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2017 50 Book Challenge

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

  1. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    What? HP 1,3 + 4 are totally rad (in a 'I read this when I was 10 and loved it') - everything else is fucking awful.

    Susannah Clarke's length, though can be intimidating - I lent it to one of the kids at school though.
     


  2. aKula

    aKula Senior member

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    23. Nana - Emile Zola.

    This is a social satire of France under Napoleon III. It charts the life of Nana, the capricious courtesan incarnate, from debut in the theatre, to a life of wealth backed by the consumption of myriad fortunes. Zola's naturalism allowed him to document various characteristic types and let the drama unfold by imagining their interactions. This is one of a series of his books examining different aspects of society in such a way.

    24. The Prism and the Pendulum - Robert P. Crease.

    The ten most beautiful experiments in science are explained together with the history of the experiments and experimenters themselves. After each experiment is a brief interlude in which a philosophic idea is examined in the context of the experiment. Being in physics I did not mind that all ten experiments are physics experiments, though scientists in other areas may feel they have cause for complaint.
     


  3. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    Not that much more intimidating than HP7's 800pp, surely.

    I read HP1 when it first came out and found it a yawn. Truly, Rowling's only new idea was quidditch; pretty much everything else in the book is rehashed from others' work. That's fine, and quite common, but what is not common is the slavish herd mentality cult that grew around this totally deriviative and unremarkable book, with people even claiming that Rowling was solely responsible for children reading. It pissed me off, frankly, that it got all this adulation while authors that she'd borrowed from, like Diana Wynn Jones, were represented as influenced by HER. Pretty good effort considing Jones was writing her books about a boy wizard in the '80s. And FFS even Russian vampire goth lit was being marketed as influenced by Rowling. The whole scam made me want to up-chuck; it's the complete triumph of marketing over content.

    Clarke's book has ideas in it I can't recall seeing anywhere else. I'm far happier to immerse myself in 1000pp of something new and interesting over 800pp of formulaic dreck in need of a bloody good edit.
     


  4. noob in 89

    noob in 89 Senior member

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    I thought Quidditch derived from DeLillo's nuclear football in End Zone, which also spawned Eschaton in Infinite Jest?

    Or possibly the big set pieces from Ender's Game, now that I think about it.

    Seems like a lot of books have used this?

    .​
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2013


  5. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    Epic rant, CD, epic.

    I'd challenge you on the uncommon nature of a slavish, herd foaming at the mouth over something both dull and unoriginal - seems cyclic in an art form where marketing triumphs over substance (and seems to have since, basically, Victorian times).

    People are idiots, but I enjoyed reading the earlier books - even if they were complete rehashings of someone else's ideas. For a 9, 10, 12 year old the originality isn't really that relevant. It probably has a lot to do with age - I can't imagine an emotionally mature person enjoying reading about a self-centred fail whale like HP.

    Surely one must feel similarly about other massively popular shit: Eat, Pray, Love, or most vampire books (which are just rehashing 'the vampyr' a poem by Maxwell), etc, etc, etc.
     


  6. Nil

    Nil Senior member

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    Quidditch was only a new idea because the game made zero logical sense. One could explain that away as a sign of wizard "quirkiness", but really, the rules are illogical. None of the game matters except for the seeker.
     


  7. Steve B.

    Steve B. Go Spurs Go

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    Wrong forum, Nil, but do you think Rogers will play Sun?
     


  8. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    We can spin this another way ;)
     


  9. Nil

    Nil Senior member

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    It's been a full six weeks since he broke it. Considering we're still in hunt for the NFC North lead, something I'm completely surprised about, I think he has to. If we win out I think it's likely we'll get the title. I doubt the Lions' ability to win 3 in a row.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2013


  10. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    :) A pet hate of mine.

    I do. Don't get me started on Dan Brown or 50 Shades.
     


  11. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 97/50: Juan Gabriel Vasquez - The Secret History of Costaguana (2007) 

    Colombian novelist Vasquez has written a fictional 19th century historical account of the Colombian province Panama and the plans for building the canal. At the centre of the story is Jose Altamirano, whose search for his father leads him to the centre of Panama's revolutionary history and from there to the centre of literary history as his experiences influence Joseph Conrad in the writing of Nostromo.

    This is great stuff, albeit heavier going compared to Vasquez' widely acclaimed and recent 3rd novel The Sound of Things Falling and possibly a tiny bit less amazing. Vasquez is here depicting another phase of tragic Colombian history and it seems his debut novel, The Informers, which I have yet to read, is likewise taking its base in Colombian history.

    There is no doubt that Vasquez is one of Latin America's most important contemporary  novelists. I will eagerly follow his writing from here on.
     


  12. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 98/50: Tana French - Faithful Place (2010) 

    This is French' 3rd novel about the Dublin police and the solving of mysterious old crimes. A distinct difference between this book and its two predecessors, is that Faithful Place is primarily a story about a dysfunctional violent family in a poor and rundown part of Dublin. Her earlier two novels have been more straightforward psychological whodunnits. 

    French is a good and entertaining writer and her crime novels are certainly one step up from the normal fodder served in airport bookstores. 
     


  13. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    I have a DB rant - but more about how idiotic people were in their reactions tot he novel 'Da Vinci Code' which states 'THIS IS FICTION' yet still people assume it's a re-telling of history based on research, etc.

    It's all a bit silly, really.
     


  14. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    Yep. And on 50 Shades, fusty old man me just wonders when it became socially acceptable for professional women to read soft porn on the train.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2013


  15. aKula

    aKula Senior member

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    25. Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway.

    A group of wealthy (mostly) Americans travel down from Paris to Pamplona for some fishing and to watch the bull fights. All the men are in love with Brett ("curves like the hull of a racing yacht"). The narrator, Jake, has lost his prospects of a relationship with her due to a war injury rending him impotent. Meanwhile, amid the drinking and restlessness of the Fiesta, bickering amongst the suitors ensues.

    Decided to read this, a favourite, to bring up 25 books.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2013


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