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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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    23. The Pigeon Patrick Suskind 1988

    [COLOR=FF00AA]LIST[/COLOR]

    A bank guard who is extremely fussy is confronted by a pigeon on his doorstep. It unnerves his world and ruins his day. He forgets to open the entrance for the president's limousine. He puts a large tear in his trousers. He gets completely out of his routine while having a tremendous inner struggle. At one point he even contemplates suicide because of the pigeon.

    This novella has many levels of meaning but the primary one is that life is a mere illusion.

    Give it an A.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  2. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    10. Alex
    [​IMG]
    Alex
    by Pierre Lemaitre
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars



    Alex is one of a series of novels about Parisian detective Camille Verhoeven. Verhoeven is a diminutive, combative figure, still getting over the death of his wife. Against his will, he is assigned to investigate the kidnapping of a mysterious young woman in broad daylight.

    As Verhoeven struggles to progress the investigation, or even identify the victim, the girl - Alex - is subjected to torture and an impending death in horrific circumstances. Verhoeven's feelings conflating the girl's potential fate and that of his wife seem to be hindering his progrss, to the annoyance of the supervising magistrate.

    To go any further would be to reveal some of the splendid twists and turns in what is a gripping, enthralling and macabre novel. Lemaitre takes the reader on a ride where you are never quite sure what to make of the key figures in the case, and draws you in deeper and deeper until the grim explanation for the kidnapping is revealed.

    Alex is the second novel in the Verhoeven series. It is very irritating that, for some inexplicable reason, Lemaitre's English language publishers have chosen to publish it first. At various points in this book, the author gives away most of the plot of the first book, Irene. Bad luck if you plan on reading both. If you get the chance, make sure you read Irene first, but don't miss reading Alex.

    View all my reviews
     
  3. klewless

    klewless Senior member

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    Klewless book 8/50: Cockroaches by Jo Nesbo

    [​IMG]

    This is the second book in the Harry Hole timeline, but the most recently published. The writing was strong for the first half of the novel, but the latter portion.....not so much. This seems to be a case of the author knowing where he wants to end up, but consciously trying to insert a few too many plot twists. This may be a reflection of the novel being an early work by the writer.

    In any case, this is a fish out of water tale featuring a European police officer sent to Thailand to investigate a diplomat's murder. I will continue to give Nesbo a spot in my rotation, but this title was just not up to the standards I hope for in translated crime fiction.
     
  4. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

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    43 BUDA'S WAGON A Brief History of the Car Bomb by Mike Davis

    First heard about this after listening to podcast with the author.
     
  5. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 11/50: Massimo Carlotto - The Goodbye Kiss (2001) 

    Took a break from my current reading of Trollope and picked up something with local flavour during a visit to Rome last week.

    From Italy's master of hard-boiled crime fiction, a completely immoral tale of a psychopathic but charming ex-terrorist who spends his time robbing and killing while always looking for opportunities to degrade women. While the subject matter is sickening, this is a really good crime novel with a cynical view of a corrupt modern Italian society. Recommended!
     
  6. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    This is the Inspector Montalbano series isn't it? The TV series is very popular here, but I've not seen the books until one popped up at the local library this weekend. Sounds like another Euro detective to get into.
     
  7. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    No, the writer of the Montalbano series Is Camilleri, this one is Carlotto.

    I read a Guardian article about Carlotto and it mentions the "Meditteranean Noir writers" as a group: Catalan writer Manuel Vazquez Montalban, French writer Jean-Claude Izzo and the Italians Massimo Carlotto and Andrea Camilleri. The inspector's name Montalbano is evidently a homage to the writer Montalban. I have not read any of these before but encouraged by Carlotto, I will search them out one by one.
     
  8. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    11. Something Nasty in the Woodshed
    [​IMG]
    Something Nasty in the Woodshed
    by Kyril Bonfiglioli
    My rating: 2 of 5 stars

    Something Nasty in the Woodshed is the find instalment in the Mortdecai trilogy. Charlie and Johanna have decamped to the Isle of Jersey because certain authorities in London have suggested to Charlie that he not show his face in London for a long while.

    The wife of one of Charlie's chums is assaulted and raped in her home. Soon after, another of the wives in their circle is also raped. Accounts indicate that the rapes may be linked to a practitioner of witchcraft. Charlie does the obvious thing and arranges for a Satanic Black Mass to entrap the miscreant.

    The book has Bonfiglioli's usual quota of arch observations from Charlie, and the ending is good. However I simply could not go along with the idea of building a light-hearted caper story around women being raped. That may have seemed funny in the '70s when the book was first published, but it's far less so now.

    I also think this final instalment would have been stronger if it was a continuation of the plot lines of the first two novels. One doesn't get the sense of a story being brought to a conclusion, rather than an additional yarn being tacked onto the end of a two-novel plot.

    View all my reviews
     
  9. noob in 89

    noob in 89 Senior member

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    [​IMG][​IMG]




    # 8-9(ish) The Shell Collector, by Anthony Doerr, and Emperor of the Air, by Ethan Canin.

    ....aaaaaand I've fallen back into the short story hell hole again with these guys, two of my favorite books from.....well....not the last ten years, I guess, but books I've read within the last ten years that still strike a chord. You can read Doerr's O. Henry award-winning story The Hunter's Wife right...HERE.

    I've also been working my way through Lydia Davis's Collected Stories --- about four books, I think. I'm hoping that, like a game of Tetris, the rows will align, I'll finish a single volume, and be allowed to count one towards my now dwindling numbers....

    :violin:
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2014
  10. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 12/50: Anthony Trollope - Phineas Finn (1868) 

    Second instalment in the Palliser series is just over 700 pages and has been listed among the 1001.

    The book tells the story of young Irish law student Phineas Finn who through some lucky coincidences and a relentless ambition gets a seat in the English House of Commons. This novel only marginally touches upon the events in Can You Forgive Her? and adds significantly more insight into British politics. What is a commonality between the two books is the complex marriage considerations among those belonging to the upper class during the Victorian age.

    Phineas is young, charming, handsome and very ambitious but he is essentially penniless and he will not have a chance to extend his career as a politician unless he marries into money and compromises his true believes. Through the 5 or so years of this story, he contemplates marriage with four women, three of whom are wealthy and belongs to the social elite of London and one who is a poor girl from his Irish village.

    This is a very interesting story and despite its length less repetitive and tedious than the first book in the series. I really liked it. Trollope is a very nice discovery but if I am to achieve a healthy outcome from this challenge of quantitative reading, he needs to be mixed with some shorter books.
     
  11. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 13/50: Georges Simenon - The Hanged Man of Saint-Pholien (1930) 

    3rd book of 75 in the Inspector Maigret series and, I think, the best so far. A bizarre case of a man who commits suicide in a cheap hotel room in Bremen. His suicide appears to be the direct result of Maigret's spur-of-the-moment decision to switch suitcases with the man. The book breathes a strong sense of mystery and psychological tension and the case points to long-ago events in the Belgian city Liege. Very nice indeed!
     
  12. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 14/50: Peter Swanson - The Girl With A Clock for a Heart (2014) 

    A brand new thriller set in Boston, Massachusetts. I read a favorable review somewhere (probably Financial Times) and decided to pick it up. This is a very cinematic Hitchcockian thriller. 

    Our protagonist, a mediocre young accountant with a boring life, suddenly bumps into his old college sweetheart, a beautiful, sexy, enigmatic lady with multiple identities and a possible criminal past. She is in a jam and is asking him to do her a favour. He should have realised that it is not a good idea to get reacquainted with this girl but the allure is overwhelming. As is the case with so many thrillers, the narrative is rather simplistic and with a driven journalistic language but it is definitely exciting and will probably soon turn into a good movie.
     
  13. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 15/50: Maurizio De Giovanni - The Crocodile (2012) 

    A really good Italian police procedural focused on some terrible events in Napoli. Young people are getting killed and the police concentrate the investigation on the assumption that the murders are drug related and with a Neapolitan Camorra connection. 

    Inspector Lojacono has been transferred to Napoli from Sicily and he is ostracised due to suspected Mafia involvement. Thanks to a female assistant District Attorney, Lojacono gets a chance to investigate the case and he comes up with a completely different theory of the motives behind the killings. But the killer is one step ahead of the police.

    There are some great characters in this story and I liked the dark Neapolitan setting. This is a not a very uplifting book but nevertheless good.
     
  14. klewless

    klewless Senior member

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    Klewless book 9/50: The Beast by Anders Roslund & Borge Hellstrom

    [​IMG]

    I love this series. Cranky disgruntled senior policeman who acknowledges that his life will end when he is forced to retire from the force. In this episode, he and his partner confront the issue of vigilante justice, and how society treats those that take laws into their own hand.

    The collaborative work of Swedish authors Roslund & Hellstrom in this series is top notch, and this title is a previous glass key award winner. I recommend reading the series in order but this title does great as a stand alone. Highly recommended.
     
  15. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    1. All Tomorrow's Parties
    2. Undivided: Part 3
    3. High Fidelity
    4. Hard Boiled Wonderland at the End of the World
    5. Polysyllabic Spree
    6. Armageddon in Retrospect
    7. South of the Border, West of the Sun
    8. What we talk about when we talk about love
    9. Norweigan Wood
    10. The Master and Margherita
    11. The Fault in Our Stars
    12. Of Mice and Men
    13.Fade to Black
    14. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

    14. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

    Michael Chabon's novel takes place in the late 1930s: Europe is descending into war, comic books are starting up, Jews are migrating. It follows two cousins Sam Clay (New York born, writer) and Joe Kavalier (Czech born, illustrator and magician) and their initial success in the comic book game, followed by a long, heart breaking decline into depression, separation, entrapment, and pain. Chabon's writing is fluid, lucid and beautiful, and although there were a few passages that I didn't feel added anything to the book (the chapter about the Golem, for example) I found myself not really caring. The characters are balanced and real, their story interesting without being too fantastical (except for the Nazi killing journey), the emotional side of the book is respectable enough.

    I enjoy CHabon's prose, but often his narratives are lacking, this is not the case here.
     
  16. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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  17. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

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    42 Empires of the Dead;How One Man's Vision Led To The Creation of WW1's War Graves David Crane

    Have read around this subject in a couple of other books that focuses on the how the Unknown solider was selected to represent the British war dead in 1920, other nations then followed suit Australia finally did so in 1993.

    While engaged on a research project i read some very touching rural Australian newspaper accounts of the unveiling of Great War Memorials and how the memorials give the bereaved a site to acknowledge the missing. Have Ken Inglis Sacred Places on the shelf which I should read this year.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2014
  18. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    Thanks for the head's up CD. Will investigate.
     
  19. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2012
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    1. All Tomorrow's Parties
    2. Undivided: Part 3
    3. High Fidelity
    4. Hard Boiled Wonderland at the End of the World
    5. Polysyllabic Spree
    6. Armageddon in Retrospect
    7. South of the Border, West of the Sun
    8. What we talk about when we talk about love
    9. Norweigan Wood
    10. The Master and Margherita
    11. The Fault in Our Stars
    12. Of Mice and Men
    13.Fade to Black
    14. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
    15. Watchmen

    15. Watchmen

    Alan Moore's classic and praised graphic novel follows an end of the world scenario where aging masked heroes find themselves inexplicably useful and necessary. Throughout the narrative, moore hints at the purposeless of life, the violence and carlessnesss of the world and the isolation that comes to define many people. Both an uplifting and severely nihlistic read. Excellent, my third time, if you've not read it you're missing out.
     
  20. Foxhound

    Foxhound Senior member

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    Number two done, fuck yeah menswear. Good for a laugh. I'm not going to for the 50, I was already doubled the number of books I read last year. I'm onto Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintainence now.
     

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