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2017 50 Book Challenge

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

  1. EnglishGent

    EnglishGent Senior member

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    10/50 The Kills - Richard House

    This was well written and an enjoyable read, yet after 1,000 pages it would've been nice if any of the threads of the storyline were truly resolved.
     
  2. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    Dude....

    NW is far better than HBW.

    No action is Murakami's thing.

    Most eventful thing that happens: going for a drive and listening to jazz while a mysterious and beautiful woman discusses her preferences for music while the narrator reflects on the song and how it makes him feel.
     
  3. Landscape

    Landscape Senior member

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    Not quite sure. I'm only a bit over 100 pages into HBW, but so far I kind of like the absurdity and seeing where it leads. I read the afterword to NW the translator included and I could definitely see how some would view it as a mere love story. Not saying I did that, and there were some excellent passages, but it still felt a bit bland to me at some points. Maybe I just need to get used to this type of book, as it's quite different from what I usually read. Or perhaps I just took too long to read it and didn't enjoy it as much because of that (new season of House of Cards made sure reading didn't get prioritized very much).
     
  4. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

    Messages:
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    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
    16. Sabriel
    17 Hitler's Daughter
    18. Quack this Way
    19. Grapes of Wrath
    20. Every Man in this Village is a Liar
    21. The Twelve Fingered Boy
    22. Riders of the Purple Sage

    22. Riders of the Purple Sage

    So I picked this up based on what a few people here said, but honestly I found it laboured and dry. The characters were annoying, the plot developed so slowly (and, let's face it, it's basically a love story and some elopement), the twists didn't twist, and the social tensions I found dull. Rarely did this engage me, and I really didn't love it at all. I feel that the ending was drawn out, and the book should have ended with Jane and Lassiter leaving the burning house.
     
  5. 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 8. Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth 9. Levels of Life 10. The Seventh Day 11. Fortunately the Milk 11b. The Sleeper and the Spindle 12. The Agile Project Management Handbook 13. Reykjavik Nights 14. The Siege 15. The Torch
    16. Being Mortal
    [​IMG]
    Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End
    by Atul Gawande
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    For those of us with elderly relatives Being Mortal can make for a bit of a sobering read at times.

    Atul Gawande’s thesis in this book is that Western medicine, when treating the terminally ill, works only to extend life and address symptoms, rather than consider the quality of life. Yet this is a fruitless pursuit, because mortality is the one medical problem that we can never resolve. Are patients not better served by doctors who find out how they want to live the rest of their lives, and work to enable that to the degree possible?

    The book starts with comparing some of the differing cultural approaches to care of the elderly, noting that wealthy Western countries tend to leave the elderly to fend for themselves, whereas other cultures live with and support the aged. Gawande is not so naive as to fail to point out that the latter approach presents its own problems as well.

    He looks at alternative approaches to the provision of care for the terminally ill, from permanent hospital care, to palliative care, to nursing homes, assisted living and hospice. It’s surprising how recently some of these ideas came into being, and even more surprising how few specialists there are in these areas, given that we all know that the population is ageing and that the numbers of people requiring geriatric care are going to skyrocket.

    Gawande comes down firmly on the side of having the patient direct the doctor. The doctor’s role is to find out what is important to the patient, what they fear and what compromises they are prepared to make, and then recommend strategies to assist the terminally ill patient to live out the time they have left doing the things that they want, to the degree possible. It’s hard to argue with this view, although I can’t help but think that the courage required to choose this course instead of exhausting all the treatment options might be in short supply.

    A sobering read, but a quite informative one, which sheds some light on an issue that we will all face one day.
    View all my reviews
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  6. 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
    16. Sabriel
    17 Hitler's Daughter
    18. Quack this Way
    19. Grapes of Wrath
    20. Every Man in this Village is a Liar
    21. The Twelve Fingered Boy
    22. Riders of the Purple Sage
    23. The Sheltering Sky

    23. The Sheltering Sky

    This 'classic' novel by Paul Bowles follows a couple as they travel from Tangiers and into the Sahara in an attempt to rekindle some verve for life and love for each other. The main couple (Kit and Port) encounter a variety of characters - some quite bland, others appalling obnoxious.

    I hated this book. The characters are so shallow and dull - at every turn they are shown to be almost pathetically childish and inhumanly emotionless. Every proclaimation they make only further underscores the banality of their own thoughts and the novel is turgid.

    This is not to imply that Bowles has unwittingly created annoying characters. The whole novel points to the colonial characters being irksome, difficult, arrogant, unsure and ignorant. It is a fairly damning critique of colonialism during WW2 and those that romped around Africa lording it up while looking down at the locals endlessly. Unfortunately, the novel is not actually interesting or thought provoking. In a post-colonial world, and living in a country that routinely damns it's own colonialism, reading abut obnoxious white people for 300 odd pages is, frankly, a shore.

    Read this book just brought on ennui. I regret picking it up.
     
  7. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

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    38 The Child by Sebastian Fitzek The cover blurb says The Master of Mind Games "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind meets Inception" The Guardian Hmmmm?

    So far its sending me to sleep at night.
     
  8. rach2jlc

    rach2jlc Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Monaco
    It may be on here somewhere, or even maybe I recommended it a while back... but Daniel Kahneman's "Thinking Fast and Slow" is a great read. I would also recommend Dehaene's "Reading in the Brain" and Christakis and Fowler's "Connected."

    For something more fun, try anything by Norman Lewis (especially "Voices of the Old Sea")
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2015
  9. xander_horst

    xander_horst Senior member

    Messages:
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    Sep 13, 2009
    

    I originally read mention of this book in a book about AI many years ago, then found a copy at a church book sale of all places. Haven't read it myself yet. What do you think - is the theory convincing?
     
  10. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    Melbourne
    
    Kahneman was referenced in Being Mortal actually, which reminded me that I need to read that one.
     
  11. Harrydog

    Harrydog Senior member

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    CT. USA
    I don't know how Jaynes' theory has held up.. I loved the book when I read it years ago. It is certainly an interesting take on the evolution of consciousness.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2015
  12. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    San Antonio
    26. City Primeval Elmore Leonard 1980

    A classic cops-and robbers tale by arguably the master of the genre. A Detroit homicide detective tracks down and kills a hardened murderer in High Noon-like style.

    It was cool!
     
  13. Coxsackie

    Coxsackie Senior member

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    2. How are the threads of the storyline not resolved? I think it's fairly clear that they were all resolved, in pretty much every case by the death of the protagonist.

    It's a very bleak novel but an extremely good one. Also thoroughly modern. I don't think a book like this could have been written twenty years ago. I'm not enough of a literary theorist to explain why, but that was the very strong impression I had while reading it.

    I also found The Kills quite challenging; certainly confusing at times, but I honestly don't believe the author left anything of importance in doubt (unless of course there was action still in progress at the novel's conclusion, which after all is what happens in real life).

    3. I'm now struggling through "Time Reborn" by Lee Smolin. Now this is a mindfuck. But if you fancy an update on progress being made by the world's smartest people on the important question of " 'Ere, wot's it all about ven?", this book is essential reading.
     
  14. EnglishGent

    EnglishGent Senior member

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    Location:
    Somewhere in my own mind
    

    I appreciate you calling me out on this as I think this highlights the downside of trying to add a quick review as soon as you put a book down. When I finished I felt like there were so many unanswered questions, but contemplating it after I felt a lot more closure and should've updated my post.
     
  15. EnglishGent

    EnglishGent Senior member

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    Location:
    Somewhere in my own mind
    11/50 Edge of Eternity - Ken Follett

    Cold war/civil rights conclusion to this triglogy. Honestly by the time I put this down I was happy the trilogy was over.
     
  16. 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
    16. Sabriel
    17 Hitler's Daughter
    18. Quack this Way
    19. Grapes of Wrath
    20. Every Man in this Village is a Liar
    21. The Twelve Fingered Boy
    22. Riders of the Purple Sage
    23. The Sheltering Sky
    24. How to Travel the World for Free

    24. How to Travel the World for Free

    Journalist Michael Wigge sets out from Berlin and travels to Antartica with $0 in pocket and no credit card. He makes his way through several continents by creatively asking for help, making money in odd ways (pillow fights, butlering) and straight out hitch-hiking and begging. A lot of this was interesting, but the novel lacks detail or reflection. It reads like a series of events, rather than an evolving and complex journey (which it must have been).

    Compared to some of the other travel writing (Tim Cope's) that I've loved this year, this felt like a long article, which was OK, but ultimately undeveloped. The 'lessons' learned are cliched and predictable and I was left a tad bored.
     
  17. 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
    16. Sabriel
    17 Hitler's Daughter
    18. Quack this Way
    19. Grapes of Wrath
    20. Every Man in this Village is a Liar
    21. The Twelve Fingered Boy
    22. Riders of the Purple Sage
    23. The Sheltering Sky
    24. How to Travel the World for Free
    25. Deliverance

    25. Deliverance

    Four friends travel into the wilderness on a weekend trip and everything goes wrong. While this story is somewhat predictable, the quality and pace of writing really sets it apart from other stories of bad weekends, and disaster. The main character is both insightful and reflective, and does a brilliant job exploring the personalities of his companions and friends. As the actions forces changes in dynamics between the characters the strength of Jame Dickey's writing becomes clear: he writes with subtlety and precision, often allowing for actions to speak clearly instead of narration. The pacing is masterfully slow and directed - for events spanning 2-3 days the novel feels drawn out in all the right places and succinct in all the dull parts.

    The plot was nothing special, but I really did enjoy this novel.
     
  18. noob in 89

    noob in 89 Senior member

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    Whoah, synchronicity: I started James Dickey's Collected today (an impulse buy; I had never even heard of him), and his poetry is really fantastic. Then Amazon blew my mind just now with the revelation that its that James Dickey, the Deliverance guy. I still can't quite see it...but it sounds like I should check out the novel as well.

    @xander-horst: Sorry for the late reply, but as others have said, I definitely feel you'd get something out of the Jaynes book. He's a tremendous prose writer, with a novelist's sensibility, and his theory travels down so many exciting different paths, there is surely something there to intrigue you, even you don't buy wholesale his ideas of how consciousness began much later than we thought.
     
    1 person likes this.
  19. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    San Antonio
    27. If This Is a Man Primo Levi 1960

    [COLOR=FF00AA]LIST[/COLOR]

    An Italian Jew in a German labor camp near Auschwitz. Excellent prose- (obviously) depressing topic. For this reason I wouldn't recommend it.
     
  20. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    Melbourne
    

    Still on my reading list. Some books should be read, even if not a barrel of laughs.
     

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