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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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    53. The Even More Complete Book of Australian Verse, by John Clarke (2003)
    [​IMG]
    The Even More Complete Book Of Australian Verse
    by John Clarke
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    In The Even More Complete Book of Australian Verse John Clarke, one of the great satirists, turns his attention to poetry and reveals how nearly all of the world's great poets were really Australian. He presents selections from the works of literary legends such as Rabbi Burns, Very Manly Hopkins, b.b. hummings and Carol Lewis (renowned author of Alison Wonderland and Who are You Looking At?).

    The book has been through a few editions from 1989 to 2003, so some of the target's of Clarke's satire may be a bit obscure to a contemporary audience, and might make little sense to a audience not au fait with Australian politics and sport. I'm not a huge poetry reader but recognised enough of the references to get a lot of belly laughs; those more familiar with the poetry that Clarke is lampooning will get a lot more out of it.

    View all my reviews
     
  2. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    54. We Need New Names, by NoViolet Buluwayo (2013)
    [​IMG]
    We Need New Names
    by NoViolet Bulawayo
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    NoViolet Bulawayo's first novel made the 2013 Booker shortlist, which gives an insight into her talent. We Need New Names is the story of Darling, a young child living in poverty in a Zimbabwean shanty town. Darling and her friends run riot amid the squalor, and their games innocently reflect the horror going on around them.

    Darling eventually escapes this environment and moves to the USA, where she struggles to get to grips with her new life. She feels the strings attaching her to her old country, but knows she can never go back.

    The first half of the book is both amusing and shocking as Darling describes the games she plays with her friends. However, the second half is a more mundane account of a young immigrant in a new country. That said, there is one chapter called How They Lived which is as good an account of the experiences of a third world migrant to the new world as I've ever read. Gems like this chapter make We Need New Names a very worthwhile addition to African literature.

    View all my reviews
     
  3. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    Melbourne, Australia
    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
    50. Into the WIld
    51. Ready Player One
    52. 1Q84
    53. Red Pony
    54. Bright lights, big city
    55. All the pretty horses
    56. A Short walk in the Hindu Kush
    57. The Brief, Wonderous life of Oscar Wao
    58. Ubik
    59. Return of a King
    60. In trouble again
    61. Dance, Dance, Dance

    61. Dance, Dance, Dance

    Fantastic characterisation paired with nearly flawless narration. Masterclass in elegance and subtlety. A joy to read from start to end, with just enough weirdness to keep things interesting. High entertaining, engaging and provoking.

    Should be 62 by the end of today fellas.
     
  4. noob in 89

    noob in 89 Senior member

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    Why was I not told of this. :plain:

    This is great. Will there be a 2014 thread?
     
  5. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    First you have to qualify, by reading and reviewing 50 books this year. Off you go...

    :)

    Welcome to the team. Never too late to start.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    Location:
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    109. A Princess of Mars 1912 Edgar Rice Burroughs

    Like a big-budget Hollywood action film. An earth man mysteriously ends up on Mars and fights green men and red men and wins the girl. Somehow he winds up back on earth girl less. I think he'll be back as there are 11 books in all.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2013
  7. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    62. This is how you lose her

    Unmatched. Gorgeous. Brilliant.
     
  8. FLMountainMan

    FLMountainMan Senior member

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    Outer Dark is probably my second favorite book of his. Completely demented, but really good.
     
  9. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    55. The Testament of Mary, by Colm Toibin (2012) Another from the 2013 Booker shortlist.
    [​IMG]
    The Testament of Mary
    by Colm Tóibín
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    The Testament of Mary is an account of the death of Jesus from the point of view of the one who knew him best, his mother Mary.

    Toibin's Mary is an aged woman preparing herself for the end of her life and seeking to clarify in her own mind the events surrounding her son's death. She recounts her son's inexorable slide into the clutches of his political enemies and gives us a grim eyewitness account of the crucifixion. Mary's account of the aftermath varies dramatically from the traditional account.

    Toibin's novella is ridden with heresies that are subtly and gently delivered in a way that is absolutely believable, although the book will no doubt ruffle many feathers. It is however a succinct and beautiful account of a mother's special bonds to her child, and a very human portrayal of a person who tradition has presented as more of a semi-divine figure.

    View all my reviews
     
  10. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 87/50: Fred Vargas - This Night's Foul Work (2006)

    The Adamsberg policiers maintain a high and even standard. I will try to read the whole series. 

    Two men are found in a Paris suburb with their throats cut, a number of stags are killed in Normandy and have their hearts cut out, some people report seeing ghosts and a few graves of recently diseased young women are disturbed. Commissaire Adamsberg has a sense of an evil presence, connects the various events and relies more on intuition than logic.
     
  11. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 88/50: James S.A. Corey - Caliban's War (2012)

    The continuation of Leviathan Wakes is another classic adventure / horror story in a magnificent space setting. The three super powers are Earth, Mars and the Outer Planetary Alliance (OPA). A serious threat to all three powers is the mysterious virus that made its powerful presence in our solar system known in the previous book. This new power is now taking unexpected shapes and initiates violent action but Earth and Mars fail to keep peace internally in order to make a united front against this future enemy.

    This book has a more pronounced political focus compared to its predecessor. There is also a strong emphasis on human relations, even if often presented in a rather simplistic way, as is often the case in adventure stories. Very little high-tech geek-friendly stuff. 

    This is decent entertainment and the 600 pages turn quickly. But it is nowhere near the level of Iain Banks' best, e.g. Player of Games.
     
  12. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 89/50: Yasunari Kawabata - Thousand Cranes (1952)

    A brilliant little novel about tea ceremony rituals, guilt and love. The protagonist is 25-year old Kikuji whose father has recently died. At a tea ceremony, he is introduced to a beautiful intended future wife by one of his father's old mistresses. He instead falls in love with another of his father's mistresses, the guilt-ridden and highly emotional Mrs Ota. After Mrs Ota's death, her daughter Fumiko enters his life as a continuation of the guilt and hopeless love.

    Despite its small format, this novel tells a lot about human relationships and it leaves many questions unanswered in a perfectly satisfactory way. This is a minimalistic masterpiece and very similar to Snow Country, which I read earlier this year. Highly recommended.
     
  13. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

    Messages:
    2,313
    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2012
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    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
    50. Into the WIld
    51. Ready Player One
    52. 1Q84
    53. Red Pony
    54. Bright lights, big city
    55. All the pretty horses
    56. A Short walk in the Hindu Kush
    57. The Brief, Wonderous life of Oscar Wao
    58. Ubik
    59. Return of a King
    60. In trouble again
    61. Dance, Dance, Dance
    62. This is how you lose her
    63. Drown


    63. Drown

    Junot Diaz's second short story collection was generally enjoyable. Focusing more on the effects of immigration and a little less on the effects of love, lust and lost, Diaz explores what one has to assume is part of his heritage and upbringing in a nostalgic, but unromantic way. Balanced, engaging, entertaining the stories contain elements of magic realism (impossible to tell where one stops and the other starts, or where biography begins and fantasy ends), but I was a bit tired of his subject matter and prose after reading his other two works recently.

    An excellent author with a unique voice, I highly recommend any of Diaz's works.
     
  14. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    San Antonio
    110. Scarecrow Returns 2012 Matthew Reilly

    A plot by a well armed revolutionary army takes an old Russian army base. They leak gas into the atmosphere to ignite it and cause havoc and a geopolitical shift. They are foiled by the Scarecrow.

    Plenty of credulity strains but I liked it overall.

    10 more to go.
     
  15. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    "Plenty of credulity strains, but liked it overall."

    ...that's how I feel about all MR books.

    Great guy (met in person several times) though, instantly likeable.

    Temple is still my favourite of his works.
     
  16. noob in 89

    noob in 89 Senior member

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    I dunno if commenting is discouraged here (or intended for the other thread), but I've been curious about Kawabata for awhile, as he is a big -- well, maybe not a huge influence -- but William Vollmann is a big fan, so I had to check him out. His Palm of the Hand Stories, what people might call "short shorts" nowadays, were very good, very moving -- and also the inspiration behind one of my favorite books, Vollmann's The Atlas. So it's good to hear his novels are equally sound. I look forward to grabbing this one.

    Also thumbs up to this whole thread.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2013
  17. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Hong Kong via Gothenburg
    

    I will certainly try his Palm of Hand story collection and overall read more of Kawabata's work. Another Japanese author who I like very much and already read a lot from is Junichiro Tanizaki.

    I am not sure if I dare to read William Vollmann... I am hearing he is producing thousands of pages of unfocused scattered thoughts with strokes of genius and strangeness. Is The Atlas the right place to start?
     
  18. Journeyman

    Journeyman Senior member

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    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    


    Steve B, please don't read Matthew Reilly. Life is too short and there are too many good books to read.

    I've seen him signing books at the front of a bookstore as I walked past one day and he seemed like a very nice, genuine person from the brief glimpse that I got of him, but his writing is poor and there are many, many books that you'd be better off reading!
     
  19. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    +1.

    I do seem to be in an old man harrumphy mood this week. Don't take it personally Matt. :)
     
  20. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    Location:
    San Antonio
    

    Not to be snotty, but don't tell me what to read and I won't tell you what to read...

    e.g. I've read as many books from The List as you have in total...

    111. Taggart 1959 Louis L'Amour

    A Western about Apaches, guns, and girls. All of which the good guy gets in the end. Formulaic, short-ish, but a good read.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2013

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