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
    46. In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larson (2011)

    This is an extremely absorbing book about William Dodd, an academic who became, almost by default, the US Ambassador to Germany just as Hitler came to power. Dodd and his family start from a position of trusting naivete about the new Nazi government and its agencies, such as the Storm Troopers. Gradually their eyes are opened and their view of Hitler's regime moves from naivete to distrust to revulsion after the Night of the Long Knives.

    Dodd's daughter Martha is another key focus of the book. A promiscuous socialite, she formed several alliances with dangerous men such as the head of the Gestapo and a KGB agent, dismaying the Embassy staff working for her father. Meanwhile Dodd makes a range of enemies in the State Department, and finds it impossible to get across just how serious the situation with Hitler is.

    The Dodds lived near a major park called the Tiergarten, that is gardent of beasts. It lends the book its title, which also serves as a splendid metaphor for the Berlin of the early 30s.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2012
  2. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

    Messages:
    10,272
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    San Antonio
    When yer Internet's down for 10 days, yes do a lot of readin...

    71. Breathing Under Water 2011 Richard Rohr a spiritual take on the 12 steps and how they fit with other religious practices.

    72. The Road 2007 Cormac McCarthy The only reason I read this was because it was on the List. The previews of the movie looked horror-ish and I'm not a big fan of those sorts of movies. But the book turned out to be a good read. A father and his son set out to find warmer weather after an Apocalypse. Bleak, as are all the McCarthy books I've read to date, but still worth reading.

    The latest thrillers recommended by the brother:

    73. Point of Impact 1993 Stephen Hunter. A retired marine sniper gets framed for a murder. Pretty exciting, twisted plot. In the end the good guys win and each get a girl, and eat apple pie What could be more American than that?

    74. Night of Thunder 2008 Stephen Hunter A hill billy inbred crime clan (yes I meant inbred) try to pull off a big unusual heist. In the process our hero, Bob Lee Swagger, has an attempt made on his daughter's life which leaves her seriously injured. Bob Lee comes a huntin', sniper rifle in hand. The final 3 pages are AWESOME.

    75. I, Sniper 2009 Stephen Hunter A series of killings of 60s radicals are traced to another Vietnam vet. He then blows himself away. But the case is too perfect so the FBI calls on Swagger to make sure the pieces truly fit. One of the killed radicals greatly resembles Jane Fonda. The villian is Ted Turner.

    76. Dead Zero 2010 Stephen Hunter A Marine sniper company in Afghanistan is commissioned to assassinate its man in power. The order is rescinded by unknown parties in the US. The former villain becomes a friend of the United States. BUT other members of his merry little band show up with an attempt to kill the president. Foiled. Perpetrator hunted down and killed.

    77. Soft Target 2011 Stephen Hunter This tome features Ray Cruz. He's shopping with his g/f in some Mall slightly differently named from Mall of America. But the same thing. A 20s computer geek enlists the help of a dozen Somali warriors. They hold hostages, shoot a few, before Ray and another FBI sniper who's made a hole in the roof, take them down.

    All thriller books by Stephen Hunter and Lee Child are must-reads. I have spoken.:)
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2012
  3. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

    Messages:
    5,540
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    Location:
    Melbourne
    I was wondering if everyone had gone all illiterate on me or something. Good to see you back

    You've mentioned "the list" a few times. Pardon my ignorance; what is that?
     
  4. LimboJimbo

    LimboJimbo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    45
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2012
    Stephen Hunter Novels

    The first one I read was I, Sniper. I picked it up off of a discount book shelf, they had it marked down to $5.99. Best book buy that I ever made. I couldn't put it down. I have since gone back and started from the beginning with Point of Impact. I have been hooked on Stephen Hunter books ever since. It is nice to see other fans of his here.
     
  5. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

    Messages:
    1,408
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Hong Kong via Gothenburg
    

    1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, there are 3 editions out there (of the English language version).
     
  6. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

    Messages:
    1,408
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Hong Kong via Gothenburg
    

    The Honourable Schoolboy is my favourite. Did you skip straight from Tinker, Tailor to Smiley's People?
     
  7. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

    Messages:
    10,272
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    San Antonio
    

    There are some after POI that feature Bob Lee's father Earl(which I'm sure you know) I'll be posting my review of that and another Bob Lee book by the end of the wknd. I'm also trying to finish Hesse's Steppenwolf.



    Yes. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, Tinker Tailor, and Smiley's people were all on the list. I decided to skip Honourable Schoolboy because I thought Tinker Tailor was so bad. I may go back and pick it up later in the year.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2012
  8. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

    Messages:
    5,540
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    Location:
    Melbourne
    47. The Dreyfus Affair, by Piers Paul Read (2012)

    I first heard of the Dreyfus case as a teenager when I read about him in Readers Digest. While the case is famous and oft-referenced, I've never read anything substantial on it, until now.

    You can't really go wrong with this story, and Read does a good job of portraying the politics that prevailed in France at the time, and the complex and conflicting motives of the Dreyfusards. He regularly takes your breath away with his description of the Institutionalised racism and bloody-minded arse-covering that led to a man being consigned to a hole in Devil's Island because people could not bring themselves to admit there had been an obvious injustice.

    Now to the Booker Prize shortlist, starting with Hilary Mantel.
     
  9. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

    Messages:
    10,272
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    San Antonio
    78. Pale Horse Coming 2001 Stephen Hunter This book features Earl Swagger, Bob's father, and a MOH winner at Iwo Jima. Swagger and his friend Sam Vincent get involved with a colored only penal farm in MS in 1951. The place is particularly vile. Earl helps Sam escape and then is captured, tortured, and remains a prisoner for 3 months or so. With the help of an inmate he escapes. Then he brings 6 friends back and they destroy the camp and free the prisoners.
    2 thumbs way up-I even liked it a little better than Point of Impact

    79. 47th Samurai 2007 Stephen Hunter Swagger's father Earl kills a Japanese officer with who possesses a Samurai sword in a bunker during the incident that got him the MOH in Iwo Jima. Because the Japanese uses it to commit hara kiri, Earl feels uncomfortable keeping it. He gives it to his CO. Years later, the killed man's son comes to America to ask Swagger if he might give it back because it would mean a lot to the family.Bob Lee tracks it down. He and takes it back to Japan. The 2 men discover it's a very ancient sword, highly important to the Japanese culture. That night it's stolen and the Japanese man and his entire family are murdered. Swagger sets out to right the wrong. He studies samurai and kills a bunch of guys with his sword, including the biggest, baddest Samurai guy. The sword play strains credulity, but otherwise a decent book.

    I'm going for 100. 7 a month for next 3 mos. Very doable.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2012
  10. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

    Messages:
    1,408
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Hong Kong via Gothenburg
    Clockwise counting 34/50: John Dickson Carr - She Died a Lady (1943)

    From the golden age of the mystery novel , the puzzling cases of John Dickson Carr's books are a lot of fun. In this one an apparent straight-forward lovers' suicide pact proves to be something much more complex and sinister. I like this style and will read more of Dickson Carr.

    I have a bit of catching up to do if I want to get the 50 done by the end of the year. A few mysteries should get me back on track.
     
  11. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

    Messages:
    1,408
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Hong Kong via Gothenburg
    Clockwise counting 35/50: Thich Nhat Hanh - The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching (1999)

    After having read and appreciated lighter zen buddhism fare such as The Miracle of Mindfulness and You Are Here, I decided to study more of the core of Buddhism as taught by Vietnamese monk and zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, or Thay ("master") as he is often called.

    This was a bit like studying rather than reading for pleasure and I must admit that I couldn't fully take in much of the second half of this book. I am not (yet) a proper Buddhist so it all became too technical for my simple taste. I will read more of Thay's writings and I am especially eager to tackle his biography of Buddha, Siddharta Gautama.

    If I don't finish the 50 books before the end of the year, you will find me meditating under a tree somewhere.
     
  12. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

    Messages:
    10,272
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    San Antonio
    80. The Plague 1948 Albert Camus Tale of a town scourged by the Bubonic Plague in North Africa, The town is quarantined,;bodies are burned or cast into pits because they can't be buried fast enough. The town is sealed for 10 months so that the Plague is kept from the general populace,. There are quite a few interesting character studies. This book was on the List. Like The Stranger I found it easy to read and very enjoyable.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2012
  13. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

    Messages:
    10,272
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    San Antonio
    81. Hot Springs Stephen Hunter 2000 Some more literary crack starring Earl Swagger and the mob town of Hot Springs after WW II. Earl and his men clear it out in a fairly predictable way. Hunter books are like Clint Eastwood movies. There is some basis in fact for this one. The situation did exist and the town did throw out the racketeers but the violence wasn't as intense.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2012
  14. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

    Messages:
    10,272
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    San Antonio
    82. Dirty White Boys Stephen Hunter 1994 A story of 3 escaped convicts and their implausible trek across Texas and Oklahoma a mruderin' and a thievin'. The hero chases them while he's busy fucking his partner's wife. He gets shot 3 times, twice in the face and he doesn't die. Not as good as the usual Stephen Hunter fare- I don't recommend it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2012
  15. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

    Messages:
    10,272
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    San Antonio
    83. Time to Hunt Stephen Hunter 1998 Much better than the last one. Swagger is being hunted by the KGB. Or so he thinks. Turns out the hunters are after his wife because of an incident in the 60s because of someone she saw. The CIA guy who's supposed to be protecting them is a Soviet Mole. Swagger takes him and his whole team out with a hidden Claymore. Definitely worth reading.
     
  16. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

    Messages:
    1,408
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Hong Kong via Gothenburg
    Clockwise counting 36/50: John Dickson Carr - The Burning Court (1937)

    A sensational mix between a traditional locked-room mystery and a tale of witchcraft and the supernatural. JDC must be the champion of the so called golden age mystery writers, probably one notch above Agatha Christie. Lots of strange twists and turns until the very last page of the epilogue. Very well done and I will come back to JDC for more of the same.
     
  17. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

    Messages:
    5,540
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    Location:
    Melbourne
    48. Bring Up The Bodies, by Hilary Mantel (2012)

    This is the sequel to Wolf Hall, which won Mantel the Booker Prize a couple of years ago. It continues her tale of the machinations of Thomas Cromwell in the court of Henry VIII, this time focusing on his part in the downfall of Ann Boleyn.

    Henry VIII's is a familiar story, and Mantel's account doesn't really grip until the climax approaches and the true source of Cromwell's thirst for revenge is revealed. The final act in Ann's downfall is well told, but there is a lot of meandering before that.

    I've never really got the fuss over Mantel, with critics calling her a great English writer and describing her writing as "brave" (for affectiontely depicting a man who has been dead for 600 years?). Sure it's good historical fiction, but it's not great literature. Still, I thought the same about Wolf Hall, so what do I know?
     
  18. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

    Messages:
    1,408
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Hong Kong via Gothenburg
    Clockwise counting 37/50: Guy de Maupassant - A Woman's Life (1883)

    This was de Maupassant's first novel but every bit as brilliant as his other two masterpieces Bel Ami and Pierre et Jean. It is the story of Jeanne, a woman from Normandy, and the cruelties she experiences through the course of her life. It is a fabulous and grand tale about the naive girl who falls in love with the wrong man, gives birth to and brings up a son who will break her heart, a fortune is lost and the social standing of the family completely ruined. Excellent misery! I loved it.
     
  19. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

    Messages:
    10,272
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    San Antonio
    84. Black Light Stephen Hunter 1996 The final book in the Point of Impact trilogy. Swagger solves the riddle of his father's death with the help of the oldest son of the hero in Book 2, Dirty White Boys. Pretty good actually. If I were to read Hunter I would recommend this trilogy first. As Born to Run and Darkness on the Edge of Town are to Springsteen, so these novels are to Hunter.

    85. A Wanted Man Lee Child 2012 We revisit the famed ex-MP, Mr. Reacher. He's never really a wanted man so the title is misleading. But he thwarts a Middle Eastern group of bankers catering to terrorists. He beats very few guys up and doesn't sleep with any women. Perhaps he's reforming. A good read. but not Child's best.

    Think I will make the 100, but I really should read 5 more serious books. That is my goal.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2012
  20. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

    Messages:
    5,540
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    Location:
    Melbourne
    49. 1835:The Founding of Melbourne and the Conquest of Australia, by James Boyce (2012)

    This is a major new history of my home town, Melbourne. Boyce describes the original incursions into the grasslands around what is now Melbourne from Van Dieman's Land (now Tasmania). He makes the point that this was a flagrantly illegal act even under UK law at the time, and only proceeded because the Government of the day chose to look the other way. This had devastating consequences for the Aboriginal owners of the land who were hunted off, killed, starved and subject to disease; only a few years after 1835 most of the natives were dead.

    The book is a corrective to the image of the noble frontiersmen that we have all ben traditioanlly fed about the likes of Batman and Fawkner, firmly re-framing them as cynical entrepreneurs out for big profits by operating outside the law. A really interesting read.
     

Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by