1. Welcome to the new Styleforum!

    We hope you’re as excited as we are to hang out in the new place. There are more new features that we’ll announce in the near future, but for now we hope you’ll enjoy the new site.

    We are currently fine-tuning the forum for your browsing pleasure, so bear with any lingering dust as we work to make Styleforum even more awesome than it was.

    Oh, and don’t forget to head over to the Styleforum Journal, because we’re giving away two pairs of Carmina shoes to celebrate our move!

    Please address any questions about using the new forum to support@styleforum.net

    Cheers,

    The Styleforum Team

    Dismiss Notice

2017 50 Book Challenge

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

  1. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,993
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2010
    Location:
    South West of the Black Stump
    27 Silence Of The Grave A Reykjavik Murder Mystery Arnaldur Indridason

    A cold case which focus on the skeletal remains found on a construction site. The narrative of the investigation runs in tandem to the unfolding events of how the corpse ended up there. In all honesty Indridason has created one of the most vile characters I have ever encountered in print.
     
  2. noob in 89

    noob in 89 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,658
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2010
  3. noob in 89

    noob in 89 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,658
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2010
    [​IMG]




    They followed the crowd's stoked gaze. They stood and looked. The billboard was unevenly lighted, dim in spots, several bulbs blown and unreplaced, but the central elements were clear, a vast cascade of orange juice pouring diagonally from top right into a goblet that was handheld at lower left -- the perfectly formed hands of a female Caucasian of the middle suburbs. Distant willows and a vagueish lake view set the social locus. But it was the juice that commanded the eye, thick and pulpy with a ruddled flush that matched the madder moon. And the first detailed drops plashing at the bottom of the goblet with a scatter of spindrift, each fleck embellished with the figurations of a precisionist epic. What a lavishment of effort and technique, no refinement spared -- the equivalent, Edgar thought, of medieval church architecture.
    .


    We shared a vision of the man in his bed, at night, mind roaming back -- the village, the hills, the family dead. We walked the same streets every day, obsessively, and we spoke in subdued tones even when we disagreed. It was part of the dialectic, our looks of thoughtful disapproval.

    .

    We loved the idea of being everyday crazy. It rang so true, so real.
    "In our privatest mind," he said, "there is only chaos and blur. We invented logic to beat back our creatural selves. We assert or deny. We follow M with N."
    Our privatest mind, we thought. Did he really say that?
    "The only laws that matter are laws of thought."
    His fists were clenched on the tabletop, knuckles white.
    "The rest is devil worship," he said.


    .

    I thought about soccer in history, the inspiration for wars, truces, rampaging mobs. The game was a global passion, spherical ball, grass or turf, entire nations in spasms of elation or lament. But what kind of sport is it that disallows the use of players' hands, except for the goalkeeper? Hands are essential human tools, the things that grasp and hold, that make, take, carry, create. If soccer were an American invention, wouldn't some European intellectual maintain that our historically puritanical nature has compelled us to invent a game structured on anti-masturbatory principles?

    This is one of the things I think about that I never had to think about before.





    18

    DON DELILLO, THE ANGEL ESMERALDA




    I think I just went crazy. I think I just shit my pants! This book -- nine stories of exquisite range, insight, and depth of feeling -- will become one of those things I recommend to anyone who'll let me. I went in thinking, What does DeLillo care about short stories? Nine in thirty years? Mere castoffs. Trifles, they must be! But....no. No. A salient world of no.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2014
  4. Steve B.

    Steve B. Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    10,272
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    San Antonio
    43. The Warrior's Path Louis L' Amour 1980

    Although the Sackett series is supposed to be read in a certain order, this one skips back to the first generation born on American soil. 1620 or so, brothers named Yancey and Kin. They spend most of the book breaking up a white female slavery ring, and Kin falls in love with one of the rescued slaves, reputed to be a witch.

    Now who among us gentlemen ever thought of a woman as a witch?
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2014
  5. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,993
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2010
    Location:
    South West of the Black Stump
    26 The Bat Jo Nesbo

    When i began to read this I had the strangest feeling of deja vu as if I have read the book before, which I haven't. It was unfolding in a way that I knew and was predictable in terms of narrative direction. Maybe it was the Sydney setting? Formula writhing??

    I have read a lot of the Cliff Hardy novels by Peter Corris, a Sydney PI Noir series so maybe it triggered a few familiar narrative tropes. Either that or I should stop eating chili at night.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2014
  6. noob in 89

    noob in 89 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,658
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2010
    [​IMG]


    #19 -- WITTGENSTEN'S NEPHEW, THOMAS BERNHARD

    Discover, at last, the hidden impulses behind my reading.... They are this: You guys. Those numbers! 43 books? It's April May, FFS. :fu:

    Insomnia woke me up, I made some coffee, hunkered down, read some Thomas Bernhard. Wittgenstein's Nephew. The title, taken from Diderot's Rameau's Nephew (a reference I actually got! Diderot rocks.), implies a funny account of a semi-famous, mostly-buffoonish, wholly aloof man, the relative of a great genius. This is somewhat misleading, for in fact this book, which might be strictly memoir, is in fact a classic bromance, an accounting of a non-famous, non-buffoonish, but wholly aloof man (fighting bouts of insanity) who became a dear friend of the author, Thomas Bernhard. As the title states, he is related to the famous Ludwig (a man, Bernhard claims, is actually unknown to 1960's Germany, and despised by his wealthy family).

    In typical B-hard fashion, the book is one lengthy paragraph, an unbroken race to the end. I picked it up because someone called it a companion piece to The Loser, which I plan to re-read ASAP. Probably not as perfect as some of his others, but different, and good, and heartfelt, and wholly welcome.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2014
  7. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,312
    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
    16. Captains Courageous
    17. A Brief History of Time
    18. The Trial
    19. Wind up Bird Chronicle
    20. A Visit from the Goon Squad
    21. Neuromancer
    22. Count Zero
    23. Shadowboxing
    24. Hell's Angels
    25. Anansi Boys
    26. Steelheart
    27. A Hero of Our Time
    28. Mona Lisa Overdrive
    29. The Complete Collection of Flannery O'Connor

    29. The Complete Collection of Flannery O'Connor

    All 31 of Flannery O'Connor's short stories were contained in this completely lengthy and drawn out volume. There were two that I thought were really something: The Germanium (her first) and "the Displaced person", they were humanistic, interesting, concise and engaging. Many of her other stories dragged on in an arc of vague nothingness that gave me nothing as a reader.

    I have no idea why she was proclaimed such a talent, and even the famous 'A Good Man is Hard to Find' was fairly dull. Mostly I found her stories to lack much meaning or conviction (I kept thinking, why did you write this? What am I supposed to be getting from it?), so perhaps the flaw is mine.

    If you're curious, try the two stories listed above.
     
  8. Steve B.

    Steve B. Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    10,272
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    San Antonio
    44. Lonely on the Mountain Louis L'Amour 1980

    Rustling and gold equal yet another thrilling Sackett saga. Enjoyable; repetitive.
     
  9. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,993
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2010
    Location:
    South West of the Black Stump
    25 Jar City A Reykjavik Murder Mystery by Arnaldur Indridason

    This the 3rd book by this author I have read found them to be entertaining and a good story in terms of narrative and central character development. It takes an interesting approach to the fictional art of murder and its repercussions. I guess it helps that the central dectective is somewhat damaged goods, but what else is new in good noir?
     
  10. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,539
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    Location:
    Melbourne
    25. The Ice Princess
    [​IMG]
    The Ice Princess
    by Camilla Läckberg
    My rating: 2 of 5 stars

    The Ice Princess is the first of a series of novels about Fjallbacka detective Patrik Hedstrom. In this book, Hedstrom is a constable working under a conceited boss whose only interest is in scoring enough brownie points to get promoted out of the Fjallbacka backwater.

    The book starts with the discovery of the body of a young woman, Alex, in the bath. The body is identified by Erica a writer recently returned to Fjallbacka from Stockholm, who knew Alex, as a child. The verdict appears to be suicide, but is it?

    The investigation is led by Erica really, with Patrik playing second fiddle. The two of them are relatively amiable characters, but they lack the complexity, contradictions and depth that you'd expect from your typical nordic noir detective. A lot of what happens is pretty close to soap opera played out by shallow secondary characters that are little more than obvious cliches in some cases.

    Lackberg has now written a stack of these novels but, based on this first one, I think they would be more like Midsomer Murders than Henning Mankel. I don't think I'll bother with the rest.

    View all my reviews
     
  11. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,312
    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
    16. Captains Courageous
    17. A Brief History of Time
    18. The Trial
    19. Wind up Bird Chronicle
    20. A Visit from the Goon Squad
    21. Neuromancer
    22. Count Zero
    23. Shadowboxing
    24. Hell's Angels
    25. Anansi Boys
    26. Steelheart
    27. A Hero of Our Time
    28. Mona Lisa Overdrive
    29. The Complete Collection of Flannery O'Connor
    30. The Last Blues Dance

    30. The Last Blues Dance

    My mum lent me this book. It's OK. It's about middle aged immigrants in London realising their mistakes. The prose is kind of fun, but the subject matter is both predictable and shallow. It was OK, and a light read. Compared to FOC it was a fucking rollercoaster!
     
  12. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,539
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    Location:
    Melbourne
    26. Half Blood Blues
    [​IMG]
    Half Blood Blues
    by Esi Edugyan
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    Half Blood Blues is a little like a cross between Christopher Isherwood's Berlin stories and Suite Francaise. The story kicks off with a group of jazz musicians cutting a record in wartime Paris. Shortly afterwards one of them, a black German considered the next Louis Armstrong, is captured by the Nazis.

    The story cuts between the war years in Berlin and Paris, and 1992, when the central characters have grown old. The narrator is Sam, the bass player, who comes from Baltimore with Chip the drummer. The jazz scene in Weimar Berlin sought out black American players and gives them great opportunity. They hook up with a Jewish pianist and a couple of Aryan Germans, as well as Hiero, the trumpet genius.

    Hiero and Sam are rivals for the attentions of singer Delilah, who is a confidante of Armstrong's. This rivalry intensifies as the band members finds themselves outcasts when the Nazis take action against Jews, blacks and jazz musicians, affecting them all. They flee to Paris, only to have the Nazis follow them. There, the rivalry between Sam and Hiero turns bitter.

    In 1992, Chip and Sam are invited to Europe to the opening of a documentary about Hiero, which surfaces feelings long suppressed. An invitation to a meeting in Poland adds to the mystery.

    Edugyan has created a set of terrific characters with an argot that feels authentic. Jam sessions and Hiero's playing are described in a way that makes you feel the music and get what makes Hiero great. It is a terrific account of professional and personal jealousy in a context of shared fears that work to both pull the characters together and drive them apart at the same time.

    View all my reviews
     
  13. clockwise

    clockwise Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,408
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Hong Kong via Gothenburg
    Clockwise counting 40/50: Robert Harris - Fatherland (1992)

    Harris' debut novel is a murder mystery set in 1964 Nazi Germany. Hitler has won the war and will celebrate his 75th birthday. Good and bad SS officers are working the case, which suddenly turns into more than one murder case and develops into a big conspiracy. It is a fast and entertaining read but maybe not as good as its reputation. As bestselling thrillers go, it must anyway be rated quite highly. In some way similar to the excellent Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith.
     
  14. clockwise

    clockwise Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,408
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Hong Kong via Gothenburg
    Clockwise counting 41/50: Robert Harris - Lustrum (2009)

    Published as "Conspirata" in the US, "Lustrum" is the name of the original UK edition.

    Ancient Roman power politics thriller with the great orator and consul of Rome, Cicero, as the hero. Narrated by Cicero's slave / secretary Tiro. The bad guy and ultimate master of conspiracy is Julius Caesar but the power elite of Rome 63-58 BC is full of conspiring and murderous characters. The novel follows historical records closely with numerous references to Cicero's writing / speeches.

    This is exciting and well written. I really enjoyed it. It's the second novel of a Cicero trilogy, with the 3rd soon to be released.
     
  15. noob in 89

    noob in 89 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,658
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2010
    [​IMG]




    I must admit this novel -- which many Americans consider his masterpiece -- was a bit of a slog this time out. I paused to read stories by Lydia Davis and William Gass, two writers who totally fucking enervate me, spur me to action. The Loser spurred me to lunch. And to the interwebs. To the critics, I'll say try out his Frost instead.


    #20 Thomas Bernhard, The Loser
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2014
  16. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,993
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2010
    Location:
    South West of the Black Stump
    

    Read this years ago among a spate of 'what if Nazi Germany had won the war historical novels' SS-GB by Len Deighton being one of the better ones. As for Gorky Park big fan of Arkady Renko and have read all in the series, about three months ago I picked up a first edition hardback of Gorky Park for a $1. My favourite book of the series is Polar Star such a tragedy it never made it to film it would have been visually spectacular.
     
  17. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,993
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2010
    Location:
    South West of the Black Stump
    24 Hypothermia A Reykjavik Murder Mystery by Arnaldur Indridason Quite enjoying these books this is the 4th in the series I've read so far and picked up a couple more from the library this week. The narrative moves at a good pace and the principal character Detective Erlendur is like a dog with a bone once he gets involved in a case.The emotional baggage he carries around, bitter divorce, two estranged children one a junkie whore, who he inches closer too over the series is tempered by the loss of his brother in a blizzard when they were children. A life compounded by loss forms the basis of his drive and resolve to achieve results.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2014
  18. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,312
    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
    16. Captains Courageous
    17. A Brief History of Time
    18. The Trial
    19. Wind up Bird Chronicle
    20. A Visit from the Goon Squad
    21. Neuromancer
    22. Count Zero
    23. Shadowboxing
    24. Hell's Angels
    25. Anansi Boys
    26. Steelheart
    27. A Hero of Our Time
    28. Mona Lisa Overdrive
    29. The Complete Collection of Flannery O'Connor
    30. The Last Blues Dance
    31. Gularabulu

    31. Gularabulu

    Review is more for the Australians than anyone else, as I'm not sure non-Australians would understand anything in these stories.

    A collection of stories from the Kimberly's, and is an ambitious project. Paddy Roe (escaped the clutches of the Stolen Generation) narrates a dozen short stories to academic Stephen Muecke, which are reproduced (including the interaction between narrator and audience) here. It reads more like a play than a story. Muecke went to painstaking effort to capture the unique way stories are told in Indigenous Australian tradition, even writing much of the prose in phonetics to give the reader the sense of Paddy's accent, clipped speech, pauses and rambling method of telling a story.

    Honestly, this was a real disappointment for me. Reading the introduction was excellent, Muecke explains how he hoped to capture the nature of Paddy's stories, and communicate them to a non-Indigenous audience, thus transcending, in some way, the vast gulf between cultures in Australia. The introduction is heartfelt, passionate and vivid, but the stories are anything but. Paddy's stories usually deal with one or two fantastical elements interrupting a normal day, but they fail to capture my interest. The performative aspect of the narration is mildly interesting, but doesn't actually excite me at all. In a detached, academic way it's kind of OK, but it's not the visceral and intense method alluded to in the introduction.

    After working with Indigenous Australians for the past three years, I was hoping to come across something that was insightful, revealing and intimate - as I'm yet to find a single example of any Indigenous culture that meets these criteria for me - but I was, again, left wanting.

    Barely interesting, non-informative, with an excellent introduction Gularbulu is probably not worth a read (especially if you're not Aussie).
     
  19. Steve B.

    Steve B. Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    10,272
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    San Antonio
    45. The Power of Habit Charles Duhigg 2012

    Examines the role certain parts of the brain have on human decisions. Promulgates the golden reward cycle:

    -cue, routine, reward.

    If you want to change your reward, of course the solution is to change your routine.

    There are a number of case studies, which tend to resonate with me.

    I thought it was pretty good for non-fiction. Which I normally avoid like the plague.
     
  20. noob in 89

    noob in 89 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,658
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2010
    ^Was that the one with the Febreze story, about the lady with so many cats, she didn't know her house (and clothing, and person) smelled? And they had to create a vacuum cue, and then became instant millionaires?

    If so, that seemed like a pretty neat book.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2014

Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by