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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
    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
    47. The Paying Guests
    [​IMG]
    The Paying Guests
    by Sarah Waters
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    Set in London just after World War 1, The Paying Guests is about Frances, a dowdy spinster who has fallen on hard times. She and her mother are reduced to taking in lodgers: the fun-loving Lillian and Leonard.

    (At the start of this book I suspected we were in for something similar to Cloudstreet and I still sort of wish that had been the case).

    Frances is the despair of her straight-laced mother, having been caught out in a lesbian affair years ago. As Frances starts to take a shine to Lillian, she senses her mother's veiled disapproval. Lillian and Frances become closer as they become more familiar until finally, upon returning home from a party, they become lovers. Their relationship must be kept hidden from view and there is much to-do with opportunistic intimacies and rushed liaisons. Eventually they are discovered, with tragic results. Desperate to keep their secret, they cover up their part in the tragedy, which only makes things worse.

    This is pretty much melodrama, somewhat breathlessly told and not all that convincing. Lillian's overnight conversion from platonic friend to enthusiastic lesbian lover is a bit too sudden to be credible. I found it odd that a lesbian writer would also gloss over the unlikelihood of a heterosexual woman having a highly-aroused response to her first, tentative, lesbian encounter. It just seems totally unlikely to me.

    In the end this is a pretty straightforward novel of a crime of passion and a courtroom drama, given a twist by the lesbian affair it its centre. The characters are histrionic and irritating a lot of the time. At times Waters looked like she would develop a more disturbing explanation for her characters' motivations, but she chooses not to do so. Compared to the dark twists of plot that enriched her earlier work such as Fingersmith and Affinity, Sarah Waters just seems to be phoning it in these days.
    View all my reviews
     
  2. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

    Messages:
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    Melbourne
    

    Well done Matt; got there before me again. What a great writer to bring up your 50 with, too.
     
  3. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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

    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
    51. Wolves

    51. Wolves

    Simon Ings' novel is pegged as a SF piece, but is a much more subtle work. Implicitly in the near future (5 years away maybe), Conrad works in Augmented Reality, as an agent and networker. The novel moves through Conrad's present - reconnecting with an old friend and the changes in their lives - and also his past - mainly dwelling on the relationships with his parents.

    The novel is bizarre - it's almost Murakami-esque in that not a lot happens. It's not a novel of events and actions, but about personalities, changes, memories and dialogue.

    I quite liked it, but I'm not sure why. It's kind of a slow novel that does what it wants to do. It has some weird twists, and largely I'm not really sure why, but the core of the novel was, for me, pretty enjoyable, mysteriously so.
     
  4. 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 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 47. The Paying Guests
    48. Titus Awakes
    [​IMG]
    Titus Awakes: The Lost Book of Gormenghast
    by Maeve Gilmore


    The warning signs were all there. A much-delayed sequel to a well-loved masterpiece, "based on a fragment" by a long-dead author, focused on possibly the least interesting character in all of Gormenghast.

    This is a tiresome book. Dull set-pieces featuring boring characters inhabiting a plot that goes nowhere, uttering god-awful dialogue that is both pretentious and wooden. I should have known better.
    View all my reviews
     
  5. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2010
    Location:
    South West of the Black Stump
    5 Two Essays on Analytical Psychology by C.G.Jung Translated by R.F.C.Hull

    Have a couple of books coming in the mail Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier watched the film the other night and was impressed enough to want to read the book and The Blue Guitar by John Banville which got good reviews on the Guardian.

    The the Japanese have a word for books which pile up unread "Tsundoku" should become part of my vocabulary.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2015
  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
    46. Prince of Fools
    47. Nemesis Games
    48. Golden Boys
    49. Gommorah
    50. The Ring
    51. Wolves
    52. Wind/Pinball

    52. Wind/Pinball

    Mum bought this for me cause I had my wisdom teeth out, otherwise I'm not sure I would have bothered. These are two novellas that Murakami wrote very early on (I think that they are his first works). I liked Wind - it was whimsical and kind of pointless in the best way. Pinball just felt too loose, too abstract, too untethered, there was nothing really holding the different parts of the story together - it seems it's just about two different stories of people moving on, but barely even that.

    I can't hate any Murakami, but I didn't love this.
     
  7. 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 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 47. The Paying Guests 48. Titus Awakes
    49. The Writing on the Wall
    [​IMG]
    The Writing on the Wall
    by Gunnar Staalesen
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    Gunnar Staalesen's Varg Veum is a true original. His name can mean "lone wolf", "persona non grata" and other negative labels, and Varg manages to live up to all of them. His background as a sociologist working in child services (before he went postal on a child abuser) tends to attract him to cases involving children, and this is no exception. Varg is hired by a mother whose teenage girl Torild has disappeared. As Varg digs deeper, he finds that Torild was embroiled with some very unsavoury characters and finds himself the recipient of some letters threatening him with death. Needless to say, Varg ploughs on and irritates the police, witnesses, parents, suspects and everybody else that he encounters.

    The Varg Veum novels are set in Staalesen's home town of Bergen and he excels at describing the city, the surrounding countryside and the bitter weather encountered there. Similar to Rebus' Edinburgh, the reader really feels a sense of place when reading these books.

    Apparently these books are highly popular in Norway, and one of the greatest Varg Veum mysteries is why so few of them have been translated into English, and why the publishers chose to not start with the first, and to translate intermittent novels in the series rather than give English readers continuity. I highly recommend these, and wish there was more of them.
    View all my reviews
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2015
  8. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

    Messages:
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    Nov 6, 2006
    Location:
    Melbourne
    

    I've seen this in the bookshops lately and had been wondering about whether to try them. Might tackle 1Q84 instead.
     
  9. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

    Messages:
    2,313
    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2012
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    1Q84 is so baller. Definitely the more rewarding read.
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. 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
    51. Wolves
    52. Wind/Pinball
    53. Distrust that Particular Flavour

    53. Distrust that Particular Flavour

    Collection of William Gibson essays - the best of which was definitely 'Disneyland with a Death Sentence' which is a rambling critique of Singapore, with some scary questions (what if I'm wrong and this level of assimilation and force is better than freedom?). Consistent themes ran through the collection and it was so consumable, with easy piece just bite-sized. Kinda had fun, glad I got it for free. Enjoyed Gibson's annotations for each piece of writing.
     
  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
    48. Golden Boys
    49. Gommorah
    50. The Ring
    51. Wolves
    52. Wind/Pinball
    53. Distrust that Particular Flavour
    54. Blankets

    54. Blankets

    Craig Thompson's debut illustrated novel is a quietly ambitious story about his own first romance and the way his childhood and beliefs were interwoven with the experience.

    It's beautifully illustrated, simply written and very nostalgic. I didn't really get into it too much - it's just too easy to flick through 100 pages - and the more substantive observations are too interwoven with whimsy or Biblical lessons (his changes as a Christian are a major part of the novel) - and don't really hit home.

    The love story is very beautiful, and the illustrations are outstanding and very, very provocative, so there's merit to the work, I just didn't love it.

    It'd be the most solid 2.5/5 of all time.
     
  12. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

    Messages:
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    Nov 6, 2006
    Location:
    Melbourne
    

    Another oen on my backlog. Not sure what to make of your review. :)

    Turns out I had already reserved Wind/Pinball at the library, so I guess I'll read it after all.
     
  13. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

    Messages:
    2,313
    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2012
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    It's so vanilla it's pleasantly mediocre.

    You couldn't dislike it, but it wouldn't really be that enjoyable.

    It's solidly 'par'.
     
  14. 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 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 47. The Paying Guests 48. Titus Awakes 49. The Writing on the Wall
    50. The Straight Dope
    [​IMG]
    The Straight Dope: The inside story of sport's biggest drug scandal
    by Chip Le Grand
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    In 2013, a scandal emerged that embroiled the Australian Football League in a doping saga. It was revealed that Essendon, one of the AFL's most successful clubs, was suspected of administering banned drugs to their players via a shadowy program of injections administered by a sports scientist, Steven Dank.

    Dank's program of administering unlabelled drugs to players, with no records kept and no medical supervision led to a massive investigation by the Australian Sports And Drugs Administration (ASADA). Head coach, club legend James Hird, was engulfed in the scandal and ultimately charged by the AFL. Bitter court battles ensued, long-standing friendships were sundered and careers ended. In the end, 34 players were charged by ASADA with taking banned substances, but their prosecution failed and all of the players were cleared. Their relief was short-lived, as the World Ant-Doping Authority soon appealed that verdict to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. (In some respects this book is probably premature, as the CAS decision in December will mark the final outcome of the three-year investigation, and this book will be rendered incomplete as soon as it is handed down).

    Most AFL fans - including me - will have already formed views about Essendon and Hird's activities, and Le Grand's book is unlikely to persuade such people. He does however add considerable detail to the account that fans will have gleaned from newspaper coverage. Le Grand takes us inside living rooms and offices were crisis meetings occurred, reveals the contents of confidential reports and notes, discusses strategies with the lawyers, and explains the involvement of important figures in the investigation that did not receive high-profile coverage. He does well to explain the politics in ASADA, the AFL and at Essendon that lay behind what we read in the news. Le Grand also talks about Danks' dubious activities at other sporting clubs, including the notable example of the Cronulla Sharks Rugby League Club, also caught up in the ASADA investigation, with a quite different outcome.

    Le Grand tries to be fair to all, but he is excoriating of AFL boss Andrew Demetriou and of ASADA's failed investigation. In my view he treats the Essendon management pretty lightly, and seeks reasons to diminish James Hird's responsibility for what went on. Like most accounts of this saga, Le Grand focuses almost solely on the question of banned drugs and gives scant attention to the real scandal: how can any manager who allowed his employees to be injected with a litany of untried and unlabelled drugs, with no concern at all for their health and well-being, keep his job, not to mention getting paid millions to stay?

    View all my reviews
     
  15. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

    Messages:
    10,273
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    San Antonio
    Congratulations to all those who have reached 50 books!
     
  16. 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
    51. Wolves
    52. Wind/Pinball
    53. Distrust that Particular Flavour
    54. Blankets
    55. Go Set a Watchman

    55. Go Set a Watchman

    Well this book has been reviewed a few thousand times by now, and I'm not sure if I've got anything to really add, or much to say. The plot is beautifully simple - Scout (now Jean Louise) is in her 20s, and returns to Maycomb county from New York. Initially catching up with family, she quite early is continually grated by her Aunt. After reminiscing a lot here and there she stumbles on a meeting attended by her father and her boyfriend, in which an incredibly racist man performs a ministerial tirade about the end of segregation. This sets off a long chain of events leading her to confront her own views about her home and her family.

    So, to me it's odd that Harper Lee published this book 60ish years after segregation ended. It, as far as I know, says nothing new on the topic and doesn't really seem relevant or contemporary. The majority of the book (like To Kill a Mockingbird) is a coming of age tale, and in that respects it is accomplished and clear. Yet the obvious content of race lacks any substantive content. There's no conclusions drawn, and instead of the novel reveling in that ambiguity, it seems to say nothing and miss the mark. With this particular event (end of segregation) something that happened so long ago, one would hope Lee would be able to use the novel to say something about it, what it meant, or why the opposition was so strong. Instead the two sides (progress and conservatism) clash, agree to disagree and the novel ends.

    Part of me wonders if this was not Lee' attempt to kill parts of her legacy (namely Atticus) - but if that's her aim, I have no idea why she'd choose that.

    The writing is beautiful, the vernacular spot on, the nostalgia evocative - it's a good novel for sure, but it fails to be anything more than that.
     
  17. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

    Messages:
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    Nov 6, 2006
    Location:
    Melbourne
    

    My impression was that Lee did not have much to do with the re-writing of this book at all. I've ignored it because, when you get down to it, this novel was rejected by the publishers twice. A good decision, as those rejections gave us TKAB, which might never have been written had this been Lee's first novel.
     
  18. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Hong Kong via Gothenburg
    Clockwise counting 18/50: Alan Furst - Night Soldiers (1988)

    The first in a long series of espionage novels, this is set in Moscow, Civil War Spain and Paris in the 1930s. Bulgarian Khristo Stoianev is trained as an NKVD agent and harbours an idealistic wish to fight fascism. He is however soon dragged into the dangers of Stalin's purges. This is a dark, unusual and rather poetic spy story, very far from the typical bestsellers. I enjoyed it and will read more of Furst.

    I didn't post anything for the past half year. Life events just took overhand and made me tooooo busy. I didn't completely stop reading though so I will bit-by-bit be posting capsule reviews of what I have read up until now.

    Congrats to those who already reached 50! Matt and CD only? Not SteveB? :butbut:
     
  19. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Hong Kong via Gothenburg
    Clockwise counting 19/50: Ola Nilsson - Isidor and Paula (2014)

    Nilsson is one of the big new stars of serious Swedish literature (possibly not yet translated into English). This, his latest novel, is a modern day version of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice with the setting in an "underground" Stockholm. A depressive but extremely well written novel.
     
  20. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

    Messages:
    1,408
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Hong Kong via Gothenburg
    Clockwise counting 20/50: Fred Vargas - Have Mercy on Us All (2001)

    French mystery novel with the strange but brilliant Inspector Adamsberg solving a case of serial murders. People have graffiti painted on their apartment doors and then turn up dead by what looks to be a modern-day outbreak of plague. Very entertaining.
     

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