2017 50 Book Challenge

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

  1. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    I saw that addition - quite interesting to include graphic novels. Would love to teach V for Vendetta or Watchmen, but think those would raise a few eyebrows, unfortunately.

    My favourite part of the novel was Art's conversations with his father (as you pointed out), which are really quite human and completely echo (to me) what it's like talking to an older parent.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2013


  2. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    Maus is the first, and a very good place to start, I think. The way the list works is that titles drop off after a few years, so I think the two you mention would be good additions in future. I'd love to see them put Joe Sacco on the list, although he might be a tad controversial politically.
     


  3. Journeyman

    Journeyman Senior member

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    Haven't read Sacco's books for years, but from memory, "Palestine" was less political than another book on the same topic which was called "Gaza" or something similar. In the former, I think that he acknowledged that he should put the Israeli point of view, too, but that it would take a different book to the do that. In the latter, I think that he was firmer in his determination to put forward the Palestinian point of view and much less apologetic about being quite one-sided in his portrayal.

    I read and enjoyed "Palestine" back in the 1990s, but must admit to only flipping through the Gaza one in a bookstore a couple of years ago.
     


  4. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    I agree, Footnotes in Gaza was heavily partisan. The reason I'd suggest Sacco as suitable for a VCE list is that he combines the roles of comic book author and war correspondent. That's unique as far as I know, and would provide fertile ground for study.
     


  5. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    38. Lexicon, by Max Barry (2013)

    Max Barry has written some excellent satirical novels such as Company and Jennifer Government. In Lexicon, he largely leaves the satire behind and gives us a near-future cautionary tale about the power of language.

    Lexicon centres  on a shadowy organisation of Poets, people who are highly trained in the use of words to persuade and command ordinary folk, and bend them to their will. The organisation recruits Emily, a street hustler with outstanding innate persuasive skills. Emily proves to be more than a handful for the organisation seeking to train her.

    The Poets seem to be mixed up in a mysterious incident that occurred at Broken Hill, where all 3000 of the town's inhabitants died. They kidnap Wil, an Australian carpenter, with a view to forcing him to help them find out what is at the heart of the Broken Hill disaster.

    Lexicon is an excellent story with some interesting ideas about personality types and how people can be influenced. Barry's main characters are well-drawn and his descriptions of the Australian desert ring extremely true. This is a great read, marred for me only by some confusion engendered by the time shifting in the plot.j
     


  6. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    Sounds cool - will acquire.
     


  7. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    48. Darkness at Noon

    A formerly highly placed government member is thrown in jail and trialled. A clear depiction of how the Soviet purges were carried out despite the 'this is fictional' disclaimer. At times I found the story engaging (descriptions of sleeplessness in particular, as well as the communication between prisoners), the reminiscing at the beginning of the novel (around the character of Arlova) I felt was unnecessary and distracting.

    I look forward to reading Koester's biography.
     


  8. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 71/50: Salman Rushdie - The Enchantress of Florence (2008)

    A yellow haired traveler from Florence arrives in Sikri, the capital of the Mughal empire, to share a secret with the Mughal ruler Akbar the Great. The secret is about an enchanting woman but the story about the Enchantress is extremely confusing and the secret is revealed very slowly all the way until the anti-climactic ending. This is a book about miracles and magnificent historical coincidences. Machiavelli, a few of the Medicis, Andrea Doria, Amerigo Vespucci and Vlad Dracula all figure in this strange narrative. While obviously well written sentence by sentence and occasionally intriguing, this is a massive failure as a novel. 
     


  9. aKula

    aKula Senior member

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    14. The Red and the Black - Stendhal.

    Julien Sorel, a young peasant nurturing adoration for the deposed Napoleon, pursues a career in the church as his only way to a better life. This book is a political analysis of French society in 1830 told through Sorel's experiences. His psychology is a mixture of hypocrisy and scheming at one moment and naive emotion at the next. The latter leads to his two passionate love affairs and loss of his carefully managed self control.


    15. The Hare with Amber Eyes - Edmund de Waal.

    After inheriting a collection of miniature Japanese sculptures, known as netsuke, the author traces their history in his family. First bought from a dealer by Charles Ephrussi - a central inspiration for Proust's Swann - the collection follows the upheavals experienced by this wealthy Jewish banking family throughout the late 19th and the 20th century. An amazing story: I must thank California Dreamer for recommending this book to me earlier this year. The chapters on the art collector Charles Ephrussi are of particular interest to anyone who has read Proust.
     


  10. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    It is a great book isn't it? So much surprising history behind such seemingly mundane objects.
     


  11. Steve B.

    Steve B. Go Spurs Go

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    96. Invisible Cities Italo Calvino 1972

    [COLOR=FF00AA]LIST[/COLOR]

    Marco Polo converses with Kublai Khan about all the cities Polo has visited. Some of them include airports- aha- a book with time travel!!!

    Just another awful book. Good to have Calvino out of the way.

    97. Speaker for the Dead Orson Scott Card 1986

    In contrast- an excellent book.

    The Second of the Ender quad.

    Andrew (Ender) Wiggin travels about the Hundred Worlds where requested to eulogize. Because of so much travel at light speed he has remained very young. He has new challenges with the only alien race to exist in the Universe since the buggers he destroyed 3000 years ago. He's facing the reverse result as we segue into book 3...
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2013


  12. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    39. The Coat Route, by Meg Lukens Noonan (2013)

    Meg Lukens Noonan wrote The Coat Route after reading of an overcoat made by Sydney tailor John Cutler for $50,000. The book is a loving description of the fine materials and expert labour that went into creating this unique garment. Noonan tells us the stories behind the vicuna wool, the fabric, the silk, the horn buttons and the other elements of the coat's construction. Along the way she gives us potted histories of Savile Row, the Andean vicuna industry, the Yorkshire mill towns, button manufacture and Italian designer fashion. We meet some larger-than-life characters, but we are never too far from the realisation that all of this history is at risk of soon being swept away by the tide of mass manufacturing in the modern world. The Coat Route is a delightful and interesting read, with an elegiac tinge of sadness to it.
     


  13. aKula

    aKula Senior member

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    16. Die Verwandlung (The Metamorphosis) - Franz Kafka.

    A story of social isolation and inability to fulfil one's duties told through Kafka's surrealist style.
     


  14. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    40. The Last of the Vostyachs, by Diego Marani (2012)

    Diego Marani continues his engagement with the Finnish language with The Last of the Vostyachs. At the start of the novel, Ivan walks free from a Soviet labor camp and heads into the tundra to live on his own. Ivan hasn't spoken for years, because he is the last living speaker of Vostyach, a proto-language long thought lost to the world. When he comes into a little town to sell some skins he meets a Russian linguist, and she prevails on him to come with her to Helsinki for her to show off at a language conference.

    From there Marani takes his story into a really trite and silly direction where the last of the Vostyachs becomes the centre of a passionate and arcane academic dispute over the origins of the Finnish language. The book is full of linguistic jargon and has some of the worst sex scenes you may ever read. A tiresome and silly book, all the more disappointing because the book's opening premise could have been developed into a much more interesting and moving story. This is a good idea totally wasted.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2013


  15. Steve B.

    Steve B. Go Spurs Go

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    98. Crying of Lot 49 1965 Thomas Pynchon

    [COLOR=FF00AA]LIST[/COLOR]

    Title refers to auctioning of a lot of a stamp collection. But I could have cried about how frustrating this book was.

    20% of it was drop-dead hilarious. The other 80% pure gobbledygook.

    That is all.
     


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