Challenge: 50 Books discussion

2010 > astrangerhere (2010) - 101 and still counting

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message 1: by astrangerhere (last edited Mar 02, 2010 08:40AM) (new)

astrangerhere new here and catching up my list for the year. more to come

Books for January and February

1. The Maltese Falcon - part of my exploration of noir and great classic films that were based on books.

2. After Dark - part of my challenge to read all of Murakami

3. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - part of my attempt to read all of Holmes this year

4. Farewell, My Lovely - part of my exploration of noir

5. Swag - My first jaunt into Elmore Leonard. I will not be making a return trip.

6. The Pearl Diver - part of my exploration of fiction from and/or about Japan

7. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes - part of my attempt to read all of Holmes this year

8. The Titanic Murders - random braincrap book.

9. Spice and Wolf, Vol. 1 - part of my exploration of fiction from and/or about Japan

10. The Hound of the Baskervilles - part of my attempt to read all of Holmes this year

11. The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare - I've read most of Chesterton already, just picking up a straggler title here

12. Dune - a collegue said "you just have to read it." and so I did. I will not be reading more of the series.

message 2: by astrangerhere (last edited Feb 26, 2010 06:02AM) (new)

astrangerhere astrangerhere wrote: "new here and catching up my list for the year. more to come

Finished After the Quake (#13 for the year) this morning. Not my favorite Murakami, thus far. Though his language and dialog style is still delightfully hypnotic. Next up will be somethng from Kazuo Ishiguro, I think.

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astrangerhere 14. War and Peace - After 2 months, I have made it through the new translation! Having read it before, the story was not new to me, but the translation was simply wonderful. A great update to an old classic.

15. Never Let Me Go - Came across this by way of a search of Japanese authors, though Ishiguro is for all intents and purposes British. Great read and a haunting tale of medical ethics and the lengths we might one day go to.

message 4: by Molly (new)

Molly | 330 comments astrangerhere wrote: "14. War and Peace - After 2 months, I have made it through the new translation! Having read it before, the story was not new to me, but the translation was simply wonderful. A great ..."

I am almost halfway through W&P myself right now. Another blogging friend and I are reading it together and blogging about a set of characters each week to show others that reading the classics is not as scary as it gets a reputation for being. The Pevear & Vol. translation is so readable. I read their translation of Anna K. last year and it was equally good. I think it is because they went to great pains to research and stay true to Tolstoy's own words.

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astrangerhere 16. The African Queen - Another book that led to a wonderful classic film. Having now read it, Bogie was born to play the drunk captain Alnut.

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astrangerhere Molly wrote:I am almost halfway through W&P myself right now..."

This was a second read through of the novel forme, though the first with the delightful Peaver translation. Readable doesn't even begin to describe it. One of the major book reviews posted a great article when the new translation was published. It compared swatches of the original translation with this new one. Clearly, the difference was like night and day.

Thanks for the comment :)

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astrangerhere 17. Kitchen - part of my exploration of Japanese literature. Bar none, one of the best novellas I've read in a very long time.

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astrangerhere 18. The Big Sleep - Left this off my initial catch up list for January and February (oops). Book #1 of Raymond Chandler's Phillip Marlow stories was fantastic. Chandler did not invent crime noir, but he may have single-handedly created the genre into an art.

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astrangerhere 19. The Return of Sherlock Holmes - Part of my continued challenge to read all of Holmes this year. I must say, it is starting to show that Doyle wanted to stop writing Holmes with "His Last Bow," but was forced by finances to write more. There were perhaps two good stories out of this collection of six.

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astrangerhere 20. The High Window - part of my exploration of noir, though not Chandler's best.

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astrangerhere 21. The Stars My Destination - A cyber-punk classic written before either term. This was a jewel of a novel from 1956 that should be much more well known than it is. It brings to mind listening to The Shadow or X-minus radio programs with the maturity of age and language that those shows lacked.

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astrangerhere 22. Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World - continuation of my self-challenge to read all of Murakami this year. An anime was later made out of half of this novel's content, give or take, and I think both brought out the best in one another.

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astrangerhere 23. N.P. - From the aferword: "I wanted to communicate the notion that such people should be able to live as they please, without interference from others. Anyone should." Continuation of my exploration of Japanese authors.

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astrangerhere 24. Inventing Japan: 1853-1964 - part of my continual study of Japan and Japanese history. Disappointing read.

25. Shutter Island - read for The Next Best Book Club march book. I like Lehane generally and this book was no exception.

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astrangerhere 26. The Lady in the Lake - Continuation of exploration of noir. Not Chandler's best, perhaps because it was overshadowed by the 1943 draft ahead of American participation in WWII. Many characters mentioned it and there was an air of desperation to all the characters because of it.

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astrangerhere 27. The Valley of Fear - part of my self-challenge to read all of Holmes this year.

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astrangerhere 28. The Picture of Dorian Gray - read this for The Next Best Book Club book for March. It was made a fabulous pair with Shutter Island as both are fascinating studies on what guilt can (and cannot) do to a person. Hadn't read it since college, and was glad to revisit an old title.

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Kerri astrangerhere wrote: "28. The Picture of Dorian Gray - read this for The Next Best Book Club book for March. It was made a fabulous pair with Shutter Island as both are fascinating studies on what guilt can..."

I really like the way you paired these two books for the purpose of comparing and contrasting. I read them both, but had several other reads in between the two so hadn't made the connection. Thanks for helping me use my noggin!

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Kerri astrangerhere wrote: "astrangerhere wrote: "new here and catching up my list for the year. more to come

Finished After the Quake (#13 for the year) this morning. Not my favorite Murakami, thus far. Th..."

So, what is your favorite Murakami? I read the Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and liked it...what else would you suggest by him?

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astrangerhere 29. A Wild Sheep Chase- my continuation of reading (or re-reading) all of Murakami. I normally try to read authors chronologically, but feel that I saved myself from missing a great author by not having done so here. If I had read this first, I would likely never have picked up Murakami again. The style and substance are similar to what I've grown to love from Haruki-san, but it was all very blunted and heavy handed. I think I appreciate it more for what it promises for his later works rather than the novel itself.

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Sarah (sarahj) I've read only one Murakami, but have a few more on my list. Interesting to see your Japanese venture!

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astrangerhere 30. The Last Day the Dogbushes Bloomed - A Southern coming of age story that brings to mind To Kill a Mockingbird without the crime and trial going on in the background. This was Lee Smith's first novel and shines with the promise that her later works would have.

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astrangerhere 31. Tanglewood Tales - I've read most of Hawthorne's other stories and this was a disappointment. I was looking for something short before my copy of Tale of Genji gets here today, but felt like I wasted my time with this.

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astrangerhere 32. The Moviegoer a bit of good Southern fiction, set during the Catholic holy week. Seemed the right time to finish it up. The book ends on Ash Wednesday, and I finished it the day before.

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astrangerhere 33. His Last Bow - continuing my efforts to read all of Sherlock Holmes this year. Just one left!

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astrangerhere 34. The Tale of Genji: A Reader's Guide - read in preparation for starting The Tale of Genji. Part of my continuing study of Japanese literature.

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astrangerhere 35. The Elephant Vanishes: Stories - Part of my continued self-challenge to read all of Haruki Murakami's fiction.

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astrangerhere 36. The Last Dickens: A Novel - this was a random read in the midst of my self-challenges that has me considering reading (and re-reading) some other Dickens works.

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astrangerhere 37. Lemon byKajii/Motojiro - Practicing my Japanese listening skills. Had this little book in audio form read by a resident of Yokohama. Delightful and peaceful read.

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astrangerhere 38. Drood - picked it up on a whim after reading The Last Dickens.

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astrangerhere Making up for a month-long work required absence:

39. The Big Nowhere and
40. L.A. Confidential - working on finishing up the LA Quartet.
41. The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon - more Japanese literature :)

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astrangerhere 42. Strange Fiction: Stories by H. G. Wells - Short stories on a whim. Did not make as much an impression on me as Wells best (The Food of the Gods), but still interesting. The best story was the the kingdom of the blind.

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astrangerhere 43. METAtropolis: The Dawn of Uncivilization - I don't reccomend it. I wanted a nice bit of post-apocolyptic fiction, and the entire time I was reading, I had the faint note of being preached at. Instant turn off.

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astrangerhere 44. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie - I enjoyed the precocious little Flavia, though at times I was a bit incredulous of her knowledge. I figured out the mystery before she did, but that did not make her adventure any less fun to me.

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astrangerhere 45. Winter's Tale - I have been meaning to get around to this for years, and now that I have, it was a bit anti-climatic. The first half of the book was so good that I was disappointed in the last half.

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astrangerhere 46. A Fall of Moondust - Random sci-fi read to get through the day

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astrangerhere 47. Pride and Prejudice - Read for The Next Best Book Club's June read. It was a re-read and it was just as enjoyable as it was the first time. Austens' dialogue is still every bit as relevant and quite a bit smarter than alot of dialogue you find in novels of the same breed today.

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astrangerhere 48. Across the Nightingale Floor - A lovely mix of historical fiction with a tiny dash of the fantastical. I read this because it was set in Japan, but the voices of the narrators and the story itself were well worth the time, irrespective of its setting.

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Chris (chrismd) | 408 comments Tales of the Otori turned out to be a wonderful series. The second one is the most disappointing of the lot (sort of a "filler" for the rest of the story), but the third one and the sequel are excellent. I still need to go back and read the prequel, which tells the story of Shigeru and Lady Maruyama.

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astrangerhere 49. The Uncommon Reader - fantastic fictionalization of the Queen who discovers reading late in life. Funny and thought provoking, it was well worth the time it took for the little novella.

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astrangerhere 50 BOOKS NOW COMPLETE

50. The Sound and the Fury - a re-read of one of his best. Faulkner has always fascinated me, and I always find that this particular novel always gives me something new, each time i pick it up.

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astrangerhere 51. Lady Susan - I am going through all of Austen in chronological order, and this was the top of the list. Great study in writing a novel through letters. I got the impression, near the end, that she grew bored with it, however and found a convenient way to cut it off and sum the story up. Either way, a fun, quick little read.

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astrangerhere 52. Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy - Great treatise on strategy and the samurai way. I enjoyed this far more than The Art of War.

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astrangerhere 53. The Haunted House - A fascinating little collection of stories bourne out of Dickens letting what was alleged to be a haunted house and having his friends come stay in it with him. He proposed that they all write a story while in the house, and this little book was the result. I enjoyed Adelaide Anne Procters long poem the best. This would be a great read for anyone looking for a halloween spirit.

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astrangerhere 54. The Touchstone: A Story - A fantastic portrait of a lost art. The story of a man who sells love letters after the object of his affection has died and the effect that it has on him. I think with a proper understanding of how correspondence was a part of life in the period of the novel (1890-1900), the book becomes much more moving.

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astrangerhere 55. Shinju - I was more interested in the setting that I was the story. I felt there were gaps and leaps here and there in the "way of the warrior" thread, but overall, a nice historical mystery. I might continue the series, though not immediately.

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astrangerhere 56. Shades of Grey: The Road to High Saffron - read it on a whim, and loved it.

message 48: by Ann A (new)

Ann A (readerann) | 775 comments Molly wrote: "astrangerhere wrote: "14. War and Peace - After 2 months, I have made it through the new translation! Having read it before, the story was not new to me, but the translation was simpl..."

I read their translation of "The Brothers Karamazov" a few months ago - enjoyed it immensely.

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astrangerhere 57. Black Coffee - Read in a single afternoon due to it being disablingly hot outside. I thought to read all of Agatha Christie last year but ran into a wall not being able to find this book at my library. Now I have every scrap Lady Agatha has ever written on my Nook and am ready to dive in again :)

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astrangerhere 58. A House to Let - Another collaborative work between Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Elizabeth Gaskell and Adelaide Anne Procter. I did not enjoy this quite as much as A Haunted House, but still I enjoy the bouncing about between authors. I'll now start attacking Dickens in earnest.

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