Discussion in 'Entertainment, Culture, and Sports' started by edinatlanta, Dec 23, 2010.
Damn you Matt! Just as I was catching up.
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.
76. Wittgenstein's Nephew Thomas Bernhard 1988
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.
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".
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.
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.
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
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.
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).
77. The Death of Ivan Ilych 1886 Leo Tolstoy
Novellla describing the life, times, and death (obviously) of a Russian lawyer and judge.
29. The Prince
I was pretty bored by this book and found almost all of the historical references, etc went over my head. Spent most of it wondering why I was bothering.
Is that Macchiavelli?
The one. The only.
Oddly enough, that didn't make the 1001.
That is odd. Perhaps the list-makers felt this book might lead to undesirable behaviour if everybody read it.
Separate names with a comma.