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2016 50 Book Challenge - Page 165

post #2461 of 3274
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
1. A Tale for the Time Being
2. The Sun is God
3. The Keeper of Lost Causes
4. Lost and Found
5. Murder on the Eiffel Tower
6. How to be Both
7. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
8. Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

9. Levels of Life

Levels of LifeLevels of Life by Julian Barnes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Levels of Life is a series of three connected essays that Julian Barnes wrote in memory of his wife. He first looks at life above the ground, writing about the dawn of the aeronautical age and its impact on human technology and philosophy. Then he segues to life on the ground and discusses love and its potential disappointments, using an Englishman’s courtship of Sarah Bernhardt as his exemplar. Finally he moves to the real point of this book: life below the ground, what happens after the death of a loved one. While the first half of this book is interesting and chatty, it does not prepare you for the second, where the author changes gear. Barnes writes a compelling and moving treatise on grief, as he experienced it. It is full of wisdom and deep feeling. Very much worth reading.


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post #2462 of 3274
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoffrey Firmin View Post

43 Altered Pasts Counterfactuals in History by Richard J Evans after a discussion about the alternative reality Si Fi genre the other night I found this in the library CD if you want a good alternative take on the Christ story try Behold the Man by Michael Moorcock very bent.

I’ve read a fair bit of Moorcock. Years ago I tackled the Eternal Champion series, but only got about halfway through. I couldn’t find them anywhere. I might look for that one.

Have you read Pullman’s book The Scoundrel Christ? That’s on the remainder tables these days, and might be worth a look.
post #2463 of 3274
Quote:
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
1. A Tale for the Time Being
2. The Sun is God
3. The Keeper of Lost Causes
4. Lost and Found
5. Murder on the Eiffel Tower
6. How to be Both
7. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
8. Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

9. Levels of Life

Levels of LifeLevels of Life by Julian Barnes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Levels of Life is a series of three connected essays that Julian Barnes wrote in memory of his wife. He first looks at life above the ground, writing about the dawn of the aeronautical age and its impact on human technology and philosophy. Then he segues to life on the ground and discusses love and its potential disappointments, using an Englishman’s courtship of Sarah Bernhardt as his exemplar. Finally he moves to the real point of this book: life below the ground, what happens after the death of a loved one. While the first half of this book is interesting and chatty, it does not prepare you for the second, where the author changes gear. Barnes writes a compelling and moving treatise on grief, as he experienced it. It is full of wisdom and deep feeling. Very much worth reading.


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I liked that one too. Barnes is almost always very very good.
post #2464 of 3274
Quote:
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post

I’ve read a fair bit of Moorcock. Years ago I tackled the Eternal Champion series, but only got about halfway through. I couldn’t find them anywhere. I might look for that one.

Have you read Pullman’s book The Scoundrel Christ? That’s on the remainder tables these days, and might be worth a look.

No did consider it as i read some very good reviews at the time of its release, it provoked a bit of controversy in some circles but was other wise engaged so didn't pick it up.
post #2465 of 3274
Clockwise counting 16/50: Anthony Quinn - Curtain Call (2015)

Very nice novel about some interesting characters in London 1936. We follow an elderly homosexual well known theatre critic, his loyal secretary, a successful portrait painter, an escort lady and a stage actress. These people's lives intertwine as a serial killer terrorises the city. The novel reminded me of Sarah Waters historical novels and the characters gave me a Somerset Maughamesque feeling.
post #2466 of 3274
List (Click to show)
1. A Wrong Turn at the Office on Unmade Lists
2. Acceptance
3. Shipbreaker
4. Winter's Bone
5. Dhmara Bums
6. Istanbul
7. On the Trail of Genghis Khan
8. Holy Bible
9. The Boat
10. Collected Stories
11. Lost and Found
12. Blind Willow, Sleeping woman
13. White Noise
14. Clariel
15. Off the Rails
16. Sabriel
17 Hitler's Daughter

 

16. Sabriel

 

Great YA fantasy. Massive guilty pleasure and nostalgia trip. Necromancer that controls the dead with music. Pretty baller.

 

17. Hitler's Daughter

 

Had to read this for school. Kids milling at a bus stop tell stories to pass the time. One morning a girl starts telling a story about a fictional daughter of Hitler, which prompts the main character the ask a lot of questions, think a lot about the nature of story telling and generally get sucked in.

post #2467 of 3274
Up to number three, with two more which will be finished in the next few days... I got kind of a late start after not reading much in January.

 

My Completed Books List So Far in 2015 (Click to show)
Sorry, all non-fiction so far this year...
 
1. The Race Within: Passion, Courage and Sacrifice At The Ultraman Triathlon (Jim Gourley, 2015) -I'm biased towards this book because I'm mentioned in it, and I know the author. It's a pretty solid glimpse into the world of ultra distance triathlon...
 
2. Wild! -Cheryl Strayed -Yeah, it's an Oprah book club selection, and is clearly aimed at women, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It probably helps that I've visited a number of the places she mentions in the books and can vividly imagine a lot of the scenes. I haven't seen the movie yet...
 
3. Let My People Go Surfing -Yvon Chouinard. I finally got around to reading the business/responsible living manifesto by one of my climbing heroes. It didn't disappoint.
 

 

 

I'm currently working my way through the following books:

 

A Fighting Chance -Elizabeth Warren

True Fit: A Collected History Of Denim

Lord Jim: Joseph Conrad

Unsurpassed: The Story Of Tommy Goodwin, The World's Greatest Distance Cyclist -Godfrey Barlow

post #2468 of 3274
Quote:
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post

I’ve read a fair bit of Moorcock. Years ago I tackled the Eternal Champion series, but only got about halfway through. I couldn’t find them anywhere. I might look for that one.

Have you read Pullman’s book The Scoundrel Christ? That’s on the remainder tables these days, and might be worth a look.

If you haven't read this I would highly recommend it The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín
post #2469 of 3274
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoffrey Firmin View Post

If you haven't read this I would highly recommend it The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín

I read that one. I thought it was a more worthy Man Booker winner than The Luminaries.
post #2470 of 3274
Quote:
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post

I read that one. I thought it was a more worthy Man Booker winner than The Luminaries.

The crucification in that was the most physically brutal interpretation I have ever read, while on JC Quarantine by Jim Crace is worth reading if you haven't read it.

Also The Gospel According to Jesus Christ by Jose Saramago.

All that said on JC the Faust story and theme is one of my personal fictional favourites in both books and film.
post #2471 of 3274
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
1. A Tale for the Time Being
2. The Sun is God
3. The Keeper of Lost Causes
4. Lost and Found
5. Murder on the Eiffel Tower
6. How to be Both
7. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
8. Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
9. Levels of Life

10. The Seventh Day

The Seventh Day: A NovelThe Seventh Day: A Novel by Yu Hua

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


It was quite interesting to read The Seventh Day immediately after finishing Julian Barnes’ treatise on grief in Levels of Life. Yu Hua covers somewhat similar philosophical ground, albeit in the form of a novel.

At the start of the book, Yang Fei has died and visits the funeral parlour of the after-life. As an orphan, he has nobody to mourn him or pay for his burial, so his fate is to wander the spirit world. As he does so, he encounters people from his past, and learns more about his death, what the after-life is like and a greater understanding of his corporeal life. We learn about the lives of the people he meets in the after-life as well, notably the pretty suicide Mouse Girl.

This is a beautifully-written book with a gentle narrative, but not without some wit and humour. The story of the game-playing skeletons Li and Zhang was quite funny as were some of Yu’s dry observations on modern China.

At times the book is a little overly sentimental, but overall it is a moving and thoughtful fable about grief, loss and the great equaliser that is death.




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post #2472 of 3274
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoffrey Firmin View Post

The crucification in that was the most physically brutal interpretation I have ever read, while on JC Quarantine by Jim Crace is worth reading if you haven't read it.

Also The Gospel According to Jesus Christ by Jose Saramago.

All that said on JC the Faust story and theme is one of my personal fictional favourites in both books and film.

There’s always this one: smile.gif

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal
post #2473 of 3274
42 Absent Without Leave The Private War of Private Stanley Livingston by Paul Livingston A memoir of his fathers military service which combines historical fact probability and Mr Livingston's unique humour. Highly entertaining and funny in equal parts.
post #2474 of 3274
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoffrey Firmin View Post

42 Absent Without Leave The Private War of Private Stanley Livingston by Paul Livingston A memoir of his fathers military service which combines historical fact probability and Mr Livingston's unique humour. Highly entertaining and funny in equal parts.

I’ve bought that one, and it’s on my list. Imagine Flacco coming out with a war memoir.
post #2475 of 3274
Clockwise counting 17/50: Ben Lerner - 10:04 (2014)

This is a funny, intellectual, New York art novel. Partly wonderfully written but as a complete work of art ultimately flawed and, considering some of its rave reviews, disappointing. It's an autobiographical post-modern Philip Roth-style novel about a neurotic novelist and his friends, girlfriends and acquaintances. I laughed at some brilliant passages but yawned through most of the book. And the randomly inserted poetry was not pleasant.
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