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2016 50 Book Challenge - Page 210

post #3136 of 3280
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
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
30. Generation A
31. The Medium is the Message
32. Them
33. The psychopath test
34. Essentialism
35. Signs at the End of the World
36. The Wasp Factory
37. Sapiens
38. Lost Spaces
39. What Money Can't Buy

 

39. What Money Can't Buy

 

Michael Sandel is an Economics Professor at Harvard - and in this book he takes a very unconventional perspective on economics: that markets often have negative effects on some types of good, services or objects. Working back from fairly extreme examples (owning people or children), Sandel poses that commodifying something has two often unexamined effects: coercion and corruption.

 

Coercion is often about how free someone or a group is to make a choice once its more and more common, in an increasingly unequal world. Corruption is that by selling or buying something, the qualities that make that thing valuable or noble or material are changed and distorted. Taking the example of selling children from above, poor people are obviously co-erced into selling children by circumstance - how free are the poor in a society that values money above all else - and the act of parenting and its emphasis on unconditional love is corrupted by the idea that a child can be sold.

 

These are compelling points, and Sandel uses them to dissect a variety of commodification. He often talks about how the markets are completely amoral and, therefore, aren't actually good ways of making choices, or letting choices be made.

 

If you're like me: a grumpy guy who feels where power lies is detrimental (technology, economics, advertising, corporations) to civic and social life this book is for you. If you just fucking love the Free Market, I imagine this book would be infuriating, or illuminating. Not sure which.

post #3137 of 3280
62. The Collected Short Stories of Louis L'Amour- The Frontier Stories, v.2

A large collection of Western short stories, all of which I enjoyed. There were a few that I'd already read in other collections, but a lot about Chick Bowdrie, the Texas Ranger, and my favorite L'Amour character..

8 books to go...
post #3138 of 3280
38 The Inspector and Silence by Hakan Nesser A weird christian sect, a charismatic charlatan who leads them, murder in the forest of two young girls. All Chief Inspector Van Veeteren can think of is he's getting too old for trawling through the detritus and misery of the human condition. Retirement or a holiday in Crete beckons in the stifling oppressive heat of the Swedish high summer. Van Veeteren has a debt to pay and find the fiend behind the murders.

The pace of the novel is matched to the languid invocation of the environment as Van Veeteren struggles against an the silence of the chosen ones and their resistance to the intrusion of the other world upon their lives.

Not your standard Scandi Noir but entertaining and engaging.

Last night went to a in 'conversation' talk at ANU between Sasha Grishin (art historian) and Ashleigh Wilson author of Brett Whiteley, Art, Life and the Other Thing. The Government Gazette had a very good review and except from the book last weekend. Stimulating and insightful in terms of both the subject and the process of researching and writing the biography. Picked up a copy and will engage with it soon.
Edited by Geoffrey Firmin - 8/4/16 at 3:51pm
post #3139 of 3280
63. Under the Sweetwater Rim- Louis L'Amour

Lieutenant Tenadore Brian hunts and defeats a band of outlaws led by a childhood friend gone wrong. He also wins the hand of the daughter of the major of his troupe as she witnesses his deeds of derring-do.

A great read.
post #3140 of 3280

“Curiously enough, one cannot read a book; one can only reread it. A good reader, a major reader, and active and creative reader is a rereader.”

Vladimir NabokovLectures on Literature

post #3141 of 3280
Quote:
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post

Hated Atonement, but I think I'm in the minority.

Is this Ian McEwan's Atonement?
It's brilliant, his best book, and if you don't like it you must be...eh....different. I even got Ian to sign it for me. Yes I am a groupie.
post #3142 of 3280
39 Hour of The Wolf by Hakan Nesser This is the darkest novel in the series that I have read so far. The story is solid in terms of its procedural approach but its up to the intuition of The (retired) Chief Inspector to solve it. An gripping slow paced story about egotism, blackmail and a total disregard for human life with its inevitable consequences.
post #3143 of 3280
64. From the Listening Hills- Louis L'Amour

Small collection of short stories from mixed genres.

I didn't care for it.
post #3144 of 3280
Quote:
Originally Posted by clockwise View Post

Is this Ian McEwan's Atonement?
It's brilliant, his best book, and if you don't like it you must be...eh....different. I even got Ian to sign it for me. Yes I am a groupie.

I got to page 35, and it still hadn't grabbed or made sense to me, so I put it down and watched the movie. Which was excellent.
post #3145 of 3280
65. Tucker- Louis L'Amour

Shell Tucker is robbed of his and his neighbor's cattle sale proceeds. He spends the rest of the book hunting the thief down, killing him, and recovering the money.

Only fair

last of the novels, just waiting for the larger collections of short stories to arrive.
post #3146 of 3280
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
23. Talking To My Country
24. The Bricks That Built the Houses
25. Oblivion
26. The Sixth Extinction
27. The Cruel Stars of the Night
28. Normal
29. The Shepherd's Crown
30. Vixen
31. The Heart Goes Last
32. Firing Line: Australia's Path to War

33. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
We Are All Completely Beside OurselvesWe Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler




This book starts off as a somewhat unremarkable account of Rosemary Cooke, a shy and put-open young college student. She talks about mundane stuff about her family and her life. About a quarter of the way through, Fowler executes a big twist that casts all that has gone before in a completely different light. Rosemary's background is so totally remarkable she feels unable to share it publicly.

Fowler uses this story to ram home some harsh moral lessons about the mistreatment of animals in the cause of science and entertainment. The novel's structure is very clever, allowing for partial glimpses and gradual reveals that keep the reader guessing. This is an enormously satisfying book.





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post #3147 of 3280
Quote:
Originally Posted by clockwise View Post


Is this Ian McEwan's Atonement?
It's brilliant, his best book, and if you don't like it you must be...eh....different. I even got Ian to sign it for me. Yes I am a groupie.

 

It's a piece of shit, but I'm glad you liked it.

 

 

post #3148 of 3280
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
23. Talking To My Country
24. The Bricks That Built the Houses
25. Oblivion
26. The Sixth Extinction
27. The Cruel Stars of the Night
28. Normal
29. The Shepherd's Crown
30. Vixen
31. The Heart Goes Last
32. Firing Line: Australia's Path to War
33. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

34. Fever of Animals
Fever of AnimalsFever of Animals by Miles Allinson

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


The innate smart-arse in me wondered, as I read Fever of Animals, did a prize for best unpublished manuscript maybe mean a manuscript best left unpublished? By the time I finished the book, I'd almost concluded that was the case.

A failed artist becomes obsessed with an obscure Romanian surrealist after his father's death. While he seeks to find out more of the Romanian painter, he also reflects on the way he and his former partner broke up.

This is the kind of turgid angst that Australian writers tend to churn out when they are trying to be considered "serious" by their peers.


View all my reviews
post #3149 of 3280
40 I Shot The Buddha by Colin Cotterill This is the tenth book in the series about Dr Siri Paiboun a retired national coroner. This series is in Laos in the late 1970's I read a review of it in the NYT which piqued my curiosity. And lo and behold it was in the public library and no three month waiting list.

This tale weaves the disappearance of a mendicant monk, the murder most foul of teenage girls by a satanic cults, a village populated by outcast sharman and various other seers and rural mystics. Add a very odd spirit guide who is a transvestite fortune teller and season with an interesting and amusing approach to time and space. Then add some political intrigue with French educated Marxists add Buddhist monks and a noodle shop and a lot of humour and you have an quite an exotic story. I enjoyed this but don't think I will be reading any more in this series any time soon.
Edited by Geoffrey Firmin - 8/21/16 at 4:26pm
post #3150 of 3280
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
23. Talking To My Country
24. The Bricks That Built the Houses
25. Oblivion
26. The Sixth Extinction
27. The Cruel Stars of the Night
28. Normal
29. The Shepherd's Crown
30. Vixen
31. The Heart Goes Last
32. Firing Line: Australia's Path to War
33. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
34. Fever of Animals

35. Our Souls at Night
Our Souls at NightOur Souls at Night by Kent Haruf

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This novella is a gentle story of a late-life romance. Widowed Addie approaches widower Louis with an unexpected request: could he come around at night and relieve her loneliness by sleeping with her, platonically. Louis agrees, not without demurral. The two start to form a cautious bond, which deepens when Addie's son Gene leaves her grandson with him while he tries to repair his troubled marriage.

This relationship scandalises some, which forces the two to face up to the consequences of what they are doing; even as elderly single people, their lives are not entirely their own and past reputations are never quite forgotten.

A simple story, well-told. I enjoyed it.


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