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2017 50 Book Challenge

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

  1. noob in 89

    noob in 89 Senior member

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    I dunno if commenting is discouraged here (or intended for the other thread), but I've been curious about Kawabata for awhile, as he is a big -- well, maybe not a huge influence -- but William Vollmann is a big fan, so I had to check him out. His Palm of the Hand Stories, what people might call "short shorts" nowadays, were very good, very moving -- and also the inspiration behind one of my favorite books, Vollmann's The Atlas. So it's good to hear his novels are equally sound. I look forward to grabbing this one.

    Also thumbs up to this whole thread.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2013


  2. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    I will certainly try his Palm of Hand story collection and overall read more of Kawabata's work. Another Japanese author who I like very much and already read a lot from is Junichiro Tanizaki.

    I am not sure if I dare to read William Vollmann... I am hearing he is producing thousands of pages of unfocused scattered thoughts with strokes of genius and strangeness. Is The Atlas the right place to start?
     


  3. Journeyman

    Journeyman Senior member

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    Steve B, please don't read Matthew Reilly. Life is too short and there are too many good books to read.

    I've seen him signing books at the front of a bookstore as I walked past one day and he seemed like a very nice, genuine person from the brief glimpse that I got of him, but his writing is poor and there are many, many books that you'd be better off reading!
     


  4. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    +1.

    I do seem to be in an old man harrumphy mood this week. Don't take it personally Matt. :)
     


  5. Steve B.

    Steve B. Go Spurs Go

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    Not to be snotty, but don't tell me what to read and I won't tell you what to read...

    e.g. I've read as many books from The List as you have in total...

    111. Taggart 1959 Louis L'Amour

    A Western about Apaches, guns, and girls. All of which the good guy gets in the end. Formulaic, short-ish, but a good read.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2013


  6. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    Sometimes we just need to read some airport fiction, you finish War and Peace, you need something a bit less, well, thorough.

    In that space, MR comes into play. For me at least.
     


  7. Steve B.

    Steve B. Go Spurs Go

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    What he said :).

    Read W&P year before last- last book to 50. I think both you and Clock cleaned my clock.
     


  8. noob in 89

    noob in 89 Senior member

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    I'd probably grab The Rainbow Stories first. Not only is it one of his best, it's also sort of a Whitman Sampler of his many styles. (There's the briefer, quasi-journalistic looks at San Francisco's skinheads, prostitutes and addicts, some philosophical numbers, some romantic numbers, some super lush historical fiction, a good bit of 'hysterical realism' -- different offerings, but all with that unmistakable Vollmann feel).

    He's got a pretty unique way of thinking through things, I think. This passage was a total holy shit! moment for me when I came across it in high school:


    [​IMG]



    His longer works are pretty genius, but definitely not scattered. They all have focus. If you're reading 100 books (!!!) per year, I don't see you having any problems. :lol:


    Thanks for the tip on Tanizaki, as well! Looks like they actually have some at my used book store. (As opposed to the one remaining Barnes & Noble -- they only sell coffee now).
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2013


  9. Steve B.

    Steve B. Go Spurs Go

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    112 Blood and Guts in High School Kathy Acker 1978

    [COLOR=FF00AA]LIST[/COLOR]

    I haven't read Allan Ginsberg yet, but I'd picture it to be just like this book. Except much, much better. Hands down the worst LIST book I've read.

    8
     


  10. noob in 89

    noob in 89 Senior member

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    Is this the 1,001 Books list, then? I've noticed it's a little imperfect, both for its omission of key authors -- no Robert Walser, no Alfred Jarry, no DONOSO or ARENAS! -- its inclusion of popular, but non-essential ones (Ishiguro? Bleh..) -- oh, and its bizarre tendency of recommending the minor or less satisfying works of decent artists (Will Self, Kathy Acker), as if the compilers hadn't read the books themselves. Also, looking again, it seems to almost completely overlook anything not written in English. I do remember some good choices (M. Ageyev, or Jacques Diderot, both kind of overlooked), but would think you'd really need to round it out with something like Harold Bloom's canon list.

    - Ahem -

    Anyway, I'll start out slow:


    [​IMG]


    (#0 / warm-up to 2014) Terrorist, by John Updike

    It's Updike and it's lush. It describes, but it moves. It's not (at last) about rich white men, New England, or divorce.

    I'm giving it a thumbs up.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013


  11. Steve B.

    Steve B. Go Spurs Go

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    Oddly enough, only the Rabbit books are on The List.

    It's Peter Bonsall's List, and I'd imagine the true literary cognoscenti squabble about what should be in all the time.

    I have one that's combined all 4 years since 2006 in spread sheet form and totals out at 1366.

    Clock gave me the URL- I hope he still remembers it if you want it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013


  12. noob in 89

    noob in 89 Senior member

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    Oh, cool. Thanks! I've got the book, then. I found the link earlier in the thread, just wondering if that was the same one people were referring to. I do think it works better as a book (with capsule reviews) than an ominous-sounding list, shorn of content, but it is fun to nit-pick. :D

    It would be fascinating to see what he's popped in and out over the years.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013


  13. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 90/50: Javier Marias - The Infatuations (2011)

    Spanish author Javier Marias may be my favourite contemporary novelist, inevitably a near-future Nobel Prize winner. He has a unique narrating style, always analysing the tragedies of life and the what-ifs of alternative scenarios. His sentences are typically very long but his language is utterly fascinating, almost intoxicating. His best novels open up lots of thoughts and emotions but seldom if ever provide satisfactory answers and conclusions to the reader.

    His latest novel The Infatuations tells the story of Maria, a 35-year old editor at a publishing company. Every morning she goes to the same cafe for her breakfast and for years she has been paying close attention to a married couple who visits the cafe in the same morning hours. In her mind, she views them as "the perfect couple". The man and woman are obviously married and have a couple of children, still their strong love for each other is apparent, they seem to have kept their infatuation and fascination for each other alive.

    One day the man is tragically killed in a senseless act of street violence and Maria accidentally befriends the widow. From here on a new set of infatuations take off. Although the scope of this story is limited and not all that much happens, it provides intrigue and excitement and raises many profound questions about the choices we make in life. It's an excellent novel, close to "perfect".

    For those who don't know Javier Marias, I would recommend his novels Tomorrow In the Battle Think On Me and A Heart So White as the best starting-off points. The trilogy Your Face Tomorrow is usually regarded as his masterpiece but is much less accessible and for long parts considerably slower compared to his more straight-forward books of which The Infatuations is one.
     


  14. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    56. Strange Shores, by Arnaldur Indridason (2013)
    [​IMG]
    Strange Shores
    by Arnaldur Indriðason
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    In Strange Shores, Arnaldur Indridason brings us back to his main character, the gloomy detective Erlendur. Erlendur has long been haunted by the death of his little brother when the two of them got lost in a blizzard when they were children. In trying to come to terms with his feelings over this loss, Erlendur returns to his childhood home, now an isolated tumble-down shack among the fjords. During his sojourn there, Erlendur becomes interested in the mysterious fate of Matthildur, a young woman who also disappeared in a blizzard.

    Perhaps seeing parallels with his own story, Erlendur seeks out people who knew Matthildur, and begins to suspect that there might have been more to her disappearance than simply getting lost in the snow. As he digs deeper he uncovers some long-suppressed emotions about the case, while his own conflicting emotions about his brother's death whirl inside of him.

    As always, Indridason gives us a complex set of characters, led by the taciturn and gloomy Erlendur. This book expands on the story of Erlendur's childhood loss that had only been touched on in previous books. The author excels at placing us in the bitter and forbidding landscape of the Icelandic fjord country, and gives us a whole new meaning to the term cold case.

    View all my reviews
     


  15. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    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

    52. 1Q84

    53. Red Pony

    54. Bright lights, big city

    55. All the pretty horses

    56. A Short walk in the Hindu Kush

    57. The Brief, Wonderous life of Oscar Wao

    58. Ubik

    59. Return of a King

    60. In trouble again

    61. Dance, Dance, Dance

    62. This is how you lose her

    63. Drown

    64. Smoke and Mirros

    64. Smoke and Mirrors

    A Gaiman collection of short stories. Many are fascinating and unlike other Gaiman I've read before, some are very typical. Will use some in my teaching, that's for sure :).
     


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