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Author Topic: 50 Books in 2011  (Read 33020 times)

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cyclone

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Re: 50 Books in 2011
« Reply #195 on: December 07, 2011, 05:55:57 PM »

Thanks for the insight and recommendations.  Not sure if I'll end up picking them up or not, I simply don't buy many books these days in favor of always using the library and being content with my own medium-sized personal collection, and with the 33 1/3 books especially, since they're pocket size and won't even be attractive on the shelf.  If I did I would probably go through eBay/Amazon to at least get them cheap.  I wish the library would get a few more in in addition to the "best of" volume(s) they have in the system. 

Echoing your sentiments, I have also heard that the Low entry is awesome but that Notorious is choppy (and a few Goodreads reviewers were quick to point out some embarrassing typos that made it through).  Not to derail the thread, but I'm curious as why you were previously indifferent on the album.  It has always been my favorite Byrds album by a long shot (meaning no disrespect to Sweetheart which I also love dearly).  On a hunch I'm guessing that maybe YTT is your favorite, which I have never been able to get into and was indifferent to myself?

Scanning Wiki, I also see that a Fear of Music title is planned for a forthcoming release.  I would have much preferred Remain in Light, but I'll still look forward to it.
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Bubba McBubba

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Re: 50 Books in 2011
« Reply #196 on: December 07, 2011, 08:04:02 PM »

Not to derail the thread, but I'm curious as why you were previously indifferent on the album.  It has always been my favorite Byrds album by a long shot (meaning no disrespect to Sweetheart which I also love dearly).  On a hunch I'm guessing that maybe YTT is your favorite, which I have never been able to get into and was indifferent to myself?

Scanning Wiki, I also see that a Fear of Music title is planned for a forthcoming release.  I would have much preferred Remain in Light, but I'll still look forward to it.

Actually, I find all of the Byrds albums to be a bit spotty, and I feel their catalog is best served by the most recent box set, "There Is a Season".  That said, I'm coming around to thinking "Mr. Tambourine Man" may be my favorite album of theirs.  I am a huge Gene Clark fan, and his songs on that and "Turn! Turn! Turn!" are just astounding.  But, when push comes to shove, I think that, with some attempt at objectivity, Sweetheart is their best album.

As for "Notorious", I don't know why I was so slow to take to the album.  I was especially reluctant to like the first track, "Artificial Energy" (not sure who thought it was a good idea to put heavy phasing on everything).  Over time, I just started like the album better one track at a time (the same thing happened to me with repeated listens to Big Star's "Third" over the span of a decade).  Nowadays, I think the first side is almost perfect, but it the second side seems gets worse with each track until it reaches the lamentable "Space Odyssey".

As for the book on "Fear of Music", I am lucky that is my favorite Talking Heads album.  And I wouldn't be surprised if it really covers the entire era of Eno working with the band, as a lot of 33 1/3 entries span more than the album at hand (sometimes covering a band's entire catalog).  Also, this book is written by Jonathan Lehtem, who aside from being a stellar novelist, wrote a very enjoyable book on "They Live" for the similarly styled and themed "Deep Focus" series.
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Bubba McBubba

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Re: 50 Books in 2011
« Reply #197 on: December 07, 2011, 09:01:57 PM »

115: “33 1/3: Aretha Franklin's Amazing Grace” by Aaron Cohen

One of the most recent entries in the series, and a very solid one at that.  Not unlike Franklin's album that had her returning to her roots in the church, this volume is a throwback to the cleaner, more direct books of this series.  It is even a return to the more traditional slim format, when most of the recent volumes have been trending towards more cumbersome in size.

There are some details about the album that surprised me.  I did not know the sessions were filmed (by Syndey Pollack) for an intended theatrical release that never materialized.  Some of that footage of the second night of performances shows Charlie Watts and Mick Jagger in the congregation, taking a break from the overdub sessions for “Exile on Main Street” that brought them to L.A.

Go figure that, although I recently developed a deep love for gospel funk, I have not heard this album.  I was even aware of it, but just never thought to actually seek it out.  Now I do want to hear it, only to discover all previous CD incarnations are way out of print and the album is not available digitally.

Recommended?  Yes

116: “Neonomicon” by Alan Moore & Jacen Burrows

After decades of general indifference, Lovecraft's body of work has somehow become a cottage industry that has brought us beanie Cthulu's and a glut of tribute fiction that is almost entirely wank.

But even Lovecraft's original work is mostly drivel—dated, shambling, occasionally borderline incomprehensible and sometimes a bit racist.   And this is coming from somebody who actually enjoys Lovecraft.  But the endless stream of derivative works set in his “mythos” (how I hate that term) seem obsessed with his unpronounceable names for demigods, and have little more to contribute beyond that.  You say po-tay-to, I say po-tah-to.  You say Kuh-thu-loo, I say Chuh-too-loo.

Yet I was curious when I saw a Lovecraft-themed graphic novel penned by the legendary Alan Moore, and a rave quote from Brian K. Vaughan on the back cover pushed me over the edge.  I was curious even though graphic novels tend to be among the worst books in this most recent expansion of the Lovecraft mythology (there, no more “mythos” for this review).

I am pleased to say my concerns were unfounded, because “Neonomicon” is the best of the Lovecraft-inspired works I have encountered.  Although the dialogue occassionally rings just a hair false, the writing is vastly superior to other Lovecraft-related graphic novels and most graphic novels, period.

Also, the art is very top notch, which I appreciated most in the eyeball-searing two-page spreads of unimaginable horrors from other dimensions, and less so in the blood-soaked crime scenes and a rather detailed and extensive orgy.

Which brings me to something I am obliged to say: the content here is quite extreme.  “Suggested for mature audiences” doesn't quite cut it.  The sexual content and the level of gore tested my limits, and I don't consider myself to be very sensitive.

But while many, many other authors would simply use this type of material casually for shock value, I feel it is necessary to this story to make it as horrific and unnerving as possible.

“Neonomicon” is a repulsive, fascinating and exhilarating head-long dive into the unthinkable.  Don't even think of reading this before bedtime.

Recommended? Yes
« Last Edit: December 07, 2011, 09:22:54 PM by Bubba McBubba »
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cyclone

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Re: 50 Books in 2011
« Reply #198 on: December 07, 2011, 09:43:29 PM »

Also, this book is written by Jonathan Lehtem, who aside from being a stellar novelist, wrote a very enjoyable book on "They Live" for the similarly styled and themed "Deep Focus" series.

I read his essay book The Disappointment Artist (I think that was the title) last year.  A bit of a knock-off of something like DFW's A Supposedly Fun Thing ... but decent enough.

As for Notorious, I think it's an excellent, 9/10 album, but I agree that the first half is stronger.  Draft Morning and Tribal Gathering are perfect songs.
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patas

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Re: 50 Books in 2011
« Reply #199 on: December 18, 2011, 09:34:10 AM »

1. Orange Eat Creeps by Grace Krilanovich - Ok...what the hell was this book about. I couldn't tell what the hell was going on, but I kept reading cover to cover. This book was like one long run on sentence.
2. Dark Hallow by Brian Keene - This is the first Brian Keene book that I've read that I didn't think was great. My wife called it smut, and I think I agree with her. There are some fantastic scenes dealing with real issues in this book, but then there are those scenes that I practically blush while reading. I can't believe the author actually wrote them.
3. The Passage by Justin Cronin - What a fantastic read. I breezed right through this. I loved nearly every moment of it cover to cover
4. The Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin - This is a reread except this time I listened to the audiobook. It was a fantastically narrated. I still say that I'm not really into the standard fantasy genre, but this series is just fantastic. I look forward to reading the next three book over the next year or so in anticipation of him releasing the fifth sometime this decade.
5. The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean - This was a great read. True stories behind the discovery of the elements of the periodic table. Who knew history could be so much fun. At times the book did get a bit technical especially in the later half.
6. Blind Descent by James Tabor - Non-fiction about the race to discover the deepest cave in the world. It follows one American and his teams exploring Mexican caves and an Eastern European exploring caves in Georgia. It was rather exciting reading a book about something I am so scared to do.
7. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunger by Seth Grahame-Smith - Another blend of fact and fiction blurring history. It was a fun book to read but I often would like the author to write clearer what is fact and what is fiction (yeah duh the vampire stuff isn't real), but what about the rest of the story?
8. Under the Dome by Stephen King (audiobook)
9. Overwinter by David Wellington.
10. Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin - This is such a long book filled with so much detail that it was just as good the second time reading as the first time I read it (if not better). I picked up on so much more the second time through too.
11. Crow Planet by Lyanda Lynn Haupt - A good book not just about crows, but more about how a nature lover can make the most of living in an urban area and the co-existence of nature and humans in urban areas.
12, Urban Gothic by Brian Keene - A pretty gruesome and scary tale. I couldn't believe the weird dreams I was having after putting this one down at night.
13. Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin - Out of the first three Song of Ice and Fire novels I've reread this year, I remembered the least of this one. It was the most enjoyable to read as well with many of the twists still intact the second time around. I am really looking forward to rereading the fourth book soon as I know I pretty much skimmed through the nine pages the first time through.
14. Gideon's Sword by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child - Pretty typical of all their book except this one is based on a new character. The new character is fairly unique with an interesting back story. Recommended for a quick summer read.
15. Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart - A fun non-fiction read laden with facts and beautifully illustrated. A look at how deadly an dangerous plants have shaped history. In all an interesting way to look at history.
16. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris - I thought I'd start reading these since I enjoy the show.
17. A Taint in the Blood by S.M. Stirling - I really wanted to like this because I've wanted to read some of S.M. Stirlings earlier books, but having two of the main characters be hero brother and evil sister named Adrian and Adrien just didn't work for me. Listing to the audiobook, there were times I couldn't follow the story because of the name similarity. It was a boring plot to boot.
18. Boneshaker by Cherie Preist - This has been on my to read list for some time and I was totally let down and disappointed. With all the praise this novel got, I expected much more. Instead I was bored with it after 100 pages and trudged through the final 300.
19. A Feast of Crows by George R. R. Martin - Reading this for the second time was so refreshing especially having just reread the first three books. I really hated this book the first time. I think it was the five year break between books. I appreciated the story more (and could follow it better) this second time around. I've gone straight into Dance with Dragons.
20. His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik (audiobook) - This was a really fun book to listen to. It was well read with a wide range of character voices done by one person. It was simple yet very well written. I found my self at the engine of my driver's seat several times. It kept me on my tows when I had to turn it off when I got to work.
21. The Automatic Detective by A. Lee Martinez - Just a terrible book. It took me forever to read. I never wanted to pick it up at night. This is Martinez's debut. I read another of his novels last year and it was a lot of fun. Glad he is a better writer now.
22. Handling the Undead by John Ajvide Lindqvist An entirely different look at the rising dead scenario. I really enjoyed this alternate perspective. It is a totally different and unique book. A real look at human character. Same author as Let the Right One in by the way.
23. Peter and Max by Bill Willingham - My last post in this thread is a really mediocre book. This book is based on fabled characters in modern day setting. It was written like a children's book but it was for adults.
24. The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt - The first time in ages that I randomly picked up a book at the library and decided to read it. It was one of the most fun books I've read all year. Fantastic prose, fantastic characters. It is a California gold rush era novel about two brothers that are hitmen. Highly recommended.
25. The Mystic Arts of Erasing all Signs of Death by Charlie Huston - This book was ok, but it had all the failings of first person narration. The narrator starts off interesting, then goes to annoying, then to boring. The main character is supposed to be a "dick". This concept is taken to the extreme and devolves into cliche.
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MissKitty

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Re: 50 Books in 2011
« Reply #200 on: December 18, 2011, 10:22:41 AM »

1. Life - Keith Richards
2. Thanks for Nothing - Jack Dee
3. Boy Island - Camden Joy
4. Hitler: 1936-1945 Nemesis - Ian Kershaw
5. Shiprocked: Life on the Waves of Radio Caroline - Steve Conway
6. White Collar Woman - Nicholas Maze
7. Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk - Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain
8. Just Kids: Patti Smith's Life with Robert Mapplethorpe - Patti Smith
9. The Last Mad Surge of Youth - Mark Hodkinson.
10. Dear Fatty - Dawn French
11. See a Little Light: The Bob Mould Story - Bob Mould and Michael Azerrad
12. Thank You For The Days - Mark Radcliffe
13. Divided Highways: Building the Interstate Highways, Transforming American Life - Tom Lewis
14. House of Dolls - Ka-Tzetnik #135633
15. Sarah's Key - Tatiana De Rosney
Adding:
16. Miss O'Dell - by Chris O'Dell
17. Those Who Save Us - Jenna Blum

At the end of Sarah's Key there was a list of books that one could read that had similar content and that the author recommended as further reading. Blum's book happened to be in stock at the library when I took Sarah's Key back, so I picked it up. Great novel written from the perspective of a German woman during WWII, and that of her daughter in present day.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2011, 04:21:15 PM by MissKitty »
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Bubba McBubba

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Re: 50 Books in 2011
« Reply #201 on: December 18, 2011, 02:30:52 PM »

117: “Otis Redding: Try a Little Tenderness” by Geoff Brown

Some may have noticed I have not posted a book review in awhile.  I have been having a pretty rough time as of late, as an inordinate amount of excrement has been colliding with a multitude and wide variety of fans.  Also, I have been slowly trudging through a book that is a fair bit longer than my usual fare, and which I hope to soon conclude and review.

In the interim, I finally tackled a book I bought remaindered at Half Price a few years back.  Not sure why it has taken me this long to read this, as I am a pretty big Otis Redding fan.

This book is an entry in a very short-lived series of slim hardcovers produced under the “Mojo Heroes” banner, which also includes volumes on Neil Young and Arthur Lee.  I assume this series was an attempt to do something like 33 1/3, but covering entire artist catalogs.  The books are slim hardcovers, but the total amount of text would probably make for one of the longer 33 1/3's, if translated to that format.

I admit I had pretty high hopes for this book, given my interest in the subject, and that this is an attempt by the highly-regarded Mojo magazine to establish a book series.  Alas, if the other two books in the series are like this one, then I can see why they were not able to continue beyond their three flagship entries.

This book is not necessarily bad, but it is little more than a lengthy essay that reads like a long Wikipedia entry.  There is little evidence of new first-person interviews being conducted as research for the book, and most of the information here is simply names, dates, locations and song titles.  The author makes very little attempt to establish the environment in which so many great tracks were produced, so I finished this book feeling no closer to the real Otis than I did before.

Recommended? No
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trixi

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Re: 50 Books in 2011
« Reply #202 on: December 18, 2011, 03:03:57 PM »

1.  Lolita--Vladimir Nabokov
2.  Last Chance--Christy Reece
3.  Bright Young Things--Anna Godbersen
4.  No Chance--Christy Reece
5.  Freefall--Mindi Scott
6.  Love Drugged--James Klise
7.  Second Chance--Christy Reece
8.  Yummy: the last days of a Southside shorty--G. Neri
9.  Ninth Ward--Jewell Parker Rhodes
10.  Nothing--Janne Teller
11.  A Time of Miracles--Anne-Laure Bondoux
12.  Freaks and Revelations--Davida Wills Hurwin
13.  Zora and Me--Victoria Bond
14.  Will Grayson Will Grayson--John Green and David Levithan
15.  Tick Tock--James Patterson
16.  Please Ignore Vera Dietz--A.S. King
17.  Lockdown--Walter Dean Myers
18.  Almost Perfect--Brian Katcher
19.  The 10 p.m. Question--Kate De Goldi
20.  A Little Wanting Song--Cath Crowley
21.  Tell Us We're Home--Marina Budhos
22.  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone--JK Rowling
23.  Mostly Good Girls--Leila Sales
24.  The Other Side of the Island--Allegra Goodman
25.  Toys--James Patterson
26.  The Last Good Place of Lily Odilon--Sara Beitia
27.  Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets--JK Rowling
28.  The Boy in the Dress--David Walliams
29.  Purple Daze--Sherry Shahan
30.  Kissing Game: Short Stories--Aidan Chambers
31.  Karma--Cathy Ostlere
32.  Stolen--Lucy Christopher
33.  B Negative--Vicki Grant
34.  Ship Breaker--Paolo Bacigalupi
35.  13 Little Blue Envelopes--Maureen Johnson
36.  I'll Walk Alone--Mary Higgins Clark
37.  Last Little Blue Envelope--Maureen Johnson
38.  10th Anniversary--James Patterson
39.  Glimmerglass--Jenna Black
40.  Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban--J.K. Rowling
41.  Shadowspell--Jenna Black
42.  Abandon--Meg Cabot
43.  Soul Mining: a Musical Life--Daniel Lanois
44.  Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire--J.K. Rowling
45.  Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix--J.K. Rowling
46.  Sisterhood Everlasting--Ann Brashares
47.  Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince--J.K. Rowling
48.  Now You See Her--James Patterson
49.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows--J.K. Rowling
50.  Sirensong--Jenna Black
51.  Shine--Lauren Myracle
52.  Out of the Depths: The Story of a Child of Buchenwald Who Returned Home at Last--Israel Meir Lau
53.  Violin of Auschwitz--Maria Angels Anglada
54.  Notes from the Blender--Trish Cook
55.  I Will Always Love You--Cecily Von Ziegesar
56.  Prey--Linda Howard
57.  Rafa: My Story--Rafael Nadal
58.  Popular--Alissa Grosso
59.  Kill Me If You Can--James Patterson
60.  Tighter--Adele Griffin
61.  The Year We Were Famous--Carole Estby Dagg
62.  The Best of Me--Nicholas Sparks
63.  The Christmas Wedding--James Patterson
64.  Uncle Tom's Cabin--Harriet Beecher Stowe
65.  Sarah's Key--Tatiana de Rosnay
66.  Kill Alex Cross--James Patterson
67.  Litigators--John Grisham
68.  Skank--Teresa McWhirter
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c-lando

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Re: 50 Books in 2011
« Reply #203 on: December 21, 2011, 02:07:13 PM »

1. The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey - Walter Mosley
2. My Hollywood - Mona Simpson
3. In The Shadow of Gotham - Stefanie Pintoff
Abandoned book -
Muffins and Mayhem: Recipes for a Happy (if Disorderly) Life - Suzanne Beecher - bleh. Sounded cute and clever. It wasn't.
4. The Postcard Killers - James Patterson & Liza Marklund
5. The Distant Hours - Kate Morton
6. Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King - This is the only King book I've read aside from MISERY. 4 "short" stories that really examine how different people live with guilt and regret or escape feeling any regret at all. The man can paint a creepy picture.
Abandoned book - Case Histories - Kate Atkinson  - I guess I'm not ready to read about crazy sisters again after THE DISTANT HOURS. Too soon.
7. Girl, Stolen - April Henry (YA Mystery/Thriller) - I don't even know how this ended up in my library queue but I enjoyed it. Clever heroine.
8. A Long Line of Dead Men - Lawrence Block - only my 2nd Scudder book but it did not disappoint. FANTASTIC!
9. Bossypants - Tina Fey - You just know that I loved this.
10. The Reversal - Michael Connelly - Haller, McFierce, and Bosch all working on the same case as Mickey walks across the aisle to work as a special prosecutor.
11. A Drop of the Hard Stuff - Lawrence Block - I skipped a ton of Scudder books before reading this one but it didn't matter since this book was set much earlier in the Scudder timeline. Fantastic. Makes me want to walk around the city with a bunch of quarters and make calls from pay phones.
12. Heads You Lose - Lisa Lutz and David Hayward - silly mystery written by two exes. You get to see them argue as they write the book together as they kept in the notes that they wrote to each other as they passed the book back and forth, alternating chapters. It was more successful as a warning for exes not to work together than it was as a compelling mystery.
13.Live Wire - Harlan Coben
14. The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins - audiobook - Wow! I requested this from the library so that we could listen to it on our road trip. It came in AFTER the trip. Soooooooooo good. I think I'll read the other two instead of listenting to them. I think Jennifer Lawrence is PERFECT casting for the role of Katniss.
15. Knockemstiff - Donald Ray Pollock - borrowed from my lovely friend, foolsgold, this is one effed up book of short stories. Chuck Cleaver if he wrote novels instead of songs.
16.On Folly Beach - Karen White - chick lit that "learned me" a little something. I picked it up because I loooooooooooove Folly Beach and would be happy to spend every summer there for the rest of my life.
17. The 9th Judgment - James Patterson - audiobook
18. Backseat Saints - Joshilynn Jackson - audiobook - Best line: "It sounded like some fireworks gettin' it on with a bag of asthma."
19. Time to Murder and Create - Lawrence Block - 2nd Matthew Scudder novel
20. Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins - audiobook
21. Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins - audiobook
22. In The Midst of Death - Lawrence Block - This is the second Scudder novel to be released but it was the 3rd one that was written, or so I remember reading somewhere. Worst cover ever on this paperback. The cover has NOTHING to do with how anyone in the book was actually killed. I don't understand it AT all. Nice to see Matt finally stop drinking, as well as seeing him try to find some hope in life. Can't wait to read the next one, A Stab In the Dark.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2011, 03:45:40 PM by c-lando »
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trixi

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Re: 50 Books in 2011
« Reply #204 on: December 21, 2011, 06:13:49 PM »


At the end of Sarah's Key there was a list of books that one could read that had similar content and that the author recommended as further reading. Blum's book happened to be in stock at the library when I took Sarah's Key back, so I picked it up. Great novel written from the perspective of a German woman during WWII, and that of her daughter in present day.

I have that at home too, but haven't yet started it.  I made a list of a few of those at the book of the book.  And I'm glad you liked it!
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Bubba McBubba

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Re: 50 Books in 2011
« Reply #205 on: December 21, 2011, 09:43:46 PM »

118: “Kahawa” by Donald E. Westlake

Books personally recommended to me are always a dicey affair.  I don't want to insult somebody who has entirely good intentions at heart when making such a recommendation; however, that doesn't mean I am going to factor that into my perception of the book.  And when somebody says, “this is my favorite book”, I can't help but cringe a little since, no matter how much I might enjoy it, it is extremely unlikely it will become my new favorite, so that automatically increases the potential for friction over this person's favorite fiction.

Which is how I came to read “Kahawa” by Donald E. Westlake, of whom I was unaware, but who is apparently popular with mystery fans.  Curiously, this book is not a mystery, but is instead a fictional adventure/conspiracy/political story set in Idi Amin's Ugunda.  I admit that dark era is of some interest to me, so I was intrigued by this tale of a train full of Ugundan coffee stolen by a ragtag bunch of mercenaries, former Ugundans, businessmen and assorted others.

But even the most exciting moments of that heist (and its extensive planning) cannot shake a taint of cliché--an obvious influence from the Indiana Jones movies that betrays the book's roots in the early 80's. 

Worse still are the attempts to steer away from stereotypes, but in a ham-fisted way that just turns characters into a different type of stereotype.  Case in point: the two most prominent female characters feel like they were cobbled together from Ms. Magazine articles of the era and, even though they are strong-willed, what they truly want is a real man inside them. 

The African workers don't fare much better.  They are never called “natives”, but the characterizations are sometimes uncomfortably close to the “noble savage” kind of patronization.

All of which is a shame, because the meat of this 500+ page book is an energetic and entertaining read.  Alas, even the plot of the book becomes undone in an ending where a great many deeply preposterous coincidences left me insulted. 

Of course, this is not what I am going to tell the person who passionately recommended this book to me.  As for me, is it...

Recommended?  I really want to say yes (and you could do much worse than read this book) but, in my heart, I have to say “no”.
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Dan

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Re: 50 Books in 2011
« Reply #206 on: December 22, 2011, 11:17:03 PM »

1. Spike Milligan - Adolf Hitler: My Part In His Downfall
2. Khaled Hosseini - A Thousand Splendid Suns
3. Spike Milligan - Rommel? : Gunner Who?
4. Bill Bryson - Notes From a Small Island
5. Stieg Larsson - The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
6. Paulo Coelho - The Alchemist
7. Spike Milligan - Monty: His Part In My Victory
8. Stieg Larsson - The Girl Who Played With Fire
9. Stieg Larsson - The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest
10. James Ellroy - The Black Dahlia
11. Nick Hornby - Fever Pitch
12. Simon Kuper & Stefan Szymanski - Soccernomics: Why England Loses, Why Germany and Brazil Win, and Why The U.S., Japan, Australia, Turkey -And Even Iraq - Are Destined To Become The Kings of The World's Most Popular Sport
13. James Andrew Miller & Tom Shales - Those Guys Have All The Fun: Inside The World of ESPN
14. Philip K. Dick - Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Good stuff and interesting, but I was slightly confused because of HOW SIGNIFICANTLY DIFFERENT it is from Blade Runner. In today's world of movies being almost the same as their source material I had forgotten about all the poetic liberties filmmakers used to make. I really like the movie (the final cut, not the original cut) and I think I like it even more now that I read the book. The book, though, is really interesting in its own way - a manner which took me by surprise. So yeah - a good read and worthwhile.

I'm also pleased that I pumped out 2 more books than my average for a year. Go me.
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Bubba McBubba

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Re: 50 Books in 2011
« Reply #207 on: December 24, 2011, 12:52:25 PM »

119: “The Visible Man” by Chuck Klosterman

My introduction to Klosterman, so I don't know how this compares to his other books.

Little about this seemed to establish Klosterman as a distinct presence within the world of contemporary writers.  There's some pop culture references and a lot of talk about our place in the modern world and our relationship with the technology that has changed the human experience so much in this century.  

The delivery mechanism for these discourses is a first-person account of an Austin therapist, one of whose patients is an enigmatic genius who has successfully created a suit that enables him to be invisible, and he uses this power to voyeuristically observe various people within their own homes.  He claims these observations are done in the spirit of science, though the therapist doubts this motive.

There is much about this book which kept me at a distance and prevented me from becoming thoroughly engrossed in the narrative.  That said, I was still intrigued by the concept, much like the book's therapist who is both obsessed with, and repelled by, her patient.

But what will stick with me long after reading this is a passage where the therapist is taken to task for being married to sad, bitter man who does nothing but read and then post on the Internet his thoughts about what he has read.  Ouch.

In the end, “The Visible Man” is far from being one of the books I read this year that I would most highly recommend to others, but still my answer to the question that is it...

Recommended? Lightly.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2011, 09:26:36 AM by Bubba McBubba »
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va-vacious

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Re: 50 Books in 2011
« Reply #208 on: December 28, 2011, 08:53:25 PM »

Going to see how far I get in this this year.  Trashy novels not included.

1.  The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo- Steig Larsson
2. Mark Twain's Autobiography (1924 ed)
3. Street Gang
4. Earth (the Book): A Visitors Guide to the Human Race -- John Stewart and Co.
5. One of our Thursdays is Missing-- Jasper Fforde
6. At Home: A short History of Private Life-- Bill Bryson
7. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption-- Laura Hillenbrand
8. In Defense of Food: An eater's manifesto-- Michael Pollan
9. The Girl Who Played with Fire-- Steig Larsson
10. A Novel Bookstore-- Laurence Cosse  Pretty good. Read while in the UK, it was in France, I was confused.
10. [[something read in the waiting room at Heathrow in April, but I cannot remember what it was. It involved a half-breed vampire, and was the first in a trilogy. meh]]
11. Mark Twain Autobiography, 2010 edition.
12. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest -- steig Larsson
13. The Pursuit of Love-- Nancy Mitford
14. Love in a Cold Climate-- Nancy Mitford
15. Call Me Irresistible- Susan Elizabeth Phillips
16. The Last Dragon Slayer--- Jasper Fforde
17. Room-- Elizabeth Donoghue

18. Bossypants - Tina Fey
19. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgsen Burnett
20. Girl of the Limberlost- Gene Stratton Porter
21. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs
22. The World Without Us - Alan Weisman
23. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand - Helen Simonson
24. Fallen - Karin Slaughter
25. The Other Side of Silence  - Margaret Mahy
26. Alchemy - Margaret Mahy
27. The Homeward Bounders - Diana Wynne Jones
28. Daddy Long-Legs - Jean Webster
29. Dear Enemy - Jean Webster
30. Smooth Talking Stranger - Lisa Kleypas

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Dan

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Re: 50 Books in 2011
« Reply #209 on: December 30, 2011, 07:22:27 PM »

1. Spike Milligan - Adolf Hitler: My Part In His Downfall
2. Khaled Hosseini - A Thousand Splendid Suns
3. Spike Milligan - Rommel? : Gunner Who?
4. Bill Bryson - Notes From a Small Island
5. Stieg Larsson - The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
6. Paulo Coelho - The Alchemist
7. Spike Milligan - Monty: His Part In My Victory
8. Stieg Larsson - The Girl Who Played With Fire
9. Stieg Larsson - The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest
10. James Ellroy - The Black Dahlia
11. Nick Hornby - Fever Pitch
12. Simon Kuper & Stefan Szymanski - Soccernomics: Why England Loses, Why Germany and Brazil Win, and Why The U.S., Japan, Australia, Turkey -And Even Iraq - Are Destined To Become The Kings of The World's Most Popular Sport
13. James Andrew Miller & Tom Shales - Those Guys Have All The Fun: Inside The World of ESPN
14. Philip K. Dick - Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
15. Lucy A. Snyder - Switchblade Goddess

I went to a white elephant gift exchange party, but had to leave early, so I ended up with the least desired gift - two dime store novels. One had a hulky fireman's chest on the cover and the other had a naked girl holding a knife. Naturally I couldn't let this hilarity pass without at least a little bit of effort on my part so I said I would at least try to read one. And the one CLEARLY was the one with the naked girl on it, duh. It was a crappy novel that takes place in more or less the modern world but with sword and sorcery style magic and spells and stuff. I took the challenge to finish it, and alas I did. It was the 3rd book in the series, so I had no idea what she was referring to half the time but I plowed forward regardless. There is no recommendation for this book because it's a crap story that doesn't hide itself as such. I think this review is already more coverage than it deserves.

I'm also pleased that I pumped out 3 more books than my average for a year. Go me.
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