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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:
    2,313
    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
    32. A Long Way Down
    33. Men Who Stare at Goats
    34. Boxer Beetle
    35. This is How You Lose Her
    36. No Sugar
    37. The Invisible Writing
    38. Schismatrix
    39. The Water Knife
    40. Essays
    41. Wolfblade
    42. Trash
    43. The Honours
    44. Cloudstreet


    44. Cloudstreet

    I think that this is the last quintessential Australian novel that I'd not yet read, so it was with a bit of trepidation and excitement that I picked this up.

    Cloudstreet is a story that follows two large families: the Pickles and the Lambs. Each experience a separate tragedy that sees their families move from rural Western Australia to Perth. The Pickles inherit a house, and the Lambs become tenants. The story meanders around the intersecting lives and changes in each family over 20 years. The novel is incredibly ambitious, and does (I think) a remarkable job of making the most pedestrian of narratives (literally the day-to-day life of a family) engaging, interesting and, at times, profound.

    The novel took awhile to grow on me, initially it was a bit flat, and a bit dull. I think that this is, in part, because the characters it focuses on initially were not the ones I gravitated towards, but the characters it focuses on towards the end of the novel are much more my style. My favourite character was definitely Quick Lamb, for those who've read the novel.

    In any case, the novel is quite patient, I think, Winton makes his points at the end of chapters, with the way that a sentence hangs before the next part of the story begins, there's little melodrama, and it's odd enough to be completely real. This is another reason why I think it took awhile for me to really love this book, but after 100 or so pages I was really in the thick of it.

    It's almost painfully and cloyingly Australian in language, outlook and happenings, and it's great for exactly that.

    Ausboys - thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2015
  2. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

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    I have read some Tim Winton and think he is a great Australian author has a knack for the Australian idiom with langue and spirit of place, I got him to speak at Writers in the Pub night I ran in Freemantle in 1987. As for Cloudstreet I've never read it only seen the series on TV. Mrs GF has read it and is big fan of his work.
     
  3. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

    Messages:
    5,541
    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 24. Out Stealing Horses 25. Last Winter We Parted 26. The Rabbit Back Literature Society 27. Rituals 28. Bitter Remedy 29. The Ring and The Opposite of Death 30. Old Gold 31. Hausfrau 32. Irene 33. I Refuse 34. Nothing is True and Everything is Possible 35. The Dalai Lama’s Cat 36. Blood Year: Terror and the Islamic State 37. The Eye of the Sheep 38. The Miniaturist 39. Crime 40. Golden Boys 41. The Holiday Murders
    42. My Brilliant Friend
    [​IMG]
    My Brilliant Friend
    by Elena Ferrante
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    This is the first of a series of novels by Elena Ferrante about a young woman growing up in Naples. Elena and Lila are childhood friends, both very bright, although Lila is the more precocious of the two, even in elementary school. Growing up in a poor suburb among an ill-educated and violent community, the girls struggle to find a place in a world where neither of them feels that she belongs.

    The book covers their years up to 18, including Elena's battle to stay in school, Lila's fearsome individuality, awkward relationships with boys, conflicts with parents over their futures and the rivalries and gossip of the community. Essentially this is soap opera, but it is very well written. Ferrante's central characters are memorable and her writing is so authentic that you are half-convinced that you are reading a memoir, not fiction. View all my reviews
     
  4. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Melbourne
    I read Cloudstreet when it first came out, so I'm stretching my memory a bit. I think I was a little put off by the very Aussie tone of it, but I think that's probably true to how such families would have been at the time it's set. I liked it's juxtaposition of a straight-laced family with a happy-go-lucky group of chancers in the same house, and the dynamic that Winton sets off as a result.

    For a long time I was a Winton completist and loved books like That Eye The Sky, The Riders and Dirt Music, but I went off him after reading Breath, which I thought was nonsense. Winton's a surfie from way back, and I guess was writing about a sub-culture I was never into, but I thought it a colossal wank. I haven't even bothered with Eyrie.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2015
  5. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    South West of the Black Stump
    12 A MAN WITHOUT BREATH by Phillip Kerr Another of the good German Bernie Gunther Berlin Noir novel. I find that Kerr has the Noir idiom down pat. The language is great 'where I grew up a happy ending was called an alibi' and it follows the traditional dectective archertype but with enough historical observation and originality to make it interesting. Surprised that there hasn't been movies done from these books.
     
  6. 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
    32. A Long Way Down
    33. Men Who Stare at Goats
    34. Boxer Beetle
    35. This is How You Lose Her
    36. No Sugar
    37. The Invisible Writing
    38. Schismatrix
    39. The Water Knife
    40. Essays
    41. Wolfblade
    42. Trash
    43. The Honours
    44. Cloudstreet
    45. Cibola Burn

    45. Cibola Burn

    The fourth book in The Expanse series sees a crew travel to a new galaxy to mediate a dispute that has erupted between frontiersmen and a company claiming legal possession. Similar themes run through this installment: distrust of corporation, the essential good in most people, and the sacrifice that's required to do the right thing.

    The strength of the series has always been the remarkably smart way that the effects of space colonisation have been incorporated - gravity (or the lack thereof), etc, are all incorporated in original and consistent ways.

    Not brilliant, but a lot of fun. Will probably read the fifth book soon.
     
  7. 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
    32. A Long Way Down
    33. Men Who Stare at Goats
    34. Boxer Beetle
    35. This is How You Lose Her
    36. No Sugar
    37. The Invisible Writing
    38. Schismatrix
    39. The Water Knife
    40. Essays
    41. Wolfblade
    42. Trash
    43. The Honours
    44. Cloudstreet
    45. Cibola Burn
    46. Prince of Fools

    46. Prince of Fools

    Slightly gritty fantasy that managed to not have an obnoxiously confident sarcastic character reminiscent of a smug 14 year old. For that alone it was refreshing. Not amazing, just refreshing.

    Not sure if I'll look at the rest of the series, was kinda fun, but that was about it.
     
  8. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

    Messages:
    5,541
    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 24. Out Stealing Horses 25. Last Winter We Parted 26. The Rabbit Back Literature Society 27. Rituals 28. Bitter Remedy 29. The Ring and The Opposite of Death 30. Old Gold 31. Hausfrau 32. Irene 33. I Refuse 34. Nothing is True and Everything is Possible 35. The Dalai Lama’s Cat 36. Blood Year: Terror and the Islamic State 37. The Eye of the Sheep 38. The Miniaturist 39. Crime 40. Golden Boys 41. The Holiday Murders 42. My Brilliant Friend
    43.The Girl Who Wasn't There
    [​IMG]
    The Girl Who Wasn't There
    by Ferdinand von Schirach
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    German lawyer Ferdinand von Schirach gives us a rather gentle mystery story in The Girl Who Wasn't There. Indeed, the book is more than half over before the crime gets a mention, so it reads more like a character study of its central character, photographer Sebastian von Eschburg. Sebastian is the scion of a wealthy but loveless family, and his father committed suicide when he was still a child. He is highly idiosyncratic, uncomfortable around people, and obsessed with colour, Goya and truth. When he has an epiphany on completion of one his works, he seems to go off the rails. The story jumps a few years, and suddenly he is charged with the murder of a missing girl.

    Sebastian engages gun lawyer Biegler for his defence but Biegler is nonplussed about his client's detachment and unwillingness to be straight with him. Ultimately he unravels what is going on.

    von Schirach's writing style is very matter-of-fact, like journalism, which was very effective in Crime where he was recounting real-life cases. I'm not sure that it works so well here, and the book feels a bit perfunctory. As a crime novel I don't think it works, because far more emphasis is given to the lead-up and character background and not enough to the actual crime and its aftermath. The account of the investigation is not all that engaging either, and doesn't deliver any big shocks, just a gradual unfolding of what happened. It's quite bucolic in some ways. I had hoped for better after enjoying Crime so much.
    View all my reviews
     
  9. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

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    11 THE LADY FROM ZAGREB by Phillip Kerr Another Good German novel featuring Bernie Gunther, despotic and despicable SS and NAZI vermin, classic noir fuelled by schnapps sex and quality cigarettes. I've read about five in the series now and would recommend them.
     
  10. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

    Messages:
    5,541
    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 24. Out Stealing Horses 25. Last Winter We Parted 26. The Rabbit Back Literature Society 27. Rituals 28. Bitter Remedy 29. The Ring and The Opposite of Death 30. Old Gold 31. Hausfrau 32. Irene 33. I Refuse 34. Nothing is True and Everything is Possible 35. The Dalai Lama’s Cat 36. Blood Year: Terror and the Islamic State 37. The Eye of the Sheep 38. The Miniaturist 39. Crime 40. Golden Boys 41. The Holiday Murders 42. My Brilliant Friend 43.The Girl Who Wasn't There
    44.The Thief
    [​IMG]
    The Thief
    by Fuminori Nakamura
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    The Thief is about, er, a thief. To be precise, it's a story told by a Japanese pickpocket about how he got caught up in an armed robbery staged by a Tokyo gangster, years ago. Now he is back in Tokyo picking pockets again, and the gangster comes calling once more. His already dangerous life is complicated by his unwilling involvement with a child shoplifter and his prostitute mother.

    This book fairly rattles along and Nakamura crowds quite a bit of plot and character development in his short novel. There are a satisfying number of twists and turns, although nothing particularly jaw-dropping in terms of plot surprises. This is a really well-paced and entertaining story by a crime writer to keep an eye on.
    View all my reviews
     
  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
    32. A Long Way Down
    33. Men Who Stare at Goats
    34. Boxer Beetle
    35. This is How You Lose Her
    36. No Sugar
    37. The Invisible Writing
    38. Schismatrix
    39. The Water Knife
    40. Essays
    41. Wolfblade
    42. Trash
    43. The Honours
    44. Cloudstreet
    45. Cibola Burn
    46. Prince of Fools
    47. Nemesis Games


    47. Nemesis Games

    The fifth book in The Expanse series - written by James S.A. Corey. This was one of the better books of the five that have been written. it starts with a tired, spent crew re-docking at a space station, and three of the four members requesting leave for personal reasons. The narrative is initially woven around these characters, going through mundane pasts and trying to resolve situations that are nuanced, relatable, but normal. I found this an incredibly refreshing beginning - after one too many 'let's save the galaxy' plot lines, it was great to read a story that was about characters I was invested in just going through personal issues.

    However, it wouldn't be a space opera without some ~drama~, and about halfway through the book the shit hits the fan and the characters have to find ways to save the galaxy.

    In many ways, this was a let down. I'd been thinking I'd finally stumbled across a restrained SF novel - one that could simply tell small story about big characters, and be the more interesting and meaningful for that, yet that restraint was lifted, and the classic (or cliched) formula of the previous 4 novels was applied here again.

    The story is never bland or bad, but at times I wish for something more invigorating - not bigger or more bombastic, but more approachable and pedestrian - something that humanises the characters and their world, rather than blowing it up and inventing endless dangers, enemies and plots.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2015
  12. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

    Messages:
    5,541
    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 24. Out Stealing Horses 25. Last Winter We Parted 26. The Rabbit Back Literature Society 27. Rituals 28. Bitter Remedy 29. The Ring and The Opposite of Death 30. Old Gold 31. Hausfrau 32. Irene 33. I Refuse 34. Nothing is True and Everything is Possible 35. The Dalai Lama’s Cat 36. Blood Year: Terror and the Islamic State 37. The Eye of the Sheep 38. The Miniaturist 39. Crime 40. Golden Boys 41. The Holiday Murders 42. My Brilliant Friend 43.The Girl Who Wasn't There 44. The Thief
    45. Someone Else's Conflict
    [​IMG]
    Someone Else's Conflict
    by Alison Layland
    My rating: 1 of 5 stars

    As a young man, Jay Spinney travelled to Croatia and got caught up in the war there, fighting with a Croatian unit attacking Serbian villagers. Years later, he is back in England living rough, working as a busking story-teller. In a small market village he meets Marilyn, a potter who needs his help rebuilding her house. While he is there, Jay's past starts to catch up with him, in the forms of a young man who claims to be the son of Jay's Croatian friend, and a war criminal who bears a grudge against him. Jay is haunted by the past in the form of the ghost of a little boy, who follows him around.

    All in bucolic rural Britain. I mean, really, seriously?

    This is melodramatic tosh, barely above Mills and Boon levels. Jay and Marilyn gush at one another when they are not suspecting one another of running out on them or ratting them out to the police. The writing is excruciating and the attempt at a magical realist ending is laughable. This book needed to have a lot more of the war in it and a lot less of the soppy Marilyn in order to give it the grit that the story demands. This is a mess.

    View all my reviews
     
  13. 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
    32. A Long Way Down
    33. Men Who Stare at Goats
    34. Boxer Beetle
    35. This is How You Lose Her
    36. No Sugar
    37. The Invisible Writing
    38. Schismatrix
    39. The Water Knife
    40. Essays
    41. Wolfblade
    42. Trash
    43. The Honours
    44. Cloudstreet
    45. Cibola Burn
    46. Prince of Fools
    47. Nemesis Games
    48. Golden Boys

    48. Golden Boys

    CD reviewed this on the previous page (I believe), so I won't delve too much into retelling. The novel is essentially about children being trapped by their parents - the ways in which the lives their parents lead, the interests their parents have, shape, affect and trap each child - regardless of social standing. At times a harrowing book, not in it's overstatement - but in it's cut-throat realism, I found this compelling and close to the bone (my day to day work involves kids whose lives are similar to that of many characters.

    The book seems undeniably Australian as well - the alcoholism, the suburbs, the children - it's lovely to feel home come across in the words.

    I found Freya (a 12 year old girl) was my favourite character - she said the things we wish children would say sometimes, asked the questions that make adults think. She was a glorious creation and an unrealistic flair that stood out just enough.
     
  14. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

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    10 THE END OF TGHE WORLD IN BRESLAU by Marek Krajewski Set admist the death rattle of the Weimar Republic with Hitler on the rise a tale of depravity, corruption and sleaze combines with a solid murder mystery. More corrupt than the louche style of the good German Bernie Gunther but an interesting and entertaining read.

    9 How the French Think: an affectionate portrait of an intellectual People by Sudhir Hazareesingh Interesting and stimulating over view of French thought from the time of Descartes to the current perceived malaise in French intellectual life. Covers the usual suspects and their impact upon the nation and the world. Interesting for me as most of the Cultural, Social and Psychological theory I have studied has been French.

    8How to Live 1.How we are by Vincent Deary Prompted by reviews to pick this up and after the first couple of chapters found some things which have piqued my attention particularly a concept called 4E.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2015
  15. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

    Messages:
    5,541
    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 24. Out Stealing Horses 25. Last Winter We Parted 26. The Rabbit Back Literature Society 27. Rituals 28. Bitter Remedy 29. The Ring and The Opposite of Death 30. Old Gold 31. Hausfrau 32. Irene 33. I Refuse 34. Nothing is True and Everything is Possible 35. The Dalai Lama’s Cat 36. Blood Year: Terror and the Islamic State 37. The Eye of the Sheep 38. The Miniaturist 39. Crime 40. Golden Boys 41. The Holiday Murders 42. My Brilliant Friend 43.The Girl Who Wasn't There 44. The Thief 45. Someone Else's Conflict
    46. Dark Road
    [​IMG]
    Dark Road
    by Ian Rankin
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    Dark Road is Ian Rankin’s first attempt at writing a play, although he mostly seems to have come up with the story while theatre director Mark Thompson came up with the dialogue, stage instructions etc. So who is actually the playwright?

    Chief Super Isobel McArthur is on the verge of retirement and is considering writing a book raking over the coals of her most famous case, that of Alfred Chalmers, a serial killer about whom she still has some doubts. Coincidentally, her daughter decides to dig into the same case as part of her final project at her film school. Isobel’s colleagues oppose her book, and it seems clear that there are some secrets that the police would rather not see come to light.

    It’s hard and probably unfair to judge a play by the script alone, but this one does come across as a rapid-fire sequence of short scenes. Isobel and her police colleagues are pretty much stock standard characters and there is nobody in sight with the depth of Rebus or his colleagues. Being all internally set, the script lacks the sense of place that Rankin imparts to Rebus’ Edinburgh. There is the odd surprise, but I think I would have hated the ending of this if I’d seen it on stage.

    View all my reviews
     
  16. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

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    7 Cult Fictions C G Jung and the Founding of Analytical Psychology by Sonu Shamdasani Depending on what floats your boat this is an interesting work, it concerns the allegations that emerged in the books The Jung Cult and The Aryan Christ:The Secret Life of Carl Jung by R.Noll. As someone who has studied Jung extensively I knew of these books and their absurd ideas and Shamdasani sets about forensically demolishing Noll's claims. Shamdasani was instrumental in having the facsimile edition of Jung's private self analysis journal record the Red Book published some years ago. A solid attempt at putting the distortions of history via bad scholarship and an inflated ego to the sword.
     
  17. accordion

    accordion Senior member

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    Love Under the Volcano

    #8 I think, The Wallcreeper by Nell Zink.

    The novel considers environmental themes that are above my understanding. The author, Nell Zink, an interesting character from author interviews, references very specific birdwatching and eco-activist terminology, along with baby boomer era literary and cultural allusions -- all of which I had to look up. Her prose is remarkable. It's weird, erudite, funny, mostly entertaining. The novel does tie itself together by the end unlike most plotless contemporary fiction. It was a short read. I can only say that I was overwhelmed. I figure there are some profound observations regarding expatriate life and nature, but I don't dare to interpret them. Recommended.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2015
  18. 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
    32. A Long Way Down
    33. Men Who Stare at Goats
    34. Boxer Beetle
    35. This is How You Lose Her
    36. No Sugar
    37. The Invisible Writing
    38. Schismatrix
    39. The Water Knife
    40. Essays
    41. Wolfblade
    42. Trash
    43. The Honours
    44. Cloudstreet
    45. Cibola Burn
    46. Prince of Fools
    47. Nemesis Games
    48. Golden Boys
    49. Gommorah
    50. The Ring

    49. Gommorah

    Saviano writes about the Cammora - and in a 300 page novel that moves between biography, journalism, narrative and historiography charts the people, changes, successes and failures on this Mafia group. He seems intent on emphasising their power, their business-savvy, and the way in which they are an integral part of Napolian life - at times a devastating novel, I found it hard going. At times it reads like a list - pages and pages of names and places, events and reactions, but without much concluded or drawn.

    Like the first 50 page, found the rest hard going.

    50. The Ring

    2 very short stories from Saviano - I liked these a lot more than Gommorah - very evocative and emotional. Really liked the first one, but the second was very harrowing in its own way. Saviano's empathy and belief in the South of Italy just springs off the page.

    Got to 50!
     
    1 person likes this.
  19. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

    Messages:
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    Dec 4, 2010
    Location:
    South West of the Black Stump
    LM Congratulations on the 50.

    6 Phantoms of Breslau by Marek Krajewski Corruption, whores and murder given a particular historical twist in this case of German Noir with Criminal Inspector Mock.

    Sadly the local library has only these three books in the serie, Schizer!
     
  20. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

    Messages:
    5,541
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    Location:
    Melbourne
    

    I think there are only 4 that have been translated; I've only ever seen the three of them. The Minotaur's Head is pretty widely available now.
     

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