Dismiss Notice

STYLE. COMMUNITY. GREAT CLOTHING.

Bored of counting likes on social networks? At Styleforum, you’ll find rousing discussions that go beyond strings of emojis.

Click Here to join Styleforum's thousands of style enthusiasts today!

2017 50 Book Challenge

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

  1. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

    Messages:
    2,364
    Likes Received:
    1,225
    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2012
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    I think you need to re-read The Messenger - I found it almost unequivocally Australian.

    Personally, Wake in Fright is very near to the sort of Australia I live in now, but it's more of a horror than anything else.
     


  2. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

    Messages:
    1,408
    Likes Received:
    42
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Hong Kong via Gothenburg
    

    I am actually 2/3 into Crime and Punishment. Since I have it in a big and too heavy hardcover edition, I left it at home when I went on the long business trip I am currently enjoying in Asia. Will pick it up when I get back home again some time next month. Very dark but I have been enjoying it.

    I will make a note of Vargas Llosa's The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta.

    Now reading much easier stuff while on my trip.
     


  3. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

    Messages:
    1,408
    Likes Received:
    42
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Hong Kong via Gothenburg
    Clockwise counting 76/50: Lawrence Block - A Stab in the Dark (1981)

    In the fourth book of the Matt Scudder series his heavy drinking is taking him to the brink of where I suspect he will eventually lose all control. Scudder gets to work on a cold case in which a young woman was stabbed and killed with an ice pick 9 years ago. He starts looking into the history of the woman and what has happened with the people who were close to her while she was alive. I enjoy the setting of late night New York bars, Scudder's depressive drinking and his stubborn moral. There are many books in this series, not sure how long I will keep going.
     


  4. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

    Messages:
    5,736
    Likes Received:
    1,386
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    Location:
    Melbourne
    42. The Last Viking: The Life of Raold Amundsen, by Steven Bown (2012)

    Bown's biography of the great polar explorer is the perfect antidote to a winter's day. Reading of Amundsen's travails, I guarantee you will automatically feell warm by comparison.

    As Bown points out, children in Anglophone countries were educated to admire Scott's tragic failure ahead of the man who actually achieved the goal of reaching the South Pole. Amundsen's achievements were relegated to footnote status, and this book has done a lot to rectify that and give this great man due credit.

    Bown's book is no hagiography though, and he is adept at identifying the character flaws and mis-steps that in some ways blighted Amundsen's career and reputation. Despite his global fame between the wars, he never reached a point of financial security or domestic harmony, and he burnt most of his bridges with the people and organisations that would have supported him. These outcomes were due to a certain level of naivety outside of his own sphere of expertise, and also as a function of his uncompromising attitude towards achieving his goals. Of course this latter character was a key contributor to his success, but it may have also contained the seeds of his downfall.

    The book provides detailed accounts of Amundsen's major expeditions, and brings both the hardships and the characters involved to life. Strangely, what should be a dramatic highlight of the book - the final attainment of the South Pole - is dealt with in a perfunctory and downbeat manner that was quite puzzling. On the whole though, this was a gripping story that added greatly to my understanding of a man poorly treated by history.
     


  5. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

    Messages:
    5,736
    Likes Received:
    1,386
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    Location:
    Melbourne
    

    This is tricky. It's not a novel, but I'd argue that A Fortunate Life captured something quintessential about Australian experience and character. However the nation has now become so urbanised, multi-cultural and polyglot, that I don't think any novel that fails to deal with such issues can really encapsulate modern Australia.

    Christos Tsiolkas' The Slap has something of what I'm talking about, but it's too much of a stretch to rank it as the best of all time.
     


  6. Journeyman

    Journeyman Senior member

    Messages:
    6,846
    Likes Received:
    1,863
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2005
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    


    CD, I was actually thinking about AB Facey's "A Fortunate Life" as I was typing out my earlier post. As you say, it's not a novel, but it's certainly evocative of Australia, albeit an Australia that has largely disappeared.



    Have you read Apsley Cherry-Gerrard's "The Worst Journey in the World", about the failed Scott expedition?

    It really put a chill in my bones, particularly the description of the nightmarish trip by Wilson, Bowers and Cherry-Gerrard across the Ross Ice Shelf in the middle of the Antarctic winter - continual darkness, harsh winds and temperatures of -40 degrees celsius amongst other things.
     


  7. aKula

    aKula Senior member

    Messages:
    289
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2009
    Location:
    Le Côté de Guermantes
    17. The Story of Art - E. H. Gombrich.

    An accessible introduction and general overview of art history. First published in 1950. It has a focus mostly on western art, which is perhaps understandable as allowing it to remain manageable. It mostly deals with painting and sculptures but has brief discussions of developments in architecture as well.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2013


  8. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

    Messages:
    5,736
    Likes Received:
    1,386
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    Location:
    Melbourne
    

    That's actually one of the sources that Bown referenced. I might add that to my ever-expanding list.
     


  9. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

    Messages:
    1,408
    Likes Received:
    42
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Hong Kong via Gothenburg
    Clockwise counting 77/50: Stella Rimington - The Geneva Trap (2012)

    Dame Stella Rimington was the Director General of the British counter-espionage agency MI5 for many years. In retirement she is writing spy novels featuring female MI5 agent Liz Carlyle. This was the 6th novel in the series but the first for me after having picked it up at Hong Kong airport.

    I had probably expected something a bit more complex from Dame Stella. This is a quite straightforward and not too thrilling spy thriller. It did however keep my interest alive and I preferred it to any inflight entertainment channels or, surprisingly, work.
     


  10. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

    Messages:
    1,408
    Likes Received:
    42
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Hong Kong via Gothenburg
    When will Steve B hit 100?
     


  11. meilbill

    meilbill Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2013
    1. The Sun Also Rises - Mixed feelings about this one. I am not too fond of Hemingway's style, although I feel this novel captures it best. It involves some of my favorite subjects (travel, Paris, San Fermines and Bull Fighting) yet I was never fully entranced. I respect the book, although I cannot say I love it. I will most likely read it again just for the hell of it. 2. 1984 - Surprisingly never read this until now. First third was all deja vu as it has been prominent in pop culture for so long. The middle was interesting, yet I feel this book fully shines in the last third. It is an amazing study on societal structure and the levels of the human mind. Glad I finally got around to this classic and would recommend it fully. 3. Currently on War and Peace - About 1/4 done, giving myself roughly ten more days. 4. Also on The World Of Caffeine [​IMG]- Interesting if you have an espresso obsession. To Read List; The Idiot, Death in the Afternoon, More Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, Science of Espresso, 120 Days of Sodom (yeah yeah...) also I should read Atlas Shrugged, although I hated the first 100 pages and her philosophy is barely even that...But for arguments sake I really should. I like the idea of shooting for 50, I'm so unorganized with my reading this is a great way to stay on top of it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2013


  12. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

    Messages:
    5,736
    Likes Received:
    1,386
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    Location:
    Melbourne
    43. A Life Apart, by Mariapia Veladiano (2011)

    A Life Apart is the story of en extremely ugly girl living in a small and superstitious Italian village. Rebecca is kept secluded from the outside world, living in a villa with her depressed and uncommunicative mother, who has hardly spoken since her birth.

    Rebecca is a gifted pianist but has to overcome prejudices in order to gain admission into the Conservatory to study. At every turn, her ugliness is held against her, and she knows that she will never be allowed to perform in public.

    In her isolation, Rebecca forms a bond with the old Signora, who also lives as a recluse, and seems to know more than most about the nature of the malady suffered by Rebecca's mother. Rebecca seeks to get closer to her to learn more about her mother's fate.

    Apparently based on a real person, the character of Rebecca is interesting if a little cliched. Not a lot happens in the book, and Veladiano prefers to allude to major plot developments rather then describe them directly, leaving the heavy lifting to her characters, who are neither very original, nor all that interesting. The book feels a bit hollow, in the sense that there is no character to embody Rebecca's adversity, and lacks complexity of either character or plot.
     


  13. Steve B.

    Steve B. Go Spurs Go

    Messages:
    10,284
    Likes Received:
    125
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    San Antonio
    99. Xenocide Orson Scott Card 1991

    The third of the Ender Wiggin quad. War between humans and pequeninos. Lots of drama within Ender's adopted family. The bugger hive grows and aids in human technological advances. Good book, but strains credulity a bit in the last 50 pages or so.


    100. Michael Kohlhaass Heinrich von Kleist 1808

    [COLOR=FF00AA]LIST[/COLOR]

    I wanted a list book for number 100, and one that wheezed so much the better. :) Novella which is based on a historic figure with almost the same name who was wronged the magistrates and assembled a band of merry rogues to avenge himself. A cross between Robin Hood and Clint Eastwood. As I like both I'd recommend it
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2013


  14. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

    Messages:
    1,408
    Likes Received:
    42
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Hong Kong via Gothenburg
    

    Welcome meilbill. You have 48 books to go before the year ends. It's a challenge!
    By the way, The Sun Also Rises is one of my all time favourites, I love everything about that book. Death in the Afternoon which you have on your to-read list is really slow going unless you are fanatical about the technical aspects of bullfighting.
     


  15. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

    Messages:
    1,408
    Likes Received:
    42
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Hong Kong via Gothenburg
    

    Congratulations Steve, 100 books in a year is a big achievement! You may push for 150 now. :slayer:
     


Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by