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Author Topic: 50 Books in 2014  (Read 5474 times)

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Cockney Rebel

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Re: 50 Books in 2014
« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2014, 02:12:15 PM »

1 ● Paul Brown - The Victorian Football Miscellanany
2 ● Paul Sutton Reeves - Music in Dreamland - Bill Nelson and Be-Bop Deluxe
I loved Bill Nelson's work from the very first time I saw him fronting Be-Bop Deluxe when they supported Cockney Rebel back in the day. I spent the next week hunting down Be-Bop's debut album "Axe Victim". I bought everything he released for the next 20 years or more until such time as I began to realise the output was 'lacking'.  Too much released, too often and with no 'edit button'. Sutton Reeves only very VERY begrudgingly agrees with that fact but lets down the Nelson oeuvre by licking his butt a little too much and trying to suggest Bill was somehow responsible for some of Prince's, Japan's, Gary Numan's and Madness' success by 'influencing them'. I think not. A disappointing biography. For the real Bill Nelson stick with his own "Diary of a Hyperdreamer" book which, as the name suggests, is far more revealing and honest.
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Kwyjibo

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Re: 50 Books in 2014
« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2014, 08:57:31 AM »

1. Stephen King - 11/22/63

I started reading this just after returning from a business trip to Dallas in late December, which was coincidentally not long after the 50th anniversary of the shooting.  While in Dallas, my first time there, I visited Dealey Plaza and the Sixth Floor Museum (which King acknowledges with great admiration in the afterword).  Having those sites fresh in my mind and having so recently experienced the specter of standing on the Zapruder spot, and gazing out at that X painted on the road below probably heightened my experience of the book.   The sense of the injustice of the assassination, and the drive to right that wrong is easier to identify with having been there recently.

It has been a very long time since I have become engrossed in a book.  The fact that I did not want to put it down with a full third to go is a testament to its power to pull you in.  It is easy to become attached to these characters and to become invested in their relationships.  You want these people to be real and they almost are... you feel their happinesses and their heartbreaks.  King cannot be praised enough for the character development in this book.

In the end the Kennedy assassination is a very small part of an epic love story and inventive time travel tale.  I can't recommend it enough.
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Zafer Kaya

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Re: 50 Books in 2014
« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2014, 09:37:04 PM »

I will try to keep track this year:

1)  Life After Life-- Kate Atkinson
2)  The Circle-- Dave Eggers
3)  Inverting the Pyramid:  The History of Soccer Tactics-- Jonathan Wilson
4)  Where'd You Go Bernadette?-- Maria Semple
most fuckawesome book you've read in several years and you should definitely try and get your hands on it.

5) As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl-- John Colapinto

A lot of people think that "Virtute the Cat Explains Her Departure" is an extremely sad song.  And it is.  If you don't know that song, don't listen to it now because you seriously might cry. 

But "Virtute the Cat Explains Her Departure" is "Groove is in the Heart" compared to "Hymn of the Medical Oddity" which is just a few songs earlier on the same album.  It's almost offensive to try to compare the two.  The only thing is that most people don't know how depressing "Hymn of the Medical Oddity" actually is just from the lyrics.

Well now, thanks to this book, you can finally appreciate the full, heart-breaking, brutally awful, mind-boggling depressing and true story of David Reimer.  Which quite frankly, is something you are probably better off not knowing.  Therefore, this book is NOT RECOMMENDED AT ALL, though it's decently well-written.

mini-spoiler:As a baby, Reimer is sent to the hospital for a routine (and as it turns out completely unnecessary) circumcision.  They somehow end up burning his penis off.  Yes, I said "burning."  That is so far from the worst thing the medical profession does to him or his family that it would hardly even be worth mentioning except that it is what sets far worse things in motion.  They then get the bright idea that since he has no penis, they'll just raise him as a girl.  This is also so far from the worst thing the medical profession does to him or his family that it would hardly even be worth mention except it sets far worse things motion.  I COULD PROBABLY REPEAT THIS CYCLE TEN MORE TIMES; THAT'S HOW INSANE IT IS.  AND THEY EVEN HAD TO UPDATE THE BOOK AFTER IT WAS WRITTEN BECAUSE THINGS GOT EVEN WORSE.[/quote]

Cockney Rebel

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Re: 50 Books in 2014
« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2014, 06:14:30 AM »

1 ● Paul Brown - The Victorian Football Miscellanany
2 ● Paul Sutton Reeves - Music in Dreamland - Bill Nelson and Be-Bop Deluxe
3 ● Brian Boone - I Love Rock'n'Roll (Except When I Hate It
A compilation of trivia. A compendium, if you like, of things you didn't need to know but will know after reading it. Delivered with a certain amount of panache and deprecating humour. Interesting... But fourteen fucking bucks for such a tiny tome? Taking the pass mate, taking the piss
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MissKitty

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Re: 50 Books in 2014
« Reply #19 on: February 18, 2014, 10:28:36 AM »

1. Rod Stewart - The Biography
2. Stuart Maconie - Hope and Glory: A People's History of Modern Britain
3. Brian Boone - I Love Rock 'n' Roll (Except When I Hate It)
4. Simon Spence - The Stone Roses: War and Peace
5. Gesse Kraas & Mark Espinoza - An Unsheltered Childhood

"Oh, poor me!" seems to be the theme of this grammatical error-ridden memoir. Kraas, born in Germany just after WWII and while the country was still under French occupation, details a childhood of suffering - physical beatings and mental abuse at the hands of her cold, uncaring mother.
No child should have to endure abuse, but a fair share of the whippings she got seemed to come about because Kraas had done something she shouldn't have done. For instance, she skipped nearly her entire kindergarten year of school because she didn't want to go, and was only found out when it came time for parent/teacher meetings. Her mother worked 12-hour days inside a sawmill, so she was not aware that the kid she sent off to school each day wasn't turning up.

Another time, when she was around 7-years old, she and a neighbor boy decided that they would buy train tickets and go to Hamburg to visit the boy's grandparents. They earned the fare by catching buckets of snails and selling them to the French army wives living nearby, and then turned up at the train station, unaccompanied, to buy their tickets. The ticket seller, surprised that two children were traveling so far away without adult supervision, made inquiries to their parents and the jig was up.

It seems fairly obvious that her mother was ill-equipped to handle motherhood, but Kraas was also quite the little troublemaker.
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c-lando

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Re: 50 Books in 2014
« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2014, 08:28:11 AM »

1. "Gone Girl" - Gillian Flynn
2. "Neon Rain" - James Lee Burke - recommended by Rafe and thoroughly enjoyed. This murder detective certainly has a few things in common with Matthew Scudder (my favorite ex-Dick), but it was fun to mix it up with a Louisiana landscape (and less walking and pay phones).
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trixi

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Re: 50 Books in 2014
« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2014, 09:57:16 PM »

1. "Gone Girl" - Gillian Flynn
2. "Neon Rain" - James Lee Burke - recommended by Rafe and thoroughly enjoyed. This murder detective certainly has a few things in common with Matthew Scudder (my favorite ex-Dick), but it was fun to mix it up with a Louisiana landscape (and less walking and pay phones).
While I have not yet read the Burke books, I did make the trek from New Orleans to New Iberia because of him. :-)
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va-vacious

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Re: 50 Books in 2014
« Reply #22 on: February 19, 2014, 10:25:08 PM »

I'm ready for most of y'all to write your own books- novels, essays, stream of consciousness.  Seriously good book reviews for things I would probably not hear about and more than likely wouldn't pick up.
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daytime drinking

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Re: 50 Books in 2014
« Reply #23 on: February 20, 2014, 03:26:18 PM »

I'm ready for most of y'all to write your own books- novels, essays, stream of consciousness.  Seriously good book reviews for things I would probably not hear about and more than likely wouldn't pick up.

t'ain't really stream of conscious or like shit but i'm working like a bartender at 11 am before five hours pass and happy hour begins and finally someone arrives on my novel.  i'm heavily editing my favorite chapter entitled the terrible inventor.  it's a back story involving the origins of a very special person.  when i'm done if you'd like to read let me know. 

if you cannot possibly wait, http://wealthyamericantourist.blogspot.com/2014/01/blog-post_25.html
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Zafer Kaya

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Re: 50 Books in 2014
« Reply #24 on: February 20, 2014, 08:33:31 PM »

1)  Life After Life-- Kate Atkinson
2)  The Circle-- Dave Eggers
3)  Inverting the Pyramid:  The History of Soccer Tactics-- Jonathan Wilson
4)  Where'd You Go Bernadette?-- Maria Semple
5) As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl-- John Colapinto

6)  On Such a Full Sea-- Chang Rae Lee

It was pretty good. The narrative style gets kind of annoying, but thankfully the plot pace speeds along rapidly to make up for all the looooong sentenced, prosey, voiceover-type narrations.  At the same time, it renders the final result a bit of a mush.  It's too wordy-artsy to make for a good action-y novel, not concerned enough with detail to be good sci-fi/dystopia, and way too over-the-top-hammer-home-the-point-in-rhetorical-questions to be thought-provoking and all literary.  I'd give it a B/B+.  Didn't hate it, but don't get why some people love it so much.

Zafer Kaya

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Re: 50 Books in 2014
« Reply #25 on: February 23, 2014, 09:26:16 AM »

1)  Life After Life-- Kate Atkinson
2)  The Circle-- Dave Eggers
3)  Inverting the Pyramid:  The History of Soccer Tactics-- Jonathan Wilson
4)  Where'd You Go Bernadette?-- Maria Semple
5)  As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl-- John Colapinto
6)  On Such a Full Sea-- Chang Rae Lee

7)  The Storyteller-- Jodi Picoult

This book started with a lot of promise, but didn't really deliver.  It's kind of like the Titanic movie in that there's ostensibly a story within a story.  Except there really isn't.  In Titanic the only story is Rose's adventures on the Titanic.  The modern day stuff is just kind of a useless outershell-- there really wasn't a need to tell that in flashback.

Same thing here.  There is a woman who has been disfigured in a car accident trying to get her life together.  There's a man who reveals to the woman that he is a Nazi war criminal and asks her to kill him.  There is the woman's grandmother who is a Holocaust survivor.  And on top of that there's the story that the grandmother wrote.

Any of which would make for interesting stories.  But in the end the only one that is fleshed out is the grandmother's Holocaust story.  Which is a fine story, I mean it's poignant and action-packed and sad, scary, etc. in all the ways you'd expect.  But it's also the least interesting story to me as it's very straightforward-- you've heard it before and you know what will happen. 

By 1/3 of the way in, I realized the non-Holocaust stories/characters were just there to add a little spice/twist to the main Holocaust story.  Which bummed me out, because I was more interested in the other ones, which is why I read the book.  Moreover, it was obvious these other superficial stories had to somehow tie all together at the end in an attempt to give them purpose.  And there was only one clumsy way to do that via a plot twist which I saw coming a mile away.

So none of the moral dilemmas really get solved, most of the characters don't get fleshed out, the more interesting moral aspects get looked over in favor.  But OTOH, it's not like Titanic didn't tug at the heartstrings at make people cry.  Same thing here.  It's hard to downgrade the book too much as there's a lot of high drama and emotion in it, which makes it enjoyable on many levels.  But you do walk away feeling a little ripped off.  I basically got tricked into reading Historical Fiction again.

Kwyjibo

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Re: 50 Books in 2014
« Reply #26 on: February 25, 2014, 12:23:36 PM »

1. Stephen King - 11/22/63

2. Lawrence Block - The Burglar Who Counted the Spoons

Juneau Lock!  Typical Bernie Rhodenbarr story, an over the top Nero Wolfe sort of affair.  Full of the usual cheek that you expect from Bernie, Carolyn and Ray with a few fun transient characters thrown in.  Much better than Bernie's last outing which was so crazy that you couldn't suspend disbelief. 

Block had hit a dry spell for a while there, the previous installment of this series and the two installments of the Scudder series before this last one were not so hot but it looks like he's got his footing again.  I just hope he keeps it up instead of retiring which is what he's been threatening to do.
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c-lando

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Re: 50 Books in 2014
« Reply #27 on: February 25, 2014, 01:10:31 PM »

2. Lawrence Block - The Burglar Who Counted the Spoons
I am finally reading the first book in the BURGLAR series.

Side note:
Don't you just crack up laughing at all of the old author photos of Mr. Block? Some of them are quite hilarious.
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Kwyjibo

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Re: 50 Books in 2014
« Reply #28 on: February 25, 2014, 01:21:55 PM »

Yeah, they're a hoot.  I got so used to the one with his head shaved holding his glasses and the camera is looking down on him from above that when I finally saw him on Ferguson's show I couldn't believe how old he looked.  They used that shot of him for FAR too long.

Have you seen the original cover of the one you're reading?  I love the crazy 70s aesthetic.  He had the same guy do the cover for the newest one.
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Zafer Kaya

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Re: 50 Books in 2014
« Reply #29 on: February 25, 2014, 06:47:36 PM »

1)  Life After Life-- Kate Atkinson
2)  The Circle-- Dave Eggers
3)  Inverting the Pyramid:  The History of Soccer Tactics-- Jonathan Wilson
4)  Where'd You Go Bernadette?-- Maria Semple
5)  As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl-- John Colapinto
6)  On Such a Full Sea-- Chang Rae Lee
7)  The Storyteller-- Jodi Picoult

8)  Annihilation:  A Novel-- Jeff Vandermeer

First of a "weird nature" trilogy, all of which will be published this year.  Supercreepy sci-fi horror story about a biologist sent to study the mysterious "Area X" where other expeditions have gone only to disappear or die or come back irrevocably changed.  The biologist has a map, some basic scientific tools and a couple guns but knows very little about the place or what happened to the expeditions before her.  It's not clear why she went, or why she was chosen, or what the government hopes to find.  All very scary-mysterious.  Not the most novel concept, but Vandermeer gets the tone just right so you are on pins and needles the entire time, not knowing what will happen but knowing it's going to be bad.  It's very Lovecraftian, with a bit Stephen King thrown in.  Wouldn't call it great literature but it's an entertaining way to spend an afternoon.

9)  Winning Fantasy Baseball-- Larry Schecter

I got a free copy of this.  I thought it might be entertaining in an economist game-theory sort of way.  Or strategical like a poker book.  But it's really more nuts-and-bolts.  And not useful.  The major trick to this book is that Schecter looks at stats/sources, etc. and then does projections for each player.  INDIVIDUALLY.  Then he uses some basic fantasy/mathematical projections to create a value for each player.  Then he reads all the fantasy experts and compares their values to his values.  Again, individually.  So when he goes to his fantasy draft he knows which players he can get cheap.

Basically, if you spend like 500 hours studying players then you can go in and dominate your fantasy draft against owners who have kids, wives, or perhaps interests other than fantasy baseball.  I suppose he should get more credit than that-- his method seems rather logical and it definitely seems to work for him and he lays it out well.  I mean if you DID have 500 hours to put into fantasy baseball, this is a good way to do it... possibly even the best way.  But since no one really does, it's not useful or fun.

10) Shovel Ready-- Adam Sternbergh

Super-pulpy, super-noir book about a hitman in a dystopian future.  Although really the dystopian part isn't important, really.  It's more about the dark, super-violent tone and creepy people.  Not as disturbing, over-the-top, and un-fun as Vachss, but nowhere near as clever and as good as Ellroy, either.  Sternbergh does have a sense of humor though, which makes this an entertaining rather than heavy read.  It's also really short so it goes down easy.  So overall, it was good for what it was.  Not going to remember it six months later, but I had fun while I read it.
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