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Author Topic: 50 books in 2015  (Read 4445 times)

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Zafer Kaya

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Re: 50 books in 2015
« Reply #30 on: March 12, 2015, 10:11:18 PM »

Yeah... I don't know. 

I always felt like it had a sort of "Look how fucked up everything is, and yet somehow we soldier on and things still have meaning.  I don't know what the meaning is, but there must somehow be one even if the meaning of life is there is no meaning of life." 

The traditional Bildungsroman is a sort of coming of age/hero novel.  A weak, uncertain, common-type guy goes through a bunch of stuff, meets some people, picks up skills and knowledge and emotional strength and transform from zero to hero.

So in Magic Mountain, Hans Castorp is literally weak.  He has to go to a sanatorium.  And each of the people he meets represents a sort of literal and cultural/philosophical archetype.  Each bringing a particular view to the table, with Castorp ostensibly learning from each one and sort of synthesizing everything into his own philosophical greatest hits package, to emerge victorious.

In this Naptha and Settembrini are intended to be each other's foils.  Settembrini is the elightenment/romantic/humanist I guess, sort of good guy representing the light.  He has a belief in the humanity, and good, and rationality and learning and that sort of thing.  And he tries to teach that to Castorp.  Naptha is sort of the dark, cynical dude and has seen the worst parts of humanity and so presents that side.

But the thing is, both guys are sort of jerks.  Settembrini is rather pompous, and Naptha is there to poke holes in his sort of bourgeois intellectualism.  And Naptha is just a depressing, angry, maybe Marxist/nihilist who gets really annoying and ends up killing himself so what like, what are you supposed to learn from that?  And they make loooooooonnnng speeches, man. Ponderously, Rand-esque speeches to where I think the reader is intentionally supposed to go "We get it already.  Shut up."

And then you have the Madonna/whore dichotomy in Chauchat.  And the "do your duty" guy who acts honorably... but maybe because he isn't either smart or assertive enough to do anything else.

And Castorp, instead of taking something from everyone and synthesizing it into a stronger whole seems not to learn much at all.  He spends a lot of the book in a nowhere zone-- not quite healthy, but not truly sick.  Just stuck in the sanatorium.  He's safe in the sanatorium, both in the sense that he has doctors looking out for him, and in that he doesn't have to go to war, and that he's also sequestered from humanity and all it's nonsensical craziness.  But it's also not a pleasant place, it's very sterile and isolated and kinda depressing.  In terms of Castorp's development, it's the same.  He maybe picks up a few things but mostly he kind of learns to steer the middle ground, neither wholly assimilating or disbelieving anything.

And I think that is where all the time/space talking is coming from.  Because Castorp is kind of in a state of suspended animation.  And I think that the book is kind of stop-startish where it seems like things happen suddenly at the end and also how at the beginning Castorp is just a normal dude experiencing time in a normal way before he gets TB... that sort of highlights the entry to and exit from that suspended state.  And just the talk of time in general is sort of philosophical jibber-jabber to make you question everything.  Like if we don't know time and can't count on it's passage at a steady rate.. what do we really know about anything?  Maybe.  Just throwing that out there.

Anyway, the end of the book is sort of open to interpretation IMO.  Settembrini congratulates Castorp I think because he's finally rejoining the human race, and fighting for something and representing some ideals.  But it's also implied that the war is stupid, and Castorp is going to die in it.  And of course it's not Settembrini's ass on the line, so there's something fake about it.  Settembrini is the guy who gets to wax on about the tastiness of sausage, because he doesn't see how it is made.  Naptha has seen/is perhaps himself the ugly, leftover unpleasant leftover meat parts; the ugly byproduct of the process.  And now Castorp is going inside the meat factory himself to take part in the process-- as either a worker or perhaps more cynically--- he's the meat.

So yeah, I think the ending is to be left up to the reader maybe.  Or maybe it's intentionally dichotomous.  Or trichotomous, or pentachotomous or something.  You can see the ending through any of the character's viewpoints but since they are all flawed themselves that ending could be interpreted as either happy or sad.  And because we don't really know what happens to Castorp out there, that's just even more room for interpretation.  And you can even see the ending through ALL of the various angles/possible permutations presented both good and bad at once.  Which I like to think was maybe the point.  Maybe it all stands for something, but what it is is way too big for us to process or ever understand.

It's all very Vonnegut-esque to me.  It really just needs Newt Hoenikker to show up at the end right when Castorp is about to leave so Castrop asks him what to expect in flatland and Newt's like "See the cat?  See the cradle?"

But I don't know.  I mean, I'm not an expert on Mann and I read it a long time ago.  All I can say is that it's PACKEDPACKEDPACKED with symbolism and equally packed with irony, which makes you wonder how serious to take the symbolism.  That's definitely intentional.  If there was a single, clear message Mann was trying to convey, I certainly have no idea what it was.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2015, 10:17:47 PM by Zafer Kaya »
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c-lando

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Re: 50 books in 2015
« Reply #31 on: March 13, 2015, 11:51:44 AM »

1. "Me Before You" - Jojo Moyes
2. "Friendship" - Emily Gould - I'm not sure that I would recommend this to anyone, but it resonated with me.
3. "Revival" - Stephen King - I dug the the latest from Stephen King. I like his stuff when itís more on the nostalgic end of his spectrum than on the horror end.
4. "Shadow of Night" - Deborah Harkness (audiobook)
5. "The Silkworm" - Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) - I enjoy Cormoran Strike as a detective character and I also like his sidekick, Robin. However, I did not really like this mystery AT ALL.
6. "The Vacationers" - Emma Straub
7. "Landline" - Rainbow Rowell
8. "The Black Echo" - Michael Connelly - the first book in the Harry Bosch series. I've read a ton of the newer books but decided to start from the beginning since I want to watch Amazon's, "Bosch". Mmmmmmm, Titus Welliver.
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c-lando

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Re: 50 books in 2015
« Reply #32 on: March 16, 2015, 01:38:53 PM »

8. "The Black Echo" - Michael Connelly - the first book in the Harry Bosch series. I've read a ton of the newer books but decided to start from the beginning since I want to watch Amazon's, "Bosch". Mmmmmmm, Titus Welliver.
Started BOSCH and already finished all 10 episodes of it on Amazon. If you like this Michael Connelly character, or you're a fan of LA noir, you'll probably dig this show.
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daytime drinking

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Re: 50 books in 2015
« Reply #33 on: March 18, 2015, 10:57:17 AM »

zafer, how the hell do remember all that shit?

1.  the magic mountain- thomas mann

2.  the book- alan watts.  he's the translator of eastern philosophy to western culture.  i need to read this again.  this is supposedly his seminal work.  i am trying to get something out of it, but by doing so i feel i'm missing out somehow.  it all seems so simple

3.  the river book: cincinnati and the ohio.  how fascinating!  this has been my toilet book for some months now.  pirates!  hidden treasure!  canoeing to n'awlins!  my favorite chapter would have to be about a photog who hitched a ride along a tugboat.  he didn't fit in and they didn't care.  gorgeous george's dad nick closed out the book with a fabulous chapter on the rise and fall and rise again of the river town.  a book alone with these photos would be worth it
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Re: 50 books in 2015
« Reply #34 on: March 19, 2015, 09:30:06 PM »

1 ● Graham Nash - Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life
2 ● Celia Haddon - Tilly: The Ugliest Cat in the Shelter
3 ● Drew Struzan & David J Schow - The Art of Drew Struzan
4 ● Nick Hornby - Funny Girl
5 ● Danny Baker - Going Off Alarming: The Autobiography Vol 2
adding
6 ● Paul Torday - The Legacy of Hartlepool Hall
From the author that foisted "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" on the world comes this unconvincing tale of a modern stately home and the characters who inhabit it. I stuck with it until the end despite my own reservations half-way through that it was starting to disappear up its own backside. Still, not bad for the quid I paid for it last year from an English charity shop. And now the Cincinnati library can benefit from its donation. (We really don't keep books anymore at MK/CR towers)
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MissKitty

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Re: 50 books in 2015
« Reply #35 on: March 22, 2015, 06:15:55 PM »

1. Upheaval Stories - Chris Holbrook
2. Tilly: The Ugliest Cat in the Shelter - Celia Haddon

3. Americanah - Chimamada Ngozi Adiche

Powerful insight into the world of Nigerian academia (and corrupt government) and the struggle of one educated woman to "fit in" in America after emigrating to further her studies.

4. Jamie Oliver's Comfort Food: The Ultimate Weekend Cookbook - Jamie Oliver
CR saw this on the new release shelf at the library and helpfully brought it home to me to peruse. It has some good recipes in it and the photos are salivatingly gorgeous, but there aren't a lot of them that I could easily adapt to the vegetarian diet.

5. Jamie Oliver's Meals in Minutes - Jamie Oliver
See above.

6. Jamie Oliver's Great Britain - Jamie Oliver
See above - but at least there are a few good puddings I can try in this one.

7. Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania - Erik Larson
In January, I got an email from the library that this new book would be arriving to the library in March, and I immediately put in a hold for a copy. I lovelovelove Erik Larson's books. He has a great knack for putting you into the story with all the points converging into a sharp clarity. You KNOW what is going to happen, but the suspense builds until it is almost unbearable. You KNOW the Lusitania is going to sink. You know the story; it is gone in less than 20 minutes. But you don't know THIS story, which weaves a thread of survivor recollections into the narrative along with the ephemera left behind by those who did not, as well as the various machinations already in place. You meet many people but have no idea until the end of the book whether or not they survived.

Of the Lusitania's 1,959 passengers and crew, only 764 survived.

Larson leaves very few stones unturned here. It is damning of the British Admiralty and government - who knew the U-20 German submarine was cruising the vicinity yet refused to warn Capt. Turner of the danger and who curiously failed to send escorts for the passenger steamer when it reached British waters - and who also refused to send any big ships to the rescue effort, which was left to Irish trawlers, rag-tag torpedo boats and small fishing boats because they were deemed "expendable"; of Cunard (the company that owned and operated the Lusitania) - who, in order to save money, allowed only three of the ships four boilers to run, which considerably slowed the ship down, and who did not alert the captain to the fact that a new, safer passage existed, and who tried to pin the blame for the disaster on the captain even though he did all he could with the information he had; and of an American president more concerned about his blossoming love affair with a 43-year old DC socialite than with the war going on across the ocean.

A+

8. Barbed Wire Kisses: The Jesus ad Mary Chain Story - Zoe Howe

Author Zoe Howe does a good job of telling the band's story, and there are plenty of interviews with members Jim Reid, Douglas Hart, Bobby Gillespie, John Moore and David Evans, and interviews with Creation Records owner and former band manager Alan McGee and Jim's long time girlfriend Laurence Verfaillie.

But this book is certainly not a definitive Jesus & Mary Chain book, because key songwriter William Reid chose not to participate. And that is a problem because we never get his side of the story. Howe is forced to quote from old interviews with William - stuff from Sounds and Melody Maker and nothing more current than (I think) 1991. Not ideal.

I still enjoyed the book, despite not getting William's side of the story, and despite there being not a single photo in it - which seems weird, but maybe she needed William's consent and he wouldn't give it. The two brothers are nothing if not quarrelsome, so it would not surprise me.

Did I learn anything from the book that I (being an uber fan) did not already know? Not really, but it was a fun ride anyway.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2015, 08:17:00 AM by MissKitty »
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c-lando

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Re: 50 books in 2015
« Reply #36 on: March 23, 2015, 12:58:30 PM »

1. "Me Before You" - Jojo Moyes
2. "Friendship" - Emily Gould - I'm not sure that I would recommend this to anyone, but it resonated with me.
3. "Revival" - Stephen King - I dug the the latest from Stephen King. I like his stuff when itís more on the nostalgic end of his spectrum than on the horror end.
4. "Shadow of Night" - Deborah Harkness (audiobook)
5. "The Silkworm" - Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) - I enjoy Cormoran Strike as a detective character and I also like his sidekick, Robin. However, I did not really like this mystery AT ALL.
6. "The Vacationers" - Emma Straub
7. "Landline" - Rainbow Rowell
8. "The Black Echo" - Michael Connelly - the first book in the Harry Bosch series.
9. "The Girl on the Train" - Paula Hawkins - I thought this was going to end up being some kind of GONE GIRL mindf*ck, but thankfully it wasn't. I'm still not sure that I liked anyone in this book, like with GONE GIRL. But I at least felt like we got some "justice" in this thriller.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2015, 02:13:12 PM by c-lando »
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MissKitty

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Re: 50 books in 2015
« Reply #37 on: March 25, 2015, 08:22:03 AM »

1. Upheaval Stories - Chris Holbrook
2. Tilly: The Ugliest Cat in the Shelter - Celia Haddon
3. Americanah - Chimamada Ngozi Adiche
4. Jamie Oliver's Comfort Food: The Ultimate Weekend Cookbook - Jamie Oliver
5. Jamie Oliver's Meals in Minutes - Jamie Oliver
6. Jamie Oliver's Great Britain - Jamie Oliver
7. Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania - Erik Larson
8. Barbed Wire Kisses: The Jesus ad Mary Chain Story - Zoe Howe
9. Going Off Alarming - Danny Baker

CR's review of this book says it better than I can. Brilliant book. Fun ride.
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Cockney Rebel

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Re: 50 books in 2015
« Reply #38 on: March 29, 2015, 09:17:37 PM »

1 ● Graham Nash - Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life
2 ● Celia Haddon - Tilly: The Ugliest Cat in the Shelter
3 ● Drew Struzan & David J Schow - The Art of Drew Struzan
4 ● Nick Hornby - Funny Girl
5 ● Danny Baker - Going Off Alarming: The Autobiography Vol 2
6 ● Paul Torday - The Legacy of Hartlepool Hall
adding
7 ● Maureen Westwood - Memories of Old Eastleigh and Bishopstoke
Rescued from my Dad's home when I went back to England following his death. A marvelous set of photos of my birthplace (most of them from loooong before I was born) together with a collection of memories about how the town grew up from its farming roots, and how it's population exploded when the British Railway Network decided to put an engineering works right bang in the middle of it
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c-lando

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Re: 50 books in 2015
« Reply #39 on: March 30, 2015, 09:48:31 AM »

1. "Me Before You" - Jojo Moyes
2. "Friendship" - Emily Gould - I'm not sure that I would recommend this to anyone, but it resonated with me.
3. "Revival" - Stephen King - I dug the the latest from Stephen King. I like his stuff when itís more on the nostalgic end of his spectrum than on the horror end.
4. "Shadow of Night" - Deborah Harkness (audiobook)
5. "The Silkworm" - Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) - I enjoy Cormoran Strike as a detective character and I also like his sidekick, Robin. However, I did not really like this mystery AT ALL.
6. "The Vacationers" - Emma Straub
7. "Landline" - Rainbow Rowell
8. "The Black Echo" - Michael Connelly - the first book in the Harry Bosch series.
9. "The Girl on the Train" - Paula Hawkins
10. "The Burning Room" - the last book in the Harry Bosch series - I really like Harry's new partner. Wondering if Connelly is really preparing for Bosch's retirement by passing on the reader's affection to Lucky Lucy. She seems competent and likeable enough to carry her own series.
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MissKitty

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Re: 50 books in 2015
« Reply #40 on: March 31, 2015, 04:36:12 PM »

1. Upheaval Stories - Chris Holbrook
2. Tilly: The Ugliest Cat in the Shelter - Celia Haddon
3. Americanah - Chimamada Ngozi Adiche
4. Jamie Oliver's Comfort Food: The Ultimate Weekend Cookbook - Jamie Oliver
5. Jamie Oliver's Meals in Minutes - Jamie Oliver
6. Jamie Oliver's Great Britain - Jamie Oliver
7. Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania - Erik Larson
8. Barbed Wire Kisses: The Jesus ad Mary Chain Story - Zoe Howe
9. Going Off Alarming - Danny Baker
10. The Ginger & White Cookbook - Tonia George, Emma Scott and Nicholas Scott

What a load of old twaddle this was! These three have disappeared into the upper echelons of their own backsides. Sorry, but the only reason you would list "free range eggs" in your recipes instead of "eggs" is because you think you are somehow superior. It's all well and good to choose free range eggs, but to dictate from on high that these are the only eggs that will do for your recipes is pretty rich. Buncha smug twats. I'm surprised they didn't also command that the water used to boil said "free range eggs" be from a spring next to an organic orchard or other such nonsense.

Glad it was only a library loaner.
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c-lando

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Re: 50 books in 2015
« Reply #41 on: April 10, 2015, 09:16:17 AM »

1. "Me Before You" - Jojo Moyes
2. "Friendship" - Emily Gould - I'm not sure that I would recommend this to anyone, but it resonated with me.
3. "Revival" - Stephen King - I dug the the latest from Stephen King. I like his stuff when itís more on the nostalgic end of his spectrum than on the horror end.
4. "Shadow of Night" - Deborah Harkness (audiobook)
5. "The Silkworm" - Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) - I enjoy Cormoran Strike as a detective character and I also like his sidekick, Robin. However, I did not really like this mystery AT ALL.
6. "The Vacationers" - Emma Straub
7. "Landline" - Rainbow Rowell
8. "The Black Echo" - Michael Connelly - the first book in the Harry Bosch series.
9. "The Girl on the Train" - Paula Hawkins
10. "The Burning Room" - the last book in the Harry Bosch series - I really like Harry's new partner. Wondering if Connelly is really preparing for Bosch's retirement by passing on the reader's affection to Lucky Lucy. She seems competent and likeable enough to carry her own series.
11. "The Last Coyote" - Michael Connelly - Harry tries to solve his own mother's murder. It's a dooooozie.
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trixi

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Re: 50 books in 2015
« Reply #42 on: April 14, 2015, 09:35:08 PM »

1.  Cinderella Murder--Mary Higgins Clark
2.  Level 2--Lenore Appelhans
3.  Hope to Die--James Patterson
4.  Vicious--Sara Shepard
5.  Chasing Before--Lenore Appelhans
6.  Private Vegas--James Patterson
7.  Death du Jour--Kathy Reichs
8.  Throw Your Feet Over Your Shoulders:  Beyond the Kindertransport--Frieda Korobkin
9.  Threatened--Eliot Schrefer
10.  Anatomy of a Misfit--Andrea Portes
11.  Noggin--John Corey Whaley
12.  The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend--Kody Keplinger
13.  Gabi, A Girl in Pieces--Isabel Quintero
14.  Girls Like Us--Gail Giles
15.  This One Summer--Mariko Tamaki
16.  And We Stay--Jenny Hubbard
17.  I'll Give You the Sun--Jandy Nelson
18.  The Carnival at Bray--Jessie Ann Foley
19.  The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender --Leslye Walton
20.  Miracle at Augusta--James Patterson
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Dan

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Re: 50 books in 2015
« Reply #43 on: April 16, 2015, 02:39:34 PM »

1. Walter M. Miller Jr. - A Canticle for Liebowitz

Well done! Miller's 1959 post-apocalyptic dystopian story was interesting and thoughtful, even if it was too religion-heavy for me. It was neat in that it took place in the future, after the earth was destroyed by nuclear war, but it was more about the middle-ages than anything.
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daytime drinking

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Re: 50 books in 2015
« Reply #44 on: April 20, 2015, 11:29:41 AM »

1.  the magic mountain- thomas mann
2.  the book- alan watts
3.  the river book: cincinnati and the ohio

4. the innocents abroad- mark twain.  mark twain's account of his voyage and ensuing pilgrimage from nyc to europe to the holy land. the original ugly american.  there wasn't a tour guide they'd mock or people they would despise.  funny, though it was essentially reading somebody's travel journal.  luckily it was mark twain's trip and not some just graduated college gonna explore the world become humbled because you realize the world is just bigger than you and this is what people need to hear because it happened to me kind of bro
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