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2017 50 Book Challenge - Page 99

post #1471 of 3322

#4 PORNOGRAFIA , by Witold Gombrowicz (1960)

On a cold September evening, in the year of our lord 193_, Poland's preeminent novelist, provocateur, and enfant terrible, Witold Gombrovicz was dreaming of the beach. He had just boarded a cruise ship and set sail for Argentina, a dreamy summerland where he would drop sandward and and pigmentize with his fellow countrymen, spoon them wine, and assure them of a safe return to Poland, now rebuilt and even flourishing after the messy business of World War I. Halfway across the ocean, he received the news: Germany, those bastards, had invaded Poland. Again. And thus, Gombrowicz's beach-side stay stretched from one month to twenty-four years. He would never set foot on his native soil again. This novel, Pornografia, tells the story of his return. It's 194_. Poland is occupied, and an aging intellectual named Witold Gombrovicz travels to a sleepy countryside village. Here, he meets Henia and Karol -- a pair of sixteen year-olds who exude sexuality, who radiate youth -- and becomes obsessed with the idea that they belong together -- even though Henia is engaged to an older man. Witold's fixations are exacerbated by Frydryk, a friend who joins in his antics just as a refugee from the Underground Army decides to crash their village.

Gombrowicz is the summarizer's torment. Like all his books, this one is silly and deep, acrobatic and fun. Dazzling, but not showy. Serious, but not foreboding. My rating: 9/10. Would smash again.
post #1472 of 3322
13. Perfume Patrick Suskind 1986


A dark and sinister young man becomes a perfume maker although he has no odor of his own but has the finest nose in all of France. He sets about making the perfect perfume, but has to kill 25 young women to do it.

An excellent book. Movie in the mid 00s which I thought was equally good.
post #1473 of 3322
I seem incapable of finishing a book this year. That is all.
post #1474 of 3322
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post

I seem incapable of finishing a book this year. That is all.

I am reading a 675-pager from 1864. It is surprisingly good but it has also slowed me down a lot. Women, children, tailors, business meetings, mates demanding that I stay for a last round - all are impediments to leisurely enjoyment of literature. Just lucky I am not into gambling or opium.
post #1475 of 3322

#5 YOUNG ADAM, by Alexander Trocchi (1954)

Virtually forgotten by his death in 1984, Alexander Trocchi's Young Adam was one of the great beneficiaries of Rebel Inc's assault on the Scottish literary canon during the 90s. But it took David Mackenzie's excellent film adaptation, with Ewan McGregor in the lead role, to deliver the long overdue readership and reassessment of this modern masterpiece....


(Other projects beckon, so I'll just leave this here and say that this one was really good, and you should totally read it).
post #1476 of 3322
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post

I seem incapable of finishing a book this year. That is all.


Such sadness in my heart.

post #1477 of 3322
14. Heller with a Gun Louis L'Amour 1955

A man is hired to guard a traveling minstrel show, After battles with Indians and the original guide, our hero triumphs. a supporting role to the elements.
post #1478 of 3322
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

Such sadness in my heart.

Thank you Matt. Your sincerity shines through every keystroke.

I must read Young Adam, given it's the name of an ancestor of mine (i.e. Adam Young).
post #1479 of 3322
Klewless book 5/50: Silence of the Wave by Gianrico Carofiglio


A very somber tale of a life lived in a psychological gray area. The protagonist is an Italian Carabinieri officer on medical leave, whose twice weekly visits to his therapist are the only observable measures of normalcy. The reader relives his mental truama through the therapy, and witnesses his struggle to rejoin society. This was a bit dark, and is intended to be more entertainment then anything else. It succeeeds in that effort, and is an enjoyable tale.
post #1480 of 3322
6. After You with the Pistol
After You with the PistolAfter You with the Pistol by Kyril Bonfiglioli

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second of Bonfigliolis' Mortdecai books picks up immediately from the first, with the dissolute and shady art dealer in the clutches of various agencies who wish him harm. He manages to extricate himself by promising to marry the gorgeous Johanna and keep tabs on her activities.

Johanna manipulates Mortdecai into a series of increasingly dubious activities from assassinating the Queen, training at a camp for lesbian warriors and smuggling heroin out of China. As the plot proceeds it just gets sillier and sillier, serving mainly as a vehicle for Mortdecai to toss off a series of acid observations, which keep the laughs coming.

After You with the Pistol is pure fluff, but very enjoyable and well-executed fluff. There's a lot of Wodehouse in Bonfiglioli's characters, and he makes reference to Jeeves and Wooster several times, so it's clear they are among his inspirations. These books are a bit more manic than the Jeeves stories, but lovers of Wodehouse would probably enjoy them.

View all my reviews
post #1481 of 3322
post #1482 of 3322
My goal is twenty five this year. I'm currently nearly done book number one, “The Fault in our Stars"
post #1483 of 3322
List (Click to show)

1. All Tomorrow's Parties
2. Undivided: Part 3
3. High Fidelity
4. Hard Boiled Wonderland at the End of the World
5. Polysyllabic Spree
6. Armageddon in Retrospect
7. South of the Border, West of the Sun
8. What we talk about when we talk about love
9. Norweigan Wood

10. The Master and Margherita


10. The Master and Margherita


I did not enjoy this book - there were several times, each night, I considered putting it down and giving up. I picked this up based on CD's review last year, but it didn't do it for me. The narrative is ostensibly about the Devil arriving in Moscow, causing havoc, and eventually entangling himself with Margherita and her 'Master' (a somewhat obnoxious whingy author type). Laden with re-tellings of Pontius Pilate's trial of Jesus, much of the story is metaphorically about 20th century Russia/Soviet Union. However, the first 1/3-2/3 of the book are, apparently, disconnected ramblings about different pranks the devil, or his minions, pull. These are fairly tame and everyone over-reacts, they are also very hard to connect together (or at least I found them disconnected and incoherent). Add on to that the typically Russian 'everyone has 50 fucking names' characteristic and I was on struggle street.


The book had some redeeming moments - when one of the devil's minions (a magician) captivates and stuns his audience was a part I found exceptionally vivid and engaging, similarly, most of the writing about Margherita (1/5-1/4 of the novel) was also very easy to engage with. So, I suppose my conclusions are that, for me, the book had way too many characters, way too many narrative threads that didn't connect up well (and even when they did it was very hard to buy) and consequently I spent most of the book thinking 'dafaq did I just read?'.


Harder to follow than Dostoevsky, less rewarding. Would not re-read. YMMV.

post #1484 of 3322
46 Leisureguy's Guide to Gourmet Shaving Shaving Made Enjoyable 6th Edition by Michael Ham

Taking it for granted technical manuals count, a late birthday gift seeing as i went back to DE shaving a couple of months ago.

36c today so read a fair slice at the pool makes some very interesting observations about wet shaving likening it to a sense of Flow and the qualities of a zen tea ceremony, hmm?
Edited by Geoffrey Firmin - 2/1/14 at 3:50am
post #1485 of 3322
15. LaBrava Elmore Leonard 1983


A thriller that somehow wound up on the storied 1001.Joe LaBrava, an ex-Secret Service agent catches a former movie star stealing a large sum of money. The book is written in South Beach and the local color is liberally sprinkled in the book's pages. There's even an interesting twist to the ending.

Thumbs up. Say B...
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