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2019 50 Book Challenge

Geoffrey Firmin

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Sorry, I didn't see this post earlier.

No, I haven't read it, but it sounds interesting. I'll have to see if I can find a copy.
It’s easily available Mrs GF grabbed it before me and throughly enjoyed it. Appears to be the general consensus. There is a movie of it I believe.
 

Geoffrey Firmin

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31.Avengers;The Serpent Crown by Steve Englehart & George Perez

A sprawling 1970’s science fiction and superhero extravaganza. Of time travel, the wild west, Gods and men. The multiverse and nefarious dark powers. Marvel mayhem in all its pulp glory. Perfect for a miserable cold and wet winter day and interlude before Fully Automated Luxury Communism.
 

LonerMatt

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1. The Broken Kingdoms
2. The Kingdom of Gods
3. Semiosis
4. Bridge of Clay
5. Blackwater City
6. Bullshit Jobs: a Theory
7. Harry Potter: Goblet of Fire
8. The People vs Tech

9. The Outrun
10 Ancillary Justice
11. Words without Music
12. Digital Minimalism
13. When Rivers Run Dry
14. The Uninhabitable Earth
15. Do we need inequality?
16. Carbon Ideologies: No Immediate Danger
17. The Secret Life of Trees
18. Educated
19. River of Doubt
20. Holy Sister
21. A War in Crimson Embers
22. Ancillary Sword
23. Ancillary Mercy
24. One Way
25. The Raven's Tower
26. Dark Emu
27. A Memory Called Empire
28. A Forest of Wood and Steel
29. Makers
30. Pink Mountain on Locust Island
31. The Summon Stone

31. The Summon Stone

Ian Irvine is an Australia writer who's been sporadically publishing fantasy books since the late 80s, all in the same Universe. He has 2 fairly significant arcs and he has started writing a series that will connect them, this is the first book.

A fairly rollicking tale, Irvine is not a gritty and dark fantasy writer, but clearly works on character's motivations. Early on he essentially created a trope that he recycles - the world that is at the center of the stories is constantly exposed to alien invaders - thems the breaks. So most of the stories involve some form of invasion and the power vacuum it creates.

His pacing is good, he returns to old characters enough to hit the mark, but doesn't rely on the same stuff - there's development aplenty and a new guard to take the story forward. He avoids sentimentality, many characters are awkward, stiff, distant or worn out, so the constant turmoil that generates the plots isn't something that rouses people as much as just wears a groove.

Most genre fiction is essentially playing the classics, in a way, so these small variations are usually where the quality, or lack thereof, can be found. Irvine doesn't talk down to his readers, doesn't re-hash previous writing to 'catch the reader up' - he assumes you know what you'll be getting and he just moves on with the writing.

Good read.
 

Fueco

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66. Dreams From My Father, by President Barack Obama

A fascinating collection of stories from President Obama’s childhood, and adult years prior to his run for Senate, sprinkled with stories of his mother, father, and other relatives in the US, Indonesia, and Kenya.

The stories are collected in a way that introduces one to the political philosophy of Mr. Obama and explains in a relatable way the interactions between cultural and economic classes that have shaped race relations in the modern world.
 

Fueco

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68. A Gentleman In Moscow, by Amor Towles

The tale of a Count, seemed an unrepentant aristocrat by the Bolsheviks in 1922, under house arrest in Soviet Moscow.
 

California Dreamer

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1. Andy Kaufman: The Truth, Finally, by Bob Zmuda and Lynne Margulies
2. Illustrado, by Miguel Syjuco
3. Kill 'Em All, by John Niven[
4. The Black Monday Murders, volume 1: All Hail God Mammon, by Jonathon Hickman
5. Bad News, by Edward St. Aubyn
6. Education, by Tara Westover
7. Europe: A Natural History, by Tim Flannery
8. No Tomorrow, by Luke Jennings
9. Scrublands, by Chris Hammer
10. The Kingdom, by Fuminori Nakamura
11. The White Darkness, by David Grann
12. Sacred Cesium Ground and Isa's Deluge, by Yusuke Kimura
13. The Black Monday Murders, Volume 2: The Scales, by Jonathon Hickman
14. Dark Echoes of the Past, by Roman Diaz Eterovic
15. Acute Misfortune, by Erik Jensen
16. The Low Road, by Chris Womersley
17. Steve Smith's Men: Behind Australian Cricket's Fall, by Geoff Lemon
18. River of Salt, by Dave Warner
19. City of a Million Dreams, by Jason Berry
20. Nagaland, by Ben Doherty
21. Queen of Kenosha, by Howard Shapiro
22. Daisy Jones and the Six, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
23. Saga, Volume One (Eps 1-3), by Brian
24. The Forest of Wool and Steel, by Natsu Miyashita
25. The Waiter, by Matias Faldbakken
26. Manchester Happened, by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
27. This body's Not Big Enough For Both of Us, by Edgar Cantero
28. The Erratics, by Vicki Laveau-Harvie
29. Saga Book 2, by Brian Vaughan
30. Murder in the Crooked House, by Soji Shimada
31. The Brewer of Preston, by Andrea Camilleri
32. Eight Lives, by Susan Hurley
33. Fu Ping, by Wang Anyi
34. N, by John A. Scott
35. Adele, by Leila Slimani

36. Gretchen, by Shannon Kirk

Teenager Lucy and her mother live a life on the run. Her mother takes pains to disguise Lucy and to shelter her from contact with others. At the first suggestion that either of them may be recognised, her mother whisks her away and shifts interstate at the drop of a hat.

After fleeing one night they arrive in New Hampshire, where they are offered a lease on a property that Lucy is determined to set down some roots at. She has a neighbour of a similar age, Gretchen, the daughter of the landlord. When Lucy's mother meets Gretchen she is all set to run again, but Lucy puts her foot down and insists on staying.

It is not long before Lucy starts to realise that Gretchen is extremely odd and may harbours secrets as deep as hers.

Kirk's novel is a fast-paced thriller with a couple of very good plot twists. It gets a little bit unbelievable toward the end, but an action-packed final act rewards readers prepared to suspend their disbelief.
 

California Dreamer

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1. Andy Kaufman: The Truth, Finally, by Bob Zmuda and Lynne Margulies
2. Illustrado, by Miguel Syjuco
3. Kill 'Em All, by John Niven[
4. The Black Monday Murders, volume 1: All Hail God Mammon, by Jonathon Hickman
5. Bad News, by Edward St. Aubyn
6. Education, by Tara Westover
7. Europe: A Natural History, by Tim Flannery
8. No Tomorrow, by Luke Jennings
9. Scrublands, by Chris Hammer
10. The Kingdom, by Fuminori Nakamura
11. The White Darkness, by David Grann
12. Sacred Cesium Ground and Isa's Deluge, by Yusuke Kimura
13. The Black Monday Murders, Volume 2: The Scales, by Jonathon Hickman
14. Dark Echoes of the Past, by Roman Diaz Eterovic
15. Acute Misfortune, by Erik Jensen
16. The Low Road, by Chris Womersley
17. Steve Smith's Men: Behind Australian Cricket's Fall, by Geoff Lemon
18. River of Salt, by Dave Warner
19. City of a Million Dreams, by Jason Berry
20. Nagaland, by Ben Doherty
21. Queen of Kenosha, by Howard Shapiro
22. Daisy Jones and the Six, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
23. Saga, Volume One (Eps 1-3), by Brian
24. The Forest of Wool and Steel, by Natsu Miyashita
25. The Waiter, by Matias Faldbakken
26. Manchester Happened, by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
27. This body's Not Big Enough For Both of Us, by Edgar Cantero
28. The Erratics, by Vicki Laveau-Harvie
29. Saga Book 2, by Brian Vaughan
30. Murder in the Crooked House, by Soji Shimada
31. The Brewer of Preston, by Andrea Camilleri
32. Eight Lives, by Susan Hurley
33. Fu Ping, by Wang Anyi
34. N, by John A. Scott
35. Adele, by Leila Slimani
36. Gretchen, by Shannon Kirk

37. An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones

Celestial and Roy are a young couple who have been married a little over a year, and discussing whether to have children. When they spend a romantic night at a motel, their lives are torn apart after Roy is falsely accused of raping on old woman in another room. He loses his case and is sentenced to twelve years.

This story looks at the unbearable pressure put on an already tense relationship by enforced separation. Celestial does all she can for Roy, but feels that she needs to live her own life. Roy wants her to wait for him, to be his wife, for better or worse. As the years pass, they begin to drift apart and Celestial seeks solace elsewhere.

The title may refer to the marriage of Roy and Celestial, but other characters also have marriages that are common in America: a marriage between a couple each on their second marriage, a de facto marriage, and marriages where one parent has abandoned the other, one to settle with another wife, and one to forsake marriage altogether. All of these are arguably "an American marriage" and Jones does a nice job of giving us a window into the dynamics of each of these.

The book also has a lot to say about fatherhood. Fathers who abandoned their child, stepfathers who raise children not their own, fathers who steadfastly raise their children, and would-be fathers whose hopes are dashed.

Jones resists the temptation to make any of the main characters to be the wrecker of this American marriage. All of them are given good reasons for their actions, but all of them are flawed individuals who do things that shock and dismay. The same is true of their extended family members; even the most sympathetic of them have their dark moments.

Marriage, fatherhood and the experience of black Americans at the hands of the law are among the subjects this novel addresses, and it does them all justice while still telling a compelling, gripping and emotional story.
 

Fueco

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69. Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump

So when a man like Donald Trump pees all over the game I love, lies about it, cheats at it, and literally drives tire tracks all over it, it digs a divot in my soul and makes me want to march into the Oval Office, Gran him by that long red tie, and yell, “Stop it!’“

You can think Trump has made America great again. You can think Trump made America hate again. But there’s one thing I know: he’s made golf terrible again.
 

LonerMatt

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Nov 2, 2012
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1. The Broken Kingdoms
2. The Kingdom of Gods
3. Semiosis
4. Bridge of Clay
5. Blackwater City
6. Bullshit Jobs: a Theory
7. Harry Potter: Goblet of Fire
8. The People vs Tech

9. The Outrun
10 Ancillary Justice
11. Words without Music
12. Digital Minimalism
13. When Rivers Run Dry
14. The Uninhabitable Earth
15. Do we need inequality?
16. Carbon Ideologies: No Immediate Danger
17. The Secret Life of Trees
18. Educated
19. River of Doubt
20. Holy Sister
21. A War in Crimson Embers
22. Ancillary Sword
23. Ancillary Mercy
24. One Way
25. The Raven's Tower
26. Dark Emu
27. A Memory Called Empire
28. A Forest of Wood and Steel
29. Makers
30. Pink Mountain on Locust Island
31. The Summon Stone
32. Fallen Gate

32. Fallen Gate

2nd in a series, started well ended just complicating itself way too much. Love the writer, think the narrative is a bit over the top.
 

Geoffrey Firmin

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32. Fully Automated Luxury Communism by Aaron Bastani

An interesting idealistic contribution to the progressive political discourse on what to do after capitalism. Best surmised by the exchange between Henry Ford the second and Walter Reuther leader of the United Auto Workers Union. Ford giving Walter a tour of a new Ford factory pointed to newly acquired robots and asked how he would get them to pay union dues. Walter replied “Henry how are you going to get them to buy your cars.’

Marxism for a new age? Grand ideas for the future, that is if Global Warming does not entirely destroy the planet.

33. The Amazing Spiderman Omnibus Volume 2 by Stan Lee and John Romita

Reprints from August 1966 to December 1968. Veritable tome of excellent tales and illustrative magic. Populated by some of the greats of Marvel villainy. Pulp fiction at its finest.

34. The Forest of Wood and Steel by Natsu Miyashita
Previously reviewed by others in this thread. All I can add is that it was an immensely enjoyable read. Highly Recomended.
 

Fueco

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70. The Oracle, by Clive Cussler and Robin Burcell

More treasure hunting and confronting bad guys, this time in Nigeria and Tunisia. This is the 11th novel in the series of adventures of Sam and Remi Fargo. I'm woefully behind on reading Cussler's books, and this is his most recent. Fortunately, they stories don't carry over between books.
 

California Dreamer

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1. Andy Kaufman: The Truth, Finally, by Bob Zmuda and Lynne Margulies
2. Illustrado, by Miguel Syjuco
3. Kill 'Em All, by John Niven[
4. The Black Monday Murders, volume 1: All Hail God Mammon, by Jonathon Hickman
5. Bad News, by Edward St. Aubyn
6. Education, by Tara Westover
7. Europe: A Natural History, by Tim Flannery
8. No Tomorrow, by Luke Jennings
9. Scrublands, by Chris Hammer
10. The Kingdom, by Fuminori Nakamura
11. The White Darkness, by David Grann
12. Sacred Cesium Ground and Isa's Deluge, by Yusuke Kimura
13. The Black Monday Murders, Volume 2: The Scales, by Jonathon Hickman
14. Dark Echoes of the Past, by Roman Diaz Eterovic
15. Acute Misfortune, by Erik Jensen
16. The Low Road, by Chris Womersley
17. Steve Smith's Men: Behind Australian Cricket's Fall, by Geoff Lemon
18. River of Salt, by Dave Warner
19. City of a Million Dreams, by Jason Berry
20. Nagaland, by Ben Doherty
21. Queen of Kenosha, by Howard Shapiro
22. Daisy Jones and the Six, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
23. Saga, Volume One (Eps 1-3), by Brian
24. The Forest of Wool and Steel, by Natsu Miyashita
25. The Waiter, by Matias Faldbakken
26. Manchester Happened, by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
27. This body's Not Big Enough For Both of Us, by Edgar Cantero
28. The Erratics, by Vicki Laveau-Harvie
29. Saga Book 2, by Brian Vaughan
30. Murder in the Crooked House, by Soji Shimada
31. The Brewer of Preston, by Andrea Camilleri
32. Eight Lives, by Susan Hurley
33. Fu Ping, by Wang Anyi
34. N, by John A. Scott
35. Adele, by Leila Slimani
36. Gretchen, by Shannon Kirk
37. An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones

38. The White Girl, by Tony Birch

Birch's novel is set during a dark period in indigenous relations, before Australia recognised its indigenous people as citizens. Odette is an ailing indigenous woman who lives in a tiny rural settlement under the control of the Aboriginal Protection Act, in thrall to the whim of the local police. She looks after her mixed-race granddaughter, who has blond hair and caucasian looks.

When the new police sergeant, Sergeant Lowe, arrives, he is determined to assert his authority over the local indigenous people, especially the removal of mixed-race children. Odette realises that she is facing a situation that threatens the very existence of her family.

Birch paints a shocking picture of the horrendous treatment meted out to Australia's indigenous people, not that long ago, in the context of an emerging political debate over citizenship. People could get exempted from the Act, but only if they agreed not to fraternise with other aborigines, an impossible requirement for people with such a strong sense of community. Dictatorial types like Lowe could find almost any reason to pursue and harm the people unlucky enough to fall under their sway.

This is a disturbing novel, but not without hope, as we see the glimmers of the citizenship movement that we know, with hindsight, ended up with Constitutional recognition. There is still a long way to go in Australia, and Birch's novel reminds us that there are still Constitutional issues to be fixed, and that the same forces are still with us, implacably opposing progress.
 

Fueco

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71. The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming, by David Wallace-Wells

A not at all rosy look at how we got where we are and what will happen if we humans do nothing (or not enough) to reverse the trend towards a warmer planet.
 

Fueco

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72. Disappearing Earth, by Julia Phillips

Two girls get kidnapped in a city in Kamchatka, then the story follows a collection of seemingly unconnected characters for a year, giving the reader snippets of Even culture and remembrances of the time when the Communists were in charge.

This book is interesting in concept, but I think Ms. Phillips gives a bit too much detail to keep the story flowing smoothly.
 

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