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2016 50 Book Challenge - Page 169

post #2521 of 3274
10/50 The Kills - Richard House

This was well written and an enjoyable read, yet after 1,000 pages it would've been nice if any of the threads of the storyline were truly resolved.
post #2522 of 3274

Dude....

 

NW is far better than HBW.

 

No action is Murakami's thing.

 

Most eventful thing that happens: going for a drive and listening to jazz while a mysterious and beautiful woman discusses her preferences for music while the narrator reflects on the song and how it makes him feel.

post #2523 of 3274

Not quite sure. I'm only a bit over 100 pages into HBW, but so far I kind of like the absurdity and seeing where it leads. I read the afterword to NW the translator included and I could definitely see how some would view it as a mere love story. Not saying I did that, and there were some excellent passages, but it still felt a bit bland to me at some points. Maybe I just need to get used to this type of book, as it's quite different from what I usually read. Or perhaps I just took too long to read it and didn't enjoy it as much because of that (new season of House of Cards made sure reading didn't get prioritized very much).

post #2524 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
18. Quack this Way
19. Grapes of Wrath
20. Every Man in this Village is a Liar
21. The Twelve Fingered Boy
22. Riders of the Purple Sage


22. Riders of the Purple Sage

 

So I picked this up based on what a few people here said, but honestly I found it laboured and dry. The characters were annoying, the plot developed so slowly (and, let's face it, it's basically a love story and some elopement), the twists didn't twist, and the social tensions I found dull. Rarely did this engage me, and I really didn't love it at all. I feel that the ending was drawn out, and the book should have ended with Jane and Lassiter leaving the burning house.

post #2525 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
11. Fortunately the Milk
11b. The Sleeper and the Spindle
12. The Agile Project Management Handbook
13. Reykjavik Nights
14. The Siege
15. The Torch


16. Being Mortal

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the EndBeing Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


For those of us with elderly relatives Being Mortal can make for a bit of a sobering read at times.

Atul Gawande’s thesis in this book is that Western medicine, when treating the terminally ill, works only to extend life and address symptoms, rather than consider the quality of life. Yet this is a fruitless pursuit, because mortality is the one medical problem that we can never resolve. Are patients not better served by doctors who find out how they want to live the rest of their lives, and work to enable that to the degree possible?

The book starts with comparing some of the differing cultural approaches to care of the elderly, noting that wealthy Western countries tend to leave the elderly to fend for themselves, whereas other cultures live with and support the aged. Gawande is not so naive as to fail to point out that the latter approach presents its own problems as well.

He looks at alternative approaches to the provision of care for the terminally ill, from permanent hospital care, to palliative care, to nursing homes, assisted living and hospice. It’s surprising how recently some of these ideas came into being, and even more surprising how few specialists there are in these areas, given that we all know that the population is ageing and that the numbers of people requiring geriatric care are going to skyrocket.

Gawande comes down firmly on the side of having the patient direct the doctor. The doctor’s role is to find out what is important to the patient, what they fear and what compromises they are prepared to make, and then recommend strategies to assist the terminally ill patient to live out the time they have left doing the things that they want, to the degree possible. It’s hard to argue with this view, although I can’t help but think that the courage required to choose this course instead of exhausting all the treatment options might be in short supply.

A sobering read, but a quite informative one, which sheds some light on an issue that we will all face one day.


View all my reviews
post #2526 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
18. Quack this Way
19. Grapes of Wrath
20. Every Man in this Village is a Liar
21. The Twelve Fingered Boy
22. Riders of the Purple Sage
23. The Sheltering Sky

 

23. The Sheltering Sky

 

This 'classic' novel by Paul Bowles follows a couple as they travel from Tangiers and into the Sahara in an attempt to rekindle some verve for life and love for each other. The main couple (Kit and Port) encounter a variety of characters - some quite bland, others appalling obnoxious.

 

I hated this book. The characters are so shallow and dull - at every turn they are shown to be almost pathetically childish and inhumanly emotionless. Every proclaimation they make only further underscores the banality of their own thoughts and the novel is turgid.

 

This is not to imply that Bowles has unwittingly created annoying characters. The whole novel points to the colonial characters being irksome, difficult, arrogant, unsure and ignorant. It is a fairly damning critique of colonialism during WW2 and those that romped around Africa lording it up while looking down at the locals endlessly. Unfortunately, the novel is not actually interesting or thought provoking. In a post-colonial world, and living in a country that routinely damns it's own colonialism, reading abut obnoxious white people for 300 odd pages is, frankly, a shore.

 

Read this book just brought on ennui. I regret picking it up.

post #2527 of 3274
38 The Child by Sebastian Fitzek The cover blurb says The Master of Mind Games "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind meets Inception" The Guardian Hmmmm?

So far its sending me to sleep at night.
post #2528 of 3274
It may be on here somewhere, or even maybe I recommended it a while back... but Daniel Kahneman's "Thinking Fast and Slow" is a great read. I would also recommend Dehaene's "Reading in the Brain" and Christakis and Fowler's "Connected."

For something more fun, try anything by Norman Lewis (especially "Voices of the Old Sea")
post #2529 of 3274
Quote:
Originally Posted by noob View Post

173722.jpg

EPIC. LARGE, RUDE, ROWDY, AND EFFING EPIC.
.

I originally read mention of this book in a book about AI many years ago, then found a copy at a church book sale of all places. Haven't read it myself yet. What do you think - is the theory convincing?
post #2530 of 3274
Quote:
Originally Posted by rach2jlc View Post

It may be on here somewhere, or even maybe I recommended it a while back... but Daniel Kahneman's "Thinking Fast and Slow" is a great read. I would also recommend Dehaene's "Reading in the Brain" and Christakis and Fowler's "Connected."

For something more fun, try anything by Norman Lewis (especially "Voices of the Old Sea")

Kahneman was referenced in Being Mortal actually, which reminded me that I need to read that one.
post #2531 of 3274
I don't know how Jaynes' theory has held up.. I loved the book when I read it years ago. It is certainly an interesting take on the evolution of consciousness.
Edited by Harrydog - 3/28/15 at 10:59am
post #2532 of 3274
26. City Primeval Elmore Leonard 1980

A classic cops-and robbers tale by arguably the master of the genre. A Detroit homicide detective tracks down and kills a hardened murderer in High Noon-like style.

It was cool!
post #2533 of 3274

1. I will not read 50 books this year. I will read as many as I read.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by EnglishGent View Post

10/50 The Kills - Richard House

This was well written and an enjoyable read, yet after 1,000 pages it would've been nice if any of the threads of the storyline were truly resolved.

 

 

2. How are the threads of the storyline not resolved? I think it's fairly clear that they were all resolved, in pretty much every case by the death of the protagonist.

 

It's a very bleak novel but an extremely good one. Also thoroughly modern. I don't think a book like this could have been written twenty years ago. I'm not enough of a literary theorist to explain why, but that was the very strong impression I had while reading it. 

 

I also found The Kills quite challenging; certainly confusing at times, but I honestly don't believe the author left anything of importance in doubt (unless of course there was action still in progress at the novel's conclusion, which after all is what happens in real life).

 

3. I'm now struggling through "Time Reborn" by Lee Smolin. Now this is a mindfuck. But if you fancy an update on progress being made by the world's smartest people on the important question of " 'Ere, wot's it all about ven?", this book is essential reading.

post #2534 of 3274
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coxsackie View Post


2. How are the threads of the storyline not resolved? I think it's fairly clear that they were all resolved, in pretty much every case by the death of the protagonist.

It's a very bleak novel but an extremely good one. Also thoroughly modern. I don't think a book like this could have been written twenty years ago. I'm not enough of a literary theorist to explain why, but that was the very strong impression I had while reading it. 

I also found The Kills quite challenging; certainly confusing at times, but I honestly don't believe the author left anything of importance in doubt (unless of course there was action still in progress at the novel's conclusion, which after all is what happens in real life).

3. I'm now struggling through "Time Reborn" by Lee Smolin. Now this is a mindfuck. But if you fancy an update on progress being made by the world's smartest people on the important question of " 'Ere, wot's it all about ven?", this book is essential reading.

I appreciate you calling me out on this as I think this highlights the downside of trying to add a quick review as soon as you put a book down. When I finished I felt like there were so many unanswered questions, but contemplating it after I felt a lot more closure and should've updated my post.
post #2535 of 3274
11/50 Edge of Eternity - Ken Follett

Cold war/civil rights conclusion to this triglogy. Honestly by the time I put this down I was happy the trilogy was over.
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