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RE: Top 50 Books I've Read This Year: 2013

 
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RE: Top 50 Books I've Read This Year: 2013 - 29/1/2013 11:21:11 AM   
Pigeon Army


Posts: 14612
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.
01. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (1930)
Trying to get back into reading for fun again, felt this American classic sitting on my bookshelf gathering dust would be a good start. The first thing that struck me is how intensely evocative and visually rich the writing is - how, across fifteen voices, each with their different take on the landscape and the way they relate to it, we still get a consistent image of a casually unforgiving Mississippi backwoods. Be it in the small details - Peabody getting hauled up the hill to the Bundren place; the rickety bridges that seem to keep falling all over the place; the ford and that breathless sequence when Jewel, Darl and Cash try to cross it with the wagon; the way the oppressive heat is swiftly replaced by choking humidity and ceaseless rain. It's a palpable landscape, arid and overwhelming even under all the rain and even with all the farms around. It's also perfect for a story that jumps from narrator to narrator, exposing their judgments and their prejudices and their regrets and their beliefs about everyone else. There's not much love to be had in Mississippi, with even the smallest characters fully formed in their opinions on everyone else. By the time it rounds to the single chapter given over to Addie, the dead woman driving everything, it's hardly a surprise her attitudes towards her own kin. This is a place where doubt runs rife, where familial love all too frequently runs up against practicality and obligation, where even the most noble motivations are diluted by self-interest. That Faulkner manages to get all of this in a way that doesn't blur all the voices together in one sea of acrimony - that he manages to be funny and confident in each character's voice, while drawing out their struggles with mortality and obligation and the society surrounding them - is a hell of an achievement.

_____________________________

quote:

ORIGINAL: Rinc
She's supposed to be 13! I'd want her to be very attractive though


quote:

ORIGINAL: MonsterCat
quote:

ORIGINAL: Pigeon Army
Stop being mean to Deviation

No.

(in reply to Sumintelligentguy)
Post #: 31
RE: Top 50 Books I've Read This Year: 2013 - 9/2/2013 9:47:49 PM   
Rinc


Posts: 12841
Joined: 2/10/2005
From: A park bench, with a newspaper quilt
2. BoyRoald Dahl (1984)
A lovely written tale about Dahl's childhood. Some of the stories included aren't anything out of the ordinary but Dahl is able to write with so much warmth that you can't help but love it.

_____________________________

No spoilers please:

Invisiotext:
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Post #: 32
RE: Top 50 Books I've Read This Year: 2013 - 20/2/2013 11:29:11 PM   
Rinc


Posts: 12841
Joined: 2/10/2005
From: A park bench, with a newspaper quilt
2. Going SoloRoald Dahl (1986)
This is excellent for two main reasons: Dahl had a very interesting life; and he writes in such a simple way but manages to make the stories even more interesting than they would be in lesser hands.

And that's my Roald Dahl set that I got for Christmas 2011 completed. I'd only read a few of his books beforehand although I obviously knew the stories of the others. Excellent stuff, Dahl's writing and use of language is superb and some of the stories I think we take for granted now. I know the books in this collection are for kids, but I really wish some of them had been longer!

5. The Railway ChildrenEdith Nesbit (1906)
Very nice. Probably should have read this as a kid, then I'd care for it more.

< Message edited by Rinc -- 20/2/2013 11:31:55 PM >


_____________________________

No spoilers please:

Invisiotext:
[ color=#F1F1F1 ]text[ /color ]

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Post #: 33
RE: Top 50 Books I've Read This Year: 2013 - 21/2/2013 11:41:07 PM   
impqueen


Posts: 7474
Joined: 24/7/2006
Red Country: The First Law World (Joe Abercrombie, 2012) Western, Fantasy, Dark, Epic
This was recommended to me by a family member and though it is my first Abercrombie and as such my first foray into the First Law World it won’t be my last. I started off slowly acclimatising to the language of Abercrombie’s subtle world but soon devoured the book; it has stupendous colour, fantastic characters and is simply a stunning read. I’m glad Red Country is for all intense and purposes a standalone addition to the First Law World I think if I had read any of the trilogy out of sequence I’d be gutted. I will be pursuing The Blade Itself, Before They Are Hanged and Last Argument of Kings most ardently in the future. (5)

Sweet Tooth, Vol. 1: Out of the Deep Woods (Sweet Tooth #1-5) (Jeff Lemire, 2010) Graphic Novel Apocalyptic Post-Apocalyptic
Described as Bambi spliced with The Road (if you’ve not read Cormac McCarthy book stop now and go do so, it’s fucking bleak and utterly absorbing) Sweet Tooth is this story of Gus an animal-human hybrid (he’s got antlers) raised in isolation by an impressively religious father who promptly snuffs it leaving nine year old Gus alone. Setting out with new friend Jepperd they head for The Preserve an alleged safe-haven for hybrid children. Though I feel I’m cheating when reading comics the quality of those I’ve picked up this year outweigh any of the ridiculous self-conscious snobbery guilt I occasionally feel. Sweet Tooth is one of numerous post-apocalyptic fictions available and somewhat mass produced these days, seems everyone is looking to the end of mankind for inspiration and entertainment so to get noticed you have to be good, luckily Jeff Lemire (and Sweet Tooth) is. (4)



_____________________________

Yes, always.


(in reply to Rinc)
Post #: 34
RE: Top 50 Books I've Read This Year: 2013 - 24/2/2013 10:47:37 PM   
Sumintelligentguy


Posts: 3743
Joined: 31/8/2006
1. David Nicholls - Starter for 10
2. Mallory Blackman - Noughts and Crosses
3. Alex Garland - The Beach
4. William Golding - Lord of the Flies
5. Arthur Golden - Memoirs of a Geisha
6. Roald Dahl - The Twits

My first Roald Dahl of the year and I breezed through it, pretty funny and a worthwhile read.


_____________________________

"Snake? Snaaaake? SNAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!?"

R.I.P. Punchy

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Post #: 35
RE: Top 50 Books I've Read This Year: 2013 - 24/2/2013 10:54:36 PM   
Sumintelligentguy


Posts: 3743
Joined: 31/8/2006
1. David Nicholls - Starter for 10
2. Mallory Blackman - Noughts and Crosses
3. Alex Garland - The Beach
4. William Golding - Lord of the Flies
5. Arthur Golden - Memoirs of a Geisha
6. Roald Dahl - The Twits
7. Nick Hornby - Haute Fidélité (High Fidelity)

I went to Paris a few weeks ago and wanted to brush up on my French in preparation so read the translation. I started re-reading this book about two years ago but read the final 150 pages recently and I find myself surprised at the fact that this is only the second time I have read this book seeing as it is my favourite book of all time (first read: 2007). I think that's a testament to the story and written style because it has had the most profound effect on my life that I haven't felt the need to read it since I saw it in a Parisian book shop a few years ago. Anyway, I digress... a brilliant book (and the translation isn't half bad); funny, charming and Rob is just such an engaging protagonist that i'm glad I decided to finish this... even if it was in French.

< Message edited by Sumintelligentguy -- 24/2/2013 11:00:45 PM >


_____________________________

"Snake? Snaaaake? SNAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!?"

R.I.P. Punchy

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Post #: 36
RE: Top 50 Books I've Read This Year: 2013 - 24/2/2013 10:58:26 PM   
Sumintelligentguy


Posts: 3743
Joined: 31/8/2006
1. David Nicholls - Starter for 10
2. Mallory Blackman - Noughts and Crosses
3. Alex Garland - The Beach
4. William Golding - Lord of the Flies
5. Arthur Golden - Memoirs of a Geisha
6. Roald Dahl - The Twits
7. Nick Hornby - Haute Fidélité (High Fidelity)
8. J. M. Coetzee - Disgrace

This book was recommended to me by a friend and while it started off well, the story went off into such unexpected territory that I found it a little jarring which ruined my enjoyment of it. That said, David Lurie is an interesting protagonist and I felt just as frustrated as he was when faced with the shocking event in the middle act.

< Message edited by Sumintelligentguy -- 19/3/2013 11:22:59 PM >


_____________________________

"Snake? Snaaaake? SNAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!?"

R.I.P. Punchy

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Post #: 37
RE: Top 50 Books I've Read This Year: 2013 - 7/3/2013 2:57:03 PM   
AxlReznor

 

Posts: 1623
Joined: 2/12/2010
From: Great Britain
His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman
The first book - The Golden Compass - is a fantastic piece of conventional fantasy that seems to work as the anti-Narnia. It has the talking animals, but instead of being pro-Christianity, the villains are members of a fantasy version of the Inquisition. By the time we get to The Subtle Knife, all elements of convention take a backseat, as it becomes a story about parallel universes that takes science fiction elements as well as spiritual ones and it becomes clear that the story is about a multi-dimensional war against God (here portrayed as the first angel that told the others that he was their creator in order to gain control over them). I can see why the books were controversial, but being an Atheist myself, I found it a fascinating read. My fascination carried through most of The Amber Spyglass, but then the main conflict is over and there are still several chapters left to go. If the rest of the trilogy hadn't been so good, I wouldn't have found myself so devestatingly disappointed with these last few chapters. A plot thread set up early in the book but then seemingly forgotten suddenly re-emerges and is then hastily dealt with in one of the least satisfying ways I've ever seen... it's like Pullman completely forgot about it, and then just added a couple of chapters after someone had pointed it out to him. And whereas I don't think every story needs a happy ending, the one presented here just makes it seem like he hates his protagonists. They deserve a bit of happiness after the things they've been through, but this is rudely ripped away from them. It's well-written, but it's just not an ending that satisfied me.
The Golden Compass - 10/10
The Subtle Knife - 9/10
The Amber Spyglass - 7/10 (if it ended after the end of the main story, it would have gotten a 9 or 10)


PS: It's probably a good thing that the movies didn't progress past the first book, because I can see absolutely no way to adapt the other two books whilst downplaying the references to Christianity.

(in reply to Sumintelligentguy)
Post #: 38
RE: Top 50 Books I've Read This Year: 2013 - 9/3/2013 6:47:44 AM   
Gimli The Dwarf


Posts: 78128
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Central Park Zoo
1. The Pirates! in an Adventure with Scientists - Gideon Defoe

My first book of the year. My first book in about 6 months really. I started this two months ago, but have only read it in five 10 minutes chunks. I need to make more time for reading. Anyways, this was great fun.


_____________________________

So, sir, we let him have it right up! And I have to report, sir, he did not like it, sir.

Fellow scientists, poindexters, geeks.

Yeah, Mr. White! Yeah, science!

Much more better!

(in reply to AxlReznor)
Post #: 39
RE: Top 50 Books I've Read This Year: 2013 - 18/3/2013 11:15:01 AM   
AxlReznor

 

Posts: 1623
Joined: 2/12/2010
From: Great Britain
The Windup Girl (Paolo Bacigalupi)
You might think that my following synopsis/review is very spoilery, but trust me... these are just the basic facts of the world this story takes place in with a very brief description of the characters.

It is the late 22nd Century, and things are looking pretty bleak. The shortage of fossil fuels have long ago forced the Capitalist Western countries back within their own borders, and now things are powered using springs. You manually pump the springs yourself, and it holds a certain amount of energy. What computers that still exist are pedal-powered. Of course, this makes calories the world's new resource... you eat, and then use the calories up to power your house. As such, the so-called "calorie companies" have risen as the new brand of Capitalism. Employing "generippers" to unleash deadly diseases on the world's food supply, so that GM food of their own manufacture are the only things safe to eat. Anyone who defies the copyright of the calorie company's are dealt with harshly.

Thanks to their long history of independence, one of the last country's to stand tall are Thailand. In Bangkok, giant dikes hold the now towering ocean at bay and markets are full of fruits that were long thought to be extinct. The American Anderson Lake is an undercover agent of the calorie company AgriGen, sent to investigate the source of Thailand's food. His cover is as manager of a spring manufacturing company that employs the "yellow card" Hock Seng (refugee ethnic Chinese from a future Malaysia, that is once again called Malay), as well as the use of "megadonts" (giant, artificial elephants) to power it.

Megadonts are just one of three new species introduced thanks to the genetic engineering, the others being "cheshires" - disappearing cats that were originally created as a birthday present for a little girl who was a fan of Alice In Wonderland, but since took over the world's entire domestic cat population and roam the streets - and "New People". The New People were created in Japan to do all the menial tasks for their rapidly aging population. Learning a lesson from the cheshire's, they were created totally subservient to their patrons, are infertile, and move in a jerky robotic-like way to make them instantly noticable. This movement is what gets them the derogotary names "heechy keechy" and "windup". Emiko is one such, and the Windup Girl of the books title. Taken on a business trip to Bangkok with her Japanese patron, she was abandoned in the city so he could buy a newer model, and she since fell into the hands of Raleigh, who uses her as a novelty prostitute who is ritually humilated and raped as part of a sick sex show every night. But despite being compelled to obey all direct orders, she secretly harbours a desire to escape to a rumoured village in the North where Windups live.

The reason they can get away with this shocking abuse? (And it is shocking... some feminists didn't read past her introductory scene, which is a shame) It's because in Thailand, windups are reviled at best, and at worst are "mulched" by the "white shirts". White shirts are the enforcers for the ultra-nationalistic Environment Ministry led by General Pracha, whose job it is to protect Thailand from outside influences, whether it be artificial "soulless" humans like Emiko or the farang (Thai for foreigner) who are beginning to regain their influence abroad in an anticipated "New Expansion". Jaidee Rojjanasukchai is one such white shirt... a former Muay Thai champion, he is a hero to the Thai people and the "Tiger Of Bangkok" is the public face of the white shirts. He spends his time raiding illegal shipments and making powerful enemies, whilst simultaneously trying to get a smile out of his continuously dour partner Kanya (who sees ghosts). The Environment Ministry once attempted a coup which resulted in them sharing power with the Trade Ministry led by Akkarat. The Trade Ministry, as you can imagine are eager to let the farang into the country.

The reason for that lengthy description is because Anderson, Hock Seng, Emiko and Jaidee are all lead characters of this book, and as they all work for different factions it's pretty difficult to explain who the characters are without explaining pretty much the way the entire world works. But if you think from those brief descriptions you know how this story is going to go, you'd be very very wrong. Without going into detail, around about the halfway point in the book everything changes, and what was originally a slow-burner of a story suddenly becomes an action-packed epic.

Paolo Bacigalupi has created a scary, all-too-plausible future world where nothing is ever as it seems, and the characters match this. You're going to be hard-pressed to find a single character you entirely agree with in this book, and in fact the character you first assume is going to be the hero (and follow the annoying "white man rescues asian girl trope) is actually a complete asshole, and though some of the actions of the white shirts are a bit extreme, I believe they end up becoming the most sympathetic characters in the entire book.

I'm a bit late to the party with this book, reading it after it's won pretty much every award it's possible for a science fiction novel to win (including sharing the 2010 Hugo Award with China Mieville's The City And The City - also on my To Read list), and there's a good reason, too, as it's one of the finest books I've ever read. There is a lot of local slang words (mainly Thai, but also Mandarin and Japanese at points) with no explanation of what they mean, so it may take a bit of getting used to. You usually get a sense of what they mean by context, though. Also, there are two absolutely brutal rape scenes against Emiko that won't be to everyone's tastes as I pointed out, but persevere with it, because I really think it's worth it. (10/10)

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Post #: 40
RE: Top 50 Books I've Read This Year: 2013 - 19/3/2013 11:19:30 PM   
Sumintelligentguy


Posts: 3743
Joined: 31/8/2006
1. David Nicholls - Starter for 10
2. Mallory Blackman - Noughts and Crosses
3. Alex Garland - The Beach
4. William Golding - Lord of the Flies
5. Arthur Golden - Memoirs of a Geisha
6. Roald Dahl - The Twits
7. Nick Hornby - Haute Fidélité (High Fidelity)
8. J. M. Coetzee - Disgrace
9. Patrick Suskind - Perfume

A fascinating take on the sense of smell and yet when the novel doesn't focus on Grenouille (the protagonist), it lacks momentum. The final section too is pretty bizarre.

_____________________________

"Snake? Snaaaake? SNAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!?"

R.I.P. Punchy

(in reply to Sumintelligentguy)
Post #: 41
RE: Top 50 Books I've Read This Year: 2013 - 19/3/2013 11:21:28 PM   
Sumintelligentguy


Posts: 3743
Joined: 31/8/2006
1. David Nicholls - Starter for 10
2. Mallory Blackman - Noughts and Crosses
3. Alex Garland - The Beach
4. William Golding - Lord of the Flies
5. Arthur Golden - Memoirs of a Geisha
6. Roald Dahl - The Twits
7. Nick Hornby - Haute Fidélité (High Fidelity)
8. J. M. Coetzee - Disgrace
9. Patrick Suskind - Perfume
10. Isaac Asimov - The Last Question

Brilliant ideas in this short story and i'll be honest, the final line didn't have quite the initial impact i'd head so much about - on reflection though, pretty amazing.


_____________________________

"Snake? Snaaaake? SNAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!?"

R.I.P. Punchy

(in reply to Sumintelligentguy)
Post #: 42
RE: Top 50 Books I've Read This Year: 2013 - 19/3/2013 11:27:05 PM   
Sumintelligentguy


Posts: 3743
Joined: 31/8/2006
1. David Nicholls - Starter for 10
2. Mallory Blackman - Noughts and Crosses
3. Alex Garland - The Beach
4. William Golding - Lord of the Flies
5. Arthur Golden - Memoirs of a Geisha
6. Roald Dahl - The Twits
7. Nick Hornby - Haute Fidélité (High Fidelity)
8. J. M. Coetzee - Disgrace
9. Patrick Suskind - Perfume
10. Isaac Asimov - The Last Question
11. Gabriel García Márquez - Love in the Time of Cholera

One of the best pieces of literature I have ever read - easily in my top five books (knocking DH Lawrence's The Rainbow out).
I think I was so impressed by how well rounded the characters are - Florentino's story being the most heartbreaking. It's not a book you can sit a read for 20 minutes, this requires dedication (especially as the chapters are at least 50 pages) but it is worth it.

_____________________________

"Snake? Snaaaake? SNAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!?"

R.I.P. Punchy

(in reply to Sumintelligentguy)
Post #: 43
RE: Top 50 Books I've Read This Year: 2013 - 4/4/2013 2:10:53 AM   
Jasiri


Posts: 2496
Joined: 23/10/2005
Memoirs From The House of The Dead (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
Raven Black (Ann Cleaves)
First Love (Ivan Turgenev)
The Blackhouse (Peter May)
The Lewis Man (Peter May)
Mumu (Ivan Turgenev)
The Diary Of a Superflous Man (Ivan Turgenev)
White Nights (Ann Cleaves)
Red Bones (Ann Cleaves)
Blue Lighting (Ann Cleaves)
Outer Dark (Cormac McCarthy)
Boiling A Frog (Cristopher Brookmyer)
Little Girl Lost (Richard Aleas)
Slammer (Allan Guthrie)
Dirty White Boys (Stephen Hunter)

(in reply to Sumintelligentguy)
Post #: 44
RE: Top 50 Books I've Read This Year: 2013 - 21/5/2013 12:05:03 AM   
Sumintelligentguy


Posts: 3743
Joined: 31/8/2006
1. David Nicholls - Starter for 10
2. Mallory Blackman - Noughts and Crosses
3. Alex Garland - The Beach
4. William Golding - Lord of the Flies
5. Arthur Golden - Memoirs of a Geisha
6. Roald Dahl - The Twits
7. Nick Hornby - Haute Fidélité (High Fidelity)
8. J. M. Coetzee - Disgrace
9. Patrick Suskind - Perfume
10. Isaac Asimov - The Last Question
11. Gabriel García Márquez - Love in the Time of Cholera
12. David Foster Wallace - Infinite Jest

Been a while since i've posted in here, simply because Infinite Jest is a 1000 page door stop and isn't the most accessible of novels. Once you get used to the written style (and the abundance of footnotes, and footnotes of footnotes) then you'll discover a deeply satisfying study of both America's entertainment thirsty and drug culture. Admittedly, some bits (though less than a handful) I skimmed because I either wasn't getting it or didn't seem relevant, but after spending a bit of time with the two main characters - Hal and Don - whose separate stories are pretty tragic in their own way, I found myself wanting to know more about the world they inhabit. Foster's ideas are brilliant - despite being published in 1996 there are anecdotes that are scarily relevant to what is happening now in the advertising world. Moreover, one particular passage about a woman's description of depression is captivating - seriously, some passages in this book are the best i've ever read.

It's not a book you can spend 10 minutes reading here and there, this warrants dedication and it was ultimately worth the two months it took to finish it.


< Message edited by Sumintelligentguy -- 21/5/2013 12:06:52 AM >


_____________________________

"Snake? Snaaaake? SNAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!?"

R.I.P. Punchy

(in reply to Sumintelligentguy)
Post #: 45
RE: Top 50 Books I've Read This Year: 2013 - 21/5/2013 12:15:38 AM   
Sumintelligentguy


Posts: 3743
Joined: 31/8/2006
1. David Nicholls - Starter for 10
2. Mallory Blackman - Noughts and Crosses
3. Alex Garland - The Beach
4. William Golding - Lord of the Flies
5. Arthur Golden - Memoirs of a Geisha
6. Roald Dahl - The Twits
7. Nick Hornby - Haute Fidélité (High Fidelity)
8. J. M. Coetzee - Disgrace
9. Patrick Suskind - Perfume
10. Isaac Asimov - The Last Question
11. Gabriel García Márquez - Love in the Time of Cholera
12. David Foster Wallace - Infinite Jest
13. Candace Bushnell - Sex and the City

I needed something light to read post Infinite Jest and even though the ideas in Sex and the City aren't light, the written style is. It's so easy to read that i've managed to finish it in a day (rare for me). I enjoyed the musings on love, sex, marriage etc and the book started well when getting both sides of the story (men and women's points of view) - a discussion about threesomes is particularly well handled - but then story kind of got in the way. The book is also really cynical and by the end, rather than Carrie feeling like the victim, I found that it was in fact Mr Big - who just wanted to find someone to love and settle down with.

_____________________________

"Snake? Snaaaake? SNAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!?"

R.I.P. Punchy

(in reply to Sumintelligentguy)
Post #: 46
RE: Top 50 Books I've Read This Year: 2013 - 31/5/2013 7:29:58 PM   
impqueen


Posts: 7474
Joined: 24/7/2006
May

Books


06. First Love and the Diary of a Superfluous Man (Ivan Turgenev, 1850 / 1860) Novella
07. Curtain: Poirot's Last Case [Hercule Poirot #39] (Agatha Christie, 1973) Mystery Thriller Detective
11. The Windup Girl (Paolo Bacigalupi, 2009) Science Fiction Steampunk Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic Adult
13. Doctor Who: The Crooked World [Eighth Doctor Adventures #57] (Steve Lyons, 2002) Science Ficiton Fantasy Adventure
15. The Mysterious Affair at Styles [Hercule Poirot #01] (Agatha Christie, 1920) Mystery Thriller Detective


Comics


05. American Vampire Vol. 3 (American Vampire #12-18) (Scott Snyder / Rafael Albuquerque, 2011) Horror Fantasy Historical Ficiton



_____________________________

Yes, always.


(in reply to Sumintelligentguy)
Post #: 47
RE: Top 50 Books I've Read This Year: 2013 - 31/5/2013 7:48:47 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54677
Joined: 1/10/2005
How is American Vampire? I've just tried The Wake, the first of a new Snyder series but I've never tried that one.

_____________________________

Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

(in reply to impqueen)
Post #: 48
RE: Top 50 Books I've Read This Year: 2013 - 31/5/2013 7:52:49 PM   
impqueen


Posts: 7474
Joined: 24/7/2006
I’ve enjoyed it far more than I thought I would, it’s been a hell of a lot of fun.

_____________________________

Yes, always.


(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 49
RE: Top 50 Books I've Read This Year: 2013 - 31/5/2013 8:10:47 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54677
Joined: 1/10/2005
Then it goes on my list

_____________________________

Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

(in reply to impqueen)
Post #: 50
RE: Top 50 Books I've Read This Year: 2013 - 31/5/2013 10:56:04 PM   
Sumintelligentguy


Posts: 3743
Joined: 31/8/2006
1. David Nicholls - Starter for 10
2. Mallory Blackman - Noughts and Crosses
3. Alex Garland - The Beach
4. William Golding - Lord of the Flies
5. Arthur Golden - Memoirs of a Geisha
6. Roald Dahl - The Twits
7. Nick Hornby - Haute Fidélité (High Fidelity)
8. J. M. Coetzee - Disgrace
9. Patrick Suskind - Perfume
10. Isaac Asimov - The Last Question
11. Gabriel García Márquez - Love in the Time of Cholera
12. David Foster Wallace - Infinite Jest
13. Candace Bushnell - Sex and the City
14. Nick Hornby - How To Be Good

After reading other books by Hornby (Slam, About a Boy, A Long Way Down, Fever Pitch and Juliet, Naked) I felt disappointed that Hornby hadn't matched or even come close to the quality found in High Fidelity. I avoided reading How To Be Good simply because the blurb didn't appeal to me. So i'm pleasantly surprised that it's such a good book - it's no High Fidelity but it's a close second. The story is weirdly entertaining with some cringeworthy moments - the first party scene springs to mind, despite ending on a note that made me more positive about human nature. Katie's musings on the need to fill a hole in your life you might not have known you had were insightful without being pretentious and I liked entering the plot through her point of view.


< Message edited by Sumintelligentguy -- 31/5/2013 10:57:24 PM >


_____________________________

"Snake? Snaaaake? SNAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!?"

R.I.P. Punchy

(in reply to Sumintelligentguy)
Post #: 51
RE: Top 50 Books I've Read This Year: 2013 - 31/5/2013 11:06:57 PM   
Sumintelligentguy


Posts: 3743
Joined: 31/8/2006
1. David Nicholls - Starter for 10
2. Mallory Blackman - Noughts and Crosses
3. Alex Garland - The Beach
4. William Golding - Lord of the Flies
5. Arthur Golden - Memoirs of a Geisha
6. Roald Dahl - The Twits
7. Nick Hornby - Haute Fidélité (High Fidelity)
8. J. M. Coetzee - Disgrace
9. Patrick Suskind - Perfume
10. Isaac Asimov - The Last Question
11. Gabriel García Márquez - Love in the Time of Cholera
12. David Foster Wallace - Infinite Jest
13. Candace Bushnell - Sex and the City
14. Nick Hornby - How To Be Good
15. Danny Wallace - Charlotte Street

Wallace's first foray into fiction is such a disappointment. His main character, Jason, spends too long trying to be "one of our mates" and his musings about living for the moment try too hard to replicate some of Nick Hornby's characters. Jason's best friend Dev is frustratingly disappointing also - you know the kind of character Wallace is trying to make him, the happy go lucky yang to Jason's serious ying but I think it just didn't work. Even when comparing Wallace to Hornby you realise that the former's novel is far too hollow to be considered in the same circle - the ideas lack depth and meaning which makes it altogether harder to relate to. There are a few laughs to be had but they are few and far between and the story is far too neat for my liking. It's such a shame because Wallace's non fiction is brilliant.

< Message edited by Sumintelligentguy -- 31/5/2013 11:09:03 PM >


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Post #: 52
RE: Top 50 Books I've Read This Year: 2013 - 2/6/2013 11:36:40 AM   
Rinc


Posts: 12841
Joined: 2/10/2005
From: A park bench, with a newspaper quilt
2. RebeccaDaphne Du Maurier (1938)
Took a little while to get going, and I'd already seen the Hitchcock film, but this still turned out to be very good. Mrs Danvers is an excellent character and the twists are all well written without it ever being too melodramatic. Perhaps the best thing is the narrator's train of thought using her wild imagination when anything happens.

7. Why Does e=mc²? Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw (2009)
This explained quite a few things to me such as how time slows as you're going faster but I got confused quite a bit. I'm obviously not meant to be a physicist! I couldn't help reading the whole thing with a Brian Cox voice inside my head either.

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Post #: 53
RE: Top 50 Books I've Read This Year: 2013 - 1/7/2013 7:05:43 AM   
impqueen


Posts: 7474
Joined: 24/7/2006
June

03. Wolf Hall [Thomas Cromwell Trilogy #01] (Hilary Mantel, 2009) Historical Fiction [5]
09. Embassytown (China Miéville, 2011) Science Ficiton Weird Fiction Fantasy Dystopian Language [4]
13. Wool (Hugh Howe, 2012) Science Ficiton Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic [4]
14. Doctor Who: The Burning [Eighth Doctor Adventure #37] (Justin Richards, 2000) Science Fiction Fantasy Adventure [4]
16. Blood Heat [Virgin New Adventures #19] (Jim Mortimore, 1993) Science Fiction Adventure [4]
19. Rivers of London [Peter Grant #01] (Ben Aaronovitch, 2011) Fantasy Science Ficiton Mystery Thriller [3]
28. When God Was a Rabbit (Sarah Winman, 2011) Young Adult Coming of Age Adult [2]


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Post #: 54
RE: Top 50 Books I've Read This Year: 2013 - 4/7/2013 10:58:30 AM   
Sumintelligentguy


Posts: 3743
Joined: 31/8/2006
1. David Nicholls - Starter for 10
2. Mallory Blackman - Noughts and Crosses
3. Alex Garland - The Beach
4. William Golding - Lord of the Flies
5. Arthur Golden - Memoirs of a Geisha
6. Roald Dahl - The Twits
7. Nick Hornby - Haute Fidélité (High Fidelity)
8. J. M. Coetzee - Disgrace
9. Patrick Suskind - Perfume
10. Isaac Asimov - The Last Question
11. Gabriel García Márquez - Love in the Time of Cholera
12. David Foster Wallace - Infinite Jest
13. Candace Bushnell - Sex and the City
14. Nick Hornby - How To Be Good
15. Danny Wallace - Charlotte Street
16. Bret Easton Ellis - American Psycho

Ellis penetrates the American psyche of the 1980's in glorious satirical fashion even if at times his persistent consistency can be a little off putting. When Bateman describes what everyone is wearing to the finest detail throughout the start of the novel, I could really feel the superficial social world that he inhabits. When this continues throughout the novel however, it gets a bit tedious. The deaths are gruesome, with one particular one involving a rat really difficult to read and yet I still enjoyed reading it.

< Message edited by Sumintelligentguy -- 4/7/2013 11:16:56 AM >


_____________________________

"Snake? Snaaaake? SNAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!?"

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Post #: 55
RE: Top 50 Books I've Read This Year: 2013 - 4/7/2013 11:06:20 AM   
Sumintelligentguy


Posts: 3743
Joined: 31/8/2006
1. David Nicholls - Starter for 10
2. Mallory Blackman - Noughts and Crosses
3. Alex Garland - The Beach
4. William Golding - Lord of the Flies
5. Arthur Golden - Memoirs of a Geisha
6. Roald Dahl - The Twits
7. Nick Hornby - Haute Fidélité (High Fidelity)
8. J. M. Coetzee - Disgrace
9. Patrick Suskind - Perfume
10. Isaac Asimov - The Last Question
11. Gabriel García Márquez - Love in the Time of Cholera
12. David Foster Wallace - Infinite Jest
13. Candace Bushnell - Sex and the City
14. Nick Hornby - How To Be Good
15. Danny Wallace - Charlotte Street
16. Bret Easton Ellis - American Psycho
17. Mark Haddon - The Red House

I loved The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Haddon so had middling hopes for The Red House. It was awful. The worst novel i've read all year. The characters were hard to relate to and I put this down to the way the story is told - roughly page long passages from each of the eight characters' points of view - which made it harder to settle and get comfortable with one particular character. The story was also lame and it was a relief to finish it. Normally I wouldn't have wasted my time with finishing it but the written style is breezy enough to allow you to get through it within a few sittings.


< Message edited by Sumintelligentguy -- 4/7/2013 11:08:39 AM >


_____________________________

"Snake? Snaaaake? SNAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!?"

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Post #: 56
RE: Top 50 Books I've Read This Year: 2013 - 16/7/2013 10:04:31 AM   
Sumintelligentguy


Posts: 3743
Joined: 31/8/2006
1. David Nicholls - Starter for 10
2. Mallory Blackman - Noughts and Crosses
3. Alex Garland - The Beach
4. William Golding - Lord of the Flies
5. Arthur Golden - Memoirs of a Geisha
6. Roald Dahl - The Twits
7. Nick Hornby - Haute Fidélité (High Fidelity)
8. J. M. Coetzee - Disgrace
9. Patrick Suskind - Perfume
10. Isaac Asimov - The Last Question
11. Gabriel García Márquez - Love in the Time of Cholera
12. David Foster Wallace - Infinite Jest
13. Candace Bushnell - Sex and the City
14. Nick Hornby - How To Be Good
15. Danny Wallace - Charlotte Street
16. Bret Easton Ellis - American Psycho
17. Mark Haddon - The Red House
18. Steig Larsson - The Girl Who Played With Fire (Millenium II)

I read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo late last year and thought it was a brilliant mystery/thriller. I held off reading the second because I actually thought it wasn't going to live up to my expectations. After months of my cousin's insistence that I should give The Girl Who Played With Fire a go I decided to buy it. I'm really glad I did. The central mystery is just as good, if not better than the first novel - especially as it feels more personal. While not much happens in the first 100 or so pages, we learn more about Lisbeth as a person - and that becomes more important as the story develops. The story is excellently written, one revelation towards the end shocked me so much that my mouth was open for a good 15 seconds before I carried on reading - I wish I was lying about that, but i'm not.

I think i'll hold off reading the final book for a while - i'm beginning to worry that I wont reach my 40 book target but the end of the year - though Infinite Jest did take up quite a lot of time.


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"Snake? Snaaaake? SNAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!?"

R.I.P. Punchy

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Post #: 57
RE: Top 50 Books I've Read This Year: 2013 - 29/7/2013 12:59:59 AM   
Sumintelligentguy


Posts: 3743
Joined: 31/8/2006
1. David Nicholls - Starter for 10
2. Mallory Blackman - Noughts and Crosses
3. Alex Garland - The Beach
4. William Golding - Lord of the Flies
5. Arthur Golden - Memoirs of a Geisha
6. Roald Dahl - The Twits
7. Nick Hornby - Haute Fidélité (High Fidelity)
8. J. M. Coetzee - Disgrace
9. Patrick Suskind - Perfume
10. Isaac Asimov - The Last Question
11. Gabriel García Márquez - Love in the Time of Cholera
12. David Foster Wallace - Infinite Jest
13. Candace Bushnell - Sex and the City
14. Nick Hornby - How To Be Good
15. Danny Wallace - Charlotte Street
16. Bret Easton Ellis - American Psycho
17. Mark Haddon - The Red House
18. Steig Larsson - The Girl Who Played With Fire (Millenium II)
19. J.D Salinger - The Catcher in the Rye

I was reluctant to read this as one friend said it's the best book he's ever read while another said it was a bit boring. I'm leaning towards the latter. Don't get me wrong, the narrative was snappy and Holden is an intriguing protagonist but nothing much of interest happens. His loneliness and his incapacity to grasp what he could do with his life shines through and yet there was nothing else keeping me engaged. A shame really as I feel if I had read this 5 years ago then I would have loved it.

_____________________________

"Snake? Snaaaake? SNAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!?"

R.I.P. Punchy

(in reply to Sumintelligentguy)
Post #: 58
RE: Top 50 Books I've Read This Year: 2013 - 29/7/2013 1:20:53 AM   
Sumintelligentguy


Posts: 3743
Joined: 31/8/2006
1. David Nicholls - Starter for 10
2. Mallory Blackman - Noughts and Crosses
3. Alex Garland - The Beach
4. William Golding - Lord of the Flies
5. Arthur Golden - Memoirs of a Geisha
6. Roald Dahl - The Twits
7. Nick Hornby - Haute Fidélité (High Fidelity)
8. J. M. Coetzee - Disgrace
9. Patrick Suskind - Perfume
10. Isaac Asimov - The Last Question
11. Gabriel García Márquez - Love in the Time of Cholera
12. David Foster Wallace - Infinite Jest
13. Candace Bushnell - Sex and the City
14. Nick Hornby - How To Be Good
15. Danny Wallace - Charlotte Street
16. Bret Easton Ellis - American Psycho
17. Mark Haddon - The Red House
18. Steig Larsson - The Girl Who Played With Fire (Millenium II)
19. J.D Salinger - The Catcher in the Rye
20. Khaled Hosseini - And the Mountains Echoed

The Kite Runner is one of my favourite books - in my top 5 - and so I was eager to read Hosseini's second novel A Thousand Splendid Suns as soon as it came out. I was expecting a book, as good if not better than TKR and I was sorely disappointed. So I approached And The Mountains Echoed with caution and while it doesn't match TKR's brilliance, it's a clear step up from ATSS.

The opening fable lingers throughout the course of the novel with each new chapter taking a different perspective from a network of characters. Most are brilliant - in fact of the 9 chapters, only two (Adel and Markos') felt like filler (that accounts for about 100 pages however) - Nila's story probably being my favourite. Despite its vastness, the story works best when the network is small ie centres on immediate family, as it allowed for me to really engage with characters. For example, the story opens with two siblings forced to part ways while the final chapter reunites them - however, it is done in such a refreshing way that it only serves to heighten the tragedy.

While not completely on par TKR's gut wrenching torrent of tragedy, it's still a fine example of effective emotive writing.

< Message edited by Sumintelligentguy -- 29/7/2013 1:55:41 AM >


_____________________________

"Snake? Snaaaake? SNAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!?"

R.I.P. Punchy

(in reply to Sumintelligentguy)
Post #: 59
RE: Top 50 Books I've Read This Year: 2013 - 1/8/2013 7:56:43 AM   
impqueen


Posts: 7474
Joined: 24/7/2006

quote:

ORIGINAL: Sumintelligentguy

19. J.D Salinger - The Catcher in the Rye

I was reluctant to read this as one friend said it's the best book he's ever read while another said it was a bit boring. I'm leaning towards the latter. Don't get me wrong, the narrative was snappy and Holden is an intriguing protagonist but nothing much of interest happens. His loneliness and his incapacity to grasp what he could do with his life shines through and yet there was nothing else keeping me engaged. A shame really as I feel if I had read this 5 years ago then I would have loved it.


I read this when I was 15 and I hated it, Holden Caulfield is an idiot.*

July

Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos #1) (Dan Simmons, 1989) Science Ficiton Space Opera Fantasy Time Travel

An absolutely brilliant read fantastically enjoyable. It is (as has been) said The Canterbury Tales in Space! However it’s a very good journey and I’m looking forward to reading the rest in the series. [4]

The Court of the Air [Jackelian #01] (Stephen Hunt, 2007) Science Fiction Steampunk Fantasy Speculative Historical Fiction

I really wanted love this book especially given the effort that seems to have been put in by the author and though I did like the book and enjoy much about it something didn’t click. I think for me it was the world’s language unlike a lot of my favourite authors and books where dialects have been created to bring the stories to life and give a sense of time and place in The Court of the Air it didn’t flow right. I would be reading and then something would crop up (sometimes continuously) and I’d be jolted out of my warm comfy fiction. This is a long series and I will probably go on to read the other books but I think I’d have to reread Air and though not unwelcome it may be a while before I see where the story goes. [3]

Frontier Worlds [Eighth Doctor Adventures #29]
(Peter Anghelides, 2000) Science Fiction Adventure
It took me a while to get back into the mind of Fitz Kreiner but once I readjusted it’s not such a bad place to be. [3]

The Dimension Riders [Virgin New Adventures #20] (Daniel Blythe, 1993) Science Fiction Adventure
Not nearly as good as Blood Heat but still an interesting adventure with the Seventh Doctor on particular good form. [3]

Comics/Graphic Novels

American Vampire Vol. 4 (American Vampire #19-27) (Scott Snyder / Rafael Albuquerque, 2012) Horror Fantasy Historical Ficiton
Hmm there are a few moments of bloody fun and cool but it is a bit of a step down from the previous three volumes. [3]

Zero Year Batman #21 (Batman: The New 52 #21)
(Scott Snyder, 2013) DC Batman
I didn’t like it. [2]


*Unpopular opinion.


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Post #: 60
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