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2016 50 Book Challenge - Page 170

post #2536 of 3284
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
24. How to Travel the World for Free

 

24. How to Travel the World for Free

 

Journalist Michael Wigge sets out from Berlin and travels to Antartica with $0 in pocket and no credit card. He makes his way through several continents by creatively asking for help, making money in odd ways (pillow fights, butlering) and straight out hitch-hiking and begging. A lot of this was interesting, but the novel lacks detail or reflection. It reads like a series of events, rather than an evolving and complex journey (which it must have been).

 

Compared to some of the other travel writing (Tim Cope's) that I've loved this year, this felt like a long article, which was OK, but ultimately undeveloped. The 'lessons' learned are cliched and predictable and I was left a tad bored.

post #2537 of 3284
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
24. How to Travel the World for Free
25. Deliverance

 

25. Deliverance

 

Four friends travel into the wilderness on a weekend trip and everything goes wrong. While this story is somewhat predictable, the quality and pace of writing really sets it apart from other stories of bad weekends, and disaster. The main character is both insightful and reflective, and does a brilliant job exploring the personalities of his companions and friends. As the actions forces changes in dynamics between the characters the strength of Jame Dickey's writing becomes clear: he writes with subtlety and precision, often allowing for actions to speak clearly instead of narration. The pacing is masterfully slow and directed - for events spanning 2-3 days the novel feels drawn out in all the right places and succinct in all the dull parts.

 

The plot was nothing special, but I really did enjoy this novel.

post #2538 of 3284
Whoah, synchronicity: I started James Dickey's Collected today (an impulse buy; I had never even heard of him), and his poetry is really fantastic. Then Amazon blew my mind just now with the revelation that its that James Dickey, the Deliverance guy. I still can't quite see it...but it sounds like I should check out the novel as well.

@xander-horst: Sorry for the late reply, but as others have said, I definitely feel you'd get something out of the Jaynes book. He's a tremendous prose writer, with a novelist's sensibility, and his theory travels down so many exciting different paths, there is surely something there to intrigue you, even you don't buy wholesale his ideas of how consciousness began much later than we thought.
post #2539 of 3284
27. If This Is a Man Primo Levi 1960

LIST

An Italian Jew in a German labor camp near Auschwitz. Excellent prose- (obviously) depressing topic. For this reason I wouldn't recommend it.
post #2540 of 3284
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post

27. If This Is a Man Primo Levi 1960

LIST

An Italian Jew in a German labor camp near Auschwitz. Excellent prose- (obviously) depressing topic. For this reason I wouldn't recommend it.

Still on my reading list. Some books should be read, even if not a barrel of laughs.
post #2541 of 3284
37 A Short History of Richard Kline by Amanda Lohrey went to an authors talk two weeks ago at Electric Shadows a soon to be defunct independent bookstore, now there are only two in Canberra. I finally picked it up on Easter Saturday and so far so good. The subject matter is somewhat contentious, the person interviewing her made the comment that 'spirituality is the only subject left in the closet' and if you have read The Razors Edge by Somerset Maugham you may find some comparison with the notion of the quest. She gives a contemporary interpretation of the quest for Truth ( what ever the fuck that is). The talk was very informative as I had read a couple of reviews of the book prior to it. I was intrigued as to how she would deal with the subject matter. She cited William James Varieties of Religious Experience a fair bit in her talk. I originally read it back in 1980 at Uni and still have a copy and have consulted it a fair over the years.

Now excuse me I must resume reading and continue on my path to Satori.
post #2542 of 3284
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

17. Hicksville

HicksvilleHicksville by Dylan Horrocks

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


In Hicksville New Zealand cartoonist Dylan Horrocks has created a loving tribute to the art of the graphic novel, injected a mystery and wrapped it in an enigma.

The story has many threads, the main one being the arrival of American comics reviewer Leonard Batts in the NZ hamlet of Hicksville, where everybody is massively into comics, yet nobody wants to talk about the town’s most famous expatriate, comics giant Jack Burger. Leonard gets frustrated when he can’t make any progress on the article he wants to write about Burger, and his bafflement increases when he keeps finding scraps of a cartoon about Captain Cook and a Maori chief speculating on the nature of maps and the changing layout of the land.

Horrocks has worked in lots of tributes to classics of the genre, especially in a sequence set at a costume party, and he clearly is a big fan of Herge and Winsor McCay. (I have to admit that I probably missed a lot of his references).

This is a moving story and Horrocks leaves room for the reader’s imagination to fill in much of the detail, which adds to its charm. it’s also an intelligent tribute to an art form that Horrocks loves, and the place of creativity within it.

View all my reviews
Edited by California Dreamer - 4/7/15 at 4:43am
post #2543 of 3284
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
17. Hicksville

18. Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen

Sam Zabel and the Magic PenSam Zabel and the Magic Pen by Dylan Horrocks

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Sam Zable, one of the characters from Horrocks’ earlier work Hicksville, is a cartoonist facing intractable writer’s block and probable depression. As a major deadline looms, he finds himself unable to pen a single line of dialogue.

While flipping through a vintage comic about a New Zealander’s trip to Mars, Sam sneezes and suddenly finds himself inside the book. When the Martians realise that Sam is a cartoonist, they crown him king and ensconce him with a harem of green-skinned Venusian lovelies. He also encounters a Japanese girl who imparts the secret of this strange comic world - a magic pen.

This is a story about fantasy, both in its healthy and unhealthy aspects. The worlds of the magic pen reflect the secret desires of its owners, some of which are far from healthy. Other worlds seem just boring; this is because there are as many visions of a perfect world as there are people to envisage them.

The ultra-fastidious should be aware that this is a very adult graphic novel, as Horrocks portrays the unbridled fantasies of some of his characters.

View all my reviews
post #2544 of 3284
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
24. How to Travel the World for Free
25. Deliverance
26. Trigger Warning

 

26. Trigger Warning

 

Neil Gaiman's short story collection. Loved a few, most were OK, a few bored me to tears. The introduction (as always with his work) was really interesting. Especially loved him riffing on Holmes and Dr. Who (neither of which have ever done much more me, though I always thought they were good at what they were). I'd kind of like to read a collection of stories by authors doing a version of someone else's work they loved.

 

Eerie, creepy, interesting. The kind of author who has fallen into a niche, and is stuck there, but one can't really dislike him for that.

 

Reading's been taking a back seat thanks to a new woman. :(

post #2545 of 3284
36 The Soul of the Marionette A Short Enquiry into Human Freedom by John Gray Read a couple of his previous works and have a Guardian Podcast where he discuss the book and its ideas with Will Self will listen to that then dive in.
post #2546 of 3284
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post


26. Trigger Warning

Neil Gaiman's short story collection. Loved a few, most were OK, a few bored me to tears. The introduction (as always with his work) was really interesting. Especially loved him riffing on Holmes and Dr. Who (neither of which have ever done much more me, though I always thought they were good at what they were). I'd kind of like to read a collection of stories by authors doing a version of someone else's work they loved.

Eerie, creepy, interesting. The kind of author who has fallen into a niche, and is stuck there, but one can't really dislike him for that.

This one has been on my to-read list for a while now. Might drop it down in priority a bit.
post #2547 of 3284

Honestly, I find Gaiman a bit formulaic, so if you've read a lot of his books yeah it's nice, but nothing new.

 

If you've only read one or two it should be pretty fun.

 

IIRC, you've only read 3-4?

 

My Mum has this belief that I'm a huge Gaiman fan and buys me everything to do with Gaiman, but really I don't have the heart to tell her I only half like him.

post #2548 of 3284
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

Honestly, I find Gaiman a bit formulaic, so if you've read a lot of his books yeah it's nice, but nothing new.

If you've only read one or two it should be pretty fun.

IIRC, you've only read 3-4?

My Mum has this belief that I'm a huge Gaiman fan and buys me everything to do with Gaiman, but really I don't have the heart to tell her I only half like him.

I’ve read a lot of his: Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neverwhere, Good Omens, Fortunately the Milk, The Sleeper and the Spindle, Coraline.
post #2549 of 3284
28. Top Secret W.E.B. Griffin 2014

First book in a new series called Clandestine Operations. Not all that thrilling or believable and 500 pages. Meh.
post #2550 of 3284
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
17. Hicksville
18. Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen

19. The Buried Giant

The Buried GiantThe Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


For some reason there is a furore over whether The Buried Giant is fantasy. Well, that’s a broad category, and I guess it fits into the swords and sorcery sub-genre, but only barely. It’s a pretty pallid and wan effort, but it has swords and monsters, so what the hell.

The story is essentially a quest by two Britons, Axl and Beatrice, to seek out their long-departed son. They are vaguely aware that they are losing their memories and think it is caused by an ever-present mist. As they travel, they encounter Sir Gawain and a Saxon knight sworn to kill Britons.

The big problem with this novel is that Axl and Beatrice are boring characters uttering dreary and repetitive dialogue, and they cannot rescue Ishiguro’s plodding and uninspired story. The book does have some incidents, such as those occurring in and below the monastery, that could have been turned to more dark and dramatic purposes, but Ishiguro treats them in a perfunctory manner that fails to exploit their potential.

Some good ideas wasted in too bland and pedestrian a story; very disappointing.


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