Dismiss Notice

STYLE. COMMUNITY. GREAT CLOTHING.

Bored of counting likes on social networks? At Styleforum, you’ll find rousing discussions that go beyond strings of emojis.

Click Here to join Styleforum's thousands of style enthusiasts today!

2017 50 Book Challenge

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

  1. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

    Messages:
    1,408
    Likes Received:
    42
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Hong Kong via Gothenburg
    Clockwise counting 21/50: Justin Torres - We The Animals (2011)

    This short novel is Torres' debut and has received great reviews. Mixed and mixed-up brothers of Puerto Rican heritage in upstate New York go through a childhood of neglect and violence. The father beats the mother and the boys and the boys beat each other. It is written in short lyrical chapters in a language that is often exquisite and moving. The dark theme and the surprise shock ending did however leave me with an uncomfortable feeling. I rate the book somewhere between brilliant and average and it might actually be both.
     


  2. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

    Messages:
    2,365
    Likes Received:
    1,225
    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2012
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    CD: I really liked that book when I read it last year. Very glad you enjoyed it too!
     


  3. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

    Messages:
    5,736
    Likes Received:
    1,388
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    Location:
    Melbourne
    

    It seems to appeal to a lot of people Matt. My son's partner (who is caning Steve B BTW, with 33 so far this year) loved it too.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2014


  4. noob in 89

    noob in 89 Senior member

    Messages:
    8,084
    Likes Received:
    8,030
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2010
    Yeah, thanks for the heads up, C. I was was able to find a few of the chapters online, and will definitely be picking this one up. :D
     


  5. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

    Messages:
    1,408
    Likes Received:
    42
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Hong Kong via Gothenburg
    Clockwise counting 22/50: Andrea Camilleri - The Terracotta Dog (1996)

    2nd novel of the Inspector Montalbano series, an unusual Sicilian police procedural.

    While pursuing mafia crimes, Montalbano gets side-tracked when two bodies are discovered in a cave used for mafia contraband. The bodies are those of a young man and woman, dead since 50 years, arranged naked in an embrace and with signs of ritualistic burial, including a terracotta dog and old coins. Montalbano stubbornly solves the mystery of an old murder and neglects the mafia crimes.

    The Montalbano novels are unusual mysteries, lacking in suspense and action but with a lot of local Sicilian colour and frequent references to good food and literature. Montalbano himself is a self-centred and enigmatic character, sometimes with a heart of gold, sometimes petty and vengeful. I think I will continue with this series, it is definitely growing on me and I start to like all the minor and not so minor but always colourful supporting characters.

    Looks like I will manage 50 this year since I am on pace for 108. :)
     


  6. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

    Messages:
    5,410
    Likes Received:
    1,407
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2010
    Location:
    South West of the Black Stump
    36 A Very British Coup by Chris Mullin

    A novel which spawned two TV Min Series and a dystopian nightmare vision, depending on your politics, of the British upper classes and their belief that they rule by divine right.

    In all honesty both TV series did better justice to the ideas, narrative and characterization than what the book achieved. It The book came across as being somewhat cliched and the characters one dimensional. A case where TV surpassed the Novel i think and the ending of the first TV series was more inspired the second Secret State stayed closer to the original ending.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2014


  7. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

    Messages:
    1,408
    Likes Received:
    42
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Hong Kong via Gothenburg
    Clockwise counting 23/50: Andrea Camilleri - The Snack Thief (1996)

    The 3rd novel in the Inspector Montalbano series is the best so far. A Tunisian fisherman is killed by Tunisian Coast guards and an elderly promiscuous businessman is stabbed to death in the elevator of his apartment building. The two events intertwine and Montalbano solves the mysteries in his own special way of "playing God", bending the rules to arrive at a morally satisfying outcome for the victims. These strange Sicilian police procedurals are recommended.
     


  8. Steve B.

    Steve B. Go Spurs Go

    Messages:
    10,284
    Likes Received:
    125
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    San Antonio
    28. A Farewell to Arms Ernest Hemingway 1929

    [COLOR=FF00AA]LIST[/COLOR]

    The embellished autobiography of Hemingway's life during WWI. He's an American lieutenant in the Italian Army driving an ambulance. He meets a British nurse and they become an item, When he is wounded she comes to him almost every night and he impregnates her. They desert to Switzerland and live out the pregnancy.

    Both the baby and mother die in childbirth.

    B-
     


  9. wojt

    wojt Senior member

    Messages:
    4,029
    Likes Received:
    1,176
    Joined:
    May 16, 2013
    [​IMG]

    1/50

    good idea this thread, I will read moar to make it to 50
     


  10. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

    Messages:
    5,410
    Likes Received:
    1,407
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2010
    Location:
    South West of the Black Stump
    

    First Hemingway I ever read, thought the ending sucked still do. My favourite real life Hemingway story is about the liberation of the Ritz Hotel bars in Paris in 1944.
     


  11. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

    Messages:
    2,365
    Likes Received:
    1,225
    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2012
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Hemmingway seems like the sort of author I should love, but with exception of 'Old Man and the Sea' I've never enjoyed anything of his I've read. Perhaps it's just too understated.
     


  12. noob in 89

    noob in 89 Senior member

    Messages:
    8,084
    Likes Received:
    8,030
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2010
    It's really too bad, because for all the talk about his super-pared-down tough guy style, it seems that every book of his could have risen to full sonic grandeur and beyond. The opening of Farewell to Arms, for instance, is like a case study in parataxis, and it reads to me like Faulkner or McCarthy:




    EDIT: Actually, yeah. The end of The Road is strikingly similar. McCarthy seems to have broken parts into fragments, but that's about it:


    Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.


    I wish he wrote the entirety of his books this way -- but for some reason they always seem to peter out into these humdrum scenes full of those much parodied descriptions ("He picked up the beer. It was cold. 'This beer is cold!' he said.)

    I actually just bought this one, based on the strength of the first couple pages. I wish it kept this up, but looking ahead, it seems to flatten out like the rest.

    Why, H, why!
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014


  13. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

    Messages:
    5,410
    Likes Received:
    1,407
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2010
    Location:
    South West of the Black Stump
    35 1914 A Novel by Jean Echenoz

    A very short novel that distills the filth,the fear & horror, in a literate well crafted minimalist manner within its pages that does both the characters and the waste and stupidity of the Great War justice.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014


  14. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

    Messages:
    1,408
    Likes Received:
    42
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Hong Kong via Gothenburg
    As for Hemingway, I have read almost all he ever wrote and he is one of my all time favorites. Discovered him as a teenager and was more or less done with him in my early 20s. Since then I have however re-read a few of his works (and some more than once).

    And the Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms and his short stories stand out in my view. These were all written in the 1920s before his daily 4 bottles of wine, the daiquiris and the fame wore him down and made him somewhat lose track of his ideals.

    I find that you always have to look for a hidden code in his stories and it's always about the same thing, his own peculiar life philosophy / code of conduct, the "grace under pressure" thing. If read as straightforward stories they often seem repetitive and slow moving and always with an anti-climactic ending. The Old Man and the Sea is more of a traditional story which gives an immediate impact but I think it is less powerful, probably for exactly that reason.

    Hemingway's iceberg technique was unique. Others tried but only he managed this so successfully. He would keep 90 % of the message under the surface (or so he said), slavishly cutting out all unnecessary words and especially adjectives from his writing. This is also a key to his greatness.
     


  15. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

    Messages:
    2,365
    Likes Received:
    1,225
    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2012
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    . 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
    19. Wind up Bird Chronicle

    Murakami's novel follows a narrator whose live seems to becoming endlessly more confusing and strange while, all the while, the man struggles to understand or deeply care about the situation. Add in seemingly random fantastical elements (moving through time and space, future telling), some historical elements (re-occuring references to the Manchurian occupation) and Murakami's signiture "make boring shit awesome" and the novel is somewhat interesting.

    It read, to me, like a fairly formative work. In other words all the elements that make Murakami a great writer were there, but they didn't quite come together as they do in other works (19Q4, Dance, Dance, Dance or Norweigan Wood, for example).

    That being said, after the past 4 books having a weak (if any) narrative, it was great to have an author that tells a fucking story.
     


Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by