Discussion in 'Entertainment, Culture, and Sports' started by edinatlanta, Dec 23, 2010.
Let me know if you want my 50 books list...You gotta do it, man. I don't want to be the only one....
You should definitely read Blood Meridian as soon as possible. It is not an easy read though; it's kind of a hazy fevered nightmare of violence and bloodshed. Even if that sort of thing doesn't normally interest you, you should still read it. It's Great American Novel caliber stuff.
Clockwise counting 36/50: Alan Hollinghurst - The Stranger's Child (2011)
Hollinghurst is together with Ian McEwan and Julian Barnes widely acknowledged as one of the best English novelists of today. He is a former Booker prize winner and this novel also emerged as an early favorite to win the 2011 prize (which instead went to Barnes).
Being in a hurry to accumulate some quick books in my quest for 50 within the year, I should possibly have avoided this 564 page chronicle of two fascinating, intertwined English families from 1913 to 2008. It was a good but not very quick read, doubtlessly well worth the effort, with strong influences of Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited. The focus is on a minor homosexual aristocratic First World War poet and his influence on the lives of two families. A bit of a study of the decline of the old English class society. Now I should read the Barnes' novel that the Booker prize jury thought was better!
41. Another Roadside Attraction- Tom Robbins
Story of a stereotypical close-knit group of friends in the 60s. Dramatizes the 60s in an extremely humorous way. I laughed out loud quite a few times. Highly recommend it.
Clockwise counting 37/50: Julian Barnes - The Sense of an Ending (2011)
A short and masterful novel about how we edit our memories over the course of a lifetime. The story of a 60 year old art administrator and the events, friendships and love interests of his study days and how these affect his life 40 years later. A great story with an unexpected twist on the last few pages. The Man Booker Prize winner of 2011. More of these short page turners and I might just make my fifty.
This one sounds really good. I have my next 6 lined up, but I think I'll add this one.
31. Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir by Dave Mustaine (and some ghostwriters) - Another musician autobiography. Dave Mustaine is the like the pathetic geek that everyone feels sorry for. This book is pretty great. I was satisfied.
32. A Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne - A classic. This was a good one. Some of the phrasing is magical. I've taken a few quotes from this book that I'd like to incorporate into some future projects of my own some how.
33. The Hunter by Richard Stark - Decent pulpy heist tale. Good but not amazing.
34. The Man with the Getaway Face by Richard Stark - See #33. Again, good but not great.
35. Rabbit, Run by John Updike - What did I just read? I know this one is supposed to be a classic but I thought it was awful. I can't tell you why, it is just completely forgettable for me.
36. Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street by Michael Davis - Who would've thought a book called "Street Gang" that's about Sesame Street would be sooooooooooo incredibly DULL. Tough read.
37. You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News: Shocking But Utterly True Facts by Writers of Cracked Magazine - This is similar to something like Ripley's Believe or Not... A bunch of stories about really weird strange facts. Someone gave me this book, so I read it. It was actually pretty entertaining.
38. The Ramen Kind and I: How the Inventor of Instant Noodles Fixed My Love Life by Andy Raskin - So, I don't know if the the author is a wasian or an actual Japanese dude, but he's obsessed with Japanese culture. He's on a quest to speak to the inventor of instant ramen, but doesn't really have any luck. Then the dude guy dies and he never gets to meet him. He's bummed but makes some conclusion about how destiny has intervened, blah, blah, blah. This was a decently entertaining read.
39. For Whom the Minivan Rolls by Jefferey Cohen - I read this book a while ago and don't remember anything about it. I guess it was OK, but obviously not memorable.
40. Buddy Bradley Saga (The Bradleys, Buddy Does Seattle, Buddy Does Jersey) by Peter Bagge - BEST COMIC SERIES EVER. I've read these stories every year at least once since I discovered them. Peter Bagge is a fucking GENIUS. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED to anyone with a sense of humor or hopelessness.
Clockwise counting 38/50: Ian M. Banks - Consider Phlebas (1987)
This is Banks' SF debut novel, one of those ambitious "space opera" stories and the introduction of the SF phenomenon "The Culture". In 2010, I started reading Banks with the great adventure The Player of Games and the almost equally good Use of Weapons. Both are excellent and intelligent entertainment and I had hoped that the even more ambitious approach of Consider Phlebas would make for more of the same but it has taken me months to eventually get to end of this one. I haven't given up on Banks, he is a very skillful and engaging author, I have just realized that my preference is for the straighter and less technical stories. I am in the middle of another (close to 500-page) Banks novel at the moment but I am parallel reading a few books so not sure about my priorities.
42. The Human Comedy- William Saroyan
Somewhat autobiographical story of a small CA town during WWII. Some great prose, but only one sufficiently well developed character IMO. I liked it, but I'd put it at the 50th percentile of what I've read at best.
I can't believe it would disappoint you. Julian Barnes is one of the best out there!
hazy fevered nightmares normally interest me, so I will definitely read it
I am arithmetically in a bit of trouble, having to do more than one book per week in the run-up to year end. I had hoped to have created a bit of a comfortable leeway by now.
Good thing is that I have a few books that are close to completion... some of which I have been reading since the early part of the year
I'll keep going and shoot for glory.
Quite a few Holidays in there.
I think that is true for Americans. For us orthodox European materialists, there are no holidays prior to Christmas.
Furthermore, I have encountered a dilemma. Haruki Murakami's 1Q84 just arrived, it is close to 1,000 pages.
I think that 1,000 pager would make a great 1st book of 2012. In fact-I'll read War and Peace first if you finish the marathon with me. (I have two friends who run marathons and they encourage each other all the time like that. )
Clockwise counting 39/50: Lars Ahlin - Joy of the Captured (1947)
In my project to cover some of the Swedish modern classics, I read my first book by Lars Ahlin, one of the biggest names in Sweden's post-WW2 literature. This is a short story collection which felt like a minor masterpiece. Strange people in extreme situations, often bleak and gloomy Northern Swedish oddity.
Clockwise counting 40/50: William Kennedy - Chango's Beads and Two-Tone Shoes (2011)
I loved Ironweed and Billy Phelan's Greatest Game, probably Kennedy's two most well-known novels, both which I read back in the, ehh, 80s. I was recently amazed to read that the author is now 83 years old and his latest installment in the great Albany saga had again received smashing reviews.
This novel is actually made up of two stories, only losely tied together through the main characters - the first part is an enormously entertaining yarn from pre-revolutionary late 50s Havana with both Hemingway and Fidel Castro having significant parts to play; the second part is one crazy day of riots and adventures in Albany, NY, on the day Bobby Kennedy was shot. The plot is hard to follow, the characters are in some cases insane or senile but the writing is excellent and there is some kind of feverish intensity which made this novel an easier and quicker read than it otherwise would have been. Loved it!
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