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2016 50 Book Challenge - Page 155

post #2311 of 3274
Was hoping to get to 80 but got press ganged into a bulk recruitment program with 120 candidates which in theory had to be to the delegate by the 8th December. I joined on the 10th and have flat out since.When I finish and log off for the day the last thing i want to do is read, after spending the past 9 hours wading through HR reports and rewriting them. For that matter i haven't had a drink in the past ten days and I still reading book number 77 still a third of it to go. Sigh! Been an interesting experience and fun this past year. I think the at times gritty realism of Scandi Noir has converted me, very different in tone and style to US crime fiction. Some very interesting S&M elements in 77. Wish I had read them in trilogy order but I read 2 then 3 and now 1 would have been a richer experience.

I hope to get another book done before the year finishes as I sign off on HR job on Tuesday. Then Xmas preparations, and Xmas Day and Xmas hangovers to get over. So there might be time for another book. Anyway back to the coal mines for another 8 hour shift and on a Sunday FTFAJ.
post #2312 of 3274
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post

118. War Party We could just leave this a tie y'know...

Sounds like a good idea. I am working my way through a 600-pager called The Bone Clocks. I should make 120 before the year is over.
post #2313 of 3274
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoffrey Firmin View Post

Then Xmas preparations, and Xmas Day and Xmas hangovers

I am doing those in reverse order but should still reach 120 or 121 before the year is over. nod[1].gif
post #2314 of 3274

Michael Jackson Life of a Ledgend.

 

Its a bit rubbish really.  Dont know why I bothered.

post #2315 of 3274
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
66. Holy Fire
67. The Outsider
68. Taipei
69. Dispatches
70. The good man Jesus and the scoundrel Christ
71. Leaving the Sea
72. Annihilation
73. Authority
74. Tigerman

 

74. Tigerman

 

This is a seriously odd book. On the Island of Manceru, a non-Commissioned Officer from England (Lester) is given what appears to be a relaxed and tranquil posting after a turbulent and difficult time in Afghanistan. His routine is fairly simple, he wakes up, has tea, talks to the islanders, and makes himself useful to the other powers on the Island. There is, it has to be said, a fairly interesting political situation - Britain and France both owned the island, but now no longer do, and a multi-national task force is in control (NatProMan), Lester's job, therefore, is to basically be a Consulate but avoid doing anything that Consuates would normally do.

 

The narrative kicks into gear about 100 pages in, when Lester's friend Shola is killed. This leads him towards unravelling the mystery and, as usual in books like this, shit hits the fan. Lester is also motivated by a young boy he wishes to adopt, and continues to try and find ways to save and foster this near-orphan.

 

The book was a fun read, but it seriously dragged towards the end. The opening descriptions of the island and the people were crisp, detailed and vibrant, but the action sequences were sloppy and laboured. A lot of the time I found the author reveling in his own writing and while, at times, I really enjoy this, I felt that it was a bit too self-indulgent and wanky - the forced banter between the brit and the yanks, etc, felt outdated, awkward and churlish, for example.

post #2316 of 3274
I'm still working on a couple too...smile.gif
post #2317 of 3274
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post

I'm still working on a couple too...smile.gif

menage a trois?

Well I have finished my enslavement to the Dark Lords of HR and am back in saddle and ready to see if I can chase down that 80.
post #2318 of 3274
Clockwise counting 119/50: David Mitchell - The Bone Clocks (2014)

A very unusual and most entertaining read, spanning 60 years from London in the 1980s to a post-apocalypse Ireland in year 2043. This is partly science fiction / fantasy with an epic battle between two groups of immortals and partly a wildly entertaining realistic literary satire. It is 600 pages written in excellent language, often with hilarious wise-cracks and astute observations of human weaknesses. This book never gets boring and while it has some considerable depth it's mainly first-class entertainment. Highly recommended!
post #2319 of 3274
Klewless title 78/50 - Blue Labyrinth by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

The next installment of the Pendergast series. While these are entertaining, and quite well written, I feel that the series has run its course. We the reader are at the point where there is nothing left to discover regarding FBI Special Agent Pendergast’s shady past, as the last chapters of his life are laid bare in this novel. Entertaining, but not worth going out of your way to find.

Klewless title 79/50 - Havana Storm by Clive Cussler

Another in the long line of declining Dirk Pitt stories. It is really rather sad that Cussler has all but divorced himself from writing these books. I really want to stop reading, but have already invested in the whole series. Perhaps as a function of Pitt growing older, he has finally slowed down a bit…at least it seems that way in this almost painful to read quasi-action novel. Maybe my grumpiness is just finally coming out.

Klewless title 80/50 by Lonely Hearts by John Harvey

This is the first title in an older series that I wanted to look into. Harvey is mentioned in comparison with a few newer British noir writers that I have enjoyed, so I thought I would look into his work. I found myself holding him up to Rankin’s Rebus for whatever reason (UK basis?) and this one didn’t quite make it up to that standard. As this is only the first in the series, and they are wildly popular, I will probably give the series another few books to find out how things shake out.

Klewless title 81/50 byThe Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly

This one was pure candy. Reilly really should be classified as sci-fi, as the action/adventure tales he pens are just this side of realism. In this book, he builds on the Jurassic Park theme, but expanding the framework to envision science bringing back dragons instead of dinosaurs. In fact, things in the park go awry, and our heroes struggle with nature to survive. This would make for an excellent beach/travel read, it goes very fast and not much attention is required.

Klewless title82 /50 - What Strange Creatures by Emily Arsenault

I really enjoyed this book. Arsenault’s story unfolds around a murder mystery, and the lengths that a family will go protect their own. Instead of spending the book delving into the mechanics of the crime, (the majority of that occurs through character development), Arsenault allows the procedural portion of the tale to take a backseat, secondary in importance. The actual “whodunit” was no surprise whatsoever, but that did not detract from the book at all. Recommended.

Klewless title 83/50 - The Martian by Andy Weir

This is one of the only science fiction books I read this year, and only because it seems to be everywhere. The tale centers on an astronaut who is left behind on a manned mission to Mars, and his struggle to survive. Most of the book is written in journal form, and Weir does a fantastic job with the “dialog”. There is a heavy emphasis on the science involved in how the character gets out of some sticky situations, but not enough to detract for non-tech folks like myself. Recommend.

Klewless title 84/50 - Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

This one has been on my to read pile for a while, not sure why/how I finally got around to picking it up. The book creates a mysterious world centering on a bookstore that acts more like an underground library, catering to fringe members of a secret society. The members of the club dedicate their lives to solving a great puzzle spanning centuries and continents. All of their efforts seem to be banished when our hero simply decides to look to Google to solve the puzzle. This was very light, and mildly entertaining. Very shallow on character development, but this didn’t detract from the overall story to the point of disappointment. All in all, a fun read.

Klewless title 85/50 - The Good Father by Noah Hawley

Another book that I have had in my pile for a long time. This story tells the tale of a young man’s assassination of a presidential candidate, and the devastation his actions have on his father. While jumping back and forth between these two men, the book truly is about a father’s quest for what makes for a successful parent. The author spends too much time delving into historical overviews of presidential assassinations, for the sake of drawing comparisons to his main character, and the book would have been stronger dedicating this space elsewhere. Not a tightly written book, but one that asks some important questions regarding the relationships between parents and their children.
post #2320 of 3274
119. Sniper's Honor 2014 Stephen Hunter

Bob Lee Swagger's latest adventure. Mr. Swagger is called in to investigate an alleged Russian sniper kill of a high-ranking Nazi official in 1944. He accomplishes the task with some bumps in the road due to current interests in the matter. Great read.

120. Personal Lee Child 2014
The newest thriller featuring Jack Reacher. Reacher is pursued by a sniper with a vendetta after he gets out of prison. Throw in some good old style mafia action, the CIA, NRV, and MI5, and the result is a stirring thriller.

121. The Cherokee Trail 1982 Louis L' Amour

A widow whose plantation has been burned in the Civil War flees West, and takes over a stage coach station. Guest appearances by friendly Indians, ranchers, and gold banditos. One of the better L'Amours I've read.
post #2321 of 3274
Clockwise counting 120/50: Hammond Innes - The Wreck of the Mary Deare (1956)

The most famous of Innes' adventure novels is about a ship found drifting in a stormy English Channel. It only has the captain on board, all crew have abandoned ship for unknown reasons. An exciting mystery which was made into a movie with Gary Cooper. I liked it!
post #2322 of 3274
Clockwise counting 121/50: Georges Simenon - The Flemish House (1932)

In the border town Givet, Flemish people are living side by side with French people. The Flemish Peeters family is suspected of killing a French woman and the local authorities are close to making an arrest. Commissaire Maigret is asked by one of the daughters in the Peeters family to investigate the case and save the family from a legal injustice. An interesting mystery with a surprise ending. Once again Maigret doesn't act as a normal policeman and I still don't understand his decision to not arrest the real culprit. Confusing but interesting.
post #2323 of 3274
78 The Children Act by Ian McEwan started it last night and highly impressed at 35 pages in and this is shaping up to be his best book in years.
post #2324 of 3274
79 Intermission by Owen Martell an examination of the death of bassist Scott LeFaro through the eyes of the family of pianist Bill Evans. Had this on the shelves for some time and they way it stared at me was making me feel guilty so seeing at there is only a few days of the year left I have decided to give it my undivided attention.
post #2325 of 3274
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
66. Holy Fire
67. The Outsider
68. Taipei
69. Dispatches
70. The good man Jesus and the scoundrel Christ
71. Leaving the Sea
72. Annihilation
73. Authority
74. Tigerman
75. Stanely Kubrick: Interviews
76. Brooklyn

75. Stanley Kubrick: Interviews

 

A complete set of all the interviews Stanley Kubrick ever gave (totalling a whopping 20 or so) - fascinating, but a tad repetitive. Very insightful and gives one a pretty deep appreciation for his methods, and for long form interviews.


76. Brooklyn

 

Teaching this next year, pretty basic story about a woman Eilis (btw, is this a different spelling of Elise?) who is a passive and indecisive Irish woman who finds herself shipped off to New York to work, leaving her small town in Ireland behind. She traverses the city and it's a pretty simple narrative - highlighting the differences between the new/old world and the way those differences shape people without them realising it.

 

The ending was a bit frustrating and ambiguous.

 

I think I've got 2 more books in me this year - so falling just shy of 80 :(

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