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2016 50 Book Challenge - Page 195

post #2911 of 3274
24. The Man from Skibbereen Louis L'Amour

Crispin Mayo, an Irish immigrant from Skibbereen, County Cork, Ireland crosses the pond to try his hand working on the railroad in the Old West. He proceeds to have a number of scarcely believable wild and woolly adventures which turn him into a hero for the common man.

Entertaining, but I kept wondering if he arrived legally, and what Donald Trump would say if he didn't.
post #2912 of 3274
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


5. The Lost Girls of Rome
The Lost Girls of RomeThe Lost Girls of Rome by Donato Carrisi

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Marcus is an amnesiac member of a shadowy order of priests that investigate crimes gleaned from the confessions of evil-doers. The Church disapproves of them so he must conduct his activities in secret. Sandra Vega is a crime scene photographer mourning the recent death of her photojournalist husband David. David fell to his death in a deserted building in Rome. So why did his last message to her say that he was in Oslo? Sandra is driven to head to Rome and investigate, encountering Marcus in the process, as well as an Interpol agent who knows about David's final days.

The plot thickens with the near-death of a man who is found to be in possession of a momento taken by a serial killer years before; found by the victim's sister, Monica. Monica resists the temptation to take revenge and saves his life. Marcus takes an interest when a connection arises to a missing person case that he is investigating.

There are plenty of clever twists to Carrisi's plot, but I found the book unsatisfying overall. I rate his Mila Vasquez books more highly, because Mila is a more interesting and empathetic protagonist than the somewhat bland and predictable Sandra. The key theme of the plot, the penitenziere was just a whole lot too Dan Brown-y for my taste. Finally, I'm at a loss to understand why the publisher thought this title to be more appropriate than The Court of Souls, which is the direct translation of its original title, and far more apt - the revised title made the book more confusing in my mind - who were these lost girls supposed to be?


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post #2913 of 3274
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
5. The Lost Girls of Rome


6. Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?
Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I bought this book when my mother first moved into aged care, with the thought that it might help prepare for what was coming. Not too long after that, my mother-in-law died after a relatively short illness, so I discreetly put it to one side. I didn't really think it was the right book to be reading at that point.

It came to hand when I was idly looking for something to read, so I flopped on the couch and read it in a sitting. Roz Chast's story of her aged parents' reluctance to deal with their declining years and inability to be independent as their health fails is in turns, affectionate, heart-warming, sad and funny. Anybody who has lost a parent is likely to recognise some of the issues Roz goes through.

The book also puts a very bright spotlight on her relationship with her domineering mother; Chast doesn't bother to sugar-coat her family's story and she is willing to recount the good and bad with both of her parents, and with herself.

I have to admit that at times this book was laugh out loud funny. I meekly gave it to my wife to read when I was done; that night she kept me awake, snickering and giggling at Chast's account of death, just six months after losing her mother. So I guess it hits its mark, unerringly.


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post #2914 of 3274
25. The Concrete Blonde Michael Connelly

Bosh is on trial for excessive force in the shooting death of a serial killer. While the trial is going on, a copy cat killer emerges, and Bosh solves the additional case.

And he manages to keep his girlfriend throughout the whole book. Good stuff.
post #2915 of 3274
26. The Last Coyote- Michael Connelly

Bosh is on disciplinary leave for assaulting his supervisor. He is forced to see a department psychologist to determine if he can return to duty. In the meantime his house is condemned and razed due to an earthquake; he loses and finds another girlfriend; and solves the 1961 murder of his prostitute mother.

Spellbinding stuff.
post #2916 of 3274
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
1. Hicksville
2. Slaughterhouse 5
3. Firefight
4. Snow Leopard
5. The Rehearsal
6. Lagoon
7. Solo Faces
8. Breath
 
7. Solo Faces
 
The blurb of this novel summarises it best 'a look at the ways men challenge themselves'. Far from what I expected, this is a dark and grim book about an addiction to larger risks and more fraught ventures in rock climbing. Never satisfied, the protagonist is restless and selfish in his constant quest to find something new, larger, thrilling.
 
Far from condemning those pursuits, the novel manages to empathise with them while still showing the after effects, problems and degredation such one-sided and absolute pursuits leaves.
 
Fantastic read.
 
8. Breath

 

This is my favourite Tim Winton novel, I think. It's clear and concise - the story of a young boy coming of age in 70s Western Australia. Surfing forms the backbone of this narrative, as the narrator's foray into the sport sees him (and his best friend) first enthralled, then mentored by Sando - an elusive older pro. 

 

The novel is a grim look at the way that desire and aspiration can be crushing, and touches on issues as varied as paedophilia, stardom, and the effects of constant risk taking.

 

Really enjoyed this. The sort of book I happily stayed up very late to finish.

post #2917 of 3274
I just read solo faces a couple of weeks ago. Have you read any more James Salter? I thought "a sport and a pastime" was great and I plan on reading more of his books soon.
post #2918 of 3274
6 Post Capitialism A Guide To Our Future by Paul Mason A disturbing & though provoking examination of the current economic and environmental crisis and the imposition of Neo-liberalism upon the global economy and its impact post 2008. He takes a strong post Marxist approach and focuses on Kondratieff long wave economic/social theory and analysis of the cycles of capitalist growth, crisis and depression since the start of the Industurial Revolution. He also offers some interesting solutions for the future.

It will be interesting to see what transpires in the next few years, including the looming economic crisis and what effects it will have on global growth. And how correct his analysis is.
Edited by Geoffrey Firmin - 2/21/16 at 9:38pm
post #2919 of 3274
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

Fantastic read.
 
8. Breath
Really enjoyed this. The sort of book I happily stayed up very late to finish.

You and I part ways on this one; I hated it.
post #2920 of 3274

Why's that?

 

A friend of mine made a good point in that Winton's women are always really unpleasant and one-dimensional, and I can see that being a major detractor, but otherwise there's usually something for me to like.

 

@aKula

 

I haven't - though I will see what the library has of him! 

post #2921 of 3274
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

Why's that?

 

It's more than 5 years since I read it, but I seem to recall thinking that the characters were pretty much stereotypes, especially Sando, that Eva taking up with Pikelet was pretty unbelievable and that the whole thng was steeped in macho one-upmanship. After waiting so long for a new Winton novel, it was a big let-down.
post #2922 of 3274

Yeah, I can see where all that comes from, oddly though stereotypical characters don't bother me too much, I've no idea why. I feel that the sex in most of Winton's novels is highly improbable (worst offender of this that I've read is definitely Dirt Music).

post #2923 of 3274
Trivia; I ran a Writers night in a pub in Fremantle back in 86. Got Winton as a reader for one night then discussed fiction over a beer or two.
post #2924 of 3274
27. Trunk Music -Michael Connelly

Bosh finds a body in the trunk of a Rolls Royce in the Hollywood Hills. The decedent visited Las Vegas often, and ultimately this takes Harry there, splitting the investigation with Los Angeles. He must tiptoe around an FBI organized crime task force to ultimately solve the case.

He also re-connects with his love interest from the first book, and marries her.

I didn't enjoy this one as much as the others I've read so far- too contrived.
post #2925 of 3274
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoffrey Firmin View Post

Trivia; I ran a Writers night in a pub in Fremantle back in 86. Got Winton as a reader for one night then discussed fiction over a beer or two.

I don't suppose you told him any stories about the two weird families living in a ramshackle house on your street?
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