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2016 50 Book Challenge - Page 202

post #3016 of 3288
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
9. The Internet is Not the Answer
10. A Sport and a Past Time
11. White Teeth
12. The Bell Jar
13. The Invisible Man
14. The Subtle Knife
15 Consider Phlebas
16. The Amber Spyglass
17. The Liar's Key
18. 1000 Splendid Suns
19. The Windup Girl
20. Fire Colour One
21. The Player of Games
22. The Buddha of Suburbia

 

22. The Buddha of Suburbia

 

This novel is essentially about three things:

1. Not knowing yourself

2. London in the 70s and 80s

3. Immigrants

 

...and I really liked it. Karim is the main character - and the novel starts with him being quite young (aged 7 or 8 maybe). Early on Karim's father begins to get quite mystical, giving out advice to friends, and eventually almost becoming the suburb's Eastern Mystic. Karim's reaction to this (my Dad is a phony) sees him begin to reject anyone who talks about life as if there's direction or purpose, giving birth to his own lack of direction. At this time, Karim's life is rarely his own - he is often just moving through the people around him - his father (the Buddha), his mother, his step-mother, different friends and lovers. Karim doesn't know what he wants at all - he likes sex and music and anytime someone who is certain about themselves shows us Karim dismisses them and moves on. When he finishes High School he essentially choose just to move around sleeping on people's couches and not working very much.

 

His non-committal view on life sees him experience some weird things, even ending up in some successful plays that tour around England and New York. But, through all of this, Karim doesn't know who he is or what he wants, and as those he knows move on and change, Karim's stuck in limbo and begins to suffer greatly for that, eventually only taking comfort in only one other character.

post #3017 of 3288
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?
7. Never Mind
8. The Vegetarian
9. Man on Fire
10. Comfort Zone
11. The Invisible man From Salem
12. Red Light
13. Balancing Act
14. Crimea: The Last Crusade
15. Misterioso

16. The Lost Sailors
The Lost SailorsThe Lost Sailors by Jean-Claude Izzo

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


A freighter is stuck in the port of Marseilles due to the bankruptcy of the owner. All of the crew have left except for the Lebanese captain Abdul, the Greek first mate Diamantis and a Turkish seaman, Nedim.

Each of these men is staying for his own reasons, that became clear after a while. They are taciturn and insular men, unable to share their concerns with one another, and unsure whether to stick together or go. Each of them is haunted by the shadows of their past and the women in their lives. The freighter that they must eventually leave is their only bulwark in a sometimes hostile city.

The great strength of this novel is Izzo's description of Marseilles. You can really feel the sun on your arms and the tang of salt in the air as you read this book. The plot is less engaging, with major plot reveals telegraphed a bit too readily, and some unimaginative resolutions. This is an interesting digression from Izzo's Marseilles mysteries, even if it is not quite up to their level.




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Edited by California Dreamer - 4/30/16 at 4:00am
post #3018 of 3288
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?
7. Never Mind
8. The Vegetarian
9. Man on Fire
10. Comfort Zone
11. The Invisible man From Salem
12. Red Light
13. Balancing Act
14. Crimea: The Last Crusade
15. Misterioso
16. The Lost Sailors

17. Black Run
Black RunBlack Run by Antonio Manzini

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Rocco Schiavone is a Roman cop who has been exiled to the snowbound North after landing in some serious trouble. He hates the place and yearns to return home. He is unprepared for what he encounters when called to attend a gruesome death on the mountain ski run.

The degree of damage to the corpse makes identification very difficult, but forensics helps Rocco to eventually identify the dead man as a local hotelier. It also becomes clear that this was no accident.

Rocco lives on the limits of the law - and thinks little of going outside it - and he throws his weight around the small ski towns to find the truth. His abrupt and awkward treatment of his colleagues baffles them. Eventually Rocco inveigles one of them into participating in some extra-curricular skullduggery that leads him to solving the case.

Rocco is a fun character, and the book reminded me a bit of the French movie comedy Welcome to the Sticks, another fish out of water tale, albeit played for laughs. There's a bit of comedy in this too, and I think I'll try the next one to see where Manzini takes this character.


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post #3019 of 3288
19 1971 Never A Dull Moment by David Hepworth A sociological and cultural musicological tour of how 1971 shaped the future of R&R with long playing records of which the following amongst many came out that year.









Full of insight and fascinating trivia and memories..
post #3020 of 3288
List (Click to show)
1. Hicksville
2. Slaughterhouse 5
3. Firefight
4. Snow Leopard
5. The Rehearsal
6. Lagoon
7. Solo Faces
8. Breath
9. The Internet is Not the Answer
10. A Sport and a Past Time
11. White Teeth
12. The Bell Jar
13. The Invisible Man
14. The Subtle Knife
15 Consider Phlebas
16. The Amber Spyglass
17. The Liar's Key
18. 1000 Splendid Suns
19. The Windup Girl
20. Fire Colour One
21. The Player of Games
22. The Buddha of Suburbia
23. Prince of Thorns
24. King of Thorns
23. Prince of Thorns
 
The first in a trilogy about a traumatised Prince grasping for new found power. Prince Jorg lives in a future Earth that is scared by both nuclear war and global warming. Although the medieval-like setting is largely ignorant of 21st century science, much remains - areas affected by fallout, remnants of different technologies (including a large wheel, which I imagine is an allusion to CERN's hadron collider). In this world the story takes plae in the Broken Empire - which is a fracture Europe with 100 small kingdoms. Prince Jorg leaves his home at a young age, and due to previous trauma is a messed up young man, he joins with some criminals and eventually makes his revenge on the person he believes inflicted the trauma upon him.

As the book wraps up, Jorg finds out that there is more at play, and just one person is not to blame for his problems.
 
24. King of Thorns

 

In killing the ruler who hurt him, Jorg has become a king. This book is neatly divided into two sections: the present and 4 years earlier. The present sees just one day - where a new ruler intent on uniting the Broken Empire into one comes to conquer Jorg, who is outnumbered, but has many tricks. The other part deals with Jorg's actions and choices 4 years earlier, which are pretty varied and hard to summarise.

 

This novel really focuses on developing character - which is a refreshing change from the other novels from Mark Lawrence (where the main character sticks to his ways too much). Here, Jorg goes from callous and vicious to more measured, more guilty, more interesting - it's less a plot and more a series of events that prompt reflection and learning. Yes there are battles, but there are good twists. yes there is magic, but there's also failure. Yes there's some over-the-top moments, but there are also a lot of quieter ones. By the end of the novel the main character reveals that his ambition is leaving him cold and unhappy - he isn't proud of much that he's done.

post #3021 of 3288
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoffrey Firmin View Post

19 1971 Never A Dull Moment by David Hepworth A sociological and cultural musicological tour of how 1971 shaped the future of R&R with long playing records of which the following amongst many came out that year.









Full of insight and fascinating trivia and memories..

This looks fascinating. I may have to order it.

EDIT: Lots of color pictures?
post #3022 of 3288
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post

This looks fascinating. I may have to order it.

EDIT: Lots of color pictures?

Two photographic sections mainly B&W some colour.
post #3023 of 3288
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

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

9. The Internet is Not the Answer

10. A Sport and a Past Time


11. White Teeth


12. The Bell Jar


13. The Invisible Man

14. The Subtle Knife




15 Consider Phlebas


16. The Amber Spyglass


17. The Liar's Key

18. 1000 Splendid Suns

19. The Windup Girl

20. Fire Colour One



21. The Player of Games

22. The Buddha of Suburbia




22. The Buddha of Suburbia

This novel is essentially about three things:
1. Not knowing yourself
2. London in the 70s and 80s
3. Immigrants

...and I really liked it. Karim is the main character - and the novel starts with him being quite young (aged 7 or 8 maybe). Early on Karim's father begins to get quite mystical, giving out advice to friends, and eventually almost becoming the suburb's Eastern Mystic. Karim's reaction to this (my Dad is a phony) sees him begin to reject anyone who talks about life as if there's direction or purpose, giving birth to his own lack of direction. At this time, Karim's life is rarely his own - he is often just moving through the people around him - his father (the Buddha), his mother, his step-mother, different friends and lovers. Karim doesn't know what he wants at all - he likes sex and music and anytime someone who is certain about themselves shows us Karim dismisses them and moves on. When he finishes High School he essentially choose just to move around sleeping on people's couches and not working very much.

His non-committal view on life sees him experience some weird things, even ending up in some successful plays that tour around England and New York. But, through all of this, Karim doesn't know who he is or what he wants, and as those he knows move on and change, Karim's stuck in limbo and begins to suffer greatly for that, eventually only taking comfort in only one other character.

Who wrote this? I think it's on The List
post #3024 of 3288
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post

Who wrote this? I think it's on The List

That would be Hanif Kureishi
post #3025 of 3288
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?
7. Never Mind
8. The Vegetarian
9. Man on Fire
10. Comfort Zone
11. The Invisible man From Salem
12. Red Light
13. Balancing Act
14. Crimea: The Last Crusade
15. Misterioso
16. The Lost Sailors
17. Black Run

18. The Natural Way of Things
The Natural Way of ThingsThe Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood




This novel won the Stella Prize for the best Australian novel by a woman, and it thoroughly deserved it. To me it reads like a cross between Lord of the Flies and The Handmaid's Tale. It is gripping in the telling with a pair of unforgettable female characters in the feral Yolande and the aloof Verla, along with a dark-hearted villain in Boncer.

The novel starts with Verla and Yolande awakening from a drugged slumber to find that they have been captured. They and a group of other young women are taken off to detention in the outback somewhere. They are trapped inside an electric fence, shaven-headed, forced to wear filthy clothing and eat disgusting food, quartered in kennels like beasts and subject to the depredations of the violent Boncer and the nihilistic Teddy.

The reasons for their capture and detention are never quite clear, but a common thread seems to have been that each was sexually profligate in some fashion. Perhaps this is some fierce backlash by a moralistic patriarchy determined to put them in their place.

The women madly scramble to survive any way they can, and each gradually starts to occupy a place in their microcosm of society: cook, hunter, gatherer, fire-tenderer, concubine. As they combine forces, they find that they can push back against their captors, but can they ever actually escape?

There are enough references to popular culture in this book to make it clear that Wood's dystopia is set in our near future, which leads the reader to contemplate the forces at work in our society that could realistically lead to this outcome: brutal detention, violence against women, a dominant religious patriarchy, government secrecy, imprisonment without trial, the deprivation of civil liberties - all of these elements exist in today's Australia, which just makes Wood's novel all the more real.


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post #3026 of 3288
Quote:
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post

That would be Hanif Kureishi

That's it. He has two other books on there- Intimacy and Gabriel's Gift, which I've read and thoroughly enjoyed.
post #3027 of 3288

Can confirm, as always CD thoroughly knows who's who and what's what.

 

CD: I want to read that book, missing the Australian section at Dymocks on Collins Street.

post #3028 of 3288
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

Can confirm, as always CD thoroughly knows who's who and what's what.

CD: I want to read that book, missing the Australian section at Dymocks on Collins Street.

Book Suppository has it.
post #3029 of 3288
Quote:
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post

Book Suppository has it.

The suppository of all wisdom?
post #3030 of 3288
That would be the one.
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