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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

    Messages:
    2,312
    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2012
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    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
    13. White Noise
    14. Clariel

    13. White Noise

    Boring. No idea why this is a popular or lauded book. Seriously felt like every page was a chore - nothing grabbed me or interested me at any point of this novel.

    14. Clariel

    Mum dropped this round - it's a book that's part of a series my brother and I read 11-12 years ago. Shameless indulgence. Lovely YA fantasy with strong female characters and a unique magic system. I love this writer (Garth Nix) because most of his work is a lovely coming of age story, so not so much melodrama around saving the world and epic quests, but more coming to terms with responsibility and maturity by overcoming a relatively small problem.

    I think I'll duck home and grab the other four and read them - I smashed this one out in a day and it was great.
     
  2. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    Location:
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    White Noise completely soured me on DeLillo.
     
  3. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

    Messages:
    2,312
    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2012
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    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
    13. White Noise
    14. Clariel
    15. Off the Rails

    15. Off the Rails

    A story about two Australians (Tim and Chris) that ride recumbent bikes from Russia to China - 10,000km, in the year 2000. A beautifully written, totally honest and really quite exciting read. The authors alternate chapters, so the writing does not become stale. They both have interesting perspectives, and I have really enjoyed this. They consistently repeat that others' perspectives that 'this is impossible' or 'ill advised' were uninformed, and there exists something quite affirming about two broke, starving, inexperienced 20 year olds riding through one of the largest and harshest landmasses on the plant - warts and all.

    I didn't just enjoy this, but actually found it quite inspirational.
     
  4. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

    Messages:
    5,540
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    Location:
    Melbourne
    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
    8. Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
    [​IMG]
    Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
    by Reza Aslan
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    Reza Aslan takes on a pretty much impossible task in trying to write an account of the “historical Jesus”. At the outset, he acknowledges that there is pretty much only one historical source that even refers to Jesus - Josephus - and even then only parenthetically. This forces him to rely on the Gospels and Acts for much of his source material.

    The problem is that he repeatedly acknowledges that these sources are contradictory, known to have been massaged for political purposes and frequently contain errors of fact. And he doesn’t tend to rely on them in the instances where this is the case. However, on other cases, he pretty much accepts whatever the canonical sources have to say as fact, despite their unreliability; he doesn’t really have much choice.

    I sense that this is compounded by Aslan’s own religious beliefs; he treats events like Jesus’ miracles and Paul’s vision on the road to Damascus in a fashion that is far too credulous for any real historian. This extends further into his discussion of other events in Judea. Referring to earlier “messiahs”, on one occasion he writes “he even raised a girl from the dead”. Not “he is said to have raised”; Aslan states this as fact.

    Aslan sometimes confuses matters by losing what I would call the chain of evidence. At one point he says that Paul contradicts Jesus. Paul never met Jesus. What happened is that whomever wrote Paul’s letter contradicts what whomever wrote Matthew’s gospel says Jesus said. This is very shaky history.

    In the end the book founders on its own internal contradictions. Aslan wants to write a history, but he is forced to rely on ahistorical sources. The book is very interesting in terms of the “and Times” part of it; events leading up to and following Jesus’ life are really well covered. Unfortunately the kernel of what Aslan seeks to write - the “Life” of the “historical Jesus” is a chimera lost in time, a fact that he acknowledges at the end.

    If Aslan had stuck to writing a historical account of the early days of Christianity, he would have had a much better book, because the sources are better. In this case, he has bitten off more than he can chew.




    (P.S. Am I the only person who couldn’t stop thinking about Narnia when reading this book?)
    View all my reviews
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2015
  5. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

    Messages:
    1,408
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Hong Kong via Gothenburg
    Clockwise counting 12/50: C.J. Sansom - Sovereign (2006)

    Third novel in the series about Tudor time hunchback lawyer Matthew Shardlake. Here Shardlake and his young adventurous assistant Jack Barak is part of Henry VIII:s 1541 "progress to the north", an ambitious effort to regain power over the rebellious and catholic Yorkshire. This novel is more about politics than crime but the politics under Henry VIII seems more violent and criminal than what could be imagined in most crime stories.

    The fifth wife of the notorious king, young and beautiful Catherine Howard, gets in big trouble and so does our hero. Exciting and addictive reading over more than 600 pages. Excellent historical entertainment.
     
  6. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 13/50: Ross MacDonald - The Ivory Grin (1952)

    A case of a lost person, the wayward son of a wealthy reclusive woman, and a number of dead people makes this an enigmatic case for uber-cool private investigator Lew Archer. People in the Archer books are essentially selfish and potentially dangerous but Archer both solves the mystery and establishes himself as the moral epicentre of a corrupt 1950s California. Very nice hard-boiled detective story in the tradition of Hammett / Chandler.
     
  7. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 14/50: C.J. Sansom - Revelation (2008)

    It's 1543 and King Henry is courting Lady Catherine Parr to become his sixth wife. There is a fierce and violent struggle between religious reformists and traditionalists and hunchback lawyer Matthew Shardlake gets "drafted" by Archbishop Cranmer on the side of the moderate reformists. His quest is to identify, understand and catch a serial killer who is showing all signs of religious mania, staging his killings from descriptions picked out of the Book of Revelation.

    The 4th book (out of 6 so far) in the Shardlake series is as good as its predecessors and it's another case of 600+ pages that are entertaining throughout.
     
  8. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 15/50: Friedrich Von Schirach - The Girl Who Wasn't There (2013)

    This is really a brilliant and strange novel, one of those that keeps you guessing after you have finished the last page. It's on the surface about a murder case with a bit of a court drama in the end but it's actually much more about the human condition and life as art or art as life. The protagonist, Sebastian von Eschburg, is a famous art photographer with a disturbed childhood. He is accused of having committed a murder where no corpse is ever found. Thought provoking and highly recommended.
     
  9. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

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    43 Altered Pasts Counterfactuals in History by Richard J Evans after a discussion about the alternative reality Si Fi genre the other night I found this in the library CD if you want a good alternative take on the Christ story try Behold the Man by Michael Moorcock very bent.
     
  10. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    GF - would I dig that?

    Also: I am equally clockwise at the moment. Wow.
     
  11. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    Got a recommendation I should check out of his?
     
  12. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

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    If you like bent alternative Si Fi then yes you would enjoy it read any Phillip K Dick?

    I had to read White Noise as part of a undergraduate degree not overly impressed but did enjoy Underworld.
     
  13. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    PKD is so inconsistent. Androids is obviously amazing, but Ubik, Minority Report, Man in the High Castle, etc, never moved me.
     
  14. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

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    Time Out of Joint.
     
  15. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    It's the only one I read. GF liked Underworld.

    I'm more of an Ian McEwan, Cormac McCarthy, Paulo Coelho, and J.R. Coetzee fan.

    When I can squeeze them between Louis L'Amours of course.
     
  16. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Location:
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    Don DeLillo - always excellent language, beautiful paragraph by paragraph.
    His narratives are typically heavy-going and damn hard to understand.
    I never dared to tackle Underworld, it's a thick beast, I guess it would be 1 book in 1 month. :)
     
  17. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    You've been ahead of me until now. Just caught up with you in time for the Year of the Goat.

    I am still kind of viewing the reasonable target of 100 in a year so need to do around 8.5. / month. Doubt I will repeat the 120 in a year. Would like to raise my quality a bit though, too many detective noirs and entertainment.
     
  18. Fueco

    Fueco Senior member

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    I'm new to this thread, but read a fair amount.

    Sorry, all non-fiction so far this year...

    1. The Race Within: Passion, Courage and Sacrifice At The Ultraman Triathlon (Jim Gourley, 2015) -I'm biased towards this book because I'm mentioned in it, and I know the author. It's a pretty solid glimpse into the world of ultra distance triathlon...

    2. Wild! -Cheryl Strayed -Yeah, it's an Oprah book club selection, and is clearly aimed at women, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It probably helps that I've visited a number of the places she mentions in the books and can vividly imagine a lot of the scenes. I haven't seen the movie yet...



    I'm currently working my way through the following books:

    Let My People Go Surfing -Yvon Chouinard (founder of Patagonia)
    A Fighting Chance -Elizabeth Warren
    True Fit: A Collected History Of Denim
    Unsurpassed: The Story Of Tommy Goodwin, The World's Greatest Distance Cyclist -Godfrey Barlow
     
  19. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Welcome to the thread.
    2 books in close to 2 months makes the target of 50 look a bit hard. Quality is always good but quantity is mandatory here.
     
  20. Fueco

    Fueco Senior member

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    10 months is an awful long time... I've been known to put 800+ page books down in a single night. We shall see.
     

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