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2016 50 Book Challenge - Page 177

post #2641 of 3284
LM

Have you read anything by Pat Cadigan or Wilhelmina Baird excellent hard core first wave cyberpunk.
post #2642 of 3284

I haven't, but I will.

post #2643 of 3284
I've read a few books on CD recommendations and reviews and I agree with his assessment however I would add that I found them both incredibly and violently misogynistic, he spares no punches with his crime scene and autopsy descriptions. Irene cites a couple of books I have read but this novel is darker more senselessly diabolical in terms of the cat and mouse game being played between Verhoeven and his protagonist. There are also a couple of other games being played in terms of the novels structure that anyone who has read Roland Barthes will pick up on. Overall its a brutal game played out to a bitter end.

22 Irene by Pierre Lemaitre

21 Alex by Pierre Lemaitre

Glad I took CD's advice and read them in order there are two other books in French which will eventually be translated into English. The story is if possible even more brutal and disturbing that Irene. How ever if revenge is a dish served as a cold as a mortuary slab this one is in the sub zero territory.

I found the translations to be good and remained faithful to the ideas and execution of good crime fiction and the authors warped intent. However I declined to recommend these to MrsGF.
post #2644 of 3284
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoffrey Firmin View Post

However I declined to recommend these to MrsGF.

I can certainly see why. I definitely agree with you about Irene being more dark and violent than the books that inspired it. I’ve read at least three of them, and in a couple of those cases I found the crime scene descriptions much more disturbing in Lemaitre’s hands.
post #2645 of 3284
38. Insurgent 2012 Veronica Roth

The continued adventures of Tris Prior and her maladjusted teens. One Faction is trying to mind control all the others, and the Faction system is crumbling, fast. There is a startling revelation at the end of the book, which I'm certain will be the lead-in to the new one.

It's YA, but I'm hooked.
post #2646 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
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


33. I Refuse

I RefuseI Refuse by Per Petterson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Similar to Out Stealing Horses, Per Persson’s latest novel I Refuse features a lonely man looking back on a childhood marred by a life-changing incident. It’s a very different novel after that, with a much more urban feel compared to the beautiful countryside evoked in Out Stealing Horses.

Persson shifts the narrative between the down-and-out Jim and the financially successful Tommy, as well as through the decades from their 60s childhoods to the present day. The narrative focus also occasionally shifts to minor characters, and between third and first person. This is a lot of gear-shifting in a relatively short novel, and it feels somewhat artificial and forced. The prose is a lot more mundane than in Out Stealing Horses, but I guess that could be a function of the novel’s more urban setting.

I enjoyed the journey that Persson takes us on with a couple of appealing characters and the turns that their lives take. I did feel cheated by the ending though, which I found pretty unsatisfactory.





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post #2647 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

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
39. The Water Knife

 

39. The Water Knife

 

Paolo Bacigalupi's 2009 book The Windup Girl remains one of the more interesting books released in the SF genre in the past 5 or so years, so it was with great anticipation that I picked up The Water Knife last week. The novel tells the story of a series of desperate characters eeking out an existence in the (now) water-starved South West US. Angel, a former gang-member now works for the woman in charge of securing Nevada's water - he is the titular 'water knife'. Maria is a Texan and a refugee, living in Phoenix at the mercy of gangsters, water prices and circumstance. Lucy is a journalist working in Phoenix struggling to make the world care about how ruined life is in the water-less, overpopulated dustbowl of a state. Angel's character was, to me, quite enjoyable - a very classic intelligent but amoral figure, he provides a very cut-and-dried perspective on the story that balances out the female characters really well.

 

In a similar vein to The Windup Girl, the character-arcs establish how choices made during our time have led to a growing divide between rich/poor or haves/have-nots. Just as in TWG, he seeks to draw connections that make the near future seem not so far, and not so impossible. The characters collide, and the narrative is essentially a heist story. This did not irk me at all, I feel that the plot is more of a way for Bacigalupi to explore environmental impact, human weakness and the fragility of civilisation.

 

Ultimately I enjoyed the book, but didn't think it lived up to the Windup Girl. That book was, to me, doing things other writers hadn't really thought of. While other writers had envisioned a world wracked by climate change, or a world where the disenfranchised grew and struggled due to climate change, the influence of cyberpunk, the setting, the insight and the ingenuity of many of the minor parts of the story (spring technology, Malaysia's take-over by an increasingly radical Muslim majority) was the sum of Bacigalupi's ability to take multiple ideas that are commonly understood within certain niches, and tie them together into a compelling narrative.

 

In terms of water, nothing new is said here - in fact Bacigalupi references Cadillac Desert - a book that's famous for its condemnation of water rights in the desert states, written in the 70s (IIRC). Interestingly, as I was reading thing book, a series of articles was written aggressively criticising water rights as they relate to the Colorado River. For the photography alone I'd encourage you to read them:

 

http://jakestangel.com/Desert-Farming-Medium

https://medium.com/matter/holy-crop-1d18af85973a

post #2648 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
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
33. I Refuse


34. Nothing is True and Everything is Possible

Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New RussiaNothing Is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia by Peter Pomerantsev

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Peter Pomerantsev’s account of modern Russia in the time of Putin is a series of vignettes designed to highlight some aspect or other of contemporary Russia and the cross-roads that it sits at, between the repression of the past and its embrace of the capitalist life-style.

Pomerantsev worked in Moscow for many years as a TV producer, creating documentaries that enabled him to meet many of the people he portrays, and tell their stories. His book features people such as a gold-digger hunting for a millionaire husband, a businesswoman plunged into a Kafkaesque legal nightmare, gangsters, political operatives, a suicidal supermodel, protesters and the fabulously wealthy emigre community.

The book is pretty much all personal observation, and there is little or no supporting material presented for what Pomerantsev tells us. He certainly makes no real attempt to present any alternate view to his conclusions. His dismissive and shallow treatment of the very complex situation in Ukraine is an example; he states his anti-Putin, anti-Russia views as fact, and there is no attempt to give any credence to the other side of a very contentious issue.

While Pomerantsev decries the way Putin and the Kremlin have utilised TV entertainment to manipulate the masses and ensure that they adhere to the approved line of thinking, he seems blissfully unaware that his own productions have played a small part in helping Putin to achieve that. Sure he quit eventually, but it seems to have only been after he got bored making TNT propaganda, not out of any principled decision.

What is going on in modern Russia is vitally important and a suitable subject for a serious and informative account. This book isn’t it.


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post #2649 of 3284
20 The Fire Witness A Joona Linna Thriller by Lars Kepler This is the 3rd book in the series. An above average Scandi Noir thriller well paced and a couple of interesting pickled herrings to throw you off the track of the killer.
post #2650 of 3284
39. Bowdrie's Law 1983 Louis L'Amour

Another collection of short stories featuring Chick Bowdrie, Texas Ranger.

Got a hold of a definitive L'Amour list, and have a lot more left to read than I thought.
post #2651 of 3284
19 The Sandman A Joona Linna Thriller by Lars Kepler Typical the local library say they have books 1&2 on the shelf but do they? Ha anyway this is books 4 which features a Swedish Hannibal Lecter and his faithful side kick. Very easy to read got through a 100 pages before bed last night.

Enjoyable Swedish Noir not a bad read and not as blood drenched as others.
post #2652 of 3284
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoffrey Firmin View Post

[not as blood drenched as others.

Probably skip it then ... smile.gif
post #2653 of 3284
40. Allegiant Veronica Roth 2013

The final book of the Divergent trilogy. Full of plots and counter plots, genetic impurity schemes, and lots of violence. Don't think I can say more without giving things away.
Not as good as the other two books.
post #2654 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
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
33. I Refuse
34. Nothing is True and Everything is Possible


35. The Dalai Lama’s Cat

The Dalai Lama's CatThe Dalai Lama's Cat by David Michie

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


The Dalai Lama’s Cat is a series of vignettes recounted by the titular feline. The cat is rescued from the Indian slums and raised by the Dalai Lama and his entourage in the Tibetan Buddhist monastery of McLeod Ganj.

In each chapter, the cat tells a story where she observes a human absorbing Buddhist wisdom from the Dalai Lama or one of his followers, which changes their lives. She then applies the lesson learned to her own cat life, thus working her way towards enlightenment. That’s pretty much it; there’s a slight over-arching narrative, but very little else really.

The book reminds me of C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters, where a demon advises his nephew on how to tempt a human. In the process, Lewis imparts lessons in the living of a Christian life, wrapped up in a novel. This is a similar idea, only featuring the Dharma of Tibetan Buddhism.

What I wonder about this book is what Michie is trying to achieve. He is a Buddhist himself, so is clearly trying to pass on these life lessons to the reader. But who is his audience? I can’t imagine kids sitting through this book and taking it all on board, but I equally think it is a bit cute and twee for an adult reader looking to be exposed to Buddhist thought. In the end it’s a harmless bit of fluff. There are more of these, and a movie on the way, but I doubt I’ll bother.


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Edited by California Dreamer - 6/30/15 at 4:46am
post #2655 of 3284
18 The Four Dimensional Human Ways of Being In the Digital Word by Laurence Scott The reviews for this book intrigued me as it delves into the phenomenology of how the immersion in digital life is changing our perception of ourselves in this Brave New World. Started reading it last night and so far my interest has been stimulated.
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