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2017 50 Book Challenge

Discussion in 'Entertainment, Culture, and Sports' started by edinatlanta, Dec 23, 2010.

  1. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    Nov 2, 2012
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Yes, you do!

    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
    17. A Brief History of Time
    18. The Trial
    19. Wind up Bird Chronicle
    20. A Visit from the Goon Squad
    21. Neuromancer
    22. Count Zero
    23. Shadowboxing
    24. Hell's Angels
    25. Anansi Boys
    26. Steelheart
    27. A Hero of Our Time
    28. Mona Lisa Overdrive
    29. The Complete Collection of Flannery O'Connor
    30. The Last Blues Dance
    31. Gularabulu
    32. The Glass Canoe
    33. The Lies of Locke Lamora
    34. Handmaid's Tale
    35. Girt
    36. Museum of Innocence
    37. Neverwhere

    37. Neverwhere

    With signature whimsy, imagination and weirdness, Neil Gaiman's book Neverwhere follows an incredibly average protagonist - Richard - as his life is completely reshaped after a Good Samaritan moment. Richad is thrown into London Below, a place where all the forgotten people and things that have fallen through the cracks end up.

    The narrative is quick, witty, easy to read and enjoyable. It's refreshingly straightforward, and the characters are all relatively unique (relative to each other) and interesting. I can't help but feel there's a Gaiman way of writing that is almost becoming formulaic, but I suppose that's true of all authors to some extent.
     
  2. clockwise

    clockwise Well-Known Member

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    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Hong Kong via Gothenburg
    Clockwise counting 53/50: Jean-Claude Izzo - Chourmo (1996)

    Second part of Izzo's Marseille trilogy is another masterful crime noir, full of cynicism, violence and heartbreak. The tastes and smells of Marseille make Izzo's books unusually readable.

    Our protagonist, Fabio Montale, has retired from the police force but when his beautiful cousin Gelou's son disappears, he is called back into an investigation deep inside the underworld of the city. Maybe Izzo is the founder of Mediterranean noir, maybe he is just one of the very best.
     
  3. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Well-Known Member

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    Nov 6, 2006
    Location:
    Melbourne
    

    Another one to add to my list.

    Anybody here read The Story of a Crime series by Leif Persson? A mini-series based on it popped up on TV this week and it looked quite good.
     
  4. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,312
    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2012
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    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
    17. A Brief History of Time
    18. The Trial
    19. Wind up Bird Chronicle
    20. A Visit from the Goon Squad
    21. Neuromancer
    22. Count Zero
    23. Shadowboxing
    24. Hell's Angels
    25. Anansi Boys
    26. Steelheart
    27. A Hero of Our Time
    28. Mona Lisa Overdrive
    29. The Complete Collection of Flannery O'Connor
    30. The Last Blues Dance
    31. Gularabulu
    32. The Glass Canoe
    33. The Lies of Locke Lamora
    34. Handmaid's Tale
    35. Girt
    36. Museum of Innocence
    37. Neverwhere
    38. The Ghost's Child

    38. The Ghost's Child

    Sonya Hartnett's novel the Ghost's Child is an icnredibly coherent, but nearly overly whimsical coming of age story that's bizarrely romantic and satisfyingly strange. The main character, Matilda, tells her story to a young boy who has randomly appeared in her house - it's a story where she recounts her life. Surprising, for Matilda, coming-of-age was not a teenage thing, nor even an end-of-school thing, but seemed to begin once she experienced a miscarriage and then moved away from the grief.

    Instead of focusing on that event - the story is masterfully crafted around the relationships between family, love, place and space - Hartnett's fascination with the world and sense of beauty is explicit and joyful - and her descriptions ooze with wonder and amazement. Aimed at the Young Adult crowd I found this book refreshingly romantic - it is not overly dramatic, it isn't obnoxiously preachy, it's not the cotton candy love of the usual suspects, but rather an honest, subtle and profound story. Indeed, Hartnett's only sole moments of cloying romance are used to demonstrate the complexities and pitfalls of such all-consuming love - rather than a cheap mechanism though which to sell more books. The audience are not patronised or over-indulged.

    It's not difficult, particularly philisophical or insightful - it doesn't need to be - what it is, though, is a book that is simultaneously magical, fantastical, everyday and relateable and, to me, that makes it worth reading.

    I would encourage all parents - especially those with daughters - to pass it along.
     
  5. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Well-Known Member

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    Melbourne
    I’m related to Sonya Hartnett in some fashion, so I approve. :)
     
  6. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    Nov 2, 2012
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Wow, CD is such a celebrity.

    ^^
     
  7. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    Nov 6, 2006
    Location:
    Melbourne
    

    [VIDEO][/VIDEO]
     
  8. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Well-Known Member

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    11 VOICES A REYKJAVIK MURDER MYSTERY by Arnalldur Indridason
     
  9. Steve B.

    Steve B. Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    San Antonio
    54. If I Stay Gayle Forman 2009

    A gifted young cellist is in an horrific accident and is the only survivor. The book centers on her thoughts about choosing to stay alive as she wanders around the hospital in spirit form. And then, when she is too weak to do so, in her bed.

    More YA fiction- but another upcoming father daughter movie with an aspiring cellist of my own :).

    Highly recommended.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  10. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,539
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    Location:
    Melbourne
    32. The Orphan Master’s Son
    [​IMG]
    The Orphan Master's Son
    by Adam Johnson
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    I cannot recall having read any other novel about contemporary North Korea, and this one both captures the reality of life in a repressive dictatorship whilst also humanising the character of the dictator. Johnson avoids the temptation to portray Kim Jong Il as a monster; his Dear Leader is all the more threatening and chilling for the thin veneer of calculated benevolence that Johnson gives him.

    The eponymous hero of the novel is a man with no real identity. A nameless orphan and indentured farm worker, he is drafted into the army to work as a kidnapper and a spy. Eventually he is assigned to work on a fishing vessel, eavesdropping on the Americans’ radio traffic. While there, he overhears the night-time musings of an American girl on a solo rowing journey, lost in the vast expanse of the ocean. He is tattooed by his fellow crewmen with the face of Korea’s favourite actress, Sun Moon, an action that will determine his fate. At the end of Part One, the orphan has been attacked by a shark, accused of spying and finds himself in deep trouble.

    The second part of the novel is a strange whirl of plots, shifting identities and impending doom. The orphan is now known as Commander Ga, Sun Moon’s husband. The narrative voice shifts between that of the first part, to that of an interrogator having a career crisis and to the daily propaganda broadcasts that retell the story as a cautionary moral tale for the citizens. The orphan and Sun Moon warily circle and gradually reveal themselves to one another inching towards the inevitable fate that awaits them with the Dear Leader’s displeasure.

    The Orphan Master’s Son is a complex and highly original novel, a very different kind of love story, and in some ways could lay claims to being a modern version of 1984.

    View all my reviews
     
  11. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,312
    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2012
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    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
    17. A Brief History of Time
    18. The Trial
    19. Wind up Bird Chronicle
    20. A Visit from the Goon Squad
    21. Neuromancer
    22. Count Zero
    23. Shadowboxing
    24. Hell's Angels
    25. Anansi Boys
    26. Steelheart
    27. A Hero of Our Time
    28. Mona Lisa Overdrive
    29. The Complete Collection of Flannery O'Connor
    30. The Last Blues Dance
    31. Gularabulu
    32. The Glass Canoe
    33. The Lies of Locke Lamora
    34. Handmaid's Tale
    35. Girt
    36. Museum of Innocence
    37. Neverwhere
    38. The Ghost's Child
    39. Picnic at Hanging Rock

    39. Picnic at Hanging Rock

    Incredibly bland story about a picnic gone wrong. While on a trip, three schoolgirls and a teacher go missing. All the characters are disinteresting and boring. There are a few moments where there is potential for tension and for character development are wasted. Bland, boring and utterly forgettable.

    PS - pissed me off that Macedon was described as 'the bush'. FFS.
     
  12. noob in 89

    noob in 89 Well-Known Member

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    Whoah, that's a shame...the movie is pretty incredible....very atmospheric. I had no idea it was a novel.

    Is the movie a thing in Australia? Here, it is known only to cineastes, pretenders, and fans of the Criterion Collection. :D
     
  13. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Melbourne
    

    It is indeed “a thing” here; it’s considered one of the great Australian films. In a way, Matt has nailed it; Peter Weir’s direction lent an aura of unreality and mystery that you just cannot capture on the printed page. Joan Lindsay’s novel is also considered a classic, but it just does not have that same ethereal moodiness. Mind you, Matt is being a little unfair; the novel is set in 1900, when Macedon really was “the bush”. Still, we can’t expect too much from a teacher who doesn’t know the meaning of the word “disinterested”. :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2014
  14. noob in 89

    noob in 89 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    Oh, well that's good to hear. I just can't make these kinds of assumptions anymore, not after a few vital mishaps -- the best probably being the German exchange student I met who was just really heavily into *America's greatest novelist*, Mark Twain -- he was happy to be discussing him online, or even with his fellow grad students, but was just so stoked to finally be able to go right to the source, to really dig in and get a native's POV from an informed populace who cared very deeply. Man was he ever disappointed.

    A similar fate awaited a friend who taught in rural France for a year, convinced that everyone he met was just like, aching to discuss The French New Wave, holy shit!. :laugh:
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2014
  15. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Well-Known Member

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    Dec 4, 2010
    Location:
    South West of the Black Stump
    10 Roseanna The Martin Beck Series by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo perfect grey cold noir weather for it in Canberra.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2014
  16. Steve B.

    Steve B. Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    San Antonio
    55. Where She Went 2011 Gayle Forman

    Sequel to if If I Stay...chronicles the continuing story of couple Mia Hall (cellist) and Adam Wilde (punk musician).

    I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

    IMO both books will be put together in the movie due out in August.
     
  17. Journeyman

    Journeyman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2005
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    I read both of Imperium and Lustrum a few years back and really enjoyed them and, like you, I'm eagerly awaiting the third instalment.

    Have you read any of Cicero's translated works? I don't know if Penguin still does, but they used to publish a version of some of his collected works.

    Has anyone here read any of Russell Hoban's books?

    When I first read some of Gaiman's works, he reminded me of Hoban. Some of Hoban's books - Kleinzeit, The Medusa Frequency and Riddley Walker as examples - are odd, eccentric but deeply interesting and enjoyable.
     
  18. clockwise

    clockwise Well-Known Member

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    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Hong Kong via Gothenburg
    

    Yes, many years ago I read some of Cicero's speeches from a collection. I remember being surprised at how accessible they are, and obviously clever. Should read more after now having read the Harris' books with a better understanding of the politics of the time. It's great that Harris has done meticulous research and essentially tells a true story.
     
  19. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,312
    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2012
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    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
    17. A Brief History of Time
    18. The Trial
    19. Wind up Bird Chronicle
    20. A Visit from the Goon Squad
    21. Neuromancer
    22. Count Zero
    23. Shadowboxing
    24. Hell's Angels
    25. Anansi Boys
    26. Steelheart
    27. A Hero of Our Time
    28. Mona Lisa Overdrive
    29. The Complete Collection of Flannery O'Connor
    30. The Last Blues Dance
    31. Gularabulu
    32. The Glass Canoe
    33. The Lies of Locke Lamora
    34. Handmaid's Tale
    35. Girt
    36. Museum of Innocence
    37. Neverwhere
    38. The Ghost's Child
    39. Picnic at Hanging Rock
    40. Submarine

    40. Submarine

    I've seen the film (directed by Richard Ayoade) and loved it. Numerous times. So I figured I'd pick the novel up.

    Oliver Tate is a teenager whose parents (especially his father) are bland, almost passionless and going through the motions. Oliver decides to try and re-invigorate their lives, along the way he also picks up (and loses) a girlfriend, confronts his mother's ex-lover, causes a lot of shenanigans and is incredibly weird and awkward the entire time.

    There are some genuinely masterful moments in this story, but I felt that is was entirely inferior to the movie. Oliver himself is incredibly difficult to relate to and there are many times I was legitimately wondering if he was supposed to be Autistic. His father is quite likable, and the minor characters are very well crafted. It lacked the constant wit, balanced humanism and feircly well executed humour of the movie (which is much more of a liberal adaptation than I realised, cutting a lot of the book and adding in many scenes, twisting almost every part of the story into something much more potent without losing the essential teenage weirdness and drama of Tate himself).

    If you enjoy coming of age films that are neither unrealistic, overly showy or bizarrely obnoxious I would recommend the film with as much gusto as possible. I would probably pass on the book, which I felt was bland, despite the competent writing of Joe Dunthorne. Unsurprisingly, the film has gained much acclaim, which the book still languishes in obscurity.
     
    1 person likes this.
  20. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Well-Known Member

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    I've tried being disinterested, it just doesn't work for me.

    I might dream of louchely reclining in the Riveria, smoking a cigarette and snidely watching the world go by, only to retreat into a mess of sex, drugs, smoking and blase critiques of my contemporaries, but I just get too puppy like about pretty much everything for such an affected sense of distance.
     

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