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2016 50 Book Challenge - Page 193

post #2881 of 3276
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

 

Just like a 'Short Walk through the Hindu Kush' except without any descriptions of beautiful women, diarrhea or mullberries.

 

Wouldn't that still make it an incredibly good read?

post #2882 of 3276

No. Hindu Kush was also boring and repetitious.

post #2883 of 3276
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

No. Hindu Kush was also boring and repetitious.

Sounds unbelievably boring. I've yet to find particularly engaging travel writing. The best I've had are a few laughs from Bill Bryson when he makes fun of his fattiness.
post #2884 of 3276
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
0. Asterix and the Missing Scroll
1. The Whisperer
2. The Vanished Ones


3. Quarterly Essay: Political Amnesia
Quarterly Essay 60 Political Amnesia: How We Forgot How To GovernQuarterly Essay 60 Political Amnesia: How We Forgot How To Govern by Laura Tingle

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Laura Tingle writes a trenchant essay critiquing modern politics and decries the loss of institutional memory which has created a situation where failed solutions to policy problems continue to be tried because our politicians do not learn from the past.

Tingle identifies the Public Service as the body that fulfilled this role in the past. The politicisation of the public service has neutered it as a source of policy advice. Tingle identifies a number of factors here: Ministers relying on outside political advisers instead of public servants, supposedly independent department heads being fired for being cosnidered insufficiently loyal to the government, and the perception that working in policy development is detrimental to a public servant's career.

What Tingle misses, I think, is the blleeding obvious. Political parties repeatedly try failed policies because of ideology, not forgetfulness; they cannot admit that their own ideas failed in the past, and insist that the only problem is one of communication, not that their solution is unworkable.

This one would be right down @Geoffrey Firmin's street, and I'm sure he can offer a more informed critique than I.



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post #2885 of 3276
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
0. Asterix and the Missing Scroll
1. The Whisperer
2. The Vanished Ones
3. Quarterly Essay: Political Amnesia


4. From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant
From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy CombatantFrom the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant by Alex Gilvarry

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Boy Hernandez is a starry-eyed young fashion designer from Manila who heads to New York determined to make it big in the fashion world. During his early struggles he is befriended by his neighbour Ahmed Qureshi. Ahmed loves Boy's suits and agrees to invest in his nascent label. He introduces him to publicist Ben Laden, and Boy is off and running.

With this springboard, Boy is soon the toast of Fashion Week. Profiled in the best magazines as a major up-and-coming young designer, and a consort with models and the glitterati. Yet as soon as his star flares, he finds himself whisked away to Guantanamo and maligned as the Fashion Terrorist. How could a young man so in love with the American dream find himself locked away in No Man's Land?

This is a diverting enough book, funny in places, but pretty predictable. If you are going to write a satire about Guantanamo during the Bush years, I think it needs to be more trenchant and biting than this offering.


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post #2886 of 3276
Quote:
Originally Posted by SirGrotius View Post


Sounds unbelievably boring. I've yet to find particularly engaging travel writing. The best I've had are a few laughs from Bill Bryson when he makes fun of his fattiness.

 

My favourites are from Timothy Cope.

On the Trail of Ghengis Khan is about his experience riding a horse from Mongolia to Austria.

Off the Rails is about riding a bike from St. Petersburg to the other side of Russia (forget the end point).

 

I like that he mixes diary, history and reflection together quite well.

post #2887 of 3276
18. Kid Rodelo- Louis L'Amour

A much different plot than usual. Rodelo has just been freed from prison after doing a year for a crime he didn't commit. The real perpetrators break out of jail and Rodelo helps them find their stolen gold and guide them to the Gulf Coast to a boat arranged for their escape.

There are the usual trials and tribulations- bounty hunting Indians, desert, dunes.

All of the perps are killed by the Indians, and Rodelo is able to return the gold as a point of honor to restore his reputation.As always, he gets the girl.

I liked this one. Different plot than any of the others I've read.
post #2888 of 3276
4 Echo Park by Michael Connelly I saw the TV adaption of the book last year and it had enough in terms of narrative differentiation to make it a good read. Interesting to see where and what it departed in terms of its plot to make it more accessible and ramp the action up for a TV audience.

Exceptionally well written in terms of its narrative pacing and story arc. Its central character Harry (Hieronymus) Bosch claims to be ' True Detective' as he takes his cases to heart and hangs on like a dog with bone till he resolves them. Mind you certain aspects of this story make me wonder if revenge and moral indignation is also part of his motivation is seeking to resolve this case. Will if I have time this year engage with the series from the beginning. American Noir at its best.
post #2889 of 3276
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoffrey Firmin View Post

4 Echo Park by Michael Connelly I saw the TV adaption of the book last year and it had enough in terms of narrative differentiation to make it a good read. Interesting to see where and what it departed in terms of its plot to make it more accessible and ramp the action up for a TV audience.

Exceptionally well written in terms of its narrative pacing and story arc. Its central character Harry (Hieronymus) Bosch claims to be ' True Detective' as he takes his cases to heart and hangs on like a dog with bone till he resolves them. Mind you certain aspects of this story make me wonder if revenge and moral indignation is also part of his motivation is seeking to resolve this case. Will if I have time this year engage with the series from the beginning. American Noir at its best.

I just ordered the first 3 books of the series. Have you read any Dashiel Hammet (sp?) or Raymond Chandler?
post #2890 of 3276
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post

I just ordered the first 3 books of the series. Have you read any Dashiel Hammet (sp?) or Raymond Chandler?

Read Chandler and Hammet years ago.
post #2891 of 3276
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

 

4. Snow Leopard

 

Some dude who is into LSD and likes talking about Buddhism walks through the Himalayas and doesn't see a Snow Leopard but that's OK because Buddhism is about ~the moment~. 50-70s travel writing is boring as fuck, and I haven't read anything to prove that wrong.

 

Just like a 'Short Walk through the Hindu Kush' except without any descriptions of beautiful women, diarrhea or mullberries.

 

Matt, I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy either Matthiesen (Snow Leopard) or Newby (Hindu Kush).

 

I enjoyed both of them, although I also read them while I was travelling so that may, for whatever reason, have coloured my recollection of them.

 

"A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush" wasn't the best of Newby's books, though - the book that I enjoyed the most was "The Last Grain Race", the story of Newby's passage as a young apprentice on a four-masted steel barque from the UK to Australia via the Cape of Good Hope, and then home again via Cape Horn.

 

Probably the best, most engrossing travel writing that I've read has been either Redmond O'Hanlon ("Into the Heart of Borneo", "In Trouble Again" and "Congo Journey") and Eric Hansen ("Stranger in the Forest" and "Motoring with Mohammed").

 

I really wish that Hansen would write more as his writing is really enjoyable and he's had a fascinating life.

post #2892 of 3276

I have a few of those titles on my bookdepository wishlist - will check if they are at the library in town!

post #2893 of 3276
19. The Hills of Homicide Louis L'Amour

A collection of detective stories. L'Amour's frontier stories are much better.
post #2894 of 3276
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post

19. The Hills of Homicide Louis L'Amour

Steve, just cut it out, OK? You're making us all look bad. smile.gif
post #2895 of 3276
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
1. Hicksville
2. Slaughterhouse 5
3. Firefight
4. Snow Leopard
5. The Rehearsal

 

5. The Rehearsal


An exceptional book - especially as a debut novel by Eleanor Catton. The novel opens with the 17 year old sister of the main character being caught in a sexual relationship with her music teacher.

 

As the novel unfolds, various reactions are detailed: some girls are shocked, believing this to be a sin, others are intrigued and want to know the truth, in all its sordid and explicit detail, others are challenged by the school's response.
 

Alongside this is the story of Isolde - the sister of the abused - who begins taking saxophone lessons from an acerbic and intense teacher. The lessons start one-sided as the saxophone teacher expounds on the nature of teenagers, parents and the position the teacher occupies as a quasi-therapist and confidant.

 

The final strand of the novel follows Stanley - who auditions and is accepted at 'The Institute' - a prestigious, intense and suffocating Drama school. Through this, themes of performance (which run throughout the novel) are made more explicit and reflect the behaviour of the other characters.

 

This is an excellent book. It often discusses topics that are uncomfortable or taboo with an insight and potency. It feels like the sort of book only a woman could have written (partially because if a male had written it the paedophillia would have been overwhelming and partially because Catton's insight into different ages of women is really key to the differences between the female characters).

 

I loved how it was written - sharp, cutting, piercing, direct. There's little filler and little fluff, the book moves at a steady and determined pace, and manages to be about something meaningful for most of the story.

 

While, at times, the characters might seem too perfect, polished or unlikely, I didn't find this to be a detractor at all. 

 

Highly recommended.

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