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2017 50 Book Challenge

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

  1. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

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    37 A Short History of Richard Kline by Amanda Lohrey went to an authors talk two weeks ago at Electric Shadows a soon to be defunct independent bookstore, now there are only two in Canberra. I finally picked it up on Easter Saturday and so far so good. The subject matter is somewhat contentious, the person interviewing her made the comment that 'spirituality is the only subject left in the closet' and if you have read The Razors Edge by Somerset Maugham you may find some comparison with the notion of the quest. She gives a contemporary interpretation of the quest for Truth ( what ever the fuck that is). The talk was very informative as I had read a couple of reviews of the book prior to it. I was intrigued as to how she would deal with the subject matter. She cited William James Varieties of Religious Experience a fair bit in her talk. I originally read it back in 1980 at Uni and still have a copy and have consulted it a fair over the years.

    Now excuse me I must resume reading and continue on my path to Satori.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2015
  2. 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
    17. Hicksville
    [​IMG]
    Hicksville
    by Dylan Horrocks
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    In Hicksville New Zealand cartoonist Dylan Horrocks has created a loving tribute to the art of the graphic novel, injected a mystery and wrapped it in an enigma.

    The story has many threads, the main one being the arrival of American comics reviewer Leonard Batts in the NZ hamlet of Hicksville, where everybody is massively into comics, yet nobody wants to talk about the town’s most famous expatriate, comics giant Jack Burger. Leonard gets frustrated when he can’t make any progress on the article he wants to write about Burger, and his bafflement increases when he keeps finding scraps of a cartoon about Captain Cook and a Maori chief speculating on the nature of maps and the changing layout of the land.

    Horrocks has worked in lots of tributes to classics of the genre, especially in a sequence set at a costume party, and he clearly is a big fan of Herge and Winsor McCay. (I have to admit that I probably missed a lot of his references).

    This is a moving story and Horrocks leaves room for the reader’s imagination to fill in much of the detail, which adds to its charm. it’s also an intelligent tribute to an art form that Horrocks loves, and the place of creativity within it. View all my reviews
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  3. 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 17. Hicksville
    18. Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen
    [​IMG]
    Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen
    by Dylan Horrocks
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    Sam Zable, one of the characters from Horrocks’ earlier work Hicksville, is a cartoonist facing intractable writer’s block and probable depression. As a major deadline looms, he finds himself unable to pen a single line of dialogue.

    While flipping through a vintage comic about a New Zealander’s trip to Mars, Sam sneezes and suddenly finds himself inside the book. When the Martians realise that Sam is a cartoonist, they crown him king and ensconce him with a harem of green-skinned Venusian lovelies. He also encounters a Japanese girl who imparts the secret of this strange comic world - a magic pen.

    This is a story about fantasy, both in its healthy and unhealthy aspects. The worlds of the magic pen reflect the secret desires of its owners, some of which are far from healthy. Other worlds seem just boring; this is because there are as many visions of a perfect world as there are people to envisage them.

    The ultra-fastidious should be aware that this is a very adult graphic novel, as Horrocks portrays the unbridled fantasies of some of his characters. View all my reviews
     
  4. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

    Messages:
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    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
    26. Trigger Warning

    26. Trigger Warning

    Neil Gaiman's short story collection. Loved a few, most were OK, a few bored me to tears. The introduction (as always with his work) was really interesting. Especially loved him riffing on Holmes and Dr. Who (neither of which have ever done much more me, though I always thought they were good at what they were). I'd kind of like to read a collection of stories by authors doing a version of someone else's work they loved.

    Eerie, creepy, interesting. The kind of author who has fallen into a niche, and is stuck there, but one can't really dislike him for that.

    Reading's been taking a back seat thanks to a new woman. :(
     
  5. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

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    36 The Soul of the Marionette A Short Enquiry into Human Freedom by John Gray Read a couple of his previous works and have a Guardian Podcast where he discuss the book and its ideas with Will Self will listen to that then dive in.
     
  6. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    This one has been on my to-read list for a while now. Might drop it down in priority a bit.
     
  7. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    Honestly, I find Gaiman a bit formulaic, so if you've read a lot of his books yeah it's nice, but nothing new.

    If you've only read one or two it should be pretty fun.

    IIRC, you've only read 3-4?

    My Mum has this belief that I'm a huge Gaiman fan and buys me everything to do with Gaiman, but really I don't have the heart to tell her I only half like him.
     
  8. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    I’ve read a lot of his: Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neverwhere, Good Omens, Fortunately the Milk, The Sleeper and the Spindle, Coraline.
     
  9. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    San Antonio
    28. Top Secret W.E.B. Griffin 2014

    First book in a new series called Clandestine Operations. Not all that thrilling or believable and 500 pages. Meh.
     
  10. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    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 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 17. Hicksville 18. Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen
    19. The Buried Giant
    [​IMG]
    The Buried Giant
    by Kazuo Ishiguro
    My rating: 2 of 5 stars

    For some reason there is a furore over whether The Buried Giant is fantasy. Well, that’s a broad category, and I guess it fits into the swords and sorcery sub-genre, but only barely. It’s a pretty pallid and wan effort, but it has swords and monsters, so what the hell.

    The story is essentially a quest by two Britons, Axl and Beatrice, to seek out their long-departed son. They are vaguely aware that they are losing their memories and think it is caused by an ever-present mist. As they travel, they encounter Sir Gawain and a Saxon knight sworn to kill Britons.

    The big problem with this novel is that Axl and Beatrice are boring characters uttering dreary and repetitive dialogue, and they cannot rescue Ishiguro’s plodding and uninspired story. The book does have some incidents, such as those occurring in and below the monastery, that could have been turned to more dark and dramatic purposes, but Ishiguro treats them in a perfunctory manner that fails to exploit their potential.

    Some good ideas wasted in too bland and pedestrian a story; very disappointing.
    View all my reviews
     
  11. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

    Messages:
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    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
    26. Trigger Warning
    27. It's Complicated


    27. It's Complicated

    Dana Boyd is a researcher who has spent seven or eight years researching how teens use social media. This non-fiction book presents his findings and his opinions, as well as many perspectives on teens, their use of social media, and parental and social reactions to those things. Boyd paints a broad picture about teens being basically fine, and in many cases the parents and society around them assuming more than is fair.

    Boyd provides consistent insight into how many teens use social media - as a platform to strengthen existing conditions and as a way to deal with stresses, burdens and difficult home lives. He delves deeply into the implications behind social media use and touches on sexuality, privacy (my favourite chapter), race and social segregation, as well as a few comments around mental health and internet use.

    I felt that Boyd's work was the most balanced I've read: it is neither a moral panic, nor a book that proclaims everything is perfect. Instead, Boyd has made significant effort to understand the age, its issues and strengths, and how social media interacts with these. Thorough, insightful, well-written and detailed.
     
  12. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    You and I seem to be working from the same reading list Matt. BTW, it’s danah boyd, and he is a she.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2015
  13. noob in 89

    noob in 89 Senior member

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    Whoah, thumbs up to this whole page, and the synchronicity continues as I've also just picked up that one, as well as everything by Dylan Horrocks. (Great reviews, btw).


    I think I found Horrocks through this Rolling Stone list -- about the best Google will deliver on the subject -- and spent a good deal of time hunting everything down, both digital and in print. So excited to see you you guys reviewing the comics.

    (Best Non-Superhero Graphic Novel List: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture...50-best-non-superhero-graphic-novels-20140505 )

    Related: I just discovered the best thing ever: with an HDMI cable, you can connect your laptop to the hugest tv you can find, turn off the lights, and scroll through your comics as if they were a widescreen movie. (And if its superhero fare you're after, throw in an official movie soundtrack, like the score to the recent Kingsman or X-Men: First Class, and you've hit perfection).

    Regrettably, my numbers are terrible for this month until I actually finish some of the many collections of stories and poetry I've dipped into. I've also been reading, in slow thoughtful chunks, The Man Without Qualities, which is as good as people say (and surprisingly fun and not 1/100th as stuffy as you'd imagine from a towering classic).

    Also I am losing the fight against TV.

    Carry on...
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2015
  14. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    Me too. I start work again tomorrow, so I’m hoping I can catch up by reading on my commute.
     
    1 person likes this.
  15. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    Nov 6, 2006
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    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 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 17. Hicksville 18. Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen 19. The Buried Giant
    20. Another Time, Another Life
    [​IMG]
    Another Time, Another Life
    by Leif G.W. Persson
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    Persson’s follow-up to Between Summer’s Longing and Winter’s End mostly takes place after those events. Many of the same characters reappear, although most have moved on in both their careers and their social lives.

    The book starts with the siege of the West German Embassy in Stockholm by the Red Army Faction in 1975. The Swedish authorities have always known that the terrorists must have had local help, but have never identified who was involved. After the collapse of the Berlin Wall, new information emerges.

    Fourteen years after the siege, a man is found dead in his apartment, stabbed and left bleeding on the floor by somebody he apparently knew. The venal and irascible DI Backstrom heads the investigation, and quickly settles on a theory that the killing was a homosexual crime. No culprit is found and, despite some outstanding questions and loose ends, the investigation is mothballed. As with the suicide in the first novel, there are some who suspect there is more than meets the eye.

    Another ten years pass, and Lars Johansson is now head of the Secret Police, succeeding the shadowy Erik Berg. Johansson is asked to conduct a clearance check on an up-and-coming politician. His inquiries lead him back to these two crimes.

    Another Time, Another Life is much more of a police procedural compared to the first novel, which read more like a Cold War spy novel. Persson still gives his characters internal dialogues at the end of their conversations that reveal their secret thoughts. In this case, though, it is more about their snarky feelings towards their interlocutors than the bafflement and paranoia conveyed by this device before. This is a good detective story, but it doesn’t have the secret agendas, paranoia and sense of foreboding that the first book had.
    View all my reviews
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2015
  16. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    Just further to this, I didn’t make the connection at first, but there is a US TV series starring Rainn Wilson called Backstrom, which is based on Persson’s character. From what I saw of the pilot (available free on iTunes), the producers have turned him into a far more sympathetic character than the universally-detested Backstrom of the books.
     
  17. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

    Messages:
    2,312
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    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
    26. Trigger Warning
    27. It's Complicated
    28. Fight Club

    28. Fight Club

    Given how often I misspell author's names I'm not even going to try with this one (I'm not sorry, I really do not pay attention or bother to look them up).

    I never got this movie. I always enjoyed it. I feel the same about the book. It wasn't as shocking or entertaining having seen the movie 3-4 times, but it was still an interesting read. I've no idea what the author is trying to get at, nor what the book is trying to say. I feel that's always annoyed me about this text - what's the point, what's the message?

    Ideas?
     
  18. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    Sorry, haven’t read it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015
  19. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

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    35 Carl Jung Wounded Healer of the Soul Claire Dunne

    An interesting biographical approach to Jung and his work through the use of quotes and reminiscences which breaks down the specific aspects of his work to present an insightful representation, more for the novice than those familiar with his work but discovered anew a few things in there.
     
    1 person likes this.
  20. 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
    26. Trigger Warning
    27. It's Complicated
    28. Fight Club
    29. Past the Shallows

    29. Past the Shallows

    Favel Parrett's debut novel is a pretty intense read about the lives of three brothers: Joe, Miles and Harry. Living on the south-east coast of Tasmania, the brothers grow up in the shadow of their father's moods - which are often dark, destructive and abusive. The plot of this text is very simple and straightforward and takes place over a single school holiday. The strength is in the character of Harry and the boy's father. THe writing is blissfully simple - Parrett writes with the sort of elegance that seems to come only from working and reworking a place, character or idea over and over again until it's short enough to breathe and lengthy enough to sweep readers away.

    I enjoyed this book a lot, despite the plot being fairly predictable and straightforward.
     

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