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2016 50 Book Challenge - Page 185

post #2761 of 3275
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post
  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

 

8. Holy Bible

 

Set in 1991, in Ballarat (that's Australia for those of you not familiar with rural Victoria) this book chronicles the lives of a family living within an extreme Christian sect, who are excitedly awaiting the end of days (they believe Jesus is returning, due to the Gulf War). Initially following Tranquility Bloom, a teenager aspiring to be a nurse, the novel meanders its way through the three female members of the Bloom family, and in doing so sheds light on their background, their feelings about their religion, community and place amongst it.

 

 

I know that I'm quoting an old post here, but it's ages since I had a look at this thread and so I'm only just catching up to what's been posted this year. 

 

This storyline rings a bell with me, as it reminds me of a court hearing that I did back in 2004 or thereabouts, when the US, Australia and other members of the "Coalition of the Willing" were in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

 

The court hearing was in a small town in rural Queensland (another state of Australia) and involved a man who had to repay a debt to the government, but who did not think that he should have to do so. I represented the government. The man lost, as the court decided that he had to repay the debt. 

 

As I was walking to my car outside the quaint, wooden country courthouse, I was accosted by the man. I was initially a bit concerned that he might be aggrieved, but he was very pleasant and cheerful. He explained to me that he wasn't at all upset by the court's decision as he didn't think that he'd have to repay the money to the government. When I asked why, he explained that we were living in the end-times, as foretold by the Book of Revelations, and that salvation was coming soon. He said that George W Bush was clearly the anti-christ, as you could see the Number of the Beast written on his head when you looked at photographs of him. 

 

He pressed a pamphlet on me and he asked what I happened to be doing that evening. As it happened, I was actually staying in the town for another couple of days to do more hearings, but I told him that I was very sorry, but that I was heading back to the city that afternoon! 

post #2762 of 3275
Quote:
Originally Posted by Journeyman View Post

I know that I'm quoting an old post here, but it's ages since I had a look at this thread and so I'm only just catching up to what's been posted this year. 

This storyline rings a bell with me, as it reminds me of a court hearing that I did back in 2004 or thereabouts, when the US, Australia and other members of the "Coalition of the Willing" were in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

The court hearing was in a small town in rural Queensland (another state of Australia) and involved a man who had to repay a debt to the government, but who did not think that he should have to do so. I represented the government. The man lost, as the court decided that he had to repay the debt. 

As I was walking to my car outside the quaint, wooden country courthouse, I was accosted by the man. I was initially a bit concerned that he might be aggrieved, but he was very pleasant and cheerful. He explained to me that he wasn't at all upset by the court's decision as he didn't think that he'd have to repay the money to the government. When I asked why, he explained that we were living in the end-times, as foretold by the Book of Revelations, and that salvation was coming soon. He said that George W Bush was clearly the anti-christ, as you could see the Number of the Beast written on his head when you looked at photographs of him. 

He pressed a pamphlet on me and he asked what I happened to be doing that evening. As it happened, I was actually staying in the town for another couple of days to do more hearings, but I told him that I was very sorry, but that I was heading back to the city that afternoon! 

Great stroy JM and the Apocalypse is a very popular theme in writing and films. Strange how nobody ever get the date right.biggrin.gif
post #2763 of 3275
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

Set in Collingwood during the 1960s, Tony Birch's latest novel

That pretty much goes without saying with Birch, doesn't it?
post #2764 of 3275
Quote:
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post


That pretty much goes without saying with Birch, doesn't it?

 

Definitely!

post #2765 of 3275
post #2766 of 3275
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
36. Blood Year: Terror and the Islamic State
37. The Eye of the Sheep
38. The Miniaturist
39. Crime
40. Golden Boys
41. The Holiday Murders
42. My Brilliant Friend
43.The Girl Who Wasn't There
44. The Thief
45. Someone Else's Conflict
46. Dark Road
47. The Paying Guests
48. Titus Awakes
49. The Writing on the Wall
50. The Straight Dope
51. Us
52. GOMORRAH
53. Lila
54. The Wake
55. Last Rituals


56. The Fishermen
The FishermenThe Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


The Fishermen is the story of four boys growing up in the city of Akure, in Nigeria. Their father is absent, working elsewhere in a distant bank job, and their mother struggles to look after them. These tearaways take up fishing in the local river on the sly; something they know their parents disapprove of.

After one fishing trip the oldest boy, Ikenna, is cursed by the local madman. He is told that he will be killed by a fisherman and die a horrible death. Ikenna becomes haunted by this curse and starts to become sullen, combative and withdrawn. The rest of the novel recounts the far-reaching impacts that the curse has on Ikenna and the rest of the family.

As I started reading this book, I thought it was just going to be another coming-of-age story, but the device of the curse, and the cultural setting that makes it seem so immediate, sets this book apart. I still think that it doesn't quite hit the mark though. The narration is a little formulaic and circumlocutory, which I suspect is a product of the author's culture, however it still means that the plot develops in a confused manner and sometimes major plot developments are merely hinted at. I also found the ending just a bit too hard to believe, as the lead-up suggests that it was not possible, and it was also a bit too sentimental for me.


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post #2767 of 3275
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
36. Blood Year: Terror and the Islamic State
37. The Eye of the Sheep
38. The Miniaturist
39. Crime
40. Golden Boys
41. The Holiday Murders
42. My Brilliant Friend
43.The Girl Who Wasn't There
44. The Thief
45. Someone Else's Conflict
46. Dark Road
47. The Paying Guests
48. Titus Awakes
49. The Writing on the Wall
50. The Straight Dope
51. Us
52. GOMORRAH
53. Lila
54. The Wake
55. Last Rituals
56. The Fishermen


57. Malice
Malice by Keigo Higashino

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Malice is a novel by the author of the renowned The Devotion of Suspect X, Keigo Higashino. A famous Japanese novelist is found dead in his empty house, on the eve of his emigration to Canada. The body is discovered by his wife and a friend, having been struck with a heavy paperweight and then strangled. The work appears to be that of a thief, but who would burgle an empty house?

Detective Kyochiro Kaga is assigned to the case and immediately suspects that something is amiss with the witnesses' accounts. Inspired detective work enables him to investigate the airtight alibis and finally take one of them apart, allowing him to identify the murderer.

Doubts continue to nag at Kaga though. What possible motive could there be for this murder? These doubts cause him to keep digging, uncovering the real reason for the malice behind this crime.

The serpentine plot of this novel is elaborate and clever, just as in Suspect X. The doubts that assail Kaga are shared by the reader and it will be a very attentive reader that spots the clues that unwind the plot and allow Kaga to finally solve the crime. I've been reading a bit of excellent Japanese crime fiction lately, as an alternative to Scandi noir; this is another strong entry that will keep me coming back for more.

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Edited by California Dreamer - 10/25/15 at 12:01am
post #2768 of 3275
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
36. Blood Year: Terror and the Islamic State
37. The Eye of the Sheep
38. The Miniaturist
39. Crime
40. Golden Boys
41. The Holiday Murders
42. My Brilliant Friend
43.The Girl Who Wasn't There
44. The Thief
45. Someone Else's Conflict
46. Dark Road
47. The Paying Guests
48. Titus Awakes
49. The Writing on the Wall
50. The Straight Dope
51. Us
52. GOMORRAH
53. Lila
54. The Wake
55. Last Rituals
56. The Fishermen
57. Malice


58. Wind/Pinball
Wind/Pinball: Two Novels (The Rat, #1-2)Wind/Pinball: Two Novels by Haruki Murakami

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


What can you say about two novels that the author himself admits are not up to scratch in his foreword? As with Go Set a Watchman, I guess the only reason for reading this book is to experience the nascent activity of an ultimately famous writer.

The book consists of two novellas, both concerning an unnamed narrator and his friend the Rat.

The Rat character returns to feature in two of Murakami's better known novels, A Wild Sheep Chase and Dance, Dance, Dance. To be honest though, it's so long since I read either that I'm unable to discern any connections between these first novellas and those novels, so I can only judge this book as a standalone work.

In that sense, I'd have to say it is pretty unsatisfying. Wind has the benefit of being punchy and concise, but the layout has padded it a great deal, and it's really just an extended short story. The narrator spends the entire story boozing with the Rat and pursuing a girl with nine fingers. It's pretty shallow stuff really, nothing to write home about. Pinball is a bit meatier and the prose is denser and more philosophical. The Rat is a bit more rounded a character here, and the narrator's romantic entanglements are interspersed with a growing awareness of his youth passing with no achievements to show for it, like a pinball game.

Some of the Murakami tropes are evident already, especially the inscrutable women drifting in and out of the orbit of befuddled and ineffectual guys. It is a lot less believable here, especially the narrator's relationship with twins in Pinball. This is such a profoundly unequal relationship and they tolerate so much crap from him that it warrants an explanation, which the author never gives. This key relationship is so unlikely that it mars the entire story.

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post #2769 of 3275
Warning CD if you haven't started or finished The Blue Guitar do not read this.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
One of the best sartorial literary quotes I've ever come across "I'm certain that in the depths of Hell, where he and I most likely will end up together, Perry will manage to find a decent tailor."i
post #2770 of 3275
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoffrey Firmin View Post

Warning CD if you haven't started or finished The Blue Guitar do not read this.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
One of the best sartorial literary quotes I've ever come across "I'm certain that in the depths of Hell, where he and I most likely will end up together, Perry will manage to find a decent tailor."i

Thanks for the warning.

Anyone noticed that there's a new Rebus book out?
post #2771 of 3275
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
36. Blood Year: Terror and the Islamic State
37. The Eye of the Sheep
38. The Miniaturist
39. Crime
40. Golden Boys
41. The Holiday Murders
42. My Brilliant Friend
43.The Girl Who Wasn't There
44. The Thief
45. Someone Else's Conflict
46. Dark Road
47. The Paying Guests
48. Titus Awakes
49. The Writing on the Wall
50. The Straight Dope
51. Us
52. GOMORRAH
53. Lila
54. The Wake
55. Last Rituals
56. The Fishermen
57. Malice
58. Wind/Pinball


59. The Ladies of Grace Adieu
The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other StoriesThe Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories by Susanna Clarke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The Ladies of Grace Adieu is a collection of short stories that Susanna Clarke has set in the England that she imagined in Jonathon Strange and Mr Norell, where magic has never gone away and the influences of faerie and the Raven King are everywhere.

Some of the stories read like out-takes from her novel, others are clever twists on fairy stories such as Rumpelstiltskin, and still others are tales that she spins that are very reminiscent of English folk stories. All of them are engaging and diverting. This collection is a good read for fans of the novel, but I suspect that others might find it a bit facile.



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post #2772 of 3275
51 The Vienna Assignment by Olen Steinhauer

This has to be one of the most tedious spy novels I have ever read and the lead character a stereotypical Eastern block ideologue. Oxygen thief of the first order

However it did reinforce one aspect of Bridge of Spies and that was the antagonism which existed between the KGB and the satellite nations security services. It appears that there was a real sense of rivalry and nationalism at work in their cold war games.

Not recommended and its going straight back to the Salvo's.
post #2773 of 3275
I hadn't noticed you hit 50 GF, because I didn't open your spoiler. Congrats!
post #2774 of 3275
Quote:
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post

I hadn't noticed you hit 50 GF, because I didn't open your spoiler. Congrats!

Thanks CD.
post #2775 of 3275
52 Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink by Elvis Costello

Great read so far and prompted to listen to My Aim Is True which is so stripped back its great in its rawness. Have quite a few other albums which i'll use a soundtrack to reading the book.
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