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2017 50 Book Challenge

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

  1. Landscape

    Landscape Well-Known Member

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    Hope this isn't breaking the rules too much, but I only plan on doing 30. I'm still a student and I'd assume we read the equivalent of 20 books or more over the course of a year, so I feel like 30 books is a more accomplishable task.

    1. Dune by Frank Herbert
    I found it to be a very good read. Interesting protagonist and unique setting, understandable that it's the best-selling sci-fi novel.

    2. Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert
    The continuation of the Dune series. Quite a bit shorter than the first book and not as enjoyable, but it wasn't exactly a bad read, and I plan on reading all 6 novels by Frank Herbert.

    After the third novel in the series I plan to take a short break from the Dune universe and read some Murakami. Does anyone have any suggestions on where to start with Murakami, as I've never read anything by him before?
     
  2. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Well-Known Member

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    1. A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists

    An Australian novel set in a post-climate change Melbourne - a world where there are distinct haves and have nots. Caddy is the main character, and the novel basically charts her everyday existance as it is interrupted by a friend finding a series of maps that allow him/others to move between realities, at times ending up in others' imaginations. The strength of this book was, by far, the description of Melbourne/the World in a climate change fucked era.

    2. Acceptance

    The final book in 'the reach' trilogy was also the most interestingly written. Using a mixture of characters, perspectives and narration (moving between first, second and third person) this novel wraps up the triology in a, largely, unsatisfying way. The cause of the mysterious 'Area X' is revealed, but isn't very satisfying, and the novel concludes, but without anything really having changed from the first novel. Overall, I felt that the first novel was excellent, but the latter two were just OK. I sometimes feel that authors/readers should want tension and enjoyment over a neatly finished, completed or explained work - as the attempts to wrap this series/world up in a nicely concluded way detracted from the work itself.

    3. Shipbreaker

    A bio-punk novel that's aimed at tweens/teens. Pretty fun, but not as good as 'The Windup Girl' (the writer's other novel I've read). Thematically similar, however, mainly looking at how technological and climate changes increase the gap between rich and poor and disenfranchisement is rife and impossible.
     
  3. Steve B.

    Steve B. Well-Known Member

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    6. A Visit From the Goon Squad 2010 Jennifer Egan

    [COLOR=FF00AA]LIST[/COLOR]

    Because of its unusual narrative structure, this book can be characterized as a novel or as a collection of linked short stories. A Visit from the Goon Squad has 13 chapters, all of which can be read as individual stories, and does not focus on any single central character or narrative arc. In addition, many of the chapters were originally published as short stories.
    Most of the stories in the book concern Bennie Salazar, an aging rock music executive; his onetime assistant, Sasha; and their various friends and associates. The book follows a large cast of mostly self-destructive characters as they grow older and life sends them in directions they did not intend to go in. The stories shift back and forth in time, moving from the late sixties to the present and into the near future. Many of the stories take place in or around New York City, although some are set in California, Italy and Kenya.

    A Visit From the Goon Squad also won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

    The book was excellent, and makes 3 straight great books from the [COLOR=FF00AA]LIST[/COLOR] to start the year. I think I shall make the effort to read more of them this year.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2015
  4. EnglishGent

    EnglishGent Well-Known Member

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    4/50 The Talented Mr. Ripley - Patricia Highsmith

    Much better than the film, the constant paranoia and insecurity really makes this.
     
  5. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Well-Known Member

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    1. A Wrong Turn at the Office on Unmade Lists
    2. Acceptance
    3. Shipbreaker
    4. Winter's Bone

    4. Winter's Bone

    Forgettable.
     
  6. clockwise

    clockwise Well-Known Member

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    Clockwise counting 03/50: Edward Wilson - A River in May (2002)

    Before Edward Wilson became an excellent author of spy novels, he wrote this debut novel based on his own experience with the Special Forces in the Vietnam War. It's a book full of indignation and with a focus on the suffering of the Vietnamese. The protagonist is a US Lieutenant of Mexican origin who has volunteered for Vietnam to make amends for a personal tragedy or possibly to seek his death. The brutal experience of war will fundamentally challenge his loyalties.

    This is a really good war novel and quite different from Wilson's later spy novels. All books I have read by Wilson have been good and this one is no exception.
     
  7. Steve B.

    Steve B. Well-Known Member

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    7. Long Ride Home 1989 Louis L'Amour

    A collection of posthumously published short stories. Just OK.

    I ordered A River in May. I'm looking forward to it.
     
  8. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Well-Known Member

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    Pitty I've see the Quartet for the end of Time performed a couple of times and have a recording of it, the genesis of the work is a remarkable story,
     
  9. EnglishGent

    EnglishGent Well-Known Member

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    5/50 Tsukuru Tazaki - Murakami

    It's already been reviewed and I wasn't sure what to expect. This ended up being one of my favourite from Murakami, despite the loose ends. Maybe it's the closer to real life nature of the story, or just the easy flow.
     
  10. Steve B.

    Steve B. Well-Known Member

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    8. I Am a Barbarian 1967 Edgar Rice Burroughs

    Traces the life of a Briton slave attached to the Emperor Caligula from the age of five until his assassination at 29. Surprisingly, it's a pretty humorous read, and I enjoyed it very much.
     
  11. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Well-Known Member

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    So that’s what the “B” stands for.
     
  12. Steve B.

    Steve B. Well-Known Member

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    You have no idea... :)
     
  13. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Well-Known Member

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    1. A Wrong Turn at the Office on Unmade Lists
    2. Acceptance
    3. Shipbreaker
    4. Winter's Bone
    5. Dhmara Bums

    5. Dhama Bums

    I was severely disappointed by this book, and spent most of the time reading wondering what it was on about and why it was so boring. Not particularly illustrative of Buddhist concepts (unlike, say, Hardcore Zen, or Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance), and the loose narrative wasn't even particularly interesting (unlike, say, On the Road).

    Honestly, felt like wasted words washing over me.
     
  14. Steve B.

    Steve B. Well-Known Member

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    9. Last Man Standing David Baldacci 2001

    650 pages worth of thriller that didn't thrill.
     
  15. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Well-Known Member

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    1. A Tale for the Time Being 2. The Sun is God
    3. The Keeper of Lost Causes
    [​IMG]
    The Keeper of Lost Causes
    by Jussi Adler-Olsen
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    Carl Morck, the hero of The Keeper of Lost Causes is assigned by his boss to head the new Department Q, essentially as a means of getting rid of him. Morck decides to investigate the disappearance five years ago of politician Merete Lynggaard as his first case.

    What follows is a pretty straightforward police procedural with very few surprises. Morck’s investigation is mostly progressed by insights from his janitor assistant, which doesn’t recommend him much as a detective. As with far too many detective novels, Adler-Olsen employs the hackneyed plot device of having his allegedly smart detective decide to confront the bad guys on their turf, with neither weapons, nor backup. This is about as boring a cliche as teenagers deciding to blunder around in the dark in slash movies. Surely we can expect at least some intelligence from detectives, even fictional ones.

    Character development is minimal, and quite a bit of potential interest in the lead characters is lost as the author resorts to cliche and easy resolutions. The ending is fairly schmaltzy, not at all what you’d expect from Scandinavian noir fiction.

    For a far more engaging and surprising book with some similar plot elements, I would recommend Pierre Lemaitre’s Alex.
    View all my reviews
     
  16. clockwise

    clockwise Well-Known Member

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    Clockwise counting 04/50: C.J. Sansom - Dissolution (2003)

    Impossible to keep up with the pace this "year of furious reading". I think Steve B is shooting for 200.

    I have read two Sansom books so far, historical crime novels, one set in London in the 1950s after Nazi Germany has won the war and Britain accepted a humiliating peace treaty, the other set in the early years of Franco controlled Spain. Both were good and entertaining. Sansom's most popular novels are however those in the Matthew Shardlake series and this is the first.

    One of Thomas Cromwell's commissioners has been killed, decapitated by a sword, in an English monastery threatened to be captured by King Henry VIII as part of the reformists power struggle against the old church. A newly appointed commissioner, the lawyer and likeable hunchback Matthew Shardlake, gets the task of solving the case, capturing the murderer and convincing the monastery to surrender to the king.

    This is a very nice crime novel with all the historical details of 1537 Tudor England. Even more (purely) entertaining than the other Sansom novels I have read. All Sansom's novels are quite thick but easy reads and lots of fun. I think many of the posters on this thread would like this stuff.
     
  17. clockwise

    clockwise Well-Known Member

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    I read it in my early 20s and felt exactly what you are describing. However, I am not sure which one is worse, Dharma Bums or On the Road. You have to be thoroughly stoned to appreciate such poor writing.

    I thought the autobiographical book written by Joyce Johnson, Kerouac's one-time girlfriend, was superior in all respects. She writes a lot better than her sanctified dead ex-boyfriend ever did. The book tells us a lot about the "Beat Generation" and more or less crushes the Kerouac myth. I believe it is called Minor Characters.
     
  18. Landscape

    Landscape Well-Known Member

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    3. Existentialism is a humanism by Jean-Paul Sartre

    Interesting read. Supposedly serves as an introduction to Sartre's philosophy, but it definitely helped that I was already familiar with Sartre's philosophy. As it was a translation of the book there was also a quite lengthy foreword by the translator, which wasn't very interesting but it helped understanding the context of the book (or lecture as it actually was). The lecture itself I found very interesting and I enjoyed his view on human nature. The book was also a very easy read compared to philosophers such as Nietzsche, so it's definitely some quite accessible existentialism.
     
  19. Steve B.

    Steve B. Well-Known Member

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    10. Yondering Louis L'Amour 1980

    A collection of short stories, particularly about sailing and San Pedro during the Depression.
     
  20. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Well-Known Member

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    1. A Wrong Turn at the Office on Unmade Lists
    2. Acceptance
    3. Shipbreaker
    4. Winter's Bone
    5. Dhmara Bums
    6. Istanbul

    6. Istanbul

    This is the third Pamuk book I've read, and I think it's my least favourite. Broadly, the novel is split into two: at times it's an auto-biographical story of Pamuk's own childhood and adolescence, and at others a story about Istanbul's recent history. Pamuk manages to balance these fairly well, although a great part of the novel is dedicated to Westerner's experiences of Istanbul and Pamuk's life <10, which I didn't find as engaging as his teenager years.

    I found this oddly unsatisfying - I felt that he made his point about Istanbul early in the novel, and continues to return to that same point over and over again. His family life was more interesting, but at bit sparse at times.

    The writing is beautiful, dark and melancholic - Pamuk positively broods for almost the entire novel. This was OK, but not excellent.
     

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