned her as a baby. As is typical with Kawabata, this is a bitter-sweet story without either a happy or a particularly sad ending. The novel gives a fascinating insight into Japanese culture and the social codes of the time.
post #2192 of 3274
Clockwise counting 101/50: Julian Barnes - Levels of Life (2013)

In 2008, Julian Barnes' wife of 3 decades was suddenly diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumour and died within 37 days of the diagnosis. In this short mixture of essay, novel and autobiography, Barnes tells a story about pioneering balloonists, Sarah Bernhardt's insatiable lust for life and Barnes own love and deep grief. Barnes is always a good read since his language feels so clear and almost "perfect" and he engages the reader in meaningful and real predicaments of human life. I enjoyed this one very much.
post #2193 of 3274
Quote:
Originally Posted by clockwise View Post

Clockwise counting 100/50: Yasunari Kawabata - The Old Capital (1962)

This was my 5th Kawabata and just as excellent as the others. Kawabata is very traditional writer and The Old Capital, which refers to Kyoto, is even more traditionally Japanese than the others I have read. Although if is not a thick book, you need to read it slowly and there is not a lot happening in the first half of the story. The appreciation of cherry blossoms, maple leaves and cedar trees take an important part, so does tea ceremonies, geishas, kimono designs and weaving.

Chieko is a young beautiful girl who has been adopted by a kimono designer and his wife. She is courted by three young men through this novel. She is also searching for her past, never having known the parents who once abandoned her as a baby. As is typical with Kawabata, this is a bitter-sweet story without either a happy or a particularly sad ending. The novel gives a fascinating insight into Japanese culture and the social codes of the time.

Congratulations on 100!
post #2194 of 3274
94. Callaghen- Louis L'Amour 1972

An Irishman persecuted for his heritage changes his name and gets chased all over the desert by Indians and bad guys, He only sorta gets the girl in the end.

Didn't care so much for this one.
post #2195 of 3274
Quote:
Originally Posted by clockwise View Post

Clockwise counting 100/50: Yasunari Kawabata - The Old Capital (1962)

Congratulations on reaching a 100
post #2196 of 3274
95. Gathering Blue Lois Lowry 2000

A YA book about a dystopic, almost feudal, village and world. The heroine has a special gift and a handicap as well. Normally the village exterminates its cripples but because of her gift she's allowed to stay alive. She is pampered, well-fed, and has indoor plumbing. But she is imprisoned by her own talent. Although she is an artist she must use her talents in a rigidly prescribed manner.

Excellent., meaningful read.
post #2197 of 3274
96. Westward the Tide Louis L'Amour 1977

Large wagon train in four columns. Column A (literally) are bad guys who feign respectability until the time is right to take over the train. Our hero foils said attempt through much sturm und drang, and whisks away a fine spirited woman in the process.
post #2198 of 3274
Klewless title 76/50 - The Fourth Secret by Andrea Camilleri
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I have read all of the Montalbano series to date, and have always enjoyed Camilleri's stylistic prose....or so I thought. This tale is more of a short story, and I had not noticed until a few pages in, that it is actually translated by a different individual than the previous 16 books. What a difference. The characters have a very different voice, and while I had never considered how much difference a translater can make, it is nothing that I will discount moving forward. The story itself was rather simplistic, and the level of detail that is usually provided is not in this story. Again, not sure if it is translator's liberty or just the fact this was written to be half the length of a normal Montalbano installment. In any case, entirely fine to pass on even for Camilleri fans.

Klewless title 77/50 - Last Winter We Parted by Fuminori Nakamura
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Not my first Nakamura novel, and the previous two were quite enjoyable. Not so this time. Maybe I missed the point in this book, but this one was not for me. The author delves into a world of pyschological analysis to discover where the roots of crime manifest in humanity. The attempt to present an intellectual analysis overshadow the crime story, and force the reader to follow too many implausible twists for this novel to work. Then again, maybe I am not smart enough to appreciate.
post #2199 of 3274
97. Canon Wells Zane Grey

A novelette about a hard-living Arizona cowboy who runs from the law into Utah. He's taken in by a Mormon widow and her scrumptious daughter. He helps them build a large, profitable ranch, marries the pulchritudinous woman, who gives him a junior. The sheriff catches up with him eventually, but is so impressed by his new life that he allows him to repay his incurred debts over time.Fade to -ahem- grey.

Liked it, perhaps better than L'Amour. I see more Zane Greys in my future.
post #2200 of 3274
98. Black Sheep Max Brand

A precocious young girl engineers a successful plot to remake her family's reputation from suspicion of lawlessness to heroism. It was a short book, but I enjoyed the character development and antics of the young girl. Reminded me of yours truly.

I didn't care for the first Brand I read, but this was much better.

Two new authors, so little time. smile.gif
post #2201 of 3274
After watching the film Infamous the other night I went to see what Truman Capote books i had in my library In Cold Blood, Answered Prayers and Music for Chamelons from which I read Handcrafted Coffins A Nonfiction Account of an American Crime. Must be at least 14 years or more since I read it so I try and search out what happened to the antagonist in the story, was he caught? What became of him? Did he kill the last victim? WTF turns out the story is fake, one element of this crime story is true but its a work of fiction Truman how could you!

Worse I could not find my copy of Breakfast at Tiffany's FMF and I have a good idea which woman took it and seeing the date in ICB its twenty five years too late to get it back. This woman was always 'borrowing' my books and I was always retrieving them looks like that one got away.
post #2202 of 3274
99. Messenger Lois Lowry 2004

The third book in The Giver quartet. Picks up with a character from the previous book who migrates from the feudal location to The Village- deep in the forest, a democracy where those with birth defects and other maladies are welcomed.. As he matures, the character realizes he has the gift to heal. He travels to the other location to bring the crippled girl from Book 2 and restore her to health. They encounter major, life-threatening obstacles along the way. The girl arrives safely, but only because the protagonist gives his life in sacrifice to heal her, and remove the obstacles that threaten their world.

An allegory on many levels.

An excellent book. Read it through in one sitting. Looking forward to the final book in the series, and hoping The Healer is resurrected. smile.gif
post #2203 of 3274
Quote:
Originally Posted by clockwise View Post

Clockwise counting 100/50: Yasunari Kawabata - The Old Capital

Congrats Clockwise. You are certainly setting the pace this year.
post #2204 of 3274
52. Between Summer’s Longing and Winter’s End

Between Summer's Longing and Winter's End: The Story of a Crime (The Fall of the Welfare State, #1)Between Summer's Longing and Winter's End: The Story of a Crime (The Fall of the Welfare State, #1) by Leif G.W. Persson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I guess I may be a bit shallow. I picked up Between Summer’s Longing and Winter’s End because I found the title really evocative. The novel itself was a lot less poetic; more like tense and baffling.

The story deals with the aftermath of a seemingly innocuous incident; a man falls from an apartment block to his death. Investigators quickly reach the conclusion that is it suicide, especially since he has left a note in his typewriter starting “I have lived my life caught between the longing of summer and the cold of winter …” and ending with ”And that, that was not the life that I had hoped for”. These sentiments make it clear; a depressed man has chosen to end it all. Nothing to see here.

Persson then takes us back in time to when the deceased, an American called Krassner, was still alive, and we see that the Swedish secret police were taking an intense interest in him. His activities come to the notice of high-level secret committees, and politicians, spy agencies and the upper echelons of the police become entwined in the story.

The book conveys a tense paranoia reminiscent of early Le Carre or Alan Furst. Almost every character has ulterior motives and a hidden agenda, and a lot of the dialogue is supplemented by what the speaker really thinks, in a mental addendum to what was just said. Very often, those thoughts amount to “What the hell is going on here?”. Deviousness, corruption and betrayal abound. For more than 500 pages, the author leads us through this morass to a climax where Krassner’s seemingly innocuous end meets history head-on, with some surprising fall-out.

I did find this book a bit hard to follow at times, sometimes conflating a few of the characters in my mind, and the various secret agendas did get a bit hard to keep track of. There are apparently two sequels to this book - both with equally poetic titles - but I haven’t yet decided whether I will take them on.


View all my reviews
post #2205 of 3274
100. Showdown on the Hogback Louis L'Amour

Another jewel of the range war variety. A group of Bad Guys look to swindle a group of settlers out of their land. They pass the land off to the government as as uninhabited swamp and get it to deed the property over to them. Both sides hire gunslingers to fight for their cause. Our hero at first heads up the Bad Guys, then sees the error of his ways, switches sides, and saves the day for the ranchers and farmers. Along the way he gets the girl.

The Zane Grey, Max Brand, and Louis L'Amour books came from a single volume edited by John Tuska and published in 2004 under the title The Untamed West.
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