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2017 50 Book Challenge - Page 5

post #61 of 3342
10. A Clockwork Orange-Anthony Burgess
Set in the future. Tale of a SERIOUS JD who kills 2 people and gets chucked into jail. He volunteers for an anti-crime brainwashing program which leaves him unable to even view violence. His former tormentees now torment him. He un-brainwashes himself, does some more crime, then questions the purpose of his life and decides to settle down and marry. (a la Todd Rundren in the 70s- We Gotta Get You a Woman- Rube probably remembers that little gem)

Now I want to see the movie.

11. For Whom The Bell Tolls-Ernest Hemingway
During the '37 Spanish Civil War. Details 3 days in the life of an American demolitions expert who is to blow a bridge for the Communists. He falls in love and shares a number of experiences and emotions regarding the event. He destroys the bridge, but is mortally wounded shortly thereafter. Considered by many to be Hemingway's best book. Despite the sordid subject matter, I thought it was excellent.

So far only Catcher in the Rye has been a dud, although Decision Points is a tough read if you're Bush-averse and expect cohesive organization in your books.
post #62 of 3342
Originally Posted by ClambakeSkate View Post
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
I'm in for this. Getting rid of my TV and computer soon, and just bought a Kindle, will hopefully be reading a lot. May be too late to hop on board, but fuck it, I'll give it a try...

So far this year I've read:

1. Evolution of a Cro-Magnon by John Joseph - 3rd time reading this. It's fucking amazing, I love this book so much, probably one of the best books I've ever read, no lie. It's not literary or sophisticated in any way, but the way that John Joseph writes like he's sitting there telling the reader the stories about his life is crazy.

2. Crazy From the Heat by David Lee Roth - I told someone that I was reading the John Joseph book and they suggested this. David Lee Roth seams like a much deeper and more interesting guy than he gets credit for. I loved this book. I tracked down a 1st edition copy for a christmas gift for someone that loves reading and music.

3. ReImagining Detroit by John Gallagher - I'm moving to Detroit in a few weeks so I've been reading up on the city as much as possible. This book mostly envisions a Detroit of the future that relies on urban farming and progressive thinking to survive rather than hoping the motor industry comes back to it's former glory. Interesting book.

4. Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay - Love the show, can't wait for it to come back on. I guess the book was pretty good. Good popcorn book you could say. I was worried that it would be exactly the same as the show but by the end of the book it had turned in a different direction completely. I've heard that the later books completely veer from the show storyline. I will most likely be reading the whole series eventually.

5. When You Are Engulfed In Flames by David Sedaris - Classic Sedaris here. No more, no less. A few people who I've spoke to about it have lost interest in this guy and I can see why. His stories ramble on a bit, and rarely have any 'punch' to them, but they're great for reading on the subway to and from work. If you like Sedaris' past work, there's no reason not to like this book.

6. How to Talk Dirty and Influence People by Lenny Bruce - 3rd autobiography so far, I like 'em. Disclaimer: I am not familiar with Lenny Bruce as a comedian. This book was actually mentioned in David Lee Roth's book, so I was intrigued to check it out. It started off very interestingly. He was riding around the country in his convertible with his hot stipper girlfriend/wife pulling scams dressed as a priest and performing in nightclubs. Then he got arrested for using the word 'cocksucker' in his act and the whole second half of the book is basically a word for word account of his court proceedings. It was painful to read.

7. Life by Keith Richards - 4th Autobiography, 3rd of a Musician. This book started off horribly. The tales of him learing to play guitar in his early childhood were pretty great, but then the next 200pgs of the book is basically a list of names of people he knew/met/admired and places he'd been/lived. Seriously it's like 40% of the words in the book are capitalized proper nouns. Luckily, the second half of the book is pretty strong when he's discussing his struggle with drugs and losing his mind. It was OK overall. Too long for what it was.

8. You Suck by Christopher Moore - OK, so this is a sequel to a book I read about 8 years ago (Bloodsucking Fiends) that I remembered enjoying enough to want to read this one. It was pretty meh. It's kinda like the movie 'The Hangover' but with vampires and goth teenagers thrown in. The pages from Abby Normal's diary were the most memorable part of the book, but even that gimmick wore thin pretty quick.

9. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll - I'd never read this book. I've watched a few of the various movie versions of the stories over the years, but was never blown away by any of them. Reading this book is very difficult. It's just a bunch of incredibly detailed accounts of some very unusual events. I found my mind wandering a lot. I don't know, I think you need to be under the influence of some sort of psychedelic substance to really appreciate what's going on. I plan on doing that when I read 'Through the Looking Glass' later this year.

10. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut - I knew nothing about this book other than it was a classic and is on everyone's 'must-read' lists. It's quite a crazy book. Time-traveling, alien abductions, POW camps, plane crashes, rich fat wives, contemplations of the value of life, this book has it all. I will read this again. By the time I was comfortable with the pacing and structure of the book I was already 3/4 of the way through it. So it goes.
post #63 of 3342
5.) Facing Nature by John Updike Some tremendous poems in this collection.
post #64 of 3342
12. The Bridge of San Luis Rey- Thornton Wilder
Picked it because it was short and because it won the Pulitzer prize. About 5 people who fell to their death when a bridge broke near Lima, Peru in 1714. Discusses how all their lives were intertwined with others. I really didn't care for the book, and I wouldn't recommend it.
post #65 of 3342
Clockwise counting 8/50: Robert Stone - Fun with Problems (2010)

if you ever tried alcohol or drugs and found that you kind of liked the effect it had on you, you will understand where the characters in this short story collection are coming from, and also where they are headed. These stories are entertaining and wonderfully well written, all about people with problems.

Robert Stone should be a big name in modern American literature but he remains one of the most underrated of the masters. I have in the past read his novels Dog Soldiers and A Flag For Sunrise, both deserving to be on any must-read lists for American 20th century fiction. The former was made into a decent movie with Nick Nolte, Tuesday Weld and Michael Moriarty, with the name changed to Who'll Stop The Rain.
post #66 of 3342
i'd be lucky to read that many in my lifetime.
post #67 of 3342
Clockwise counting 9/50: Javier Marias - While the Women Are Sleeping (2010)

Short story collection from one of the hottest Nobel Prize candidates. Although just recently published in English, these stories are all more than 20 years old and in some cases from when Marias was very young. Half the stories are right up there with the best he has written, while another half is not terribly good or engaging. For those who haven't yet discovered the magic of this Spanish master, start with something else, maybe A Heart So White or, for the ambitious, his trilogy masterpiece Your Face Tomorrow.
post #68 of 3342
I've already read about five for a single class.

. . . and it's not even April.
post #69 of 3342
Clockwise counting 10/50: Sapper - Bulldog Drummond (1920)

No matter where she's a-hidin'; she's gonna hear me a-comin'
Gonna walk right down that street like Bulldog Drummond
- The Coasters "Searchin" (1957)

One of the influences behind Fleming's James Bond, the archetypical English fast paced adventure story, Bulldog Drummond was exactly what I had expected: absolutely great if you are 15 years old and live in the 1920s. If you are not, well, then it is still a fun read but definitely outdated.

Ending Q1 with 10 books, 2.5 off the pace.
post #70 of 3342
Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
5. Joseph Conrad- yeah I know it's less than 200 pages, but it's a solid read nevertheless. Thought it was awesome, especially the prose. And that Conrad's native language isn't English. Was bummed to find out how much Coppola lifted from this for Apocalypse Now. I always thought the movie was more original...

Which Joseph Conrad novel are you reviewing? Possibly The Heart of Darkness?
post #71 of 3342
Clockwise counting 11/50: Javier Cercas - Soldiers of Salamis (2001)

Employing a kind of maileresque technique of mixing fact and fiction with the main character being the writer Javier Cercas, this modern Spanish classic is an excellent story about an event that occurred at the end of the Spanish civil war.

We meet people from both sides of that horrendous war, leading fascists as well as foot soldiers under communist leadership and we are never told who is good and who is bad, what was right and what was wrong in that long and dark period of Spanish history. We just follow Cercas on his quest to find out something about a particular event and we probably encounter more questions than answers during our journey, some of which have to do with honour and heroism. Highly recommended.
post #72 of 3342
Originally Posted by Charley View Post
Which Joseph Conrad novel are you reviewing? Possibly The Heart of Darkness?

post #73 of 3342
6.) Daniel Patrick Moynihan: A Portrait in Letters of an American Visionary, edited by Steven Weisman What can be said about this that isn't already obvious? It's an extraordinary achievement by Weisman and his team of researchers from Syracuse's Maxwell School. When Moynihan deposited his papers at the Library of Congress, he earned the distinction of having the largest collection there. Stacked up, his collection is taller than the Washington Monument. Weisman (with the help of Moynihan's family and countless political/intellectual figures) collected some of DPM's letters and they are an absolute treasure. The wisdom, the wit, it is all there. No politician writes like this in our age, I can assure you that. I particularly enjoyed the letters written during his stint as ambassador to India. And the many that referenced his beloved New York, from the streets of NYC to the halls of the Capitol in Albany to his farm near Oneonta. There's even a letter about buying a bunch of suits at J. Press, knowing that he will spend many months paying off the credit card bill. This great write-up from the Daily Beast says it better than I could: 5 out of 5 stars, for sure.
post #74 of 3342
Clockwise counting 12/50: Julian Barnes - Pulse (2011)

Barnes' new book is a very nice short story collection. Not yet available in print so I got the kindle version for my iPad. Only my second Julian Barnes after having enjoyed Arthur and George a couple of years ago. Will check out his older 90s stuff.
post #75 of 3342
Clockwise counting 13/50: Jane Austen - Sense and Sensibility (1811)

Finished two books in one long Sunday. This one has been with me for quite some time now and, while it certainly is a good read, I regret that I picked it up almost immediately after finishing my first Austen (Pride and Prejudice). it is all about the English class system, marriage considerations and the personal character traits of sense and sensitivity (rather than sensibility) as separately expressed in the two sisters who this story revolves around.

Austen belongs to the classics for a reason but should be taken in moderate doses.
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