Challenge: 50 Books discussion

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2010 > Zee's 50 Books for 2010 - Completed!

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message 1: by P. (last edited May 28, 2010 11:40AM) (new)

P. (shimizusan) | 131 comments I am a member of at least two other book challenge groups, inc. the '1001 Books To Read Before You Die', and I'm hoping that the titles I'm reading for that will help me complete this smaller challenge!

First of all, I'll list all the books I have read so far this year. Clicking on the links will take you to my review of them on my blog:

1. The Twits by Roald Dahl
2. The Sorrows of Young Werther by Goethe
3. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
4. A Partisan's Daughter by Louis de Bernieres
5. The Motorcycle Diaries by Che Guevara
6. The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham
7. A Man's Head by Georges Simenon
8. The Lost Estate by Alain Fournier
9. Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
10. The Devil and Miss Prym by Paulo Coelho
11.The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald
12. Crazy by Bejamin Lebert
13. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
14. The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein by Peter Ackroyd
15. The Calligrapher's Night by Yasmine Ghata
16. Boy: Tales of Childhood by Roald Dahl
17. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

Here's hoping I make the 50 by the end of the year! I will aim to read at least 4/5 books a month to reach my goal.


message 2: by Heather (new)

Heather Nice list! What did you think of A Partisan's Daughter? I read about 20 pages of it and never managed to pick it back up again!


message 3: by P. (new)

P. (shimizusan) | 131 comments Hi Heather, thanks!

The book wasn't nearly as good as his previous ones. It was a bit of a disappointment and it's put me off reading 'Birds Without Wings'. You were right to never pick it up again, but I can't dismiss it completely as it does have it's moments, especially towards the end when we see different sides to the characters.

I reviewed it on my blog if you want to check it out: http://shimizu-star.spaces.live.com/b...

I recommend you read the novels on Latin America. You can see his real talent shine through with those.


message 4: by Heather (new)

Heather Zee wrote: "Hi Heather, thanks!

The book wasn't nearly as good as his previous ones. It was a bit of a disappointment and it's put me off reading 'Birds Without Wings'. You were right to never pick it up ag..."


I thought Bird Without Wings was good, but not nearly as good as Corelli. I read Red Dog and didn't like it AT ALL, but maybe that's because I'm Australian and the novelty of Western Australian colloquialisms wasn't quite what it would be for a foreigner.
I've had Don Emmanuel, Senor Vivo and Troublesome Offspring on my bookshelf for ever, but haven't quite gotten around to reading them yet. I might give them a go, now :)


message 5: by P. (last edited May 28, 2010 11:42AM) (new)

P. (shimizusan) | 131 comments 18. Memoirs of a Master Forger by William Heaney (or Graham Joyce, as it's rumoured to be!)

Click link for review!


message 6: by P. (new)

P. (shimizusan) | 131 comments Heather wrote: "Zee wrote: "Hi Heather, thanks!

The book wasn't nearly as good as his previous ones. It was a bit of a disappointment and it's put me off reading 'Birds Without Wings'. You were right to never p..."


The ones on your bookshelf are PERFECT. You should read them as soon as humanly possible. His humour is something I really miss in his newer books. It's really quite wicked and it catches you off guard. I find myself laughing out loud, which is kind of embarrasing when others are in the room. :)

I didn't know 'Red Dog' was based in Australia. I did see it once, a rather thin book isn't it?


message 7: by Heather (new)

Heather Yeah, it's a really small book, and is the true story of an Australian dog in a small country town who's essentially a stray but is loved by everyone. The book is made up of little anecdotes about the dog, which I actually found pretty boring, so if it doesn't sound like something you'd like then I wouldn't bother reading it. Nothing like his other books, and it didn't have that wonderful tone of his :)


message 8: by P. (new)

P. (shimizusan) | 131 comments I guess I'll give it a read sometime. Right now I've got about 6 other books on my list. I'm looking for thin books anyway. I'm tired of reading the heavy ones. I've done so for years and I don't think I've got the concentration for it anymore!!!

Can you recommend any good novels about Australia? Or any good novelists?


message 9: by P. (new)

P. (shimizusan) | 131 comments 19. The Electric Church

I got more than halfway through it, but something was missing. I couldn't get into it at all... I'll write up the review later.


message 10: by Heather (last edited May 10, 2010 06:30PM) (new)

Heather I think the big Australian novelists are Peter Carey and Tim Winton. I've personally never read Tim Winton, but everyone LOVES him, and raves about Dirt Music, Cloudstreet : A Novel, and Breath. In terms of Peter Carey, True History of the Kelly Gang is excellent and is about Ned Kelly (and for which he won the Booker prize), and so is His Illegal Self. He also won the booker (the only author besides J.M Coetzee to win it twice) for Oscar and Lucinda, but I've never read that. They're probably the most popular Australian authors; that and David Malouf.
In terms of good Australian novels, I can only really think of Shantaram, which isn't so much about Australia as it is about Bombay (but is excellent, nonetheless) and A Fraction of the Whole. Hopefully you can find something in that list :)


message 11: by Heather (last edited May 10, 2010 06:38PM) (new)

Heather I completely forgot Kate Grenville! Her book The Secret River is about the convicts first coming to Australia and their encounters with Indigenous Australians, and is an EXCELLENT read. It won a ton of awards. She's also written a number of other books which are supposed to be great, though I haven't read anything else she's done.

In terms of authors, I completely forgot about Markus Zusak!. If you haven't read The Book Thief, you don't know what you're missing! The most beautiful thing I've probably ever read.

Finally, for a quick, easy, enjoyable read, I'd recommend The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, but Mark Haddon. Not really a sprawling Australian Epic, but an enjoyable read set in Melbourne.


message 12: by P. (new)

P. (shimizusan) | 131 comments Wow. Thanks for that woonderful list. Mark Haddon is one I've had my eye on for a while though I have the Markus Zusak one and I didn't really enjoy it. Maybe a re-read is in order when my brain is a little less stressed!


message 13: by Heather (new)

Heather oooh how could you not like it! I loved it! But everyone's different, I guess :)


message 14: by Belinda (last edited May 11, 2010 05:45PM) (new)

Belinda | 13 comments I don't like Tim Winton, though I seem to be in the minority. I think he writes like he thinks he's god's gift to literature, and his lack of punctuation annoys me.
Kate Morton is very good... Also Markus Zusak (The Messenger isnt quite as amazing as The Book Thief). "A Fraction of the Whole" by Steve Tolz is very funny. "The Thorn Birds" by Colleen McCulloch is popular too.

Books about Australia, go for "A Fortunate Life" by A.B Facey. Simply written, it's an autobiography of a man growing up in Western Australia and the challenges he faced. Not amazing literature, but an amazing story. Also, "We of the Never Never" by Mrs Aeneas Gunn!

As classics go, "Picnic at Hanging Rock" by Joan Lindsey blew me away, that book is amazing!! Ruth Park is also awesome. Her kids books "The Muddle Headed Wombat" series are adorable, but she writes for grown ups, "Harp in the South" is one of them.

If I think of more I'll post them up =)
I'm with Heather, I LOVED The Book Thief!


message 15: by Belinda (new)

Belinda | 13 comments BRYCE COURTENAY! How did we both forget?? I think I've sold more of his books than anyone elses! "Matthew Flinder's Cat", "The Power of One", The Potato Factory trilogy, "Sylvia", "Jessica", "April Fool's Day"... It goes on and on!


message 16: by P. (last edited May 28, 2010 11:43AM) (new)

P. (shimizusan) | 131 comments 20. Surfacing by Margaret Atwood

Wow! Hi Bella, what a wonderful list you've got there. I'm overwhelmed! I know what to do, make an 'Australian Book List'. Read by country. That could be a challenge all on it's own.

'Picnic at Hanging Rock'? Wasn't that a film? I remember watching something like that a few years back.

Yeah, it seems like I'm one of the minority that didn't get the Zusak. I feel like an anomaly! As I said, I'm going to re-read it another time, when I'm not so geared up for these challenges. My favourite character has to be death though. I love how he explains things in a slightly autistic fashion. He doesn't know what crying is, so he tries to describe it as in an abstract way.


message 17: by P. (new)

P. (shimizusan) | 131 comments 21. Disquiet by Julia Leigh.


message 18: by Arlene (last edited May 13, 2010 07:07AM) (new)

Arlene | 388 comments Zee, I stopped reading The Book Thief because I just couldn't get into it. I will probably pick it up again later.
I am glad I am not the only one who isn't singing praises of this book.


message 19: by P. (last edited May 28, 2010 11:44AM) (new)

P. (shimizusan) | 131 comments 22. Push by Sapphire

Yay! Another person who didn't get it! Sorry... I shouldn't be celebrating, but at least I know there are others out there. Yeah, like you, I hope to read it another time. I've had books like that when at first I can't get into it, but then after a few years my perspective suddenly shifts and I'm like 'WHOA' this books actually quite awesome.


message 21: by P. (last edited May 28, 2010 11:45AM) (new)

P. (shimizusan) | 131 comments 24. Esther's Inheritance by Sandor Marai


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message 23: by P. (last edited Jun 04, 2010 02:56PM) (new)

P. (shimizusan) | 131 comments 26. Spring Flowers, Spring Frost

(what an awful book...)


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P. (shimizusan) | 131 comments 28. The Book about Blanche and Marie

(REALLY liked it)


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P. (shimizusan) | 131 comments 29. A Pale View of Hills

(Can't believe I'm almost at 30 books!!!


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P. (shimizusan) | 131 comments 30. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

(At long last...)


message 28: by Gozde (new)

Gozde (yoshimim) | 80 comments you'll make it :)


message 29: by P. (new)

P. (shimizusan) | 131 comments Yup! I made it! whew. But it was hard work :)


message 30: by P. (new)

P. (shimizusan) | 131 comments 31. South of the Border, West of the Sun

I loved this book... Sputnik Sweetheart is NEXT!! Yay!


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P. (shimizusan) | 131 comments 33. In the Miso Soup
Creepy! But it's got nuthin' on Ellis!


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P. (shimizusan) | 131 comments 34. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream

Riding high on the image of Dr. Gonzo's 'White Rabbit' trip... people, you have to read this. It's for the sake of your own sanity.


message 34: by P. (new)

P. (shimizusan) | 131 comments 35. The Rapture (audiobook)


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P. (shimizusan) | 131 comments 43. The Good Soldier
These people totally disgusted me. Atrocious behaviour! And they call themselves decent people. pfft.


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P. (shimizusan) | 131 comments 44. The Hound of the Baskervilles
Got there in the end. Glad to say it was rather good!


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P. (shimizusan) | 131 comments 45. Twenty Fragments of a Ravenous Youth

Brilliant! 4/5 stars.


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P. (shimizusan) | 131 comments 46. Amulet

3/5 Stars. The end was amazing.


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P. (shimizusan) | 131 comments 47. Lavinia

At last!!


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message 48: by P. (new)

P. (shimizusan) | 131 comments 50. The Passion of New Eve - Angela Carter

Finished! WOOT! Now let's see how many I can read till the end of the year...


message 49: by Pinar (new)

Pinar Celebi (pinuccia) Wowww! Congrat's Zee. I was extremely lazy during summer and didn't read properly, didn't even update my blog. Now autumn is here and I hope to gear up. I'm reading my 31st book now. I hope to reach 50 before the end of the year.

As for you, I think you'll easily reach 75 by the end of the year. It's roughly 2 books/week, quite doable :)


message 50: by P. (new)

P. (shimizusan) | 131 comments Thanks Pinar! You can still do it too I know you can. Yes, I did visit your blog a few times - you should pick it up again. I enjoyed reading your reviews :)

Still need to read 'Little Bee' and 'Boy With the Striped Pyjamas'.


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