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2016 50 Book Challenge - Page 215

post #3211 of 3281
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxhound View Post Previous books (Click to show)

1. Paper Towns - John Greene

Something quite easy to read, I enjoy coming of age novels. I got through it rather quickly, but enjoyed it nonetheless.

 

2. Shogun - James Clavell

Took me quite some time to read, but amazing book. I read a solid chunk(60-70%) whilst I was hoping around Japan, and went to some of the locations in the book which was really quite amazing.It also seemed to be quite historically accurate, however I feel that it just ends abruptly, but at peace. If travelling Japan I can't recommend it enough, but be warned, it is very, very long.

 

3. The Man in the High Castle - Phillip K. Dick

Advertisements for the television show is what got me interested in this, so I picked it up. Dick paints a really interesting world, and conveys how bleak life would have been. It was quite short, and not much really seemed to happen in the book, a few promising ideas, but it was more about individuals lives. I would have liked to see some of the different story arcs that are briefly introduced develop.  I believe the television show expands on it.

 

4. Meditations - Marcus Aurelius

My first real look into philosophy. I enjoyed it, however I feel that I got about 40% of his message clearly, but a lot of it went over my head. I will be going back to it shortly. The stoic philosophy is really great, and there are many principles I will apply to my life.

5. Modern Romance - Aziz Ansari

Close to calling this 10/10. Ansari discusses the differences between dating today, and dating in the past(predominantly within a 50 year range). He interviews many people from all different age groups, and runs focus groups across various cities and countries. As someone who goes on plenty of dates, I found it a very interesting, insightful, and also entertaining book. I decided to pick it up after binge watching his TV show, Master of None, which I can also recommend.

 

In the book he also cites a plethora of studies and works alongside many academics from both social and cognitive sciences. He notes one study that is particularly interesting. I personally find that lots of younger people cannot converse in real life. The study argues that due to the use of texting and social media, where one can retype and think before they send, constructing many variations of what they wish to communicate, that the muscles in the brain used for spontaneous communication are not being developed properly.

 

6. The Year of Living Dangerously - Christopher Koch

I've developed a new habit since reading Shogun in Japan to read a book that resolves around the country I am traveling in, preferably about a foreigner in a strange land. I consulted r/books and was recommended The Year of Living Dangerously. It resolves around an Australian journalist working in Jakarta during the year 1965 (the year in which a failed coup occoured, followed by mass political purge). I really enjoyed it, however felt that the first two thirds of the book was stronger to the last. I also found the end a little rushed. I felt that the characters in the book were quite interesting, especially Billy Kwan, the sidekick of the story.

 

I'm looking forward to watching the film when I get home from 1982, starring Mel Gibson, Sigourney Weaver, and Linda Hunt(whom won the Oscar for best supporting actor for her portrayal of Kwan).

 

7. The Old Man and the Sea

First foray into Hemmingway. Was surprisingly quite easy to read. It was enjoyable, however, I'm glad it was no longer than it was. The narrative suited a ~100 page book.

 

I'm quickly approaching my goal of 15 books by the end of the year. It helps being on holiday's as well as reading shorter books this week. In my search for a couple of shorter books I can do in a day, I chose the Old Man and the Sea, as well as Animal Farm, which I have been meaning to read.

 

I've picked up Dan Brown's Inferno for the journey home. I enjoyed The Lost Symbol when I read it several years ago, and pulp fiction is nice for flying.

 

8. Animal Farm - George Orwell

Great metaphor to Orwells view of the Soviet Union, thoroughly enjoyed it. Didn't find it predictable at the time, but the ending is obvious looking back.

 

9. Inferno - Dan Brown

Absolute rubbish. Maybe I only enjoyed The Lost Symbol because I was younger, but this was atrocious. It has good content and honestly and interesting plot line but the delivery was terrible. The twist was just plain dumb, and introduced several plot holes. The 180 by virtually every character at the end just didn't make sense. There were several introduced story arcs that were contradicted by "twists", that were never explained as to what they meant.

 

10. Straight to Hell: True Tales of Deviance, Debauchery, and Billion-Dollar Deals

Great read. The stories are great, they're crude and won't be to a lot of people's taste but not everything is going to be The Notebook.

 

11. Bleeding Edge - Thomas Pynchon

My second foray into Pynchon. Really enjoyed it although found a few parts difficult to follow. Was disappointed a few plot lines were not fully explained, but that is his charm.

 

12. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - Phillip K. Dick

Quite an enjoyable read. Deckard is an intriguing character, and Dick paints a very interesting world. I felt that the concept of Mercerism could have been explained with more clarity.

The social class through animal ownership is an interesting idea, and is presented well, as is the desire to differentiate ones self from that of an android through forced suffering and empathy.

I noticed several parallels between this, and the 2015 video game Fallout 4, which deals with androids, known as Synths, infiltrating society. I would be surprised if Fallout was not influenced by this.

I'm looking forward to watching Blade Runner for the first time now.

13. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love

 

This book was really amazing. I didn't enjoy it when it started out, and found the first couple of short stories quite dull, however, they all felt real. The characters, the locations, their lives, and troubles all felt real. That is the genius behind the book, and what makes it.

 

Many of the stories are quite depressing, but show a brief insight into their lives. "Tell the Women We're Going" is easily the most amazing and mesmerizing short story I have ever read. I am not overly partial to short stories, but this book was simply incredible.

 

The eponymous story is also a work of pure brilliance. The characters, simply sitting around a table are fantastic.

post #3212 of 3281
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxhound View Post
 

13. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love

 

 

Raymond Carver's short stories are great. 

 

Interestingly, Paul Kelly adapted the story "So much water so close to home" into the song "Everything's turning to white", on his 1989 album "So much water so close to home" as a homage to Carver.

post #3213 of 3281
Holy shit.

I love Paul Kelly, and find myself listening to him at least once every other week. Never knew.

Might do some non fiction now. Can't decide on what to read next.

These are my troubles.
post #3214 of 3281

Non-Fiction = Sapiens.

 

Honestly I can't think of anyone who wouldn't enjoy and learn from reading that book.

post #3215 of 3281
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

Non-Fiction = Sapiens.

Honestly I can't think of anyone who wouldn't enjoy and learn from reading that book.

Agreed wonderfully insightful read. Pushes some traditional tropes, but that's par for the course these days.
post #3216 of 3281
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxhound View Post

Holy shit.

I love Paul Kelly, and find myself listening to him at least once every other week. Never knew.

Might do some non fiction now. Can't decide on what to read next.

These are my troubles.

Kelly's biography How to Make Gravy is a fascinating read.

As for non fiction I have Grand Hotel Abyss The Lives of the Frankfurt School and at At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails on my list to read before years end.A friend gave me a copy of London The Biography by Peter Ackroyd but will leave that to January.
post #3217 of 3281
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post
 

Non-Fiction = Sapiens.

 

Honestly I can't think of anyone who wouldn't enjoy and learn from reading that book.

Will definitely check it out, thanks.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoffrey Firmin View Post


Kelly's biography How to Make Gravy is a fascinating read.

As for non fiction I have Grand Hotel Abyss The Lives of the Frankfurt School and at At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails on my list to read before years end.A friend gave me a copy of London The Biography by Peter Ackroyd but will leave that to January.

Will also check that out.

 

My to read list is getting really long. I need to take a year off from University.

 

As for next, I was thinking Manufacturing Consent, The Smartest Guys in the Room, All The President's Men, or On the Trail of the Assassins.

post #3218 of 3281
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoffrey Firmin View Post

something from left field graphic novels

49 Doctor Strange The Way of the Weird by Chris Aaron writer and Chris Bachelor Artist/ Colourist

50The Last Days of Magic by Chris Aaron writer and Chris Bachelor Artist/ Colourist

Hard backs which collects ten issues of Dr Strange. Interesting way to pass a bleak Sunday. To say the least much has changed since Stan Lee & Steve Ditko were at the helm fifty years ago.

We now resume normal transmission

51The Age of Genius The Seventeenth Century & The Birth Of The Modern Mind A.C. Grayling Saw Gralying speak at the Canberra Writers Festival. His basic proposition is that without the Descartes and the transitional nature of such things like alchemy into science, or astrology into astronomy and then the Enlightenment would never have happened.

Congrats on no. 50!
post #3219 of 3281
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post

Congrats on no. 50!

Thanks Steve.

The Grayling is a great read well structured in terms of its development and articulation of his principle idea that this was the Epoch in human history that created the Modern mind and not the Enlightenment. Can see his POV but not sure I agree with his thesis.

Not a historical period that I'm overly familiar with aside from a number of philosophical systems and the individuals who created them.

Transversing the continent via the blood drenched thirty year war at present. Fuck religion and its malcontents.
post #3220 of 3281
Well done GF. You lot have too much time on your hands. I'm going to be happy if I hit 15.

Was going to do The Fountainhead, but amazon in both Australia and international aren't listing it as available for kindle purchase. Decided on No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwald. I should probably know something about Snowden than just the basic idea of what he did.
post #3221 of 3281
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxhound View Post

Well done GF. You lot have too much time on your hands. I'm going to be happy if I hit 15.

Was going to do The Fountainhead, but amazon in both Australia and international aren't listing it as available for kindle purchase. Decided on No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwald. I should probably know something about Snowden than just the basic idea of what he did.

The life of a freelancer/contractor under the current government ensures I have time to read.censored.gifcensored.gif and I split my reading into two steams one for daylight hours and nighttime which is about half an hourt before sleep.

Also do not read The Fountainhead its bad for your mental health.biggrin.gif
post #3222 of 3281
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
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
40. Seveneves
41. Flowers for Algernon
42. A Crown of Cold Silver
43. Central Station
44. Why People Photograph
45. The Wheel of Oshiem
46. Red Rising
47. Golden Son
48. Morning Star
49. The Meat Tree
50. The True History of the Kelly Gang

 

50. The True History of the Kelly Gang

 

So 2 weeks of reading this book have left me a little bit confused. For those of you who have read it (presumably GF and CD) you might have had a very different experience from me.

 

Basically this is a fictionalised biography of Ned Kelly - an Australian bushranger who remains a controversial figure seen as both a man with integrity who fought against institutional cruelty and harshness, or someone who was basically little more than a criminal with a sense of style. In any case this novel does little to elaborate on either side of how Australians view Kelly today.

 

I found the novel hard to read. It's written as if an uneducated bushranger wrote it (well, sort of) and is devoid of much punctuation and grammar. While other novels that feature this absence, like The Road for example, I've found fine enough this one I really struggled to follow at times. Parts of the narrative didn't make much sense (like where 2 of the 4 members of the gang came from and why they were there) and key points of Ned Kelly's rise and fall weren't really examined - which is odd. For example the Fitzpatrick moment happened and for such a momentous part of the story it was left hanging. Perhaps this is the author's choice to try to retain some mystery in Kelly's life, but it seems odd to spend so many pages writing about these events and keep the creativity out of one of the most important events.

 

I didn't love this book, I don't even know if I'd say I liked it. There were parts or sections I really enjoyed, but a lot of it I found hard to keep a hold of.

post #3223 of 3281
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


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


40. Seveneves


41. Flowers for Algernon


42. A Crown of Cold Silver


43. Central Station


44. Why People Photograph


45. The Wheel of Oshiem

46. Red Rising


47. Golden Son

48. Morning Star



49. The Meat Tree


50. The True History of the Kelly Gang


50. The True History of the Kelly Gang


So 2 weeks of reading this book have left me a little bit confused. For those of you who have read it (presumably GF and CD) you might have had a very different experience from me.


Basically this is a fictionalised biography of Ned Kelly - an Australian bushranger who remains a controversial figure seen as both a man with integrity who fought against institutional cruelty and harshness, or someone who was basically little more than a criminal with a sense of style. In any case this novel does little to elaborate on either side of how Australians view Kelly today.


I found the novel hard to read. It's written as if an uneducated bushranger wrote it (well, sort of) and is devoid of much punctuation and grammar. While other novels that feature this absence, like The Road for example, I've found fine enough this one I really struggled to follow at times. Parts of the narrative didn't make much sense (like where 2 of the 4 members of the gang came from and why they were there) and key points of Ned Kelly's rise and fall weren't really examined - which is odd. For example the Fitzpatrick moment happened and for such a momentous part of the story it was left hanging. Perhaps this is the author's choice to try to retain some mystery in Kelly's life, but it seems odd to spend so many pages writing about these events and keep the creativity out of one of the most important events.


I didn't love this book, I don't even know if I'd say I liked it. There were parts or sections I really enjoyed, but a lot of it I found hard to keep a hold of.

Happy 50th!
post #3224 of 3281
Matt

Congratulations on the 50th.

I've never read that Carey book. Ever read Bliss?
post #3225 of 3281

I don't think so - I read 2-3 Carey books in 2014 and, apart from Strange in Japan, I can't remember which ones they were (just whatever was kicking around in the library in Warrnambool).

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