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2016 50 Book Challenge - Page 216

post #3226 of 3283

Glenn Greenwald is a great writer so far.

post #3227 of 3283
Matt, I noticed that Harari has just published a kind of follow-up to Sapiens called Homo Deus, which looks at the future of humankind.

I've read Carey's Kelly book. I think he did pretty well to take the only surviving example of how Kelly expressed himself - the Jerilderie letter - and extend that to a book written in the voice of an historical figure. The proof is that when he gets to the writing the letter, it blends in seamlessly with the novel's voice. The story, of course, is one that all Australians are familiar with, so there were few plot surprises. In the end it came across as a successful technical exercise in capturing a character, and little more.
post #3228 of 3283
Congrats to Matt and GF on getting to 50. I need to work harder at it; not far away now.
post #3229 of 3283
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
36. Thermopylae: The Battle for the West
37. She Will Build Him a City
38. Quota
39. The Secret Chord
40. Beast
41. Zero K, by Don DeLillo. **
42. The Princess of Burundi, by Kjell Eriksson ****
43. Enemy Within: American Politics in the Time of Trump ***
44. Gold Fame Citrus
45. The Rules of Backyard Cricket

46. The Association of Small Bombs
The Association of Small BombsThe Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Three boys visit a Delhi market. A bomb planted by Muslim activists goes off, and two of the boys - Hindus - are killed. The third boy Mansoor, a Muslim, survives.

Mahajan explores the aftermath of the bombing, knitting together a plot that spans the subsequent decades by looking at the impact on the victims' family, the survivor and his family and the terrorists. There is no attempt to define heroes and villains here; all are fallible humans whose experience is blighted by this single event.

A thoughtful and sensitive book.


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post #3230 of 3283

That sounds likea  really worthwhile read.

 

And I am actually reading the Homo Deus book at the moment!

 

Thanks for adding to the Kelly stuff, I must admit Kelly's story/letter are definitely not familiar to me (whoops) so I'm a babe in the woods with this stuff.

post #3231 of 3283
52 The Museum Of Modern Love by Heather Rose This is one of the most engaging, stimulating and intellectually observant books I have read in a long time. Its a joy to read. The narrative is focused on the 'The Artist is Present' at MoMa by the performance artist Marina Abramovic in 2010. For seventy five days she sat and silently engaged people who came and sat with her. It intertwines the lives and observations of audience members with the event and how Abramovic affects their lives either directly by sitting of simply watching as the performance unfolds.

Her performance is the fulcrum upon the other events of the narrative focus and move it forward. It provides a richness of human observation seen through the eyes of its principal characters. Its also interesting how the author has used other principal and peripheral actors to provide insight into Abramovic's method and aims as an artist. I found it moving on a number of levels as its multilayered narrative examines the event from the complexities of life which the central observer is entangled in. As a book about an art event it works principally by providing a perspective on how individuals lives were/are affected by art. Highly recommended.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
I have seen a number of Abramovic performances in Sydney during the last couple of years which were engaging and creatively stimulating on a number of artistic and personal levels. Recently a storm broke out over comments Abramovic wrote back in 1979 in her journal about Australia's first people and were to be published in a memoir. Public outcry has seen the section pulled but it raises a number of uncomfortable questions about Abramovic and her failure to public apologise.

Edited by Geoffrey Firmin - 10/16/16 at 4:25pm
post #3232 of 3283
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
36. Thermopylae: The Battle for the West
37. She Will Build Him a City
38. Quota
39. The Secret Chord
40. Beast
41. Zero K, by Don DeLillo. **
42. The Princess of Burundi, by Kjell Eriksson ****
43. Enemy Within: American Politics in the Time of Trump ***
44. Gold Fame Citrus
45. The Rules of Backyard Cricket
46. The Association of Small Bombs

47. Moonstone: the boy who never was
Moonstone: The Boy Who Never WasMoonstone: The Boy Who Never Was by Sjón

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Mani Steinn ("Moonstone") is a rent boy living in Reykjavik in 1918. The war is ending, Iceland is creeping towards independence from Denmark and the Spanish flu is sweeping the town. The orphaned Mani lives with an old woman and, when not plying his trade, pursues his twin obsessions of cinema and the enigmatic girl Sola G.

This book is a bit of a departure for Sjon, whose previous novellas have had more of an air of fable and magic about them than this one. Moonstone is not without those elements but it is more candid and confronting than previous Sjon works that I've read. I'd say I enjoyed this the least of any Sjon work so far, although I would still continue to read him.


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post #3233 of 3283
Quote:
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post

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
36. Thermopylae: The Battle for the West
37. She Will Build Him a City
38. Quota
39. The Secret Chord
40. Beast
41. Zero K, by Don DeLillo. **
42. The Princess of Burundi, by Kjell Eriksson ****
43. Enemy Within: American Politics in the Time of Trump ***
44. Gold Fame Citrus
45. The Rules of Backyard Cricket

46. The Association of Small Bombs
The Association of Small BombsThe Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Three boys visit a Delhi market. A bomb planted by Muslim activists goes off, and two of the boys - Hindus - are killed. The third boy Mansoor, a Muslim, survives.

Mahajan explores the aftermath of the bombing, knitting together a plot that spans the subsequent decades by looking at the impact on the victims' family, the survivor and his family and the terrorists. There is no attempt to define heroes and villains here; all are fallible humans whose experience is blighted by this single event.

A thoughtful and sensitive book.


View all my reviews

Interesting notification today ...

post #3234 of 3283

Has anyone read anything by Edward Luttwak?

post #3235 of 3283
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxhound View Post

Has anyone read anything by Edward Luttwak?

New author to me. What's his genre?
post #3236 of 3283
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxhound View Post
 

Has anyone read anything by Edward Luttwak?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post


New author to me. What's his genre?

 

He writes about ancient warfare and modern international relations and conflict. 

 

Back in the 1970s or 1980s, Luttwak wrote a book about Roman military organisation and fortification that was a bit controversial and which attracted quite a bit of discussion. He's also written quite a lot about the situation in the Middle East and South Asia over the past few decades, but he's not really taken that seriously as an international relations scholar. 

post #3237 of 3283
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
36. Thermopylae: The Battle for the West
37. She Will Build Him a City
38. Quota
39. The Secret Chord
40. Beast
41. Zero K, by Don DeLillo. **
42. The Princess of Burundi, by Kjell Eriksson ****
43. Enemy Within: American Politics in the Time of Trump ***
44. Gold Fame Citrus
45. The Rules of Backyard Cricket
46. The Association of Small Bombs
47. Moonstone: the boy who never was

48. Grant & I
Grant & IGrant & I by Robert Forster

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Robert Forster's account of the career of great Australian indie band the Go-Betweens is at different times witty, heart-warming and, ultimately, sad. There are revelations here, such as the deep acrimony that the band broke up in, and the sickness that afflicted both leads in the band's final years. This is an excellent rock-and-rolll story, with the quirky erudition of its flamboyant author shining through. There are times when Forster's self-regard becomes a bit much, but this is still a great read and an affectionate account of one of Australia's most under-appreciated bands.


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post #3238 of 3283
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
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
51. Homo Deus
52. The Revenant

 

51. Homo Deus

 

So It's no secret here that I really enjoyed Sapiens - which was a short history of human kind up until the present. In this next book the same author writes about some directions that the future could take the human species.

 

The book can be boiled down to three questions - and let's see if I can remember exactly what they are:

1. Are humans essentially just a series of algorithms as current biological dogma would have it?

2. Can intelligence be uncoupled from consciousness or are they mutually inclusive?

3. Is data generation and processing the next big religion/myth/narrative that will guide and change human interaction and behaviour

 

I might have those slightly wrong - sorry. The book is filled with so many insights and a lot of great information. At times it's quite pessimistic, and the author is constantly able to justify this pessimism. Certainly it's hard not to feel pessimistic about the future. Yet at the same time he reminds us that what makes our age unique is pace. In the 1300s a person could pretty much predict life in the 1400s - there might be some minor changes, but more or less peasants worked, lords lorded, wars raged and priests preached. Now it's impossible to say even what 2030 will look like.

 

Not as interesting as Sapiens, but I think that comes from the difference between basically re-telling a bunch of interesting stories and information compared with speculation.

 

52. The Revenant

 

From one extreme to another. The Revenant is the PERFECT airport book. I smashed this is a train and plane journey and loved it. It's a simple story of revenge with the right number of characters, the right amount of struggle, and the right depth.

 

I'm now kind of interested in the fur trapping era of the US West. Rippa read.

post #3239 of 3283
70. The Collected Short Stories of Louis L'Amour, v.5 Frontier Stories

Pleasant read; very few from other collections.

1 book to go...
post #3240 of 3283
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
36. Thermopylae: The Battle for the West
37. She Will Build Him a City
38. Quota
39. The Secret Chord
40. Beast
41. Zero K, by Don DeLillo. **
42. The Princess of Burundi, by Kjell Eriksson ****
43. Enemy Within: American Politics in the Time of Trump ***
44. Gold Fame Citrus
45. The Rules of Backyard Cricket
46. The Association of Small Bombs
47. Moonstone: the boy who never was
48. Grant & I

49. The Wallcreeper
The WallcreeperThe Wallcreeper by Nell Zink

My rating: 1 of 5 stars


Tiffany and Stephen are American birdwatchers living in Berne, where Stephen is some kind of researcher. At the start of the novel, there is an accident and Tiffany loses a baby. A wallcreeper is hurt in the accident, and they take it back home with them.

And that's pretty much all we hear about the wallcreeper. It drops from sight soon enough, which makes one wonder at the title.

The two seem to have an open marriage, and Tiffany engages in desultory sex with a variety of uninspiring partners. Zink can't write a sex scene to save her life, so this might not have been a wise plot element for her to go with. The two of them get involved in environmental protests for obscure and unconvincing reasons, and the actions they choose to take are, frankly, ridiculous. The ending is manipulative and contrived.

This book really is terrible.


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