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2017 50 Book Challenge

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

  1. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    Not really- we don't both like the same books often.



    The library doesn't have it. I'd ask to borrow it but I think Amazon's cheaper than round trip postage to Sweden. :)
     
  2. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    22. The Book of Barely Imagined Beings, by Caspar Henderson (2012)

    Caspar Henderson's modern bestiary is a masterful blending of the odd, the erudite and the philosophical. The book is an A-Z of unusual life forms that Henderson uses as a platform for fascinating digressions and musings on scientific discovery, evolution and the impact that humans have had on the world we live in. Some of his digressions are surprising - the minute winterbear gives rise to a discussion on space travel for example - but the book flows logically and never flags.

    This is a sumptuous book full of line drawings, maps, photos and marginalia. Henderson's footnoting is very effective, using coloured text to guide the eye, rather than numbered superscripts. Beautifully presented books like this are the reason why ebooks will never entirely replace the physical form.
     
  3. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    72. The 39 Steps John Buchan 1915


    [COLOR=FF00AA]LIST[/COLOR]

    A thriller. A short thriller. On The List. Reasonably related to the beginning of WWI. But Buchan isn't Stephen Hunter. I'd skip it.
     
  4. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    CD is catching up! Gotta put some runs on the board!
     
  5. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    23. The Giant, O'Brien, by Hilary Mantel (1999)

    With her two Man Booker prizes, I suppose that Hilary Mantell is the reigning queen of historical fiction. The Giant, O'Brien is an earlier work of hers and much less sweeping than the Cromwell novels that have made her name.

    The book is set during the Enlightenment and concerns Charles O'Brien, an Irish giant who travels to London with some friends to exhibit himself and make his fortune. O'Brien is a sensitive soul with far more altruistic motives han his agent and their friends.

    The giant comes to the attention of John Hunter, an anatomist who craves possession of his remains. After a meeting with O'Brien, Hunter divines that the giant is dying, and seeks to inveigle his companions into handing over the giant to him after he dies.

    The Giant O'Brien is readable enough, but is a pretty ordinary tale with somewhat stereotypical characters. Mantel's giant is certainly an interesting character, but her account of his life is somewhat thin and much more could have been made of this and of his relationship with Hunter, another under-developed character. This is a story that needs more depth and plot than the 200-odd pages that Mantel gives it.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2013
  6. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    73. The Hour of The Star Clarice Lispector 1977

    [COLOR=FF00AA]THE LIST[/COLOR]

    Limberger Law
     
  7. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    This means "no good"?
     
  8. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    75. Rashomon and Other Unusual Stories Ryunosuke Akutagawa 1952


    [COLOR=FF00AA]LIST[/COLOR]


    A short collection of Japanese short stories. 2 or 3 were pretty good so I guess this one would be a sideways thumb.
     
  9. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    Yes

    74. The Lover Marguerite Duras 1986

    [COLOR=FF00AA]THE LIST[/COLOR]

    A French teenager's experiences in Vietnam in the 30s and 40s. She speaks about her incredibly dysfunctional family. And as a 15 year old she becomes the lover of a rich Chinese man 10 years her senior. His father will not allow them to marry and they terminate their relationship. But their feelings about one another last the rest of their lives.

    A very good read.

    Sorry for juxtaposition...Not sure WTH is up.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2013
  10. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    28. Marrow

    A story of humans who come across a magnificent ship, built by an unknown race that is, essentially, technology beyond reproach. Can literally manufacture life. Captains aboard the ship are ordered to a new part of the ship that was surprisingly found - a world they end up calling Marrow. Chaos ensues.

    This book had massive potential. The discovery of the ship, the ship itself and how it was run were magnificently told. One of the greatest introductions of magic technology ever. The story, for me, really fell apart at the end of the book. It's hard to describe why - but too many things happened in too short a time. This made it feel rushed, implausible and cheap.
     
  11. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    Damn you Matt! Just as I was catching up.
     
  12. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    24. Books: A Living History, by Martyn Lyons (2011)

    Martyn Lyons' handsome coffee-table book is an overview of the development of writing from ancient times to the internet era. The book focuses on the developments in publication technology over the centuries, as well as the social impacts as books moved from being the privilege of the elite to being available to the masses on a global scale.

    With such a vast field to cover, Lyons is necessarily somewhat cursory in his treatment of most subjects, and there is not much by way of new information here. However the book is richly illustrated with some quite beautiful reproductions of notable texts and other art works.
     
  13. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    76. Wittgenstein's Nephew Thomas Bernhard 1988

    [COLOR=FF00AA][COLOR=FF00AA]THE LIST
    [/COLOR][/COLOR]
    Self-biography of the author and his relationship with a friend. The older Thomas gets the more he realizes that Paul has been his only friend, and how much Paul has enriched his life.

    The book is very well written (as one paragraph BTW), but I didn't care for it.
     
  14. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 50/50: Ian McEwan - Sweet Tooth (2012)

    McEwan's espionage novel has nothing to do with spying but a lot to do with deceptions and romantic entanglements. There is a breeze of Le Carrean air over the narrative and while it is always a pleasure to read McEwan's exquisite language, I found this one to ultimately be a let-down.

    Happy to have reached the 50 book target prior to mid year. Now on to the more challenging task of "reading more than Steve B". :happy:
     
  15. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 51/50: Graham Greene - England Made Me (1935)

    On the 1001 list.

    This one doesn't deserve to be on the list, I found it to be one of the weakest efforts by this otherwise masterful storyteller of moral enigmas. A good-for-nothing English braggart gets a chance to work as bodyguard to a wealthy Swedish industrialist. Rather boring tale about selfish people and their deceptions. 
     
  16. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 52/50: Don DeLillo - White Noise (1985)

    On the 1001 list.

    The best DeLillo I have read up to now. 

    This is a book of excellent humour and terrifying horror and every single page is funny and provoking. The protagonist, Jack Gladney, is head professor of the Hitler department at an obscure Midwestern college. He contemplates his and other people's death and tries to find a meaning in the superficial supermarket existence of modern America. 

    The book is full of excellent questions to which we seldom get answers: “Were people this dumb before television?” “Does a man like yourself know the size of India’s standing army?” “What if someone held a gun to your head?” 

    Highly recommended for those who can stomach a dark tale of human misery.
     
  17. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    Another example of our varying tastes.

    I hated that book.

    It is on The List BTW.

    The Greene book is in the 2006 version so I won't get to it in a while.

    How is The Power and The Glory?

    Congrats- 50 by the middle of May is pretty damn good.

    But you won't catch me. Beep Beep
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2013
  18. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    I think you are safe when it comes to number of books read in 2013, unless you suddenly come to a dead stop. I am targeting 100 or 120, we'll see. But will you catch my percentage score on The List? If so, when?

    Power and the Glory is a real classic. Here is my review:

    This is one of the best books I have read this year or any year. The main character is an alcoholic priest burden by sin and fear, roaming the Mexican province of Tabasco. 

    In the 1930s, the Catholic church is persecuted by the Mexican government under leadership of violent atheist President Calles and his henchman Governor Canabal and his so called red shirts, a bunch of fanatics. Prayer is outlawed and Mexican priests are given the option to get married and renounce their faith or otherwise face the execution squad. Our alcoholic anti-hero continues to practise his faith, giving mass, performing baptisms and hearing confession, while being hunted by the police from village to village. 

    The government is in this novel symbolised by "the Lieutenant", an essentially good and just man with socialist beliefs and a deep-felt disgust for a hypocritical church and its hypocritical priests. The Lieutenant's job is to capture the alcoholic priest, the last one remaining in the province or maybe in all of Mexico.

    A fantastic novel which puts its finger on good and evil without providing pre-packaged answers. Together with The Quiet American, this might be Greene's masterpiece.
     
  19. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    I was talking about this year total books read. Pct of the list? You are Hank Aaron. I am Barry Bonds w/out BALCO. So...after you've been retired for 20 years.

    I have the Greene novel here and I'm trying to decide between it and Cry The Beloved Country.

    I also have another trip scheduled for the library tomorrow. You'd be really surprised how few LIST books they have. I don't want to buy books from Amazon because I usually only read them once. These purchases would detract from my shoe and Hot Wheels collection budgets. (The term budget in either case is laughable).
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2013
  20. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    77. The Death of Ivan Ilych 1886 Leo Tolstoy

    [COLOR=FF00AA]LIST
    [/COLOR]
    Novellla describing the life, times, and death (obviously) of a Russian lawyer and judge.

    Good Readin'
     

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