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2016 50 Book Challenge - Page 176

post #2626 of 3274
24 ARDENNES 1944 Hitlers Last Gamble by Antony Beevor Arrived in the post today and with the Queens birthday long weekend perfect to kick back with it.

Finally finished it the other day. Great historical narrative exposition by Beevor. Interesting cast of side characters including Kurt Vonnegut and Hemingway and sacramental wine, Martha Gellhorn and Marlene Dietrich who by all accounts shagged her way through the Allied High Command. There is gore, of which a large amount is the suffering of the SS. Beevor writes history like a novelist and both interprets and expounds upon the facts in a straight forward style.
Edited by Geoffrey Firmin - 6/13/15 at 5:34pm
post #2627 of 3274
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

CD is catching up to me. Slow and steady might win the race.

Helps if I read tiny widdle books wif big writing.
post #2628 of 3274
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

CD is catching up to me. Slow and steady might win the race.

Looking over the wrong shoulder, Matt. smile.gif
post #2629 of 3274
34. Divergent Veronica Roth 2011

Takes place in a future dystopic Chicago. Society has been divided into Factions in order to avoid war and keep order. The heroine belongs to Abnegation (The Servers and Governors), and must, at 16, choose her new Faction. A "simulation" is administered to all young adults of this age to determine their aptitude for a new Faction. Our protagonist Beatrice tests for several different factions, which makes her a Divergent- a horrible secret in their society. She chooses Dauntless, the black clothed Peacekeeping, Warrior faction over the Abnegation, and takes the name Tris. When one of the other Factions drugs Dauntless and uses them to kill off Abnegation to restore capitalism, Tris and the other Divergents foil their plot.

It was a bit YA, but I still really enjoyed the book. Now off to see the movie.
post #2630 of 3274
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post

33. Jealousy Alain Robbe- Grillet 1957

THE LIST

A horrible, horrible book. Filled with repetitive minutiae and behaviors. It boggles my mind how some of this stuff winds up on Bonsal's list.

Have you read his For a New Novel? It's pretty great, even if you don't like his fiction (I usually don't, though I admire his struggle to wrest the genre from its comfort).

I've said it before, but I wish Nathalie Sarraute, rather than AR-G, was the face of the new novel. I notice her book of essays -- also excellent -- just dropped well below the $100 mark, where it stayed for a long time....
post #2631 of 3274
35. The Vice-Consul Marguerite Duras 1966

THE LIST

Contains three primary characters. The first, a homeless girl who has been cast out by her mother for becoming pregnant out of wedlock, loses the baby through undernourishment, and becomes a mad, bald beggar. The second is the promiscuous wife of the French Ambassador in Calcutta, who seems prone to mortifying fits of tears, perhaps of self-loathing. The third is the Vice-Counsel of Lahore, who has lost his position because of a number of unexplained violent outbursts, and has been recalled to Calcutta for re-posting.

Thery are all 3 sad characters and outcasts in their own way.

The book is confusing, and I didn't care for it.
post #2632 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
17. Hicksville
18. Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen
19. The Buried Giant
20. Another Time, Another Life
21. The Corpse Reader
22. Portrait of a Man
23. All the Birds, Singing
24. Out Stealing Horses
25. Last Winter We Parted
26. The Rabbit Back Literature Society
27. Rituals
28. Bitter Remedy
29. The Ring and The Opposite of Death
30. Old Gold


31. Hausfrau

HausfrauHausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Hausfrau is the story of Anna, an expatriate American married to a Swiss banker and living in a Zurich suburb. Anna, who has always tended towards melancholy, is lonely and feels isolated by the stiff and diffident manners of her husband and the people around her, a feeling that is exacerbated by her inability to speak the local dialect.

Anna sublimates her loneliness in a series of adulterous affairs, which do not seem to give her much satisfaction. She sees a psycho-analyst, but refuses to engage and be open in her therapy. Every question the doctor asks is responded to with an honest internal answer, followed by a spoken obfuscation. Anna finds it hard to make friends, even among the ex-pat community she sees at a language school, although she seems to have little trouble taking lovers. I actually found this aspect of her character hard to understand; it didn’t really ring true.

I don’t want to say a lot about this book for fear of giving away too much. It’s well written, but I found myself wondering in which direction Essbaum would take her plot. It could have ended up as a romance, murder mystery, or a few other destinations. Maybe this second-guessing on my part was a sign that the author does not develop her plot enough, or does not really give us enough meat on the bones until the very last act.

I found it hard to empathise with Anna, and the reader is certainly not encouraged to identify with her husband Bruno or most of the other characters, really.

I did read this book with some discomfort, having worked as an ex-pat myself with my wife in quite a similar position to Anna’s. I hope I was a bit more understanding than Bruno, but it did cast the position I placed my family in in a slightly different light.

Overall, this is an OK book, By the end, the reader will identify the classic novel that has clearly inspired Essbaum, but I won’t name it.


View all my reviews
post #2633 of 3274
post #2634 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

24. How to Travel the World for Free

25. Deliverance

26. Trigger Warning

27. It's Complicated

28. Fight Club

29. Past the Shallows
30. Wonderboys
31. It's what I do
32. A Long Way Down
33. Men Who Stare at Goats
34. Boxer Beetle
35. This is How You Lose Her
36. No Sugar
37. The Invisible Writing

 

37. The Invisible Writing

 

The second part of Arthur Koestler's autobiography covering his years as a Communist - in Germany, USSR, Spain and Hungary. At times interest, but often languid and stodgy, I felt disappointed by this text. Koestler's life is incredible - he was on the forefront of so much change and so much upheaval. Yet, unfortunately, I find his writing to be almost turgid - laboriously written and with a pacing so steady is becomes chore-like. Nothing is ever embellished or exaggerated, everything is measured equally and professionally, but in such a way that it lose character and lacks style, in my mind.

 

Sad.

post #2635 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
17. Hicksville
18. Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen
19. The Buried Giant
20. Another Time, Another Life
21. The Corpse Reader
22. Portrait of a Man
23. All the Birds, Singing
24. Out Stealing Horses
25. Last Winter We Parted
26. The Rabbit Back Literature Society
27. Rituals
28. Bitter Remedy
29. The Ring and The Opposite of Death
30. Old Gold
31. Hausfrau


32. Irene

Irène (Verhœven, #1)Irène by Pierre Lemaitre

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


In his first novel Irene Pierre Lemaitre comes up with a clever way to pay tribute to the writers that have inspired him, while at the same time creating something unique and original himself.

This is the first of the Verhoeven books, set in Paris and featuring Commandant Verhoeven, the taciturn leader of a squad in the brigade criminelle. Verhoeven is a dwarf, and has struggled at times in his career and in his personal life because of this. This seems to be behind him as he is at his peak professionally, married to a beautiful wife and with a baby on the way. Life should be good for Verhoeven, but it isn’t.

Verhoeven is investigating a series of brutal murders of young women. (Be aware, Lemaitre’s descriptions of the crimes are strong stuff). The crime scenes are meticulously prepared and forensics can find little or no evidence. The squad have virtually nothing to go on, and Verhoeven finds himself crossing swords with the Juge and with a tabloid journalist. When a second crime emerges, Verhoeven makes a connection that even he can’t quite believe and he is plunged into a dark and horrifying pursuit.

In the last act, Lemaitre pulls off an artful narrative trick that gives the story a kick, but still feels a bit too clever by half. Apart from that though, Irene is a pulsing yarn with a unique protagonist and a chilling and original plot. I would probably have given this 5 stars except that I read Alex before this one, and Lemaitre completely gives away the ending of Irene in his second novel. So read these in order, if you want to get the most out of them.


View all my reviews
post #2636 of 3274
36. Riding for the Brand Louis L'Amour 1986

A collection of Western short stories. I enjoyed them.
post #2637 of 3274
23 Jung On Film Post Jungiann Takes on the Moving Image Edited by Cristopher Hauke and Ian Alister.
post #2638 of 3274
37. Bowdrie 1983 Louis L'Amour

A compilation of short stories featuring Charles Bowdrie (Texas Ranger), originally published in pulp magazines in the late '40s. Fascinating stuff.
post #2639 of 3274
post #2640 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

24. How to Travel the World for Free

25. Deliverance

26. Trigger Warning

27. It's Complicated

28. Fight Club

29. Past the Shallows
30. Wonderboys
31. It's what I do
32. A Long Way Down
33. Men Who Stare at Goats
34. Boxer Beetle
35. This is How You Lose Her
36. No Sugar
37. The Invisible Writing
38. Schismatrix

 

38. Schismatrix

 

A cyberpunk classic I read to fill the gaps between other books. It contains some of my favourite passages in writing, but is also a deeply flawed novel. The changes that happen (and there are about a dozen) are all implied, and then discussed after the fact, yet more often than not this raises many more questions than it answers, and the reader is (I feel) never satisfied - so much occurs, yet little is explained. Nations, companies, characters, belief systems and locations move in and out of this text seemingly at random - it feels at times like fragments of a dream.

 

This may appeal to some (or many) but it irks me. Fantastic book, flawed writing.

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