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2017 50 Book Challenge - Page 104

post #1546 of 3318
41 The Lie by Helen Dunmore a post Great War novel just arrived got good reviews in the Guardian. The 100 anniversary of the start of the Great War is the guiding theme for me this year.

Will comment once I have digested some of it.

Essentially the story was about Great War PTSD and post war realignment to life and a ghost story which invokes the spirit of The Turn of The Screw. While the story was well constructed and very well written in terms of its language and character development it left me feeling emotionally short changed.
Edited by Geoffrey Firmin - 2/27/14 at 6:55pm
post #1547 of 3318
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

11. The Fault in Our Stars

12. Of Mice and Men

13.Fade to Black

14. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

15. Watchmen

16. Captains Courageous


16. Captains Courageous


Ruyard Kipling tells a relatively predictable story of a young spoiled man finding himself on a working class boat without a chance of escape. Luckily he grows up. So much 1900s sea-faring prose that it's basically a story of sailors talking shit bookended by a boy losing then re-uniting with his family. This summary is more interesting than the story.


That being said: Kipling's rare, in this text, moments of reckless abandon with his prose are glorious - an example:


"The sea round them clouded and darkened, and then frizzed up in showers of tiny silver fish, and over a space of five or six acres the cod began to leap ike trout in May; while, behind the cod, three or four broad grey-black backs broke the water into boils. Then everybody shouted and tried to haul up his anchor to get among the school, and fouled up his neighbour's line and said what was in his heart, and dipped furiously ith his dip-net, and shrieked cautions and advice to his companions while he deep fizzed like freshly-opened soda-water, and cod, men, and whalestogether flung in upon the luckless bait."

post #1548 of 3318
Klewless book 10/50: The Blood Promise by Mark Pryor


Book 3 in the Hugo Marston run. This series centers around the US embassy in Paris. The lead character is chief of security for the ambassador, however it is his interactions with the French criminal element that drive the stories.

In this installment, the protagonist is charged with trying to solve a mystery, perhaps involved with the visit of a US Senator who is in France attempting to practice political diplomacy. Pryor does an excellent job with utilizing Paris as a character in the book, and while the book makes references to earlier titles in the series, it stands alone quite well. A very quick, enjoyable work recommended for those looking for some light entertainment.
post #1549 of 3318
Clockwise counting 16/50: Massimo Carlotto - Death's Dark Abyss (2004)

Second novel I read from this Italian crime noir writer. And if the first one was dark and unsettling, this one is even more so. A couple of robbers take hostages and kill a mother and her child. One robber is caught and imprisoned for life, while the other disappears with a substantial loot of jewellery. The widowed husband / father turns from a successful and happy businessman into a disgruntled, depressed and vengeful shoe salesman. This is a morbid and dark tale of vengeance. Good but not easy to stomach.
post #1550 of 3318
Anyone watching True Detective? Amazon has a free Kindle version of the book The King In Yellow by Robert W Chambers which is referenced in the show an article in the Guardian elaborates http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/feb/26/king-in-yellow-true-detectives-hbo-weird-fiction
post #1551 of 3318

Well almost 2 months are gone.  I doubt that I can get 50 done with this year now, but I am going to try it out and see how close that I can get.

post #1552 of 3318
40 George Harrison Behind the Locked Door by Graeme Thompson

Time to get out of the trenches and engage in some popular culture.
post #1553 of 3318
Clockwise counting 17/50: Massimo Carlotto - The Colombian Mule (2001)

I keep going with Carlotto. This novel belongs in the "Alligator" series about a team of morally flawed private investigators. A Colombian drug mule is captured with a kilo of cocaine at Venice airport when entering Italy. An Italian robber is framed for being the importer and local distributor and he employs the Alligator's services to prove his innocence.

The book feels like a cartoon or a TV series. It is readable and lightly entertaining but doesn't have the "noir" depths that I found in the previously read two Carlotto novels. Carlotto's The Goodbye Kiss was really good and recommended reading for anyone who likes unusual crime novels. This one is so-so but good enough if accompanied by a healthy measure of gin and tonic (or Calvados).
post #1554 of 3318
24. The Power and The Glory 1940 Graham Greene


Guest Summary by Clockwise soon to follow?:

post #1555 of 3318
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post

Thakns. I'm an epileptic myself, and reading the treatments that the parents subjected that poor kid to made my skin crawl.

Wow, interesting. I imagine so. Having an ill brother, the novel resonated with me as well, but in different ways, I suppose. It makes me glad somehow that others found it affecting. Really neat book.

Anyway, I'm just finishing up Adam Haslett's collection You Are Not a Stranger Here. It's the first time I've read it straight through, and I still find it wonderful. Everything is beautiful and touching, but for the most part, very tidy and straightforward; deceptively so, as I know it must be just as hard to great that effect as some kind of swirling postmodern wizardry. The first story, Notes to My Biographer, a manic first person account of a septegenarian spinning out of control, is worth the price alone.

I think this book was actually some kind of strange mega-success, being up on -- lets see -- some kind of Today Show readng list. For those outside the US, its also probably a shining example of what people mean when they talk about Iowa traditionalism.

I think this is like #10. Steve B, Clockwise, you leave me weeping. Weeping!
post #1556 of 3318
Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post

24. The Power and The Glory 1940 Graham Greene


Guest Summary by Clockwise soon to follow?:


Persecution of the Catholic Church, drunken priest on the run in small town Mexico. Must be one of Greene's top 5 with its position among the 1001 well justified.
post #1557 of 3318

Couldn't finish it, did not enjoy.

post #1558 of 3318
Clockwise counting 18/50: Chris Abani - The Secret History of Las Vegas (2014)

Horrors of South African apartheid, American nuclear tests in the Nevada desert and a string of Las Vegas murders are intertwined in this peculiar but very good novel. The protagonist is a morally ambiguous Zulu / Sikh mix, a psychiatrist who is conducting clandestine experiments on behalf of the US military but nevertheless presented as the good guy of this bizarre story.

This was a very positive surprise for me. I loved it!
post #1559 of 3318
Clockwise counting 19/50: Andrea Camilleri - The Shape of Water (1994)

The first book in the series of Sicilian Police Inspector Montalbano. I have not watched the Italian TV series but can imagine that it is at least as good as the books.

A police procedural with a sympathetic hero who is dealing with an utterly corrupt and violent culture. A local politician is found dead from natural causes with his pants down in his car. Despite pressure to drop the case, Montalbano investigates if there is anything more to the story than the evident heart attack. Better than average but not mandatory reading.
post #1560 of 3318
Klewless 11/50: The Counterfeit Agent by Alex Berenson


Another installment in the John Wells series. Wells is a former CIA asset who was deep undercover in the middle east. He has been in multiple adventures in the series, always working alone to save the USA and western world from varied terrorism threats. The supporting characters return and bring some DC politics to the tale. A solid addition to this series, however this book ends without conclusion, as a simple set up for the next title from the author. Not that I mind a cliffhanger, but this one was a bit open ended.....
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