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2016 50 Book Challenge - Page 204

post #3046 of 3276
24 SPAIN IN OUR HEARTS AMERICANS IN THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR 1936-39 by Adam Hochschild Interesting examination on a personal level of US comrades who fought for the Abraham Lincoln Battalion against the facist forces. Read a book of his some time back about the Great War. Impressed with it so far.

This is one of the best books i have read on the subject incisive, subjectively fascinating with its huge cast of known Hemingway Orwell amongst others and the individual lives of the volunteers of the International Brigade.
Edited by Geoffrey Firmin - 5/27/16 at 6:27pm
post #3047 of 3276
47. The Scarecrow- Michael Connelly

Jack McEvoy covers a murder involving a woman asphyxiated and stuffed in the trunk of a car. The case looks easily solved until he and his partner do a search and find another virtually identical murder in Las Vegas, and he determines that both killings are the work of a serial killer. He teams up with his old flame FBI agent from The Poet, and together they solve the case. And ride off together into the sunset.

Great read.
post #3048 of 3276
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
25. Emperor of Thorns
26. Oryx and Crake
27. Use of Weapons
28. The long way to a small angry planet

 

27. Use of Weapons

 

I think someone recommended this book to me earlier in this thread. It's an Iain M Banks SF novel that, overall, I found quite good, but not great. The novel essentially follows a character whose employed to be aggressive - fight and win wars, instigate them, control them - by the peace-minded Culture, a galatic empire that is, more or less, the force.

 

Dragged out of a semi-retirement Zakawle has to try and locate a politically important recluse and evacuate him before war blows up in a distant galaxy. Along the way (and this is where I felt the book falls down) there are two flashback sequences told alongside the present story. The first is the story of Zakawle's childhood - how it shaped and affected him. The second is the story of his recovery after a nearly fatal incident. The latter was important for the plot, but was tedious and didn't really create the tension it needed, in my opinion.

 

I'm getting to think that Banks, as a SF writer, seems to always just miss the mark for me, there's always just 5-10% I don't like. Which sucks!

 

28. The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet

 

This book was excellent. Rosemary is a character who has paid all of her savings to forge an identity and escape some troubles. she finds work on the Wayfarer - a ship that is involved in the construction of inter-galactic transport gates as a clerk. As she arrives she begins to integrate with each different member of the crew - all of whom have a voice as the narrator and all of whom have their own back stories.

 

The world building is done almost exclusively through character backstory, and the world building in excellent. There is so much that's unique to this novel, but really clearly thought out, so many competing and complex elements that don't clash, don't contradict, that just work as interesting and synchronised aspects of the novel. And there's nothing superfluous, at least as far as I could tell.

 

This novel represents something that is really needed more in SF or Fantasy: it's a simple story where the characters are what makes it great. The story is essentially that the ship has been hired to do a long job - a year or so, and that's it. So the characters and their experiences carry the story.

As much as Space Operas - with their massive plots and their our of control technology and their 'we must do this or we all die!' events and their cowboy action are great (and they are), I've found that those sorts of stories are harder to find satisfying - almost fatiguing in how they are written: the pace, the action, the coincidence. That's what's so satisfying about this novel: nothing really matters, except to the characters, who I bought in to.

 

There's joy, pain, affection, family, meaning, despair, acceptance, distance and a range of other thoroughly meaningful and well-written themes. It's an incredibly successful debut novel and one, I hope, will be the genesis of lots more books from Becky Chambers.

post #3049 of 3276
48. Sitka- Louis L'Amour

Jean LaBarge is an adventurer from PA who eventually finds his way to Alaska and assists in persuading the US to buy it. And after much unrequited love, he gets the girl.

Different from L'Amour's usual Westerns in subject matter, and a very good read.
post #3050 of 3276
Last couple days have seen the arrival of

The Butchers of Berlin by Chris Petit: Berlin Noir in the style of the Bernie Gunther novels

Stasi Child by David Young. East Berlin Noir? Centred upon a female Police Inspector who is lumped with a politically delicate case to deal with. Both got good reviews in the a number of online news sites.

And managed to find some Scandi Noir Hakan Nesser Woman with Birthmark and the a couple of Bosch The Black Echo the first book in the series and Nine Dragons.

Winter has definitely arrived.
post #3051 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
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
19. Piano Lessons
20. Pedigree
21. Sing Fox To Me

22. Mister Roberts
Mister RobertsMister Roberts by Alexei Sayle

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Mister Roberts starts out as a tale of British expats in bucolic Spain. Then Sayle pulls a mind-snapping narrative shift, yanking the reader into an extra-terrestrial space battle. To which the only response can be WTF?

Soon things become clearer, as a robot escapes from the battle and winds up in bucolic Spain with one of the expat kids. His mother soon cottons on to the benefits of having a human-looking indestructible robot on her arm, and prevails on her son to use him for her own purposes. Mayhem ensues.

This is an OK farce, with a few giggles. Nothing fantastic, but a diverting read.


View all my reviews
Edited by California Dreamer - 6/8/16 at 5:37am
post #3052 of 3276
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
25. Emperor of Thorns
26. Oryx and Crake
27. Use of Weapons
28. The long way to a small angry planet
29. Heart goes last

 

29. Heart Goes Last

 

An Atwood novel that felt like a clumsy Polanski film. Novel largely is about male-female social roles, but while there was much Atwood said the minor characters, in particular, was so bizarre and unweildy that the novel's surprises fell flat and everything felt like a C-grade movie.

post #3053 of 3276
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

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


25. Emperor of Thorns


26. Oryx and Crake


27. Use of Weapons


28. The long way to a small angry planet

29. Heart goes last





29. Heart Goes Last

An Atwood novel that felt like a clumsy Polanski film. Novel largely is about male-female social roles, but while there was much Atwood said the minor characters, in particular, was so bizarre and unweildy that the novel's surprises fell flat and everything felt like a C-grade movie.

That one was originally written in instalments, although I'm not sure how much of it was done that way . (There were four instalments, I believe). Did it feel that way to you?
post #3054 of 3276
Loner Matt

Have a read of Payback Debt and the Shadow side of Wealth by Atwood which was originally the Canadian Massey lectures of 2008.
post #3055 of 3276
Quote:
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post


That one was originally written in instalments, although I'm not sure how much of it was done that way . (There were four instalments, I believe). Did it feel that way to you?

 

Well there were breaks in the book - blank pages that signaled the end and the beginning of things, but actually no, not particularly.

 

Retrospectively, even, I can see a three clear changes, but not four. Go figure!

 

GF: I haven't! I've got Year of the Flood and Madaadam to read, though!

post #3056 of 3276
49. May There Be a Road- Louis L'Amour

A collection of adventure stories published posthumously.

Only fair.
post #3057 of 3276
50. Off The Mangrove Coast- Louis L'Amour

Same as above, but the stories were better.
post #3058 of 3276
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post

50. Off The Mangrove Coast- Louis L'Amour

Same as above, but the stories were better.

50 already! Nice one Steve.
post #3059 of 3276
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post

50. Off The Mangrove Coast- Louis L'Amour

Same as above, but the stories were better.

Congratulations on achieving your 50 Steve.
post #3060 of 3276
Thank you, guys.
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