Randomville

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
GigaBook.com
Advanced search  

News:

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 17   Go Down

Author Topic: 50 Books in 2012  (Read 14068 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Cockney Rebel

  • I don't have an accent. You do.
  • Global Moderator
  • City Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 7,312
  • Art is impossible to define. Shitty art is not.
50 Books in 2012
« on: December 31, 2011, 09:56:36 AM »

List 'em as you read 'em
Logged
Opulence. I has it.

Atzend

  • Fuzzywhizzletweets
  • City Elder
  • Posts: 2,322
Re: 50 Books in 2012
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2012, 10:01:50 PM »

1.  Dick and Jane and Vampires by Laura Marchesani
2.  Poota: The Pink Boy by Jami L. Brown
3.  Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (I was disappointed with this. Liked the basic story, but was fairly unimpressed with it's execution.)
« Last Edit: January 03, 2012, 12:13:47 PM by Atzend »
Logged

Bubba McBubba

  • Citizen
  • Posts: 251
    • Place Logo Here
Re: 50 Books in 2012
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2012, 08:32:06 PM »

1: “The Snowman” by Jo Nesbo

Strange coincidence I was reading “The Snowman” on January 2, when we had the first remotely serious snow of this winter.  Not enough snow to make your own snowman, but then I was reading this Norwegian mystery where the author had a ton of material that he never manages to shape into a satisfying read.

The book started out promising enough, as several women disappear over a couple of decades, and the killer's calling card is a snowman they leave behind at the site where each victim was last seen.  But even that premise is pretty hard to accept.  I mean, do you really think a serial killer would have time to make a snowman each time they abduct somebody?  Do they make the snowman in advance and then bring it to the site?  The book never really says.

If that doesn't sound silly enough already, the book managed to completely exhaust any goodwill I felt towards it when I was subjected to a long, loooong succession of false climaxes, all leading to a set-up that is ridiculously convoluted.  It is that last scene that keeps popping up in my memory as I write this review, perhaps as a reminder that I must try to convince other readers that their time is better spent with so many other, superior Scandinavian mysteries.

Recommended? No.
Logged

Bubba McBubba

  • Citizen
  • Posts: 251
    • Place Logo Here
Re: 50 Books in 2012
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2012, 02:03:51 PM »

2: “Supergod” by Warren Ellis and Garrie Gastonny

As I have mentioned in previous reviews, my upbringing was largely fundamentalist Christian.  It was not as strict as such lifestyles are normally portrayed in movies and books, but it still appears very strange in retrospect.

Case in point: I had a very brief infatuation with comic books my early teens.  Unfortunately, the pendulum of my family's religious fervor was swinging deep into loony territory at that time, and I was restricted to reading religious comics, which limited me to Jack Chick's wildly deranged “The Crusaders” series.  Those who believe mainstream comics are excessively violent, cynical and offensive should check out Chick's work to see how mild most mainstream fare is in comparison to these allegedly Christian works.  Anyone who has been the recipient of one of Chick's equally bizarre comic-form tracts has had a taste of what awaits in his longer-form works.

I go into my history with such comics as way of explaining (perhaps more to myself than anybody else) why I was intrigued by the premise of Warren Ellis' “Supergod”, wherein the arms race of the cold war has been replaced by a race between the global superpowers to develop a superbeing of their own.  Much like the consequences of the arms race, the good intentions of each nation in “Supergod” end up completely inverted, as their creations mostly slaughter the population and cause widespread destruction.

This sounds like a clever premise with the potential for a lengthly series, ala Ex Machina.  Alas, Ellis unloads all his ammo into one rather slim volume, which turns a global battle that takes place over decades into a rushed affair without scope or depth.  Boiling down the material to so few pages means dialogue and character development are jettisoned, leaving only a startling amount of violence and gore.  This may have been a concept with promise, but the execution is completely bungled.

Even so, there is still a certain visceral thrill to all the evisceration.  The artwork is top-notch, though that meant much of the carnage here is depicted with considerably more detail than I would have appreciated.   And the Gods in this book that cause that destruction are remarkably original.  I just wish they had more to do here than kill kill kill.

Then there's the final battle, which I will not even hint at, except to say that I cannot recall this ending having a precedent.  I am sure I will recall that scene for a long time to come, even though it replaces the deeper, longer lasting shocks of books such as “Watchmen” with a turn that is closer to being a punchline than anything else.  All Ellis needed to add afterwards was a trumpet sarcastically bleating “waaah-waaaaaaaah”.

From this review, one would assume I will not recommend “Supergod”, but I actually found myself glued to a book that is, at its core, a pretty lousy work.  Much like so-bad-they're-good movies, or an incredibly trashy novel, “Supergod” is enjoyable for the sheer spectacle.  Still, it was a shame to see such an original premise get ruined.

Maybe it will inspire Jack Chick to crank out some new issues of "The Crusaders".  After all, he has already more than adequately demonstrated his skill at creating offensive comics containing almost nothing but assorted gruesomeness.

Recommended?  I think everybody who is curious should read this, even though it is an extremely flawed work.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2012, 02:08:26 PM by Bubba McBubba »
Logged

c-lando

  • Bacon Research & Sparkle Development/Cr0ndog Millionaire
  • City Elder
  • Posts: 6,155
Re: 50 Books in 2012
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2012, 02:47:20 PM »

1: “The Snowman” by Jo Nesbo

Strange coincidence I was reading “The Snowman” on January 2, when we had the first remotely serious snow of this winter.  Not enough snow to make your own snowman, but then I was reading this Norwegian mystery where the author had a ton of material that he never manages to shape into a satisfying read.

The book started out promising enough, as several women disappear over a couple of decades, and the killer's calling card is a snowman they leave behind at the site where each victim was last seen.  But even that premise is pretty hard to accept.  I mean, do you really think a serial killer would have time to make a snowman each time they abduct somebody?  Do they make the snowman in advance and then bring it to the site?  The book never really says.

If that doesn't sound silly enough already, the book managed to completely exhaust any goodwill I felt towards it when I was subjected to a long, loooong succession of false climaxes, all leading to a set-up that is ridiculously convoluted.  It is that last scene that keeps popping up in my memory as I write this review, perhaps as a reminder that I must try to convince other readers that their time is better spent with so many other, superior Scandinavian mysteries.

Recommended? No.
I started this as an audiobook last year and could not get into it. The snowman bit bothered me too. Good to know that I didn't give up on a good thing.
Logged
Once the bacon's done, all pants are off.  
PANTS PANTS REVOLUTION!!!

cyclone

  • City Elder
  • Posts: 619
Re: 50 Books in 2012
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2012, 04:54:19 PM »

1. Understanding Power by Noam Chomsky

2. Here, There and Everywhere by Geoff Emerick

I highly recommend the latter for anyone interested in Beatles reading, though I also don't have a whole lot of other material to make comparisons to.  Although the narrative of the overall material is nothing too surprising or unpredictable, it's a pretty fascinating firsthand documentation of the band's recording sessions from Revolver through Abbey Road, seen straight from the studio's control room overlooking the floor.  It's an interesting look at what began as overtly smooth and civil sessions in the early days to the band's emergence of an entitled, rock star attitude, much to the dismay of George Martin and the studio staff, even leading Emerick to eventually quit his job as the engineer midway through the White Album sessions (before returning).  Revolver is obviously a turning point, as Emerick talks about the staff's inability to really gauge what their role was supposed to be regarding the emergence of the band's drug activity, so they just kind of ignored it as none of their business, while George Martin might have innocently been ignoring it altogether.  At one point during the recording of the Yellow Submarine track, Mick Jagger and a bunch of others were invited into the studio for a full-on stoned jam/vocal session in which Lennon started talking about wanting a tank hauled into the studio so he could actually record the vocals underwater, which is probably a significant starting point for Emerick's book-long qualms with Lennon.  Their heated relationship came to a bit of a climax during the White Album sessions when a studio person interrupted the overworked engineers' much-needed dinner at a pub to demand that Lennon needed some guitar work recorded, and then when Emerick worked to achieve a specific guitar sound Lennon demanded, he made a snarky comment about how he "could have used a few years in the army."  The author on the other hand praised most of the others quite a bit, notably Paul, as he later worked with Paul on a number of his solo albums (though sadly not Ram, which I would have loved to have read about).

Admittedly not very interested in the Peppers megachapters, I was pretty interested in the MTT material, with it being my favorite Beatles album.  It was a good read, though a little too much of the focus was on Walrus.  Around that time, the author doesn't shy away from the newly negative attitudes and inflated egos following the success of Sgt. Peppers, making his job become more of a slaving chore.  This ranges from the band regularly showing up to the recording sessions hours late to purposely not inviting any of the staff to their dinners or breaks.  The author documents how much production polishing was actually done on the albums and how much it was ignored or under-appreciated. Those instances are when the insight becomes most interesting, with the band's literal interactions with Emerick, such as Lennon begging him to stay when he finally just showed up to the sessions one day and quit.  With Abbey Road, the dynamics between John/Yoko and Paul/Linda were also pretty insightful.  I have no idea how well known this incident is amongst the really diehard Beatles fans, but there is a hilarious incident in which the band and engineers are checking out a track in the control room when George Harrison gets distracted by looking below at Yoko Ono getting out of her in-studio bed to eat one of crackers, causing him to start screaming at her due to all of their own personal bizarre eating/privacy habits.
Logged
last.fm/user/cyclone23

Are you immensely pleased.

c-lando

  • Bacon Research & Sparkle Development/Cr0ndog Millionaire
  • City Elder
  • Posts: 6,155
Re: 50 Books in 2012
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2012, 09:03:51 AM »

1. "Eight Million Ways to Die" (a Matthew Scudder novel) - Lawrence Block
I can't seem to find "Stab in the Dark" anywhere. So, I skipped ahead to the next available book. This book always seems to come up as the favorite in the series of both fans and critics and I can see why based on Matt's struggle with his sobriety, his sleuth skills, and his relationship with "the bad guy". These books make me want to walk the streets of NYC with a pocket full of quarters and many, many cigarettes.
Logged
Once the bacon's done, all pants are off.  
PANTS PANTS REVOLUTION!!!

The Hegemo

  • City Elder
  • Posts: 1,215
    • Facebook
Re: 50 Books in 2012
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2012, 10:25:52 AM »

1. Joseph McCartin -- Collision Course: Ronald Reagan, the Air Traffic Controllers, and the Strike that Changed America
2. Simon Reynolds -- Retromania
3. Tom Rachman -- The Imperfectionists
4. Paul Babiak and Robert Hare -- Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work
5. Laura Flanders (ed) -- At the Tea Party
6. John Gillooly -- Pride on the Mount
7. Walter Isaacson -- Steve Jobs
8. Donald Ray Pollock -- Knockemstiff
9. Brian Kennedy -- Growing Up Hockey

I am going to try to keep up better here this year.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2012, 10:43:36 AM by The Hegemo »
Logged
I am not a dude

Kwyjibo

  • Bringing Grumpy Back
  • City Elder
  • Posts: 9,811
Re: 50 Books in 2012
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2012, 10:45:14 AM »

1. "Eight Million Ways to Die" (a Matthew Scudder novel) - Lawrence Block
I can't seem to find "Stab in the Dark" anywhere.

I've got a bunch of doubles of his stuff, I'll see if I have one of that one.  If so, it's yours.
Logged
Baby, check this out, I've got something to say.  Man, it's so loud in here.

c-lando

  • Bacon Research & Sparkle Development/Cr0ndog Millionaire
  • City Elder
  • Posts: 6,155
Re: 50 Books in 2012
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2012, 12:05:29 PM »

1. "Eight Million Ways to Die" (a Matthew Scudder novel) - Lawrence Block
I can't seem to find "Stab in the Dark" anywhere.

I've got a bunch of doubles of his stuff, I'll see if I have one of that one.  If so, it's yours.
Thaaaaaaaaaaaank you. My county library system doesn't have it at all and I can't find it at any of the used book shops that I've checked out. I wish we had HALF-PRICED BOOKS down here!
Logged
Once the bacon's done, all pants are off.  
PANTS PANTS REVOLUTION!!!

MissKitty

  • Hooray Beer!
  • City Elder
  • Posts: 7,684
Re: 50 Books in 2012
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2012, 09:44:24 PM »

1. A Writer At War: A Soviet Journalist with the Red Army 1941-1945 - Vasily Grossman, edited and translated by Antony Beevor and Luba Vinogradova

Undoubtedly the most powerful eye-witness account of WWII I've ever read. Grossman was a Soviet Jew, and a journalist for Krasnaya Zvedzda (The Red Star newspaper) who covered the Great Patriotic War (WWII to us westerners) by traveling with the Red Army. His pieces about Stalingrad are thought-provoking, inspiring and brutally honest, but the 30 pages that cover Treblinka are so intense and horrifying that the story seems almost unbelievable - but every word is so carefully chosen, each vignette so masterfully crafted, that the beauty of the prose almost trumps the chilling terror those words and vignettes describe. Profound. Superb. A+.
Logged
Duct tape can't fix stupid.

daytime drinking

  • City Elder
  • Posts: 520
Re: 50 Books in 2012
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2012, 10:31:04 AM »

1.  around the world in 80 days- jules verne ***  i really wanted this to end differently.  phileas fogg is an extraordinary character. 

originally grapes of wrath was going to be my number one, but i left it at work before i hopped on a flight and had to choose a backup.  so i'm almost done with that now.  and it's depressing, but good!
Logged
poach eggs, not elephants

Atzend

  • Fuzzywhizzletweets
  • City Elder
  • Posts: 2,322
Re: 50 Books in 2012
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2012, 12:42:29 PM »

1.  Dick and Jane and Vampires by Laura Marchesani
2.  Poota: The Pink Boy by Jami L. Brown
3.  Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
4.  Please by Peter Darbyshire (Disjointed storytelling in a good way without a slew of useless details (which was an issue with Brave New World). It read more like a loosely connected series of short stories. An enjoyable, easy and slightly abnormal read. )
Logged

Cockney Rebel

  • I don't have an accent. You do.
  • Global Moderator
  • City Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 7,312
  • Art is impossible to define. Shitty art is not.
Re: 50 Books in 2012
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2012, 05:02:14 PM »

1• Patti Smith - Just Kids
I started this back in October last year when I went to England. Lu said it was great and she was right. Patti's writing style is beautiful and poetic (as you might expect) and I loved the way she tells the story of her 'love affair' with controversial artist Robert Mapplethorpe and describes life at the infamous Chelsea Hotel. This book got lots of awards all over the world. All of them deserved.
Logged
Opulence. I has it.

Jen

  • City Elder
  • Posts: 953
    • My blog
Re: 50 Books in 2012
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2012, 09:41:46 AM »

1. Armadale-Wilkie Collins

This should have been my last book of 2011 but I just couldn't finish it in time. I enjoyed it overall, especially when I stopped checking out the footnotes written by the editor. Not my favorite novel of his but it was pretty good.
Logged
Every man's work, whether it be literature or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself.
—Samuel Butler
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 17   Go Up