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2017 50 Book Challenge

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

  1. 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!
     


  2. 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.
     


  3. 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. 
     


  4. 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?
     


  5. 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.
     


  6. Journeyman

    Journeyman Senior member

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    When you say 19Q4, did you actually mean to type 1Q84, by Murakami Haruki?
    I really enjoyed 1Q84 and would highly recommend it. I devoured it in a few days and was sorry when I'd finished it.

    I read The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov whilst at university and found both of them to be a bit of a chore to finish. Yes, they're quite interesting from both literary and historical perspectives, but they're very "dark" novels, full of suffering, conflict and unhappiness. I always thought that they were very "Russian", in that sense.

    I haven't read Conversations in the Cathedral (by Maria Vargas Llosa?) so can't make any comment on it.
     


  7. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    I am a big fan of Murakami but thought 1Q84 his weakest novel. I will read a Dostoyevski before the year ends but not one of the two you have lined up.

    I would go with Vargas Llosa if I were you. I have read several of his books but not this one. He is very very good!
     


  8. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    Yes, I meant 1Q84 - I've read some Murakami, but have only enjoyed "What I talk about when I talk about running".

    I tend to enjoy Russian novels - I like the overworked, rather prosaic and dramatic prose as well as the clearly overly intense characters. I must admit, however, I find most Dostoevsky tiring, but have always been glad to have finished (Crime and Punishment remains one of those books I'm proud to have read, and one I enjoyed quite a bit).

    I've some books from the library to finish first - then I'll hit up Murakami, then one of the Dostoevsky (probably The Idiot).


    Also


    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



    51. Ready Player One

    Ernst Cline's novel was one I found incredibly enjoyable, and read very quickly due to this. Set in an ugly future, where successive poor choices have led Earth to, essentially, be the globally warmed, slowly decaying future many envisage will happen, humanity's main preoccupation is playing OASIS - the first real virtual reality immersion 'game'. Rather than paint this in a negative light, Cline positions the reader through the character of Wade (or Parzival as he's known online) - a veritable loser without 'real life' friends, family or worth, but with a strong sense of community, belonging and freedom enabled from the virtual world.

    The narrative follows Wade as he discovers the inner secrets of the game - it's creator left a set of puzzles that, when solved, enable the winner to receive the creator's will (with nearly infinite benefit). While, at times, somewhat idealistic, I really enjoyed how the book captured the essence of what makes online communication such an intense and joyous experience - the odd mixture of anonymity with complete honesty, accessible paradoxes, and the nature of trust that's, arguably, a larger part of online communication than face to face.

    I'm not sure if I'd recommend this to an older audience (of which I think most of you guys are) - it speaks quite directly to the WoW generation, and quite directly to a subset of that (my) generation - the group of people who really came into their own identity and belonging through developing online persona and social skills. That being said, I'm sure those who've experienced this will get something out of the story - even if it's a tad corny at times.
     


  9. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    A rarer (or more unpopular) Vargas Llosa is The Real life of Alejandro Mayta (may have spelled that incorrectly) - this, to me, is one of the best examples of magic realism at work - accessible, succinct, moving and mysterious.

    Which Dostoevsky are you contemplating? If you've not read "Tales from the Underground" I recommend it (shorter, sweeter, less overwrought).
     


  10. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    I read that a while back and really enjoyed it. I gave it to my wife to read. She teaches VCE English, and she thought it would be a terrific book to teach in schools.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2013


  11. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    There are definitely some kids that come to mind when reading this book.
     


  12. Nathan5653

    Nathan5653 Active Member

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    I read 1Q84 and I found the first two books to be really engaging and the last to be sometimes tedious. That being said, I still highly recommend it. I'm also a big fan of Murakami (so I'm biased) and I found South of the Border, West of the Sun and Norwegian Wood to be really good reads.

    Really regret finding out about this thread so late. I'll post some reviews of all the books I've read this year, hopefully I can contribute something useful!
     


  13. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    Same with my wife. What she particularly liked was that the book would totally engage kids who spend a lot of spare time gaming et al, but also cover quite a few emerging societal issues, such as the difference between one's public and private personae, cyber-safety, etc.
     


  14. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    Absolutely - I was annoyed it had a bit of a corny ending, but then I realise that's so true to life. 4chan, for example, is so abusive, but everyone loves cats, etc.

    Personally, I'm pissed The Messenger isn't still on the list - arguably THE great Australian novel (I'd argue better than any fucking Patrick White/David Malouf tripe).
     


  15. Journeyman

    Journeyman Senior member

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    Agree with you about Patrick White - his writing is (to me, at least) definitely an acquired taste and I never acquired it! However, I enjoyed some of Malouf's books.

    When talking about the great Australian novel, I think that it has to represent something that is really Australian - it has to be evocative of Australia, to summon visions of Sydney harbour, surf at Bondi, houses roofed with red-tinted corrugated iron, the arid red desert encroaching remote farms and so on. It has to tell a story that is identifiably Australian.

    Whilst I can't remember all the details of The Messenger, and whilst I thought it was a good novel, it didn't resonate with me as being particularly Australian - it could have been set in another place, another city, another country, and it would still have been very similar.

    However, (again, for me at least), Malouf's "Johnno" was identifiably Australian and very evocative of Brisbane, in particular.
     


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