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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

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    32. Habibi, by Craig Thompson (2011)

    A graphic novel, so I suppose this doesn't count (although it is 650pp). Habibi is the tale of two runaway children who shelter together in an abandoned boat in the desert, doing whatever it takes to survive. Dodona, a 12 year old girl, tries to shield the three year old Zam from the world and protect him. Eventually they are forced apart and, after many years of suffering, are finally reunited.

    The book is a graphical feast, intricate and inventive. There is a lot of myth, ancient history and alchemy interspersed with images of people struggling to live in a modern third-world country. It's a heady mix, and a riveting read - I read it in a sitting, unable to put it down.

    Not all graphic novels are twaddle about superheroes; this one is an exceptional example of what can be achieved in this form.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2012
  2. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    I don't know...Anything 650 pgs should count.

    56. The Killing Floor Lee Child 1997
    The first Reacher novel. His brother is killed investigating a counterfeit ring in a crooked little town. Lots of people get killed and he resolves the issue.

    Guess I'm on pace for 100.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2012
  3. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    OK, if you insist. :)
     
  4. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Suffering from real life interference. I am reading 2nd novel of the Forsyte Saga and it is brilliant. But life is intruding. Falling behind you true intellectuals. Hope 50 is still the target. I'll make that.
     
  5. GQgeek

    GQgeek Senior member

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    war and peace is going to mess up my pace. :laugh:
     
  6. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    Took me 6 weeks but I planned it as so. 50. IMO Anna is better.

    I'll send you some Reacher novels to pick your pace back up.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2012
  7. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    57. Treasure Island Robert Louis Stevenson 1873
    Classic for younger kids, on the list. but I've never read it. Now I know why. Pretty big disappointment.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2012
  8. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    33. The Fears of Henry IV, by Ian Mortimer (2007)

    Fans of Game of Thrones should try this book, about the real-life plotting and skullduggery as the Plantagenets and the Lancastrians vied for influence in medieval England.

    The first half of the book, might be more aptly called the fears of Richard II. Richard came to the throne at age 10, after the death of the great King Edward III. The new king, unlike his glorious father the Black Prince, had no record of any note in combat or much else. His insecurities ked him to establish a rule of ruthless autoritariansim and scandalous favouritism. It was said at the the time that "a child of death is he who angers the king". Richard especially resented his noble, chivalrous cousin Henry of Lancaster. Jealous of his courtly and military success, Richard missed no opportunity to snub his cousin, deny him advancement and ultimately exiled him and cut him off from his inheritance.

    This left Henry with little choice: he could embrace ignominy or return to England and overthrow the king. He chose the latter course and was greeted by the people as a saviour, but in doing so he set a precedent that upset the nobility across Europe. France and Scotland never recognised his kingship. It is likely that Henry also had Richard killed, which did nothing for his reputation.

    The latter half of the book is about Henry's reign, his battles to secure his legitimacy and address England's financial woes while deaing with a stroppy House of Commons and Lords whose loyalty he could not count on, even his own son.

    A religious man, Henry died an agonising and horrible death, which he was convinced was God's judgement on his actions. His reign is not well-remembered today, although Mortimer shows that some of his initiatives persist to this day. This book was a useful insight to the life of a man often overlooked in English history.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2012
  9. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    58. Running Blind Lee Child 2000
    This was the most intricate of the Reacher novels I've read so far. Plot within a plot. 3 different cases being solved simultaneously. Much to my amazement, I had pegged the villain in the first 100 pages.
    Good I got to 50 early. Looks like an unexpected major reason for slowing down has materialised... :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2012
  10. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    Just curious Steve, since you've read quite a few now, what do you think of the casting of Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher?
     
  11. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    Abominable, Reacher was 6 5 250. Nick Nolte would be perfect but I think he's too old.

    Cruise is a little Scientologic twerp.

    (My apologies if that's your chosen religion).

    I liked him in Risky Business and Top Gun. I've gotten older and acquired more taste since then.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012
  12. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    59. Echo Burning Lee Child 2001
    Da Reach slaps a few people around. Shoots some more and never gets in trouble.
    These books are addicting. I'm thinking I should just read them all and then get back to the list.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012
  13. Reynard369

    Reynard369 Senior member

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    Ignoring the size differential, I don't think Cruise is the right type of actor for Reacher. He's too much of a charmer, whereas Reacher is the "strong and silent" type.
     
  14. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 31/50: John Galsworthy - In Chancery (1920)

    It took Galsworthy two decades to get around to writing the second novel of the Forsyte Saga trilogy but it is a smooth and fascinating transition as the story moves from the 19th to the 20th century - it is the time of the Boer war and the death of Queen Victoria; it is also for the Forsytes the time of a deep and painful split between two parts of the family. 

    I am having a busy summer so not able to read as much as I would like to. The story of the Forsytes is however top notch entertainment for those rare lazy afternoons in the garden. 
     
  15. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    There's always Clint in his prime...
     
  16. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    I might try those. You always have such good taste in books.
     
  17. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    34. The Coronation, by Boris Akunin (2010)

    One of the Erast Fandorin series of detective novels. This series is set in Imperial Russia, featuring Erast Fandorin, a middle-level civil officer whose powers of observation, deduction and disguise enable him to solve the most challenging of mysteries. Fandorin is quite similar to Sherlock Holmes, but Akunin's books include elements of social class and historical observation that are missing from Doyle's stories.

    The Coronation is set in Moscow in the leadup to the coronation of Tsar Nikolai. A minor member of the royal family is kidnapped and held to ransom for nothing less then the crown jewels. Such a scandalous situation would wreck the festivities and provide an ominous start to the reign of young Nikolai, so Fandorin is grudgingly asked by the Romanovs to foil the plot.

    Fandorin is aware that the villain is the evil Dr Lind, a Moriarty-like figure whom Fandorin has long pursued, but never seen up close. His personal need to triumph over Lind may or may not be influencing his judgment in how to proceed.

    This entry in the series differs from the others in that it is narrated by one of the other characters, a butler of the Royal Court. His classist snobbery portrays Fandorin in a very different light from the other books, and allows Akunin to present his hero through a different lens, and not always a flattering one.

    The plot is complicated and pacy once it gets going, and there are quite a few historical allusions to pick up on. Akunin keeps you guessing right until the end. Recommended.
     
  18. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    I'd heard about that aspect of it. Basically it shows that money talks in Hollywood, and Cruise can afford to buy himself any role he wants. Still, Lee Child would have been very aware of what Cruise would do with the rights when he sold them, so I guess he doesn't care.
     
  19. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    35. In the Shadow of the Cypress, by Thomas Steinbeck (2010)
    I picked up this one in a remainder store because I was curious as to what sort of writer John Steinbeck's son had turned out to be.

    The novel starts pretty well. It's set around Monterey, CA, which is of course the author's childhood stamping ground. A railroad worker knocks over an aged cypress tree to clear the way for a new railroad. Underneath, he finds some strange Chinese artefacts. An academic dates the tree and works out that, given that they must have been under the tree when it was planted, the artefacts are proof that Chinese explorers discovered America before Columbus.

    The Chinese community gets wind of this and, concerned at the racial tension this news might stir up, seek to acquire the artefacts and hide them from sight. Factions in the community bargain over the right to own and protect them.

    At this point, Steinbeck has set up in intriguing premise and introduced some interesting characters with a fine sense of CA at the turn of the century. He then suddenly shifts gear, jumping forward a century to focus on a young academic who, while rooting around in a university storage room, discovers documents describing the lost artefacts. He then sets out to rediscover them.

    The problem is this second half is trite and unbelievable, people by characters that are far less appealing. Steinbeck carries on about nonsense like electrified surfboards and members only billionaire dining clubs, which sounds like the worst kind of Harold Robbins dreck. The second half wrecks the book, and he would have done better to stay with his 1906 beginning and develop that further, rather than quantum leap into modern schlock.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2012
  20. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 32/50: Vladimir Sorokin - Bro (2004)

    Russian author Sorokin is known to shock his readers and he has become a bit of a cult phenomenon in the West. Bro is the first novel of three that he has collectively called The Ice Trilogy. This is part science fiction, part religious discourse and it is also a fluently written narrative, set in the great Siberian wilderness, Stalin-era Moscow and in wartime Germany. It is about a search and an awakening. Nothing particularly shocking but mildly entertaining and probably reason enough to read the next novel of the series and find out if the blonde and blue eyed members of the Brotherhood of Light are really the chosen ones. 
     

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