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2021 50 Book Challenge

Marc Voorhees

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Is anybody reading!?!

2) meditations in an emergency - - frank o'hara - my summary is such : "I don't understand poetry"
 

Geoffrey Firmin

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7.The Honjin Murders by Seishi Yokomizo

In 1937 a locked room murder occurs in the village of Okamura Japan claiming the life of a bride and groom.

Was it the three fingered man? Who else could it have been. A call goes to private detective Kosuke Kindachi a very odd fellow by all accounts.

An entertaining how done it which won the first Mystery Writers of Japan Award in 1948.

Better still found it in the local Library.
 

Geoffrey Firmin

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ADF077D0-8444-43FB-BEBB-59CED2169B7D.jpeg

After five years of searching for this Penguin edition I finally found it in the past week. Half way through will say more when I finish.
 

LonerMatt

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1. Death's End
2. Piranesi
3. Living Sea of Waking Dreams
4. Uncanny Valley
5. War of Maps
6. A Constellation of Vital phenomena
7. The New Wilderness

6. A Constellation of Vital phenomena

Loved this book about a cast of characters in early 2000s Chechnya. From the incompetant doctor to the scarily effective surgeon, to the betrayer, to the father figure this book was really interesting, vastly expansive and super deep.

7. The New Wilderness

Great book about a uture where life sucks so some people strongarm the government into letting them live in the last wilderness, just 20 people. Character driven, flicking between mother and daughter, this is a really well told story that avoids making any sweeping predictions or grandiose comments about society other than 'living off the land is really fucking hard'.

Is return to nature the new post-apocalyptic genre?
 

Ramon Lopez

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I start reading Ulysses by Irish writer James Joyce. I tried to read this modernist novel several times already, but the maximum reached the third chapter. This time I want to read to the end, no matter how long it takes me.
 

Fueco

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I start reading Ulysses by Irish writer James Joyce. I tried to read this modernist novel several times already, but the maximum reached the third chapter. This time I want to read to the end, no matter how long it takes me.
It took me a month. Good luck!
 

Geoffrey Firmin

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8.Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell.

1933 the height of the Great Depression. Reportage of the first order which examines the plight of the underclass in two major European cities.

Orwell works like a slave and gets drunk in Paris and has something of ’life’ albeit limited in scope due to the economics of poverty. London on the other hand is an oppressive environment where poverty not only dehumanises the individual but its also a crime no importuning, no sleeping rough.

An indictment of a tragic period of history (personal as both my parents grew up in the Great Depression and I know of the poverty they both endured) which sadly led Western Civilisation through the doors of Hell from 1939-1945.

9.An Event Perhaps A Biography of Jaques Derrida by Peter Salmon.

Who or what was Jaques Derrida and what exactly did or does he contribute to Philosophy? If you adhere to the logical positivism school Derrida was a fraud. If Postmodernism, Deconstruction or worse Cultural Marxism (still) did float your boat the man and his cannon is a remarkable insightful individual who in his own words states ‘ordinary language is probably right.’

Erudite insightful and intellectually challenging at time it presents a portrait of one of the giants of 20th Century Continental Philosophy or I as I was told once by a Professor of Philosophy at a rural University....pause gathers breath stiffly responds “WE do not teach Continental Philosophy in this school.” After which he hung up.
 

Ramon Lopez

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I keep reading Ulysses by Irish writer James Joyce and am just shocked by the complexity of the information in this book. I recently found a comment page and am amazed at how deep it is.

 

Geoffrey Firmin

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I keep reading Ulysses by Irish writer James Joyce and am just shocked by the complexity of the information in this book. I recently found a comment page and am amazed at how deep it is.

you are reading the corrected text?
 

Geoffrey Firmin

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10.Fake Accounts by Lauren Oyler

First why did I bother reading this. It has the most deplorable cast of characters I have ever come across. The story is supposed to be about the impact of immersive social media and online life on the lives and loves of the twenty something generation.

Well if lying, selfishness a lack of independent though and an inability to know who or what you are beside the next tweet or post or whatever then heaven help the future.As for the humour forget it.

Last time I ever believe the hype around a contemporary novel.
 

LonerMatt

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1. Death's End
2. Piranesi
3. Living Sea of Waking Dreams
4. Uncanny Valley
5. War of Maps
6. A Constellation of Vital phenomena
7. The New Wilderness
8. Attack Surface

8. Attack Surface

Cory Doctrow, the prolific SF happy boy, has written his darkest novel yet. In this alternative timeline, the spying powers of private government contractors are slightly more expansive and they've gotten away with slightly more. Our narrator is Masha, a prodigy who has fallen into the habit of working for these secretive corporations while her best friend has become a vocal BLM leader. She continually feels pulled between her moral compass and her job.

As a large contract with SFPD is up, there is competition among the secuirty community to find ways to crack down on BLM activists to prove their services worthy of the contract. Masha is caught in the middle and has something of a change of heart, hard as it is.

The novel ends with an uplifting note, which I found a bit disingenuous, but that is Doctrow's style. The Judd Apatow of SF.

Points for:
- Describing how security personnel track individuals using variety of surveillance tools
- Showing the MI complex as a shithole
- Consistently deploring private sector rhetoric for shallow money making at the expense of humanity

Points against:
- We all get what we want
 

Fueco

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2. The Hadj, by Michael Wolfe

Part travel memoir, part travel narrative, and part history of the Muslim faith. A white American convert to Islam from California weaves the tale of his pilgrimage in 1990.

I found this book fascinating, for its account in rich detail of Wolfe’s travel in Morocco and Saudi Arabia as well as the partial history of the religion, as well as the area around Mecca and Medina.
 

Geoffrey Firmin

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11.The Name of the Game is a Kidnapping by Keigo Higashino

This is one of the devious novels I have read in a long time.

A kidnapping takes place a ransom is paid and...then it takes a turn into an unexpected but highly entertaining narrative space.

A first class mystery novel of the first order highly recomended.
 

LonerMatt

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1. Death's End
2. Piranesi
3. Living Sea of Waking Dreams
4. Uncanny Valley
5. War of Maps
6. A Constellation of Vital phenomena
7. The New Wilderness
8. Attack Surface
9. Gods of Jade and Shadow
10. The Galaxy and the Ground Within

9. Gods of Jade and Shadow

Mexican fantasy, set in the jazz age. Maligned and mistreated cinderella character cuts an unwitting deal with a trapped mayan god. Good fun.

Best part: narrator character
Worst part: a bit too short, could have used a bit more tension and drawing out the conflicts a lot more.

10. The Galaxy and the Ground Within

A millenial BLM/LGBTIQ+ view of the future where alien species and conflicts are always aiming to be resolved through consummate niceness. Never a big conflict in Becky Chambers' work, always something small and micro. If you like her books you'll love it (me), if you aren't a fan this won't change it for you.

A group of diverse aliens are stranded on a planet that's only used because it's 1/2 way between more important places.
 

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