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2019 50 Book Challenge

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
32. Fallen Gate
33. Senlin Ascends
34. Howling Dark
35. Arm of the Sphinx
36. Fall, or Dodge in Hell
37. The Hod King
38. Boy Swallows Universe
39. Ancestral Night
40 Inappropration
41. Ordinary People
42. 21 lessons for the 21st century
43. There There
44. Stumbling upon happiness
45. Dark Matter

44. Stumbling upon happiness

A non-fiction work about how our imagination is not great an conceptualising the future and, therefore, we're bad at being happy because we make choices and plans imagining a future with a flawed imagination system. Heavy on critique, light on solutions. This bloke would like to be a little bit better at feeling ok with having a pretty chill.

45. Dark Matter

Read this one in a night!

A pretty engrossing read about a guy who is confronted by another version of himself and transported to an uncanny reality where instead of marrying his wife and having a child he became ruthlessly ambitious in his career - making some ugly allies along the way. Jason, the protagonist, manages to escape in a machine another version of himself has invented - a machine that allows humans to be in a superposition and re-position themselves in a different reality that forked off.

What seems like a standard story becomes a bit inventive and complex - the underlying science (there are infinite realities and each choice creates a new one) leads, for example, to this happening the infinite versions of him dealing with the same problem in the same way.
 

Geoffrey Firmin

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Messages
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2,435
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
33. Senlin Ascends
34. Howling Dark
35. Arm of the Sphinx
36. Fall, or Dodge in Hell
37. The Hod King
38. Boy Swallows Universe
39. Ancestral Night
40 Inappropration
41. Ordinary People
42. 21 lessons for the 21st century
43. There There
44. Stumbling upon happiness
45. Dark Matter


45. Dark Matter

Read this one in a night!

A pretty engrossing read about a guy who is confronted by another version of himself and transported to an uncanny reality where instead of marrying his wife and having a child he became ruthlessly ambitious in his career - making some ugly allies along the way. Jason, the protagonist, manages to escape in a machine another version of himself has invented - a machine that allows humans to be in a superposition and re-position themselves in a different reality that forked off.

What seems like a standard story becomes a bit inventive and complex - the underlying science (there are infinite realities and each choice creates a new one) leads, for example, to this happening the infinite versions of him dealing with the same problem in the same way.
In terms of the Multiverse stories I thought it was great read and enjoyed the clash of identities and the problems it presented.

The new novel Recursion is worth a look.

Dan Simmons wrote an interesting take on this with The Hollow Man back in the 90’s.
 
Last edited:

California Dreamer

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Nov 6, 2006
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3,217
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
39. The Trauma Cleaner, by Sarah Krasnostein
40. The Ballad of Captain Kelly, by Jonathan Wicken
41. Grief is the Thing With Feathers, by Max Porter
42. Dark Emu, by Bruce Pascoe
43. A Keeper, by Graham Norton
44. Saudade, by Suneeta Peres da Costa
45. The Murder Farm, by Andrea Maria Schenkel
46. Gallows Court, by Andrea Martin Edwards
47. Washington Black, by Esi Edugyan
48. State of the Union, by Nick Hornby
49. Being Black 'n Chicken, and Chips, by Matt Okine
50. Rather Be the Devil, by Ian Rankin
51. Forbidden Harbour, by Teresa Radice
52. The Grade Cricketer: Tea and No Sympathy, by Dave Edwards
53. A Fist or a Heart, by Kristin Eiriksdottir
54. There Was Still Love, by Favel Parrett
55. Bury the Lede, by Gaby Dunn
56. Eggshell Skull, by Bri Lee
57. The Yield, by Tara June Winch
58. Heida, by Steinunn Sigurðardóttir
59. My Life As An Alphabet, by Barry Jonsberg
60. Babylon Berlin, by Volker Kutscher

61. Too Much Lip, by Melissa Lucashenko

This novel has been on my list since it won this year's Miles Franklin, Australia's foremost literary award.

Kerry Salter is a petty crim who reluctantly returns to her family for the funeral of her grandfather Owen. She's barely welcome and her volatile brother Ken is particularly spiteful. She is also getting over her girlfriend dumping her after being jailed for a burglary that Kerry fled.

The family has a traditional burial ground on a small island in the river that they want to take Owen to. They are dismayed to find the river frontage blocked off and set aside for the building of a new jail. Ken goes ballistic and decides to go all-out on the local mayor, whom Kerry also has reasons to deeply resent.

This book has a lot of surface similarities with <i>The Yield</i>: young indigenous woman returning home, death of a grand-father, threats by developers to the traditional country and so on. However this book is far more gritty and raw than <i>The Yield</i>. The pain and hopelessness that the family feels is palpable and deep, magnified as it is by the disappearance of their sister years ago. It has an unusual narrative voice, with frequent code-switching between English and indigenous language in the dialogue lending authenticity. About the only thing I would question about it is how readily the supposedly gay Kerry gets turned on by a handsome local bloke, which would be more convincing if the author had her self-identifying as bisexual, but she doesn't.
 

Geoffrey Firmin

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Messages
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47. Trunk Music by Michael Connelly

harry Bosch investigates a simple mob hit or is it? Entertaining with sufficient twists and turns. One of the stories which formed the basis of Season 2 of the TV series. L.A Noir at its best.
 

Fueco

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111. No Shortage Of Good Days, by John Gierach

More fishing tales, just in time for the last month of decent fishing close to home before winter sets in.
 

LonerMatt

Distinguished Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2012
Messages
2,656
Reaction score
1,482
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
33. Senlin Ascends
34. Howling Dark
35. Arm of the Sphinx
36. Fall, or Dodge in Hell
37. The Hod King
38. Boy Swallows Universe
39. Ancestral Night
40 Inappropration
41. Ordinary People
42. 21 lessons for the 21st century
43. There There
44. Stumbling upon happiness
45. Dark Matter
46. Children of Time

46. Children of Time


A future focused doctor has traveled with a dedicated crew to an Earth like planet - while Earth is ravaged and politically mired, she hopes to remake humanity in this new place. By developing a nano virus evolution will speed up thus the doctor and her crew will seed the planet with monkies and the virus and then wake up eons later to a planet they can hopefully populate with human-like animals.

Unfortunately there's a sabotage and the virus reaches the planet but the ship and the monkeys are killed. The doctor manages to escapein a pod and put herself in stasis, broadcasting to the planet (not knowing the monkeys have been killed).

So on the planet the virus infects spiders and a new intelligent species of spider develops. One part of the novel charts their society's progress and the animal's capabilities.

The other part of the novel concerns a new group of humans who turn up. Having fled Earth generations after the political upheaval the doctor left they are the last group of humans alive, hoping to find refuge in the earth like planet. Unfortunately, they are technically less developed than the doctor and she spurns them away, totally unaware that spiders are her 'children'.

Generations pass, drama unfolds and a final collision is occurring - humanity needs the planet, but the spiders have reached human levels of intelligence and technology, though it's completely different.

A methodical and interesting novel that was hard (impossible?) to predict. The author really enjoys allowing the concept and time have enough space to fill out and the drama takes a back seat, as do the characters, but it makes a lot of sense.
 

Geoffrey Firmin

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48.Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata.

This is one of the funniest novels i have read in years. Its an absurd critique of life its obligations and responsibilities in a socially hierarchical and regimented society like Japan.

The heroine, Keiko struggles to comprehend what it is to be normal and walks into job in a Convenience Store and stays for eighteen years. A robust critique full of (absurdist) life and laugh out loud humour.
 

California Dreamer

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Messages
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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
39. The Trauma Cleaner, by Sarah Krasnostein
40. The Ballad of Captain Kelly, by Jonathan Wicken
41. Grief is the Thing With Feathers, by Max Porter
42. Dark Emu, by Bruce Pascoe
43. A Keeper, by Graham Norton
44. Saudade, by Suneeta Peres da Costa
45. The Murder Farm, by Andrea Maria Schenkel
46. Gallows Court, by Andrea Martin Edwards
47. Washington Black, by Esi Edugyan
48. State of the Union, by Nick Hornby
49. Being Black 'n Chicken, and Chips, by Matt Okine
50. Rather Be the Devil, by Ian Rankin
51. Forbidden Harbour, by Teresa Radice
52. The Grade Cricketer: Tea and No Sympathy, by Dave Edwards
53. A Fist or a Heart, by Kristin Eiriksdottir
54. There Was Still Love, by Favel Parrett
55. Bury the Lede, by Gaby Dunn
56. Eggshell Skull, by Bri Lee
57. The Yield, by Tara June Winch
58. Heida, by Steinunn Sigurðardóttir
59. My Life As An Alphabet, by Barry Jonsberg
60. Babylon Berlin, by Volker Kutscher
61. Too Much Lip, by Melissa Lucashenko

62. An Orchestra of Minorities, by Chigozie Obioma

This is the story of Chinonso, an Igbo poultry farmer in Nigeria. One day, returning from the market, Chinonso sees a woman, Ndali, contemplating suicide, and intervenes to stop her. He goes on his way but they meet again, and he falls deeply in love with her, a love that Ndali reciprocates.

Unfortunately for Chinonso, Ndali comes from a wealthy family who consider him far beneath her. Most especially, they scorn his lack of an education. Chinonso resolves to win their respect, and her hand, by selling everything he has and going to Cyprus to gain a degree in business. This rash decision leads to dire events that cause his downfall.

Chinonso's story is related by his guardian spirit, or chi, as part of an extensive appeal to Chukwu and the other Igbo gods over some grave wrong that Chinonso has committed. This narrative device allows Obiomo to invest a great deal of Igbo culture and history into the story, turning it into something very different. Comparisons have been made to The Odyssey, which Obiomo references in his story, but I think that they are somewhat tenuous, and this book stands by itself as a devastating and tragic tale.
 

Geoffrey Firmin

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49. Rupture by Ragnar Jonasson

Icelandic Noir, I think this one is book number five in a series but I don’t think I’ll venture anymore with this series. Actually I’ll return it back to the book table as I found it a bit sanctimonious in its narrative exposition and conclusion.
 

LonerMatt

Distinguished Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2012
Messages
2,656
Reaction score
1,482
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
33. Senlin Ascends
34. Howling Dark
35. Arm of the Sphinx
36. Fall, or Dodge in Hell
37. The Hod King
38. Boy Swallows Universe
39. Ancestral Night
40 Inappropration
41. Ordinary People
42. 21 lessons for the 21st century
43. There There
44. Stumbling upon happiness
45. Dark Matter
46. Children of Time
47. Middle Game

47. Middle Game

What a delightfully weird book!

This is the story of two children who are, basically, alchemists experiments. One is great at maths the other amazing at language. Their creator is hoping that they embody an idea/concept that will allow them to develop amazing powers. Their creator is also evil.

Most of the story charts their coming of age, as they grow up and into their abilities. Although separated, they can still communicate and have to navigate all the problems of being too good at their things to be accepted, and not having any one other than each other who understands.

The characterisation carries this novel so well. Both of the main characters are well drawn and the author doesn't muck around - the pacing is spot on, it's slow when it needs to be and faster when that suits. It's Gaiman-esque in the sense that the underlying mythology/rules are never explained and the alchemy side of things is always a bit bizarre and confusing, deliberately so.

For a totally whimsical and weird book this was surprisingly readable. Enjoyed it!
 

Fueco

Stylish Dinosaur
Joined
Mar 8, 2012
Messages
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116. Folk Tales Of Nepal, collected and edited by Karunakar Vaidya

Some common themes with folk tales of the western world. Fair maidens marrying forest creatures, demons and devils abound.
 

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