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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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  2. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    1. The Undivided pt 1
    2. The Undivided pt 2
    3. No Country for Old Men
    4. The Difference Engine
    5. Wake in Fright
    6. The River of Doubt
    7. The Pearl
    8. Crytonomicon
    9. Shot in the Dark
    10. Malcolm X - Biography
    11. Final Empire
    12. The Quiet American.
    13. Habibi
    14. The Invisible Man
    15. Tender is the Night
    16. Guardians of the West
    17. King of the Murgos
    18. Demon lord of Khandar

    19. Sorcress of Darshiva
    20. Seeress of Kell
    21. Once We Were Warriors
    22. Winter of our Discontent
    23. Othello
    24. A Scanner Darkly
    25. The Well of Ascension
    26. Hero of Ages
    27. Alloy of Law
    28. Marrow
    29. The Prince
    30. Leviathan Wakes
    31. The Meaning of Sarkozy
    32. The Death of Ivan Illych
    33. The Devil
    34. Lucifer's Hammer
    35. The Yiddish Policeman's Union
    36. Rainbows End
    37. Palimpsest
    38. Red Shirts
    39. Caliban's War
    40. The Ocean at the End of the Lane
    41. The Communist Hypothesis
    42. While Mortals Sleep
    43. Spin
    44. Werewolves in their Youth
    45. Heart of Darkness
    46. A Model World
    47. Throne of the Crescent Moon
    48. Darkness at Noon
    49. Abaddon's Gate



    49. Abaddon's Gate

    The final book in The Expanse series - this story finishes off what was begun in Leviathan Wakes. James Holden and his crew remain core characters with a revolving door of minor characters all essentially grappling with their own ideas about how humanity should act now that they have encountered alien life. While the plot is far from original, I still find the strength of the series has rested almost entirely on the prose and the exceptionally thorough understanding of low gravity and its effects on humans. The weaknesses of the story, as usual, lie in the formulaeic approach to the novel (reading the introduction to the new minor characters was a little tiring this time)

    The final book takes a few turns towards the metaphysical, but remains blisteringly quick, entertaining and enjoyable. Not as strong as Leviathan Wakes, but easily as good as Caliban's War.
     
  3. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    41. All That I Am by Anna Funder (2011)

    All That I Am is a tender account of the Jewish refugees that fled Hitler's Germany in the lead-up to the War, and their attempts to alert the Western World to the situation there. It's a story of loss, betrayal and fear, seen from the vantage point of the survivors in their old age.

    The book reads like a spy story and is quite pacy. It is based on real events and characters, which lends it an authentic edge. I found it reasonably engrossing, but I did think that the author telegraphs most of her plot twists well in advance, which marred the book somewhat,

    Another minor quibble I had is that this is quite clearly a European story, yet it received the Miles Franklin Award, for a novel about Australian experience. While the award can be justified on the basis that one of the survivors did indeed settle in Australia, there is pretty much nothing in this story peculiar to Australia.
     
  4. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Thanks for the interesting link CD. But didn't S&W borrow heavily from Ed McBain? And were there only Agatha Christie-type mysteries around in 1966? The lady forgets about Hammett, Chandler and all crime noir that followed. But I guess S&W were pioneers as socialist / communist crime novelists. Still remains good reads, even for the upper class.
     
  5. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    50. Into the Wild

    A relatively well known story documenting the journies of a yong man who leaves his upper-class background to wander diferent parts of the USA, eventually dying on his on in Alaska.

    The story was fine - neither amazingly engrossing, or completely boring. Parts of the story resonated deeply with me (the desire to leave it all behind completely), but the inconsitencies in the thinking, writing and ideals of the traveller (McCandless) made this read quite disnechanting. Instead of a someone driven by ideas they couldn't live up to, I tend to view this as a tale of someone who was confused, and ran away to try to find a way out of their own turmoil, eventually losing his life in the process.

    I'm not sure if objecting to the main 'character' counts as a valid critique, but a lot of Krakauer's writing depends on his analysis and connection with the enigmatic McCandless, and at times I found this a hard line to swallow. Worth a read, but not something for me.
     
  6. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    Congratulations on No. 50!
     
  7. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    Bastard! You got there ahead of me. Well done.
     
  8. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    I think I agree with you about the McBain link, in that S&W used a similar device of a group of cops common to each book. Where they differed from the great noir novelists is the ongoing police procedural format; Chandler at al mostly wrote about PIs. I agree that McBain got there first, but I think they do deserve credit for taking it into their social-awareness territory.
     
  9. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    Have you read Three Cups of Deceit? That was a real eye-opener.
     
  10. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    I haven't - give us a cheeky run down?
     
  11. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Congratulations! Let's combine our reading scores and try to beat Steve B. :D
     
  12. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 72/50: Lawrence Block - The Sins of the Fathers (1976)

    This is the first in a long series of Block novels featuring PI Matt Scudder, an ex cop with a drinking problem. A call girl is murdered, a minister's son is caught red handed and commits suicide in jail. Scudder is called in to investigate and finds that there is more to the story than the police have bothered to look for. Light seedy entertainment but not bad.
     
  13. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 73/50: Lawrence Block - In the Midst of Death (1976)

    Bad cop turns whistle blower against NYPD and gets framed for killing a prostitute. Hard drinking and depressive PI Matthew Scudder takes on the task of proving the bad cop's innocence. A tiny notch better than the first in the series but no Nobel prize material. Scudder's reflections on his drinking problem and connected relationship issues are the most interesting parts.
     
  14. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    You need to have read Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson. Mortenson set up a charity to build girls schools in the Himalayas, and the book is a best-selling account of how he did it.

    In Three Cups of Deceit, Krakouer does an absolute number on Mortenson, laying bare what a crock his book is and what a sham his whole charity is. It made e totally re-assess the original book, that's for sure.

    You can find it on Byliner.
     
  15. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    Sounds great - I'll get to it later in the year - currently exploring the library next door.

    I want to see if I can crack 70 books by year's end.
     
  16. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 74/50: Tana French - In the Woods (2007)

    In the 1980s, three children disappeared in the woods outside a suburb of Dublin, Ireland. One of them, Adam Ryan, was found with horrible scratches on his back and his shoes soaked with the blood of one of the other children. He suffered a complete lapse of memory. The other two children were never found and Adam never regained his memory of the event. 

    Twenty years later Adam is a detective in the Dublin Murder Squad and a small girl is found killed in the same woods. He gets the case but the Dublin police doesn't know about his own childhood experience. 

    This is a very clever and well written psychological crime story. It won the Edgar Award and Tana French has gone on to write another 4 successful novels about the Dublin police. I intend to read at least the next one in the series. I liked this one!
     
  17. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    There is social awareness in McBain's 87th precinct series too but I think S&W are overall better and also further left-leaning, so maybe they took crime fiction one more step into reality than McBain had done. Ed McBain was a pen-name for Evan Hunter and his most famous book published under his real name was The Blackboard Jungle from the 1950s. As I remember it from many moons ago, it is a "social awareness classic" about violent kids in New York. I don't know how I would rate it today but I once thought it was really good.

    Sure, Chandler and the crime noir followers were very different from the police procedurals. I just thought the article was wrong in saying that all crime fiction before S&W were Agatha Christie-style mysteries.

    I will finish the series of the 10 Sjowall Wahloo books. Later this year or as part of the 2014 challenge.
     
  18. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 75/50: Lawrence Block - Time to Murder and Create (1977)

    Unlicensed Private Investigator Matt Scudder keeps pouring bourbon into his coffee and solving crime cases out of moral necessity. Here he is confronted with three blackmail victims, one of who is responsible for the murder of the blackmailer. Scudder takes the role of the blackmailer to flush out the killer. 

    Lawrence Block's stories all revolve around what happens in sleazy bars and back alleys and how unhappy people destroy their lives in New York. This is interesting stuff for us small town people. The hero is morally flawed but navigating his way in his dirty world with a thoroughly moral compass. 
     
  19. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    So, I left most of the fatter books until the end of the year (The Idiot, 19Q4, Conversation in the Cathedral and Brothers Kharamazov). I want to try to read two of them (not sure how I'll go) any recommendations?
     
  20. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    I'm tempted to recommend the biggest one so I can catch up with you. :)

    I haven't read it yet, but I've heard good reviews of 1Q84.
     

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