1. And... we're back. You'll notice that all of your images are back as well, as are our beloved emoticons, including the infamous :foo: We have also worked with our server folks and developers to fix the issues that were slowing down the site.

    There is still work to be done - the images in existing sigs are not yet linked, for example, and we are working on a way to get the images to load faster - which will improve the performance of the site, especially on the pages with a ton of images, and we will continue to work diligently on that and keep you updated.

    Cheers,

    Fok on behalf of the entire Styleforum team
    Dismiss Notice

2017 50 Book Challenge

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

  1. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

    Messages:
    5,540
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    Location:
    Melbourne
    

    You and I are definitely working off the same reading list, although you are much further down it. :)
     
  2. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

    Messages:
    4,997
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2010
    Location:
    South West of the Black Stump
    34 the illuminations Andrew O'Hagan after reading this I am not sure of what all the hype surrounding it was all about.
     
  3. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

    Messages:
    2,313
    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2012
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Ha!

    If your method is: walk into Dymocks on Collins St, head to the Australian Literature section, pick out a book (that generally 'Kym' loves) and go from there, then we are on the same page.

    Recommended this (and Shadwboxing) to be studied for Year 9s next year.
     
  4. noob in 89

    noob in 89 Senior member

    Messages:
    7,665
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2010
    I got the feeling Chuck P____ was kind of using satire to circle around a bunch of nifty ideas about masculinity and capitalism, but ultimately just wrote something he thought was wicked cool. The movie is pretty much the same.

    Jameson would apply (to both this and American Psycho), but I find Jameson overblown and insensitive and fucking tacky to no end.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2015
  5. 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 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
    21. The Corpse Reader
    [​IMG]
    The Corpse Reader
    by Antonio Garrido
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    It is perhaps unusual to find a detective novel by a contemporary Spanish author set in 12th century China, during the Song Dynasty. Song Ci, the Corpse Reader of the title, was a historical figure, one of the founders of forensic science. Garrido came across Song Ci while researching forensics, and thus got the idea for this unusual character and setting.

    While Ci is investigating crimes, it is perhaps better to read this novel as historical fiction. That’s certainly how the author describes it in a self-congratulatory afterword. In that light, Garrido has done an excellent job of portraying medieval China. His accounts of rural peasant life, strict family hierarchies and the complicated protocols of the bureaucracy and the Imperial Court feel authentic.

    The problem is that the book is overly melodramatic in a Perils of Pauline sense. Almost anything that could go wrong for Ci does, yet he is always saved by a lucky intervention, a timely stroke of ingenuity, or his invulnerability to pain, the legacy of a neural disorder that the historical Song Ci does not seem to have had. Exposition is also clumsy, with lots of chapters ending in trite “little did he know” fashion.

    For reasons best known to himself, Garrido has given all of his characters Chinese names except two: Gray Fox and Blue Iris. The reason for this departure is never explained, and it somewhat mars the feeling of authenticity that the author is seeking.

    The crimes that Ci is investigating are baffling and there are many twists and turns to the plot. Too many, in my opinion, adding to the sense of melodrama rather than suspense. I liked the way that he linked the denouement to real events of the time and the somewhat open ending. I’d like to read more novels about this character, except that Garrido has marred a great idea with cheap and unrealistic tricks instead of giving us the gravitas that the Song Ci character merits.
    22. Portrait of a Man
    [​IMG]
    Portrait of a Man
    by Georges Perec
    My rating: 2 of 5 stars

    It would be churlish not to acknowledge that Portrait of a Man is a major literary event; the publication of a long-lost novella by a major 20th century novelist. Unfortunately, being a major literary event is not the same as being a major work of literature.

    I’m not familiar enough with Perec’s ouvre to be excited by the parallels between this book and his better-known works, and there are many references and connections that will please the cognoscenti but elude someone such as myself. I can only review this book based in its inherent interest and, to me, it simply does not measure up.

    The story is about Gaspard Winckler, a forger who commits a murder. The book starts with Winckler describing the immediate aftermath of the murder and his desperate attempts to escape the scene. The second part of the book essentially retells the story in the form of a dialogue between Winckler and another character, where Winckler enlarges on his forging career and why he committed the murder.

    Characterisation is almost entirely absent; the victim and all of the supporting characters are pretty much cyphers. Perec’s story suggests that Winckler’s persona is just as much a forgery as his art works so, in the end, there is nobody in the novel with a complete backstory that we can identify with. There is no nemesis pursuing Winckler over his crime, and no real development of the plot beyond the murder and what led up to it.

    This was Perec’s first work of fiction, and the book was rejected by the publishers; maybe they were right.
    View all my reviews
     
  6. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

    Messages:
    10,273
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    San Antonio
    29. Valley of the Sun Louis L'Amour 1995

    A posthumously published collection of short stories. Light reading, but quite enjoyable.
     
  7. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

    Messages:
    4,997
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2010
    Location:
    South West of the Black Stump
    33 DOMINION by C.J.Sansom An alternative version of history where England sues for peace in 1940. The action takes place in 1952 the Germans are still fighting the Russians after Stalin was hung by Hitler in Red Square. The Resistance is not futile and populated by a cast of known historical figures. An interesting tale but is it just alternative history or another one of those multiverse stories? Either way far too long the editor could have cut it by a third IMHO.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2015
  8. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

    Messages:
    2,313
    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
    30. Wonderboys

    30. Wonderboys

    This novel has everything a good Chabon novel should have: enjoyable prose, a wild plot, a lot of Jewishness and a kind of middle age ache that manages to be interesting, rather than dull. The main character (Tripp Grady) finds himself at a friend's party, stoned, talking to some students of his as his editor asks him about a novel he has been working on for the past 7 years. Circumstances and characters collide and Tripp's weekend becomes a series of incredibly ludicrous and dangerous events including Passover, killing an animal, losing his wife and having his car stolen.

    I enjoyed this novel. It's not the masterpiece that Cavalier and Klay was, nor is it the anarchic romp that Yiddish Policeman's Union was - it's somewhere in the middle, making small suggestions about growing up, reclamation and giving in. It's a solid novel, just not an amazing one.
     
  9. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

    Messages:
    4,997
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2010
    Location:
    South West of the Black Stump
    32 The Girl Who Wasn't There by Ferdinand von Schirach

    At first i thought this was another post modern murder mystery with existentialist overtones, but to my surprise its much more than that. I really enjoyed this dark and mysterious work. Highly recommended.
     
  10. 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 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 21. The Corpse Reader 22. Portrait of a Man
    23. All the Birds, Singing
    [​IMG]
    All the Birds, Singing
    by Evie Wyld
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    All the Birds, Singing is set in a remote island off the coast of Britain, and in the scorching heat of the Australian outback. The central character, Jake, is living on the island running a small sheep farm on her own, and her sheep are dying violently from some kind of mysterious attack. A stranger turns up on her farm, giving her grounds for suspicion.

    The book also tells the story of Jake’s life as a shearer in remote Western Australian, where she struggles as the only woman in a very male shed. Like all the others there, Jake has secrets that she is keeping from others. As Wyld tells her story, she starts to reveal those secrets, while also recounting Jake’s attempts in Britain to identify the threat to her sheep farm.

    Wyld perfectly captures the heat and loneliness of the Outback and the taciturn nature of the people who make their lives there. I think that she is less successful in capturing remote rural England; the people there come across a bit cliched. The Australian arc of the narrative is also much better told than the English arc and the resolutions feel more complete in the former. Still, the book is really well written and is an engaging read.

    All the Birds, Singing won the Miles Franklin Award, Australia’s top literary award, and it’s not hard to see why. I can’t help but think, personally, that I’d rather see the award go to somebody who is not described on her book’s blurb as one of the Best New British Novelists. I don’t think that’s what the Miles Franklin is for.

    View all my reviews
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2015
  11. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

    Messages:
    2,313
    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
    30. Wonderboys
    31. It's what I do

    31. It's what I do

    This is a memoir written by Lynsey Addario - an award winning photojournalist who covered war, famine, STIs, and conflict of various types. The book traces her beginnings as a child and then as a photographer, and the thrill and empathy that were evoked by war. This is a great text and thoroughly enjoyed it. Lynsey is an interesting person - her motivations are common place, but her narrative voice is strong and her recollections are vivid. She really did go almost everywhere - some of the most deadly places in the world (she got captured in Libya in 2011).

    She reflects a lot on what it means to be an observer, and how one tries to give voice to those who have none, she constantly reflects on her learning and her mistakes and is, I think, a pretty informed person to be writing about the War on Terror and other conflicts. The threads that connect her experiences are romance (and how difficult it is for her), her profession (ups, downs) and motivations.

    I really enjoyed this, and it makes the second memoir I've loved this year largely reflecting on the War on Terror (Every Man in This Village is a Liar was the other one, with a much stronger focus on foreign policy).

    Highly recommended.
     
  12. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

    Messages:
    5,540
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    Location:
    Melbourne
    

    Sounds great Matt.
     
  13. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

    Messages:
    4,997
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2010
    Location:
    South West of the Black Stump
    

    Have a look at Whisky Tango Foxtrot by Ashley Gilbertson lite on the text but the images are remarkable.
     
  14. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

    Messages:
    2,313
    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2012
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    So expensive - if you've got a copy I'll buy it!
     
  15. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

    Messages:
    4,997
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2010
    Location:
    South West of the Black Stump
    

    Ha Ha nice try. Did you try the public library of book depository? or even a second hand one on Amazon?
     
  16. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

    Messages:
    2,313
    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2012
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Definitely the former. $41

    I've found it hit and miss with who ships to Auslandia from Amazon.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2015
  17. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

    Messages:
    5,540
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    Location:
    Melbourne
    

    Book Depository has it for $43 shipped. They are ultra-reliable in my experience
     
  18. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

    Messages:
    4,997
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2010
    Location:
    South West of the Black Stump
    31 Satin Island By Tom McCarthy
     
  19. noob in 89

    noob in 89 Senior member

    Messages:
    7,665
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2010
    OH SHIT DUDE HOW WAS THAT?

    Remainder is like in my top 5 of the last fifteen years (if I was nerdy enough to rank such things :embar: )
     
  20. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

    Messages:
    4,997
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2010
    Location:
    South West of the Black Stump
    

    Third of the way through enjoying it, like the ideas and concepts. I have to ask what is the fascination with Post Modernism I though it was dead and buried?

    Read C thats good.
     

Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by