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2017 50 Book Challenge

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

  1. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

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    I've found them very entertaining and I like the way Silva incorporates current events into time sequence of when he writes his narratives. One of them reminded me of an incident from a few years back in Dubai. However he put a very interesting twist on the original incident.
     
  2. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    That's on my bookshelf somewhere. I should dig it out.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2014
  3. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    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
    32. The Glass Canoe
    33. The Lies of Locke Lamora
    34. Handmaid's Tale
    35. Girt
    36. Museum of Innocence
    37. Neverwhere
    38. The Ghost's Child
    39. Picnic at Hanging Rock
    40. Submarine
    41. Name of the Wind
    42. Wise Man's Fear
    43. A Million Little Pieces
    44. The Promise
    45. Father's Day
    46. Swan Book
    47. Red Seas under Red Skies
    48. Republic of Thieves
    49. Labyrinths
    50. Carpentaria

    50. Carpentaria

    Ugh, what a slog. At almost 2 weeks for 500 pages, well, this did not hold my attention.

    Most reviews, favourably, describe this book as a farrago of styles and influences, a combination of magic realism, narrative, myth and characterisation. While the incredible differences in pacing, structure, direction and meaning are obvious, I'd struggle to argue that the writing successfully navigates the writer's diverse influences. A lot of the time the book feels directionless and lethargic, characters dull and one-dimensional, chapter after chapter rolls by and reading it feels like being in the doldrums. If the author was trying to create a reading experience similar to a desert road trip she's done a fantastic job.

    Annoyingly, the book starts quite well, and many of the characters are stereotypical enough to be political, but quirky enough to be interesting. Alexis Wright wasted another excellent opportunity to really delve into the diverse and remote communities of Australia, although the odd comment of brutal commentary rings like a bell among the lazy and meandering boredom of the rest of the book.

    I often found myself day-dreaming, losing my place, struggling to concentrate and rarely giving a fuck about this story.

    Would not re-read, would not recommend, would recommend for serious editing and to be turned into about 50 pages of short stories.

    Now back to an author that deserves their accolades: Pamuk.
     
  4. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Congratulations on the 50, LM!
    Target for the year 75??
     
  5. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

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    Congratulations on the 50 LM
     
  6. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    Congrats Matt. Your effort to get there by reading more Alexis Wright deserves bonus points.
     
  7. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    Yeah 75-80.

    That being said, I want to read 'The Idiot' and maybe 'Anna Karenena' or 'War and Peace', so we'll see. They might be better suited for the summer holidays.
     
  8. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 55/50: Manuel Vazquez Montalban - Southern Seas (1979)

    Time to catch up with my reviews. I will post a few in a row, so sorry if I occupy too much of the page. Will try to keep them brief. :)

    This is one of the earlier in Montalban's series about private investigator Pepe Carvalho. The setting is Barcelona soon after Franco and the case is a rich widow hiring Pepe to find out the reason for her husband's death. Montalban is an excellent writer and one of the pioneers of Mediterranean Noir. To my surprise, this novel is included in 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. I thought The Buenos Aires Quintet but the same author was slightly better but Southern Seas is also an excellent read.
     
  9. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 56/50: Pascal Garnier - The A26 (1999)

    Psycho-crime in the vein of Patricia Highsmith. A new motorway, A26, is built through the French countryside and in one of the houses along the route lives two dysfunctional siblings. Neat and dark little book with a few meaningless murders. Good story.
     
  10. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 57/50: Timothy Hallinan - A Nail Through the Heart (2007)

    I love John Burdett's series about Bangkok police detective Somchai Jitplecheep. A friend recommended me to read Hallinan's books about Bangkok crime. This is the first novel featuring travel writer and sometimes investigator Poke Rafferty. Not up to Burdett's standard but nevertheless good entertainment, particularly for those familiar with Bangkok. The bad guys are very nasty indeed and there is a Khmer Rouge angle to the story as well.
     
  11. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 58/50: Charles Willeford - The Black Mass of Brother Springer (1958)

    A bored accountant and failed writer leaves job and wife in search of his future. He becomes the Right Reverend Deuteronomy Springer, a white priest in a black church during the early days of the civil rights movement in the American South. This is a really good but dark tale. Willeford was incidentally Elmore Leonard's favorite author of crime novels.
     
    1 person likes this.
  12. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 59/50: Arturo Perez Reverte - The Flanders Panel (1990)

    I was pleased to find a Perez Reverte book of the same class as The Club Dumas. This is a story about a hidden message in a 16th century oil painting and an insane killer who is playing an unusual game of chess with the police. Very entertaining and recommended as a light read within the historical adventure genre.
     
  13. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 60/50: Jonathan Lethem - Motherless Brooklyn (1999)

    The unlikely hero Lionel Essrog suffers from Tourette's Syndrome and keeps talking nonsense throughout this novel. Lionel is one of Brooklyn hoodlum Frank Minna's men, a group of four orphans who he has mentored and brought into adulthood. When Minna is stabbed to death, Lionel starts investigating the case in search of the killer. This is a farcical and very well written detective story. I liked it.
     
  14. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 61/50: Maurizio De Giovanni - I Will Have Vengeance (2007)

    The first novel in the series about Commissario Ricciardi, the police who can see the dead. The protagonist is full of sorrow and loneliness and the description of Napoli exquisite. There are five novels in this series and I have earlier read the second. The setting is Napoli in fascist governed Italy in 1931. A world famous opera tenor is murdered in his dressing room under mysterious circumstances. Since the singer is the personal favorite of Il Duce, Ricciardi comes under immense pressure to solve the crime quickly without ruffling feathers. I found this first and shorter novel to be better than the second and De Giovanni to be among the very best in Italian crime fiction.
     
  15. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 62/50: Herve Le Tellier - The Sextine Chapel (2005)

    Le Tellier is a member of the French literary group Oulipo (Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle, "workshop of potential literature"), experimental writers who put certain "constraints" into their writing. The Sextine Chapel is a series of micro-stories about the sex act, presented through 26 people with names beginning with each letter of the alphabet. There is some mathematical mumbo jumbo behind these stories and as must always be the case when describing sex, it's mainly repetitive and mundane, albeit quite funny.
     
  16. clockwise

    clockwise Senior member

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    Clockwise counting 63/50: Carlo Lucarelli - Carte Blanche (1990)

    The first in a trilogy about Inspector De Luca, who is solving a murder in a country that is falling apart, Italy at the end of World War II. Just like De Giovanni's Commissario Ricciardi series, this is about police work in fascist Italy. The power politics and the dangers of war come in sharp conflict with the police work and De Luca is a very interesting protagonist, not dissimilar to Ricciardi. A short and exciting book, very well written and highly recommended.

    And that brings me up to date with my 2014 reading. I think I am just a notch off pace to reach 100 by year-end. My target is 99, so never mind.
     
  17. Steve B.

    Steve B. Senior member

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    Was wondering where you went to... Once a voracious reader, always a voracious reader.
     
  18. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

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    56 The Fallen Angel A Gabriel Allon Thriller by Daniel Silva

    57 The English Girl A Gabriel Allon Thriller by Daniel Silva
     
  19. SirGrotius

    SirGrotius Senior member

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    This is great stuff. I lean toward non-fiction. Here's what I've done so far this year, although I expect this thread will bump up my voraciousness. (BTW--Kindle makes this a lot easier to list!)


    1. City of Fortune: How Venice Ruled the Seas. Roger Crowley. - Very accessible, easy slice into the Mediterranean
    2. 1453: The Holy War for Constantinople and the Clash of Islam and the West. Roger Crowley. - Love reading about the Ottomans
    3. Count of Monte Cristo. Alexandre Dumas. - Surprised I never read this, and it took up a chunk of time, but such a tense story. Stands the test of time.
    4. Empires of the Sea: The Siege of Malta, the Battle of Lepanto, and the Contest for the Center of the World. Roger Crowley. - Really into these accessible histories. This one is further ranging but focuses more on Malta
    5. Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10. Marcus Luttrell. - Very intense book. Sad and harrowing.
    6. Food, Genes, and Culture: Eating Right for Your Origins. Gary Paul Nabhan. - Fairly scattered attempt at linking ideal nutrition to your genes
    7. Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook-5th Edition. - Including this here, as I read it front to back. I'm into nutrition. This is basically the anti-paleo diet, in that Clark argues for carbs if you're an athlete. Very balanced overall
    8. A Concise History of Hungary (Cambridge Concise Histories). Miklós Molnár, Anna Magyar. - Very dense history. Some of the place names are so foreign that it's hard to keep track of everything!
    9. The Martian: A Novel. Andy Weir. - Tries very hard to be modern; distracted me from the story and action
    10. The Eye of the World: Book One of 'The Wheel of Time'. Robert Jordan. - Very good if you're into fantasy. Consider it a "lite" version of the Game of Thrones series, although a little dated now
    11. The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit (Princeton Classics). Thomas Segrue. - This one got a wow from me. Highly academic, yet very readable and timely
    12. The Great Hunt: Book Two of 'The Wheel of Time'. Robert Jordan. - Better than book one. More exciting, yet not quite as dark
    13. Operation Barbarossa and Germany's Defeat in the East (Cambridge Military Histories). David Stahel. - Interesting new take on Germany's war against the USSR in WWII
    14. Kiev 1941. David Stahel. - Continues his thesis now focusing on Kiev.
    15. Operation Typhoon. David Stahel. - Continues to the march on Moscow. He is completing the fourth book, Battle of Moscow, in this history
    16. Caesar: A History of the Art of War Among the Romans Down to the End of the Roman Empire, With a Detailed Account of the Campaigns of Caius Julius Caesar. Theodore Ayrault Dodge. - This is a LONG historical piece written in the 19th century, but fun to read since the author is so old school, lucid, and practical.
     
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  20. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    39. The Girl With A Clock For A Heart
    [​IMG]
    The Girl With A Clock For A Heart
    by Peter Swanson
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    Peter Swanson’s intriguing novel has at its core a femme fatale reminiscent of some Hollywood classic such as Double Indemnity or Body Heat. George Foss has for many years carried a torch for a young lady he met in college, whom he encounters once again as a middle-aged man. She asks a favour of him which he agrees to do, dragging him into an escalating series of crimes and mystery that threatens to engulf him.

    The thing is, George just does not convince as somebody who would either attract the interest of such a woman or be capable of doing the things he does in this story. He’s a bit of a wuss really, certainly no leading man, and this is a fatal flaw in the novel. When you have a plot that is as twisted and complex as this one, you need to ground it in believable characters, or the whole thing just becomes over the top. Unfortunately that is what happens here. Shame, because Swanson’s idea is basically a good one that could have been a lot better realised.

    View all my reviews
     

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