Challenge: 50 Books discussion

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Finish Line 2013! Yay! > Lauli's 2013 books

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message 1: by Lauli (new)

Lauli | 343 comments Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell 1) Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
I found this book exquisite. Like a carefully composed symphony, it consists of many different sections, but different themes are picked up and woven into all of them to create cohesion where there seems to be none. Mitchell's story-telling is masterful.


message 2: by Lauli (new)

Lauli | 343 comments Life of Pi by Yann Martel 2) Life of Pi by Yann Martel
I loved this book about a young castaway cast adrift with a tiger in the Pacific ocean. Seems to be a straight adventure/fantasy story until a twist at the end shows us that it's really about story-telling and the value of interpretation when it comes to life experiences. Deeply moving.


message 3: by Lauli (new)

Lauli | 343 comments The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers 3) The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
A sensitive and insightful novel about five lonely characters with a very rich internal life and their impossibility to get through to others. McCullers creates a rich world and touches on a multiplicity of themes, from social criticism of the American South in the 1930s and the consequences of the depression, to coming of age, sex and family relationships. An astounding achievement for a 23-year-old girl.


message 4: by Lauli (new)

Lauli | 343 comments A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, #3) by George R.R. Martin 4) A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
I can't believe how much I fell behind! Well, I'll try to catch up. This one was good, super long, not the best book I've read, obviously, but gripping and entertaining.


message 5: by Lauli (new)

Lauli | 343 comments Emaús by Alessandro Baricco 5) Emmaus by Alessandro Baricco
A beautifully written story of initiation into the complexities and mysteries of adult life by a group of zealous teenagers raised in a suffocating struggling-middle-class environment. Heartbreaking and simply beautiful.


message 6: by Lauli (new)

Lauli | 343 comments On the Road by Jack Kerouac 6) On the Road by Jack Kerouac
I don't have the remotest chance of getting this challenge finished this year, but I'll keep going for nostalgia's sake.
This book blew me away. I can see why it's considered one of the great modern American classics. Having a weakness for road books and movies, I couldn't but love Sal and Dean's cross-country adventure through the American night. The descriptions of bebop played in underground clubs and of outcasts and misfits Sal encounters on the road are vivid and memorable. A great read.


message 7: by Lauli (new)

Lauli | 343 comments Hacer el amor/ Make Love (Divulgacion Historica) by Ricardo Lesser 7) Hacer el amor/ Make Love by Ricardo Lesser
A riveting account of the various forms of love and lust in the Spanish colonies in America in the XVIII century, and the corresponding forms of censorship and punishment devised by the authorities to keep deviants at bay.


message 8: by Lauli (new)

Lauli | 343 comments Fasting, Feasting by Anita Desai 8) Fasting, Feasting by Anita Desai
This is one of those stories where nothing much seems to happen, yet it is also a complex portrayal of two societies and two misfits trying desperately to come to terms with their place in them. Alternating moments of pain, joy and revelation, the two protagonists make their personal way through an antagonistic world.


message 9: by Lauli (new)

Lauli | 343 comments Los miserables by Victor Hugo 9) Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
Reading this book took ages, but I must say it was completely worth it. The story is simply mesmerizing, and although I was a little thrown off by some of the many digressions Hugo incurred in, I found in them some of the most inspiring pieces on revolution, mutiny and social justice. A must.


message 10: by Lauli (new)

Lauli | 343 comments Glosa by Juan José Saer 10) Glosa
Saer is undoubtedly one of the best writers my country has produced. Probably the best in the last quarter of a century. His prose blows me away. It is hard to say what this novel is about. A 21 block walk shared by two friends opens up a series of flashbacks, flashforwards, re-tellings of re-tellings and so many narrative techniques deployed masterfully by Saer that it is impossible to sum them up. A masterpiece.


message 11: by Alison (new)

Alison G. (agriff22) | 540 comments Im reading LesMis right now. Just about at page 100. When does Cossette come into the picture? im getting tired of all the background.


message 12: by Lauli (new)

Lauli | 343 comments Alison wrote: "Im reading LesMis right now. Just about at page 100. When does Cossette come into the picture? im getting tired of all the background."

ooh, get used to the background! It takes up fifty per cent of the book! Cosette comes into the picture after about... 300 pages? But in my case, at least, I ended up acquiring a taste for the background, especially when it comes to the revolution. Give it a chance!


message 13: by Alison (new)

Alison G. (agriff22) | 540 comments ok. Im not even to Napolean and Waterloo yet. lol


message 14: by Lauli (last edited Jul 06, 2013 08:11AM) (new)

Lauli | 343 comments La Ilíada by Homer 11) The Iliad by Homer
It feels so good to finally have read this book! It's been on my to-read list since I was around 12. I didn't like it as much as I did The Odyssey, but there are some really unforgettable scenes, especially Priam's interview with Achilles. I hope it would cover more of the Trojan war. Where is the horse?


message 15: by Lauli (last edited Dec 18, 2013 08:32AM) (new)

Lauli | 343 comments I'm obviously not going to complete this challenge this year, but I fell behind posting, so at least I'm going to update it!

Las ratas by José Bianco 12) Las ratas by José Bianco
An excellent psychological novel by an author who is not as famous as he should be considering his literary talent.


message 16: by Lauli (new)

Lauli | 343 comments El Frasquito by Luis Gusmán 13) El Frasquito by Luis Gusmán
A very experimental and polyphonic novel which shows a boy's attempt to come to terms with his family situation, sexual impulses and the cultural detritus which makes up his world. Masterful writing.


message 17: by Lauli (last edited Dec 18, 2013 08:37AM) (new)

Lauli | 343 comments Six Problems of Don Isidro by Jorge Luis Borges 14) Six Problems of Don Isidro by Jorge Luis Borges
This is one of the cleverest, funniest books I've read. Borges's parody of detective fiction and the social stereotypes current when he was writing is simply exquisite.


message 18: by Lauli (new)

Lauli | 343 comments La ciudad junto al río inmóvil by Eduardo Mallea 15) La ciudad junto al río inmóvil by Eduardo Mallea
This is one of those cases of books that just don't age well. Mallea's concern with men trapped in their own anguish does not really come through as interesting. But there's some beautiful prose in it, it must be said.


message 19: by Lauli (new)

Lauli | 343 comments Don Segundo Sombra by Ricardo Güiraldes 16) Don Segundo Sombra by Ricardo Güiraldes
A beautifully written initiation novel about a young boy training to become a "gaucho" and going through various rites of passage in his transition to maturity. Its values, for today's standards, are terribly conservative. But the beauty of its prose makes it worth reading.


message 20: by Lauli (new)

Lauli | 343 comments Gotán Violín y otras cuestiones, El juego en que andamos, Velorio del solo, Gotán (Spanish Edition) by Juan Gelman 17) Gotan y Otras Cuestiones: Poesia by Juan Gelman
Some of the best poetry I've read. Simple, touching, deep.


message 21: by Lauli (new)

Lauli | 343 comments La Calle del Agujero En La Media - Todos Bailan by Raúl González Tuñón 18) La Calle del Agujero En La Media - Todos Bailan by Raúl González Tuñón
A pleasant discovery: González Tuñón talks about the social situation in Argentina and the world in the 30s and prophetizes the coming of revolution and justice. Wrong though he was, the optimism in his poetry is contagious and compelling.


message 22: by Lauli (new)

Lauli | 343 comments The Woman in Black by Susan Hill 19) The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
Good, old-fashioned, Victorian thrills. What could possibly go wrong?


message 23: by Lauli (new)

Lauli | 343 comments Teacher's Dead by Benjamin Zephaniah 20) Teacher's Dead by Benjamin Zephaniah
I read this novel with my high school students and it turned out to be great stuff for discussion. What makes a person a killer? What role does the press have in the building of stereotypes? How ready are we to make assumptions instead of finding out the truth? A really deep and insightful book.


message 24: by Lauli (new)

Lauli | 343 comments Kafka Toward a Minor Literature by Gilles Deleuze 21) Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature by Gilles Deleuze
I just profoundly envy people who can read this insightfully into literary works. Deleuze's analysis of Kafka's work is mind-blowing. A must.


message 25: by Lauli (new)

Lauli | 343 comments David Copperfield  by Charles Dickens 22) David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
Dickens is one of those authors one needs to read periodically. He's such a perfect antidote against bad temper. And so humanely moving. And this novel is no exception. The cast of characters (Micawber, Uriah Heep, Miss Betsey Trotwood) are unforgettable.


message 26: by Lauli (new)

Lauli | 343 comments 1984 by George Orwell 23) 1984 by George Orwell
I don't know why it took me so long to finally read this book, but it was every bit as mind-blowing as I expected it to be. Some descriptions of Oceania's totalitarian government made my hair stand on end, as they seem to foreshadow many of the atrocities that have taken place in various parts of the world since the book was written. I was also fascinated by the relationship Orwell draws between language and the system of thought. Simply brilliant.


message 27: by Lauli (new)

Lauli | 343 comments Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov 24) Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Well, I had a very meagre harvest this year, but I finished it with a masterpiece, which is always nice. This book is amazing, not only because of how masterfully it tackles a very delicate topic, but because of Nabokov's exquisite prose, considering that he spoke English as a second language. (If only I could write in English like that!)


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