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2017 50 Book Challenge

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

  1. noob in 89

    noob in 89 Senior member

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    I dunno, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on Remainder. I guess you could solidly argue its postmodernism, what with all its unfixities and recursions and whatnot -- and you might be right -- but all that would be true of the various modernisms as well, and of any bold work from a fixed time period. To me Remainder felt older, or at least something all its own. Really loved that one.

    (I read C!)
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2015
  2. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

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    Haven't read Remainder will add it to my list.

    The thing with PoMo is that it was very specific to its time and did have a definite style and yes Modernism has had specific movements both literary and visual which adjusted ideas to suit their time frame. But I think that PoMo was broader in its scope and terms of reference in particular the use of briocolage,cultural studies the broad impact of French Structuralist and Post Structuralist thought and it gave rise to a lot of divergent movements in both society and the arts, which still persist. When I did my MVCR we had a lot of discussions about PoMo and its specific dimensions and impact. A friend of mine doesn't even think it existed to him the whole PoMo thing was happened was just a correction in Modernism which produced a self referential High Modernism. Mind you there are plenty of people who still think in terms of High and Low Art, me its all just cultural production dictated by the individual either observing or reacting to the milieu and producing product intune with the zeitgeist.
     
  3. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    I've never read a book I'd pay $43 for.

    It's just too much for me to pay.

    I know I'd enjoy it, and I'm sure the costs of printing are markedly higher because of photos, but yeah. Not happening.
     
  4. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    Well, when you consider the average paperback price is about $32, $43 is not so much nowadays. I don’t spend that kind of money either, unless it is on very high-quality stuff that e-books can’t do justice to, and I can’t get through the library. This might be one such book.
     
  5. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

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    It is IMHO one of the best visual war memoirs written, Dispatches by Michael Herr is another which is staggering in its blunt descriptive power of the Vietnam war. I had a copy which went walk about in the 80's then found a copy in 2008 at a secondhand book store in Beechworth. Well worth a visit if your out that way, I've picked some great books up from there over the years.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2015
  6. noob in 89

    noob in 89 Senior member

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    Dammit, Firmin! I picked the wrong day for this. I've had no sleep.

    Although I am very, very interested in/suspicious of our need to categorize, I think I both agree and disagree with you. All I meant up there, though, was that you could take any concrete technique associated with postmodernism and find numerous examples in other works going back to the first novel -- and maybe the most postmodern of all -- Don Quixote. So that makes everything seem to hinge on authorial intent (Example: we might believe the end notes of Infinite Jest to represent the fracturing of whatever, but do we believe that all other, more mundane contemporary works with end notes function the same way?) which most liberal art professor -types insist on doing away with (not least of all because it enhances the need for the critic).

    Steven Moore has an outstanding book on what he calls an alternative history of the novel, offered as mild corrective to those who teach the -isms as arriving in stages. (Not that I attribute that idea to you, it's just a great book on the subject). The intro is awesome, and you can still read it on the link, I think.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2015
  7. EnglishGent

    EnglishGent Senior member

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    Realized I've not kept up with adding these as I read them, apologies for the lack of review.

    12/50 Black Light – Stephen Hunter
    13/50 Time to Hunt – Stephen Hunter
    14/50 The 47th Samurai – Stephen Hunter
    15/50 Night of Thunder – Stephen Hunter
    16/50 On Chesil Beach – Ian McEwan
    17/50 Amsterdam – Ian McEwan
    18/50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
    19/50 The Mind’s Eye – Hakan Nesser
     
  8. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

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    30 The Last Good Man by A.J.Kazinski who is actually the Nom de Gurre of two Danish film makers. A third of the way in standard Scandi Noir, entertaining, an interesting read the story is a take on the idea of the 36 righteous men.

    This is interesting two thirds of the way through and it moves out of being a standard Scandi Noir and into a metaphysical god is not happy with humanity story that fixed on the 36 righteous men and the idea of sin and renewal. Something different, not what I expected considering the pivot points in the story.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2015
  9. 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 19. The Buried Giant 20. Another Time, Another Life 21. The Corpse Reader 22. Portrait of a Man 23. All the Birds, Singing
    24. Out Stealing Horses
    [​IMG]
    Out Stealing Horses
    by Per Petterson
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    At the outset of Out Stealing Horses Per Petterson seems to be telling a fairly simple story of a man recalling a childhood friendship that went wrong. Trond Sander is 67 years old and has retired to a remote area of Norway, becoming something of a recluse. He meets a near neighbour called Lars, after which he starts ruminating on an episode from his childhood, when he went out “stealing” horses with his friend Jon.

    The episode does not end well, and Jon and Trond become estranged soon afterwards. As Trond recalls events, we learn more about the terrible background to this story. About halfway through the novel, the reader might think that Petterson’s narrative trajectory is clear. However in the second half, he shifts our understanding so that we see all of the previous events in a very different light.

    Petterson’s story reveals a complex relationship between a father and his son with far-reaching consequences. The remote parts of Norway, near the Swedish border, and the life that Trond and his father lived there, are described beautifully. A really good read.


    View all my reviews
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. 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

    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
    32. A Long Way Down

    32. A Long Way Down

    This is an odd little book. It's Nick Hornby, so its wry and upfront and humoured, but it's also about suicide, so it's quite dark and gives its subject matter gravity. It follows four characters who try to commit suicide, and in their attempt meet each other. Each highly different and massively dysfunctional, Hornby's story weaves in and out of how they are forced together and, don't triumph, but move through their immediate issue of suicide - though not their bigger issues with life.
     
  11. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    I remember reading that one when it first came out, and liking it. It’s about the last Hornby book I read. Nothing of his has interested me since.
     
  12. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    I really, really liked High Fidelity, and this. But nothing else of his has moved me.
     
  13. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

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    29 The Peripheral by William Gibson started on this last night a departure from his previous the future is now trilogy
     
  14. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    I liked How To Be Good. Very different for Hornby at the time. I also thought Fever Pitch was pretty good as a piece of sports writing, almost.
     
  15. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

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    This is crazy went to order a copy of the Herbie Hancock biography and thought what are the odds of getting it local and found a hardback copy at Paperchain in Canberra which was cheaper than the book depository. What is the world coming too.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2015
  16. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    Old stock and the dollar’s decline, probably.
     
  17. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

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    Hard to say depends when it came out as most books over 12 months old either end up pulped or in remainder book stores either way Its a steal would love to see HH play live again last time was 2007.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2015
  18. 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 19. The Buried Giant 20. Another Time, Another Life 21. The Corpse Reader 22. Portrait of a Man 23. All the Birds, Singing 24. Out Stealing Horses
    25. Last Winter We Parted
    [​IMG]
    Last Winter We Parted
    by Fuminori Nakamura
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    For a relatively short novel, Last Winter We Parted certainly put me through a roller-coaster. It has an intriguing opening that sucks you in, but before long it was getting seriously weird and rather irritating. I even got to the point where even the fonts were annoying me; not a good sign.

    The book starts with a journalist interviewing a man on death row, with a view to writing a book about his crimes. He has been found guilty of killing two women, but claims that he is innocent. In his research, the journalist encounters the murderer’s sister, a seriously kinky woman who provokes him and seduces him into rough sex, but then asks him to “save her”.

    Nakamura unfolds his plot by switching between narrative chapters and “archives”, which are presumably source documents that the journalist has collected. This is where the fonts come in; the “archive” chapters are for some reason in smaller type than the rest of the book, and I found them almost impossible to read. I couldn’t see any real purpose in doing this.

    Just as I started to banish this book to the outer reaches of one-stardom, Nakamura unveils some bravura plot twists and the end result is one of the most grisly and twisted thrillers that I’ve read in quite a while. The author has managed to fit a serpentine and complicated story into a brief novel and, in doing so, demonstrates what an exceptional writer he is. I’m certainly going to read more by Nakamura.
    26. The Rabbit Back Literature Society
    [​IMG]
    The Rabbit Back Literature Society
    by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen
    My rating: 2 of 5 stars

    Ella Milana is a relief teacher in the Finnish village of Rabbit Back. The town is crazy about books, and the entire populace hungers to be invited to join the Rabbit Back Literature Society, a select group of elite local writers established by the town’s most noted resident, globally-renowned children’s author Laura White.

    At the outset of the novel, Ella notices some strange things going on with books from the Rabbit Back library; they seem to be changing themselves and are unrecognisable from the versions that she knows. After a contretemps with librarian Ingrid (a member of the Society) she steals some books to look into this more thoroughly.

    Shortly afterwards, Ella is shocked to learn that she has been invited to be the tenth member of the Rabbit Back Literature Society, the first appointee for decades. A reception is arranged at Laura White’s house to induct her. At that reception, Laura White suddenly disappears and the house fills with snow.

    Laura is determined to dig deeper and find out what is going on in the Society, in part to further her work as a researcher. She discovers The Game, a bizarre ritual that Society members play on one another to extract information. Ella decides to use The Game to learn the Society's secrets, but she must expose her own vulnerabilities in the process.

    This novel has all the makings of a fantastic Scandi noir - a damaged protagonist, a secret society, a dark forest, a bizarre ritual, scary animals, mysterious disappearances and grotesque characters. Despite that, it reads like a breezy and light story, with little if any dark elements. Somehow Jaaskelainen completely misses the mark and delivers only fluff where there could be serious grist to his mill. The book reminded me more of Mr Penumbra than Martin Beck, and is all the poorer for it.
    View all my reviews
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2015
  19. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

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    28 Possibilities a biography by Herbie Hancock Read about a third of last night could not put it down, aside from the historical perspectives the musical insights are fascinating and stimulating. Working from home today so I've pulled out a fair bit of the music he has mentioned and will be listening to it. At this rate probably stay up all night and finish it.
     
  20. EnglishGent

    EnglishGent Senior member

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    20/50 I, Sniper - Stephen Hunter
    21/50 Borkmann's Point - Hakan Nesser
     

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