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2017 50 Book Challenge

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

  1. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    1. A Tale for the Time Being
    [​IMG]
    A Tale for the Time Being
    by Ruth Ozeki
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    A Tale for the Time Being somehow manages to blend zen philosophy, quantum mechanics, ecology, suicide, and teenage angst into a very readable story.

    Ozeki’s novel concerns the diary of a Japanese schoolgirl called Nao (pun on “now”) who has returned to Japan from the USA. She is bullied unmercifully, but her suicidal father and disengaged mother are unable to help. She records her story in a diary hidden inside a copy of Proust. The diary somehow ends up wrapped in a Hello Kitty bag with a WW2 watch and some letters, washed up on the shores of an island off British Columbia, where it is found by the struggling novelist Ruth.

    Ruth feels a strong bond to Nao as she reads her story and obsesses with finding her to see if she is OK. This proves to be a whole lot more difficult than she expects, with none of the people or events described seeming to be traceable.

    Ozeki plays with the concept of the "time being”, which seems to mean both a person existing in the here and now, and also the idea of time being fluid and mutable. It takes her a fair while to resolve all this, and I confess I lost patience with Ruth and her fellow islanders halfway through, wanting to return to the Japanese characters in the story, who are far more interesting. Which may indeed be part of Ozeki’s point - interconnectedness with other lives, other times, in fiction and in fact, can enrich our own experience.
    View all my reviews
     
  2. EnglishGent

    EnglishGent Senior member

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    I've been a long time lurker in this thread and probably read 50 last year but didn't keep track. Lots of books I'll get to have been picked up because of the brief reviews you write

    1/50 American Rust - Philipp Meyer
    Not something I'd have found myself, but very good. Thanks
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2015
  3. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Welcome to the thread and god luck in reaching the 50 in 2015. Meyer's The Son is one notch above American Rust in my opinion.
     
  4. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    Happy New Year and welcome, EnglishGent! It's not as hard as you might think...
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2015
  5. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    It's damn hard Steve.. we are sacrificing family time, careers, binge drinking, mountaineering and other activities normal people prioritise. But it's worth the pain.
     
  6. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    1. The Land of Hidden Men Edgar Rice Burroughs 1931

    An American physician becomes lost in the jungles of Cambodia and stumbles upon an ancient Khmer civilization. He happens upon a delectable damsel in distress, and succors her with daunting deeds of derring-do. They fall for one another, then he finds out she is a Princess. This complicates matters, and he must fashion more fantastic feats to win her father's permission to marry her.

    A Tarzan knock off, but I liked it.

    1 down, 124 to go.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2015
  7. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

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    If you haven't read She by H.Rider Haggard try it on, some of the other books of his such as King Solomons Mines and Alan Quatermain are also a good read.
     
  8. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    I have read She, it's a very nice one! I plan to read King Solomon's Mines this year.
     
  9. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 01/50: Hammond Innes - Campbell's Kingdom (1952)

    Starting off 2015 with a classic adventure story. Bruce Wetheral is in London and terminally ill with cancer when he suddenly and unexpectedly gets an unusual inheritance from a grandfather he never knew: a large piece of land on the top of a mountain somewhere in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The grandfather was convinced there was oil on his land and Bruce makes it his final task in life to prove his grandfather right. It turns into a fight against immoral big company interests and an exciting run against the clock. I have now read three novels by Innes and they are all very entertaining.
     
  10. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    2. Bright Lights, Big City 1984 Jay McInerney

    [COLOR=FF00AA]LIST[/COLOR]

    A twenty-something dissipates in Manhattan, struggling with an impending divorce and an unfulfilling job. He drowns himself in alcohol and cocaine to cope with his life, predictably loses his job, and doesn't move any closer to finding himself. The book ends with his realization of the true cause of his pain (his mother's recent death), and the reader is left with a sense that even with this knowledge he will never turn his life around.

    I can relate to many elements of the story, and enjoyed the first [COLOR=FF00AA]LIST[/COLOR] book in a while.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2015
  11. EnglishGent

    EnglishGent Senior member

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    Thanks for the welcome

    2/50 A River in May - Edward Wilson

    Vietnam war fiction with a twist, this was good although I understand the other work by the same author is different I'm ready to read more.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2015
  12. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    I have read two of his more recent novels, both were very interesting espionage stories with a good dose of factual modern history interwoven. Clever and engaging entertainment. I have just purchased his earlier novels, including A River in May, and have these on my list for 2015.
     
  13. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    I read this one when it was new, back in the heyday. Always preferred McInerney to Brett Easton Ellis.
     
  14. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 02/50: Georges Simenon - The Shadow Puppet (1932)

    Possibly the best Commissaire Maigret mystery I have read so far. Simenon's forte is his studies of the psychology of "normal" people, the strain of life and frustrated dreams that can turn people into criminals. The owner of a successful manufacturing business is found murdered and a significant amount of company cash stolen. Several residents of an apartment block in downtown Paris are in various ways connected with the dead man and suspicions falls on his widow, his ex-wife, his son and his mistress. Maigret gradually gets to know all the people relevant to the case and solves the mystery by studying their behaviour. Very good indeed.
     
  15. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    3. The Invention of Curried Sausage Uwe Timm 1993

    [COLOR=FF00AA]LIST[/COLOR]

    I know others have read this book and done summaries in the thread; I will be brief. A writer interviews an old woman to determine if she invented curried sausage in Hamburg in the 40s prior to the generally accepted belief of Berlin in the 50s. She has a plausible story claiming to be the inventor, and relates her war experiences during the interviews. These are the-er-meat of the book and are poignant and enjoyable.

    I enjoyed the book, and would recommend it highly.
     
  16. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    4. The Strong Shall Live Louis L'Amour 1980

    A collection of Western short stories. My favorite so far.
     
  17. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    1. A Tale for the Time Being
    2. The Sun is God
    [​IMG]
    The Sun is God
    by Adrian McKinty
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    Will Prior is a former military policeman who seeks refuge in remote parts of German New Guinea after the horrors of the Boer War. While there he is pressed into assisting his friend Hauptmann Kessler to investigate a mysterious death on a secluded island.

    The denizens of the island are a cult of sun-worshippers called the cocovores who have left the trappings of Imperial Europe behind. They welcome Prior and Kessler, but are dismissive of the need for their investigation, given that the deceased suffered from malaria. As Prior spends more time on the island he becomes much more concerned about what is going on there.

    This book is more like a Rider Haggard colonial adventure than a gritty detective story, and is a breezy read. It's loosely based on factual matters, but there is a fair bit of invention from McKinty. Some of it seems fairly silly, and the author does show a worrying concern about penises, but it's not a bad read. I much prefer Euphoria as a novel about New Guinea, in that it convincingly immersed the reader in the native jungle setting, whereas in The Sun is God, New Guinea and its inhabitants are pretty much just wallpaper for McKinty to move his characters in front of.

    View all my reviews
     
  18. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    5. Six Years Harlan Coben 2014

    Hard to do a summary on this without giving it away. An unrequited love becomes requited over the space of-you guessed it-six years.

    One of the best mystery/thrillers I've read in a while. Highly Recommended.
     
  19. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

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    50 The Siege by Arturo Pérez-Reverte I have read previous novels by this author some years ago The Flanders Panel, The Club Dumas and found them vrey entertaining.This is no exception it draws from a number of sources to construct a very solid narrative and moves along at great pace. Perfect book for relaxing by the seashore to be honest, well that is when one is not enjoying the cornucopia of female flesh that is strutting past.
     
  20. EnglishGent

    EnglishGent Senior member

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    3/50 Quartet for the end of time - Johanna Skibsrud

    Four interconnected people chronicled as they go through various lesser known events of 20th century US history, set up in the to resemble the piece of music with the same name as the book.

    Such a great concept that I really wanted to enjoy this, but I couldn't. Overly descriptive, often rambling and ill formed characters. Don't waste your time.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2015

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