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2017 50 Book Challenge

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

  1. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    I think it's different - if you'd like I can go back and name the stories I liked, but the book literally just says 'Collected Stories'.

    1. A Wrong Turn at the Office on Unmade Lists
    2. Acceptance
    3. Shipbreaker
    4. Winter's Bone
    5. Dhmara Bums
    6. Istanbul
    7. On the Trail of Genghis Khan
    8. Holy Bible
    9. The Boat
    10. Collected Stories
    11. Lost and Found

    11. Lost and Found

    CD covered this pretty well - I felt it was a bit annoying. The dialogue (internal/external) is all written in italics and made me want to smack the author, ugh, so obnoxious. The story centres around three characters dealing with loss (lost in the title, woah, subtle!) in various forms: Millie (a child) in a very upfront way, Karl (old) in a fairly internal, but literal way, and Agatha (old) just becoming withdrawn and cruel.

    I didn't hate this, but didn't like it - it's one of those books that you read the reviewer's snippets on the blurb/front and just think 'really?'

    CD, this is what I imagine Agatha as the entire time:
    [​IMG]
     
  2. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    That seems about right. Did you see what I was getting at with the Wes Anderson vibe? I was referring to whacky grotesque characters running around in an improbable plot, but I meant that she was aping Anderson, not living up to him. I hope I didn’t lead you astray.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2015
  3. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 10/50: William Ryan - The Holy Thief (2010)

    Irish author Ryan writes detective novels / thrillers about claustrophobic life in Stalin's 1936 Soviet Union. This is his first book of, so far, four. The protagonist, Moscow police inspector Korolev, is a good man with moral and compassion but always confused about his loyalty to the party, his country and the communist cause. A case with tortured murder victims turns political and Korolev risks getting on the wrong side of NKVD, the secret political police. Decent entertainment, interesting setting. Not essential reading.
     
  4. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    There were moments where I felt that, yeah, it could be in an Anderson movie - especially the interaction between Millie/the other boy on the train.

    But, yeah, it didn't really have that sentimentality and quirkiness that Anderson nails.
     
  5. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

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    45 Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson 100 pages in and I am hooked its a brutal ugly, no a very ugly book peopled by characters who make the local bogans pale in comparison.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2015
  6. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    18. A River in May Edward Wilson 2002

    Picked this up on the recommendation of some of the others in the thread, who have already written it up.

    Really enjoyed this book.
     
  7. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    I think you will like his spy stories. More straight-forward than Le Carre with some Spy Who Came In From the Cold vibes. Be aware though, Wilson has a left leaning worldview and, I believe, gave up his US citizenship to become an English gentleman.
     
  8. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    I applaud left-leaning worldviews. In fact, I quit posting in Current Events because of mine. :)
     
    2 people like this.
  9. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    I thought so. I think the other Wilson books will interest you.
     
  10. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    Me too - and I’m not a left-winger. I’ve worked in the banking industry for decades, hardly a red-ragging socialist, but those guys are something else.
     
  11. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    I must check out Current Events then. Full of Djingis Khan / Sarah Palin supporters I guess?
    Bankers are of course blood-suckers and wouldn't know about the plight of the common man. :satisfied:
     
    1 person likes this.
  12. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    I don't suppose he wrote any Westerns?

    Are there any specific titles you'd recommend?
     
  13. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    No, he has stayed away from the Western genre. After that Vietnam book, he has written 4 espionage novels. I would suggest to read them in order - The Envoy (2010), The Darkling Spy (2011), The Midnight Swimmer (2012), The Whitehall Mandarin (2014). They are connected although they can be read independently. I thought the second was somewhat weaker, the other three very even quality.
     
  14. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    19. Cane Jean Toomer 1923

    [COLOR=FF00AA]LIST[/COLOR]

    Collection of stories and poems about Black America from this little-known African-American author.

    Parts were slow, but overall a good read.
     
  15. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

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    44 INSIDE THE DREAM PALACE The Life and Times of New York's Legendary Chelsea Hotel by Sherill Tippins

    Started it last night got hooked in the first ten pages fascinating read, it got good review last year in the Guardian and the NYT
     
  16. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior 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
    7. On the Trail of Genghis Khan
    8. Holy Bible
    9. The Boat
    10. Collected Stories
    11. Lost and Found
    12. Blind Willow, Sleeping woman

    12. Blind Willow, Sleeping woman

    Murakami short story collection. Several stand outs, several repeats (the beginning of Norweigan Wood seems to have been a previously published short story), several terrible stories (monkey transmutation, etc). Murakami's best is still the slightly mysterious or unabashedly romantic, and his weird, fantastical works are generally weak and disengaging.

    Wouldn't recommend this over his novels - everything felt undeveloped, or just dull.
     
  17. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 11/50: Hammond Innes - Air Bridge (1951)

    Fascinating "boy's adventure" stuff. After having read a few Innes books about seafaring, skiing and oil drilling, this one is about flying. Three ex-RAF pilots are at the centre of the story and one of them, called Saeton, has a dream to build a freight fleet on the basis of a new aircraft engine design. Nothing will stop Saeton from fulfilling his dream but the novel's protagonist, the shady but fundamentally moral Neil Fraser, thinks that some things in life are more important than glory. Very entertaining.
     
  18. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

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  19. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    1. A Tale for the Time Being 2. The Sun is God 3. The Keeper of Lost Causes 4. Lost and Found 5. Murder on the Eiffel Tower 6. How to be Both
    7. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
    [​IMG]
    Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
    by Robin Sloan
    My rating: 2 of 5 stars

    Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is a fantasy about a young man, Clay, who seeks a job after the start-up he worked for fails; he gets one at a quaint San Francisco bookstore run by Mr. Penumbra.

    This strange shop stocks very few modern books, but has a vast range of old books climbing up the high walls, which Clay soon discovers are written in code. Mysterious people come in and borrow these coded books. Clay’s curiosity is fired and he decides to partner with a girlfriend who works at Google to figure out the mystery.

    This is a promising enough scenario but Sloan’s treatment is lightweight and glib. His Gen Y heroes are able to marshall endless resources at the drop of a hat to resolve almost any challenge. The coded books and mysterious readers could be a device for a darker, more involved Neil Gaiman-style fantasy, but Sloan steers clear of that in favour of pace, lightness and a bland moral message at the end. Not my thing.

    View all my reviews
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2015
  20. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    20. Divine Justice David Baldacci 2008

    The Latest Camel Club adventure in which Stone and the others get involved with a drug ring being run through a Federal max security prison in VA. The ending was hokey, but the rest of the book rocked.
     

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