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2020 50 Book Challenge

California Dreamer

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This is a thread where we share brief reviews of the books that we read during the year. The general idea is that members aim to read 50 books for the year, but there's no obligation to do so. We're interested in your opinions on whatever you're reading; there's always a chance that your find will be the next book on someone else's to-read list.
 

LonerMatt

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1. The Tangled Lands

This is a great novel. Set in a nameless land where magic was a tool everyone could use a plant has evolved that feeds on magic. The plant is noxious and kills humans, spreads quickly and can't be dealt with easily, or even at all. Magic use is illegal but most people use it in secret.

An Alchemist invents a device that could be used to burn the weed away. When he shows it to the mayor of the city, those in power find a way to use the device to show who has been using magic, instead of destroying the weed.

Instantly the city, and the world, descends into a worse dictatorship. The Alchemist is imprisoned.

The novel then shifts away from him and towards 3 other stories. None have anything to do with each other, but each explore a facet of how the world operates.

Great stuff.

2. The Test


A short book about a man sitting a citizenship test. In this test, without his knowledge, a hostage situation is used to test whether he can become a British citizen.

An ugly and barely unbelievable look at power imbalances and issues of immigration and nationhood.
 

California Dreamer

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1. The Tangled Lands

This is a great novel. Set in a nameless land where magic was a tool everyone could use a plant has evolved that feeds on magic. The plant is noxious and kills humans, spreads quickly and can't be dealt with easily, or even at all. Magic use is illegal but most people use it in secret.

An Alchemist invents a device that could be used to burn the weed away. When he shows it to the mayor of the city, those in power find a way to use the device to show who has been using magic, instead of destroying the weed.

Instantly the city, and the world, descends into a worse dictatorship. The Alchemist is imprisoned.

The novel then shifts away from him and towards 3 other stories. None have anything to do with each other, but each explore a facet of how the world operates.

Great stuff.

2. The Test

A short book about a man sitting a citizenship test. In this test, without his knowledge, a hostage situation is used to test whether he can become a British citizen.

An ugly and barely unbelievable look at power imbalances and issues of immigration and nationhood.
Both of those sound great Matt.

Are you still in Canberra? Pretty nasty there right now.
 

Geoffrey Firmin

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1.The Night Fire by Michael Connelly

Harry Bosch has retired or has he. Once a D always a D. Now due to no longer being LAPD Bosch has a parter in D Renee Ballard who helps him investigate the mystery of a decade Murder Book.

Well written, engaging and entertaining. More so due to the fact I listened to Connelly being interviewed at the NLA in November and also listened to a cold case podcast he produced called Murder Book. And from the podcast I could see certain elements at work in the current novel.
 

Fueco

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1. A Craftsman’s Legacy: Why Working With Our Hands Gives Us Meaning, by Eric Gorges

Part autobiography of the host of the TV show A Craftsman’s Legacy (on PBS), and part tales of other craftsmen he’s met, this is an utterly fascinating book which I picked up to take a break from Ulysses...
 

LonerMatt

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LonerMatt

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1. The Tangled Land
2. The Test
3. Grace of Kings

3. Grace of Kings


A re-read of Ken Liu's first major novel, which is such a good read. Encompassing history (and history's affect on the present), politics, compromise, purity, a really ripper read. I'm eagerly awaiting the conclusion of this arc, but it's not on the horizon.
 

jeradjames

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1. A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man - James Joyce
One that I will need to read multiple times.

2. Klingsor's Last Summer - Hermann Hesse
How a painter spends his last summer before his death. Also includes two other short stories. Quite similar to Hesse's Rosshalde.
 

jeradjames

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1. A Craftsman’s Legacy: Why Working With Our Hands Gives Us Meaning, by Eric Gorges

Part autobiography of the host of the TV show A Craftsman’s Legacy (on PBS), and part tales of other craftsmen he’s met, this is an utterly fascinating book which I picked up to take a break from Ulysses...
Are you using a companion for Ulysses?
 

Geoffrey Firmin

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2.. MIND F*CK Inside Cambridge Analytica’s Plot to Break the World by Christopher Wylie.

This is the insiders account of the right wing coup to hijack democracy via the use of social media to achieve nefarious political ends. I though Edward Snowden’s expose was something but this is much more.

Wylie goes in the nuts and bolts of psychological manipulation and the odious identities who benefited form the effects of Cambridge Analytica.While he left before the US Presidential election of 2016 he has insight into the machinations, public manipulations and effects that put he who shall not be named in charge of the asylum.

It spares no one, the author included, takes no prisoners and makes a solid case for the regulation of social media. He also clearly demonstrates why Facebook and its Fruher Zuckerberg should be held accountable and their actions regulated.

Highly recommended
 

Fueco

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3. 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed, by Eric H. Cline

The events around the collapse of the civilizations around the eastern Mediterranean more than 3,000 years ago are eerily similar to what is happening now.What caused that collapse and what can we learn from them in order to avoid repeating history?
 

Fueco

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Are you using a companion for Ulysses?
No. I've actually never used a companion guide for any book, even when I was reading them for classes in school. I can see why someone might find it useful in this case...
 

Geoffrey Firmin

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No. I've actually never used a companion guide for any book, even when I was reading them for classes in school. I can see why someone might find it useful in this case...
Aren‘t most editions of Ulysses available now the corrected text? My understanding was that it was due to the French printers of the original edition that some confusion arose?
 

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