Challenge: 50 Books discussion

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Finish Line 2012! > Fungii's Fifty Books in 2012

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message 1: by Fungii (new)

Fungii | 176 comments I made it to 50 last year, so I'm going to give it a shot again this year!

The White Lioness by Henning Mankell

1. The White Lioness by Herman Mankell

***

The third book in the Wallander series, this novel splits its narrative between Sweden and South Africa during the transition from Apartheid to a modern democracy. While the South African sections are interesting, I wish the novel would have spent more time with Wallander. The two stories remain pretty separate through to the end and they don't really compliment each other very well. Not a bad novel though, just not great.


message 2: by Fungii (new)

Fungii | 176 comments The Handle (Parker, #8) by Richard Stark

2. The Handle by Richard Stark

***

Another Parker novel. This time he's ripping off a gambling house off the coast of Cuba with the feds breathing down his neck, trying to get him to bring in the owner. It's the usual Parker story, good pulp fun.


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Fungii | 176 comments The Man Who Smiled (Wallander #4) by Henning Mankell

3.The Man Who Smiled by Henning Mankell

***

Ouch, only 3 books so far this year, I better get reading or I'll never make it!

This book was ok, but a bit too formulaic at times. I couldn't help but notice a lot of elements in this book also appeared in "The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo". The financial corruption, there's journalist with the name "Lisbeth", there's a reference to Wallander's memory almost being "photographic", just a lot of little things that reminded me of that novel. Obviously Stieg Larsson read this book and either conciously or unconciously incorporated a lot of the same elements in his own novel. Not that it really matters, TGWTDT still stands on its own as a pretty decent novel.


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Fungii | 176 comments The Face of Another by Kōbō Abe

4. The Face of Another by Kobo Abe

***

An interesting novel, but unrelentingly bleak. The plot comes to a complete standstill at times as the protagonist wallows in his own self pity, or drug induced flights of fancy. I'm glad I read it, but I'm also glad I'm finished reading it.


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Fungii | 176 comments The Retribution (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, #7) by Val McDermid

5. The Retribution by Val McDermid

***

The seventh book in the Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series, this one brings back Jacko Vance from one of the earlier novels to wreak more mayhem in the lives of the lead characters. After the last novel I read, it was nice to read a novel that was more plot driven. There's also a second serial killer on the loose in this novel, something that seems to happen in every entry in this series. It was a good, entertaining read, although fans of the characters might be disappointed in how it all shakes out. This is another novel that seems to descend into an inescapable well of despair. I seem to be on a roll.


message 6: by Fungii (last edited Apr 18, 2012 05:41AM) (new)

Fungii | 176 comments Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany

6. Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany

****

This story started off really weird with the whole surgically altered humans and ghosts of dead people navigating starships, but as the story unfolded, it became a lot more interesting. I liked the exploration of language and how it connects with the culture and thought processes of societies and races. Some parts of it are a little anachronistic, like how they use pay phones and send audio tapes in the mail, despite having galaxy spanning spaceships and artificial gravity. Still, the underlying themes stand the test of time and make for a good read.


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Fungii | 176 comments Silence of the Grave by Arnaldur Indridason

7. Silence of the Grave by Arnaldur Indridason

****

The second book in the Erlendur series, I put off reading this for a long time for some reason. It was pretty good, although the setting and theme this time were very bleak just like the last one. This one has a theme of domestic violence and the story of the family in the 1930's/40's is pretty compelling. There is the present day story of Erlendur and his family which has a lot of parallels with the story of the older family.


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Fungii | 176 comments The Rare Coin Score (Parker, #9) by Richard Stark

8. The Rare Coin Score by Richard Stark

***

Not a bad Parker novel, but nothing that breaks away from the formula.


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Fungii | 176 comments The Concrete Blonde (Harry Bosch, #3) by Michael Connelly

9. The Concrete Blonde by Michael Connelly

***

I found this one of the better Harry Bosch novels, although I've had only read 3 so far. The plot is pretty tight for most of the book, but it does come apart a bit towards the end. Too many obvious red herrings, and talk about stereotypical "evil" guys, yikes! Another problem is his love live, I am so not interested! Hopefully, she'll be killed off in the next novel...


message 10: by Fungii (last edited Jul 07, 2012 09:14AM) (new)

Fungii | 176 comments Boomerang Travels in the New Third World by Michael Lewis

10. Boomerang by Michael Lewis

***

A collection of essays on the post-financial crisis world. He visits Iceland, Greece, Ireland, Germany and ends with California. A lot of hyperbole, but it does make the stories he tells more interesting. The last chapter with Arnold Schwarzenegger is pretty funny, Ahnold is such a character!


message 11: by Fungii (new)

Fungii | 176 comments Nemesis by Jo Nesbø

11. Nemesis by Joe Nesbo

****

The second Harry Hole novel I've read. There must be more books before "The Redbreast" that haven't been translated as they keep referring to events that were never part of the previous novel. Anyway, this was a pretty good, entertaining novel, although it did seem overly complicated at times. Unfortunately, there's a huge, gaping plothole in the middle of the novel that's so stupid and obvious, it makes Harry look like a pretty bad detective. Despite that, I enjoyed this one so much, I've gone straight to the next one already.


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Fungii | 176 comments The Devil's Star by Jo Nesbø

12. The Devil's Star

****

This novel was a bit hard to get into at first because the main protagonist, Harry Hole, is in such a self-destructive downward spiral, you just want to slap the guy. He does finally snap out of it, rather conveniently, and get's on with the case. Like earlier novels, the plot can get a bit overly complicated and towards the end, the author spends a lot of time (over)explaining things. Still a good, entertaining novel, but I think I'll take a break from this series for now.


message 13: by Fungii (new)

Fungii | 176 comments The Green Eagle Score (Parker, #10) by Richard Stark

13. The Green Eagle Score by Richard Stark

***

Parker is off on another job, this time ripping off the US Air Forces' payroll. A rather unremarkable entry in this series, it does have some moments of hilarious dark humour regarding Parker's lack of morals - "I didn't think you'd go for it" Parker responds after one of his cohorts suggests that he might want to off his little girl. One part of the novel sets up the fact that they need someone to "payroll" the operation to pay for the weapons and vehicles they need to do the job. They are supposed to give back twice the money if the job is successful. Well, you get to the end of the novel, Parker splits up the money, and forgets to put aside the money for the guy who payrolled the job! Hello, loose plot thread! Also, Stark continues to use "of" instead of "have" throughout the novel, very annoying. You would think an editor would have pointed this mistake out to him after so many years.


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Fungii | 176 comments The Confusion (The Baroque Cycle, #2) by Neal Stephenson

14. The Confusion by Neal Stephenson

****

Great book, but man, it took me forever to finish reading this. It is a very long book, and truth be told, I did grow a bit weary of it towards the end. I think I'll take a break before I tackle the final entry.


message 15: by Fungii (last edited Nov 18, 2012 08:49AM) (new)

Fungii | 176 comments Voices by Arnaldur Indridason

15. Voices by Arnaldur Indridason

***

Another entry in this Icelandic murder/mystery series with our mopey friend, detective Erlendur. While I enjoyed this one well enough, I can't say I found the underlying story terribly compelling. Oh well, it was a quick, easy read.

edit: I don't want to give away any spoilers to this book, but there was one really obvious plot hole in the story that I found very annoying. At one point, the police have a suspect and they send in the Icelandic CSI to scour his hotel room. They find nothing. Later, Erlendur goes into the room and finds a crucial piece of evidence. Sitting on his bedside table, in plain sight! Doh!


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Fungii | 176 comments The Last Coyote (Harry Bosch, #4) by Michael Connelly

16. The Last Coyote by Michael Connelly

****

Detective Harry Bosch is on leave from the police department for assaulting his superior officer and can't come back until he gets the ok from the resident shrink. (Holy cliches Batman, that's some well worn territory right there!) Bosch uses his down time to investigate the 30 year old unsolved murder of his mother, something you knew was going to happen sooner or later in this series.

The sections of him sparring with the shrink are entertaining but sometimes drag on a bit too long, you want him to get out of there and back to the action of the main plot. And there's this "love interest" subplot in the middle of the novel that is just so "bleh", made worse by the really badly told sex scenes. Eek! But after getting over that hump, ahem, the story picks up the pace towards the exciting conclusion. While it's pretty easy to tell who the main suspect(s) are in this story and where it's eventually headed, Connelly does manage to throw a few curve balls the reader's way in the last half of the novel to keep things fresh. One of the better entries in this series.


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Fungii | 176 comments The Vanishing Point by Val McDermid

17. The Vanishing Point by Val McDermid

****

This one was pretty good, although I could see how it was going to end fairly early on in the novel. The switching of the point of view from third person to first person was a little jarring and didn't seem to serve any purpose.


message 18: by Fungii (new)

Fungii | 176 comments Sidetracked (Wallander #5) by Henning Mankell

18. Sidetracked by Henning Mankell

***

Wallander tackles another case, this time a serial killer collecting scalps. This story would have been a lot more interesting if the reader wasn't aware of who the killer was from the very get go. As it is, Wallander looks a bit slow in finally putting the pieces together to solve the case. This one just seemed a bit too conventional for me, not much tension.


message 19: by Fungii (new)

Fungii | 176 comments I only read 18 books in 2012. I failed, I will try harder this year!!


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Books mentioned in this topic

The White Lioness (other topics)
The Handle (other topics)
The Man Who Smiled (other topics)
The Face of Another (other topics)
The Retribution (other topics)
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