Author Topic: Books Read in 2014  (Read 2407 times)

saltine

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Books Read in 2014
« on: December 31, 2013, 09:52:30 PM »
« Last Edit: January 08, 2014, 10:28:54 PM by saltine »
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Monty

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Re: Books Read in 2014
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2014, 01:13:42 AM »
Information:
+ First Read  # Re-Read 
^ Novel (various formats)  * Audiobook  ~ Short

1.   Alex Ferguson: My Autobiography +^ (Alex Ferguson & Paul Hayward, p.2013) 
2.   Hatchet Job: Love Movies, Hate Critics +* (Mark Kermode, p.2013)   
3.   Gulliver's Travels +* (Jonathan Swift, p.1726)
4.   The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine +* (Michael Lewis, p.2010)
5.   A Short History of Nearly Everything +* (Bill Bryson, p.2003)
6.   If Chins Could Kill: Confessions Of a B Movie Actor +* (Bruce Campbell, p.2002)
7.   Stillness and Speed: My Story +^ (Dennis Bergkamp & David Winner, p.2013)   

« Last Edit: February 04, 2015, 02:56:56 AM by Monty »


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AAAutin

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Re: Books Read in 2014
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2014, 10:07:13 AM »
1.)

(Still haven't finished CLOUD ATLAS...)

ses

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Re: Books Read in 2014
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2014, 05:46:17 PM »
1.   Divergent by Veronica Roth
2.   The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
3.   Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut
4    The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula Le Guin
5.   Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
6.   The Chyrsalids by John Wyndham
7.   A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle*
8.   The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson*
9.   The Girl Who Played with Fire by Steig Larsson*
10. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Steig Larsson*
11. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie



*-reread

Currently Reading:


1776 by David McCollough
Insomnia by Steven King
« Last Edit: September 25, 2014, 01:22:58 PM by ses »
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Corndog

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Re: Books Read in 2014
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2014, 10:08:05 PM »
1. Casino Royale (1953) by Ian Fleming
I finally forayed into the land of literary Bond, to finally seal my fate as a Bond fanatic, and I must say the first trip was successful. It comes from a different perspective after having consumed all other things Bond, and I have a strong dislike for having indelible images of characters already realized in my mind, robbing my imagination. But Fleming crafts memorable characters and ramps up the tenacity of mystery and suspense in the mid section of his first 007 novel. To use a trite convention, it truly was a page turner. I must admit the turn to conventional romance in the third act felt off, but knowing what I do already of the arc of Bond, this installment lays the groundwork for his attitude and professional outlook.
*** - Very Good
2. Live and Let Die (1954) by Ian Fleming
Taking in the second Bond installment was a bit of an interesting experience altogether. For one, yes, this book is far different from the film 'adaptation'. Because of this, it was an all new, exciting story for me to take in, as opposed to rehashing a tale I've seen before, but with minor alterations to how I knew it before. I would have to say I prefer the story here to that of the film. Tracing Bond's arc, I am almost ready to claim him a romantic at heart, looking for a way out of the loving relationship he has with his job. I will have to keep track of this as I move through the others. This exciting 'new' story in the Bond thread, however, gets dragged down by the fairly racist treatment Fleming gives. I understand it was written in an era, but there is no avoiding it in this one. In terms of style, I have found Fleming rather easy to read. His writing becomes at time blunt and straightforward, but for a pulp spy novel I have no complaints. I do have to knock it down half a star due to my distaste of the racism.
*** - Very Good
3. Moonraker (1955) by Ian Fleming
This was a very intriguing step into the world of Bond, as it follows a very different formula than usual, at least early on. We learn that Bond has desk work, and his interactions with M are more personal than the professional relationship depicted in the films. He does a favor for M in detecting how a well known Brit is cheating at his high end gambling club, which leads to learning of an even more imminent threat. Once we move out of the gambling club, it reverts back to the formula a little bit more, but it leans more on the mystery side than the other novels to this point. It was a very good installment in the series, and I would love to have seen a more faithful adaptation of the story Fleming provides. I think it could have been pulled off in the early years of the franchise with Connery. It seems strange that reading such an enjoyable novel as this makes me like Roger Moore even less than before. I am definitely enjoying exploring these novels though, as there is plenty different to keep them on my toes.
***1/2 - Great
4. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845) by Frederick Douglass
In between the Bond books I figured I would slip in some "reading I should have done when I was assigned it in college" stuff. Strange how I can become oddly motivated to read something when it's for pleasure and not for class work, because ultimately this book was amazing. It is so well written, and is incredibly easy to read as far as flow goes. The things it covers, and the detail in which it covers them is easy in no way, but being able to place myself in that generation, in that era, it is truly a remarkable narrative. It goes a long way to not only assert the greatness of a man like Frederick Douglass in our nation's history, but it paints such a comprehensive picture of the nature of slavery and the differing views between southern slaveholders and northern abolitionists by laying bare the psyche of Douglass, his physical and mental struggles and accomplishments, during his time as a slave. An important portrait of American history, but also a supremely crafted one as well.
**** - Masterpiece
5. The Fate of Their Country (2004) by Michael F. Holt
Holt's book is nothing more than an introduction to the role party politics played in the years leading up to the American Civil War, but it is a good one at that. I don't necessarily agree with everything Holt argues, and most of that is because he manages to make his assertions without going into much depth on how he reached that conclusion, but that is honestly an issue with what the book is for, how it's formatted, and not necessarily the authors arguments. It was written to be a text for introductory Civil War college courses (which is where I happened upon it, though, once again, decided not to read until it wasn't an assignment). Anyone unfamiliar with the role of party politics during this time frame will learn quite a bit from Holt's book. It is a bit eye-opening to the struggles that brought this country to war, and is relevant even today as party politics continue to play just as large a role in day to day American life as it did over 150 years ago. A quick, easy read.
*** - Good
6. Cloud Atlas (2004) by David Mitchell
Such a well received book around these parts, or so should it seem, I felt it important that I satiate my curiosity and check this out after having enjoyed the film version and its multitudes of windings and weavings. The literary inspiration truly realizes these concepts and is a treat to read. The prose of the book is so varied as to fit the numerous eras which the novel covers, some easier to consume than others. For instance, the pigeon language of the most futuristic of these vignettes was found to be a bear of a section to slosh through. It was about there that I started to struggle to continue, but more out of frustration of language and difficulty in reading flow (more my fault than Mitchell's) than for content or lack of intrigue. Truly, the first half piqued my interest, but not until the second half was Mitchell's narrative entirely engrossing in its structure. His ability to weave between characters, styles, time periods; his ability to subvert genre for the good of the whole is impressive to say the least. "Rating" the book seems difficult. I cannot say it was the best I've read, and the lack of flow seems a hiccup, yet its shear ambition, and ability to deliver on such a large intent wows beyond flaw.
**** - Masterpiece
7. Diamonds are Forever (1956) by Ian Fleming
Well, it's happened, and I suppose I shouldn't be overly surprised. With the fact that some of the Bond installments have been quite silly, and I have noticed that Fleming's writing style is nothing spectacular, there had to eventually be a clunker in the mix somewhere, and where better than with Diamonds are Forever, one of the clunkier of the films. Fleming's strength as a writer is his straightforward delivery of pretty darn good spy/thriller ideas. With this novel, I felt he was grasping more at straws. I was never too interested in what was going on, and more so than in the previous novels in the series, I felt there was more filler and less action and intrigue. Ultimately what makes the novel float is the character of Bond, plain and simple. Without what Fleming has already built, this would be less than standard spy fare.
**1/2 - Average
8. From Russia with Love (1957) by Ian Fleming
With the 5th book in the series, we finally start to see Fleming stray from the formula a bit, which is quite refreshing. We don't even get to interact directly with Bond until 100 pages into the book, and yet, the plotting of the Russians, and taut, engaging prose of Fleming makes it an exciting read. Taking a step back out of the fast pace of the novel, I must admit how silly all of the goings on, the setup of Bond, seem. In spite of the silliness, I think what ultimately makes this book work is how comfortable Fleming has become in his handling of Bond, and in conjunction with that, how familiar I am now as a reader of Bond's adventures. The foundation has been laid, which allows Fleming to be more creative, take more chances, and stray more from the formula while still creating an exciting Bond adventure.
*** - Very Good
9. Doctor No (1958) by Ian Fleming
The first in the film series happens to be one of the more unique books for a few reasons. First and foremost is just how hokey it gets. I feel like this novel, much more than of the others to this point, reflects more the style of the film franchise. What I mean by that assessment is it has more fun than some of the others. The persona of Bond has always been there, but now there is a story to go along with it. Somewhat fanatical, and expert pulp. Fleming's tale makes me wonder how he comes up with these things. Doctor No is always the first villain in the series of novels that doesn't quite feel real. The film series is loaded with them, but to this point the books have made them human enough, expect maybe here. Between the fantastic plot, and the not quite believable No, I think that's what takes the most away from what is otherwise a well imagined Bond scenario.
*** - Good
10. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't (2001) by Jim Collins
Good to Great was a book that a customer Project Manager gave to me to read while I was on site recently. He swore by it. I wasn't overly interested, but decided to oblige him instead of just blatantly turn down his offer to read a "good" book. What I found was about what I would have expected. The book raised some good points, points that were thought provoking. I tried my best, disinterested as I am in business, ways to apply the principles put forth by Jim Collins, et al., to my personal life. It was a fair exercise and I enjoyed the thought I found myself in. Whether I agreed with each point Collins was making or not, it is not a bad book and raises some excellent questions that should be considered by all companies seeking to call themselves great. It wasn't the greatest book, but it would be a stretch to have to call it bad.
**1/2 - Average
11. Goldfinger (1959) by Ian Fleming
One of the best movies, it should be no surprise that the original novel is just as daring, interesting, and entertaining. There are familiar elements, but with many of the novels that came before, there is quite a bit that is different from the film version of the Ian Fleming classic. In some cases I found them to be quite fresh, as I am so used to the way things unfold on film. I must say that Goldfinger comes off the page as a larger than life character in the best of ways. He seems quite the match for Bond and there are more than a few cases throughout the book where Goldfinger clearly gets the best of Bond. However, his larger than life personality also makes him one of the more absurd literary villains in Bond. We know well how unrealistic things get in the movies, but the books have remained just grounded enough to almost be believable, but with Goldfinger that changes just slightly. Also, the golfing section was overlong. How long am I supposed to read about golfing and find it interesting and engaging. It only made me want to get out on the course myself, but the play by play of Bond's match with Goldfinger was not very engaging. Overall, a very strong entry however.
*** - Very Good
12. Quantum of Solace: The Complete James Bond Short Stories (2008) by Ian Fleming
It took me a minute to get through all of these, but that's quite fine since each chapter is its own enclosed story. Quite an interesting read, to see the character delivered in the style of a short story, really fits the character actually. I will say that I felt more at ease with the shorts having read some of the other novels first, being already familiar with Bond as a character, so I'm not sure how suitable a place it would be to start into the 007 world. Some of the shorts were daringly interesting, like "Octopussy" or "From a View to a Kill", while others were less so. It felt like an outlet for Fleming to write about other stories that maybe weren't perfect for the Bond world, but just off stage enough to include them as short stories where 007 himself may only be partially involved. Good read regardless for any Bond fan, as it adds another layer to the character and world. Not the best collection ever.
*** - Good
13. Thunderball (1961) by Ian Fleming
I was very happy with this book and feel as though it is one of the more engaging and involving of the novels to this point. It resembles both film versions of the story fairly well, with definite changes as one might expect, but the overall story is roughly the same. For whatever reason Fleming seemed to have really captured my imagination, and I think it's mostly to do with the Bond character, who finds himself sent off as part of a worldwide emergency to track down SPECTRE. However, he feels as though he is sent off to a dead end, and that attitude really built on the suspense and mystery as he unraveled SPECTRE's plans. Really a fun read!
***1/2 - Great
14. The Spy Who Loved Me (1962) by Ian Fleming
I found this installment to be the greatest departure from the series, on all accounts. Not only do we not get to have Bond involved at all until past the 100 page mark, but the novel is written in a first person style, with our narrator being a hapless Canadian woman who is drawn with such broad and, quite frankly, sexist strokes. The setup of the story, which resembles the film version only in name, seems hopeful enough, and it's almost nice to see Bond outside the realm of a spy mission. Instead he is a hero to a beautiful young woman caught in a situation she never expected. But Fleming's execution is really lacking and I fear the bulk of the failure resides in his inability to hold the story from the perspective of a female voice. He should stick to being Bond, and no one else.
** - Poor
15. And Then There Were None (1939) by Agatha Christie
For the Filmspotting Book Club:
I had a minor recollection of having read this once before, though it must have been so far in my past as I had no specific knowledge of its unfoldings. I was quite excited to delve into this one, and in fact I voted for it in both instances. However, I was ultimately disappointed at its simplicity, in both story and writing. As I believe is a sentiment shared by others in the group, I believe the character development to have been much too sparse. I never felt the need to be invested in any of them. They were all murderers, there was no rooting interest. In fact the only interest was how it would all unfold. And on that note, the resolution was too nice and tidy, and quite frankly quick. The story could have been extrapolated to a much higher degree for a much higher level of entertainment and enjoyment. All in all, a decent murder mystery, and perhaps I'm out of context and this is actually the roadmap for the genre, but it was too basic to be anything but average. At least it was an easy read.
** 1/2 - Average
16. On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1963) by Ian Fleming
This was one of the more exciting entries into the series, and a significant upgrade from the steaming pile of yearly place filler that was The Spy Who Loved Me. While that novel felt like a combination of Fleming experimenting with a different angle and getting something out for the fans given the series' traditional yearly release, OHMSS feels like a fresh return to form full of exciting set pieces, hardy villains, sexy ladies, and extravagant settings and plotting. There is a reason I like this film version best in the series, the humanity of Bond played by Lazenby. He is perhaps more his old self here, but that humanity stills shows itself. I always felt the marriage of Bond and Tracy should never be downplayed given the history of the character. Significant things are afoot in this edition.
*** 1/2 - Great
17. Gone Girl (2012) by Gillian Flynn
Given the recent release of the David Fincher film, and the fact my girlfriend recently purchased the book, I gave Gone Girl a try. A page turner start to finish, the book is certainly not without its startling twists and turns. The elaborateness of the plot is original enough to keep me very interested, but ultimately the unraveling plot crumbles under the weight of the setup. What started as a sensible investigation into both the disappearance of a woman and her marriage to her husband, turns into a bit of a farce, cheaply painting broad characteristics that were formerly earned, placing characters in situations that result in a fairly non-conclusive, "I don't care" ending. I still have a deep interest in the film, as Fincher's tone will do wonders to a story whose prose delivery carried and concluded on perhaps too light a note.
** 1/2 - Average
Currently Reading:
18. You Only Live Twice (1964) by Ian Fleming
« Last Edit: October 07, 2014, 09:48:16 PM by Corndog »
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Dave the Necrobumper

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Re: Books Read in 2014
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2014, 10:23:57 PM »
The Black Unicorn by Terry Brooks
River Marked by Patricia Briggs
« Last Edit: January 17, 2014, 10:10:45 PM by Dave the Necrobumper »

jswysin

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Re: Books Read in 2014
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2014, 10:01:27 AM »
1. The Raising (Laura Kasischke)
2. Under the Skin (Michel Faber)
3. Life After Life (Kate Atkinson)
4. If on a winter's night a traveler (Italo Calvino)
5. The Importance of Being Earnest (Oscar Wilde)
6. Zoo City (Lauren Beukes)
7. A Bridge of Years (Robert Charles Wilson)
8. The King in Yellow (Robert W. Chambers)
9. Spin (Robert Charles Wilson)
10. The Goldfinch (Donna Tartt)
11. Sleep Donation (Karen Russell)
12. The Maze Runner (James Dashner)
13. Galveston (Nic Pizzolatto)
14. Eleanor & Park (Rainbow Rowell)
15. Solaris (Stanislaw Lem)
16. Red Rising (Pierce Brown)
17. Killing Ruby Rose (Jessie Humphries)
18. Chasing the Sun (Natalia Sylvester)
19. Supreme Justice (Max Allan Collins)
20. Inamorata (Megan Chance)
21. 1984 (George Orwell)
22. 11/22/63 (Stephen King)
23. Lexicon (Max Barry)
24. The Wall (Marlen Haushofer)
25. A Cold and Broken Hallelujah (Tyler Dilts)
26. The Moonlight Palace (Liz Rosenberg)
27. And Then There Were None (Agatha Christie)
28. The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood)
29. Vampires in the Lemon Grove (Karen Russell)
30. Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad)
31. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Robert Louis Stevenson)
32. Night (Elie Weisel)
33. Frankenstein (Mary Shelley)
34. The Turn of the Screw (Henry James)
35. The Fire Seekers (Richard Farr)
36. All the Light We Cannot See (Anthony Doerr)
37. Bedbugs (Ben H. Winters)
38. Station Eleven (Emily St. John Mandel)
39. Ticker (Lisa Mantchev)
40. Inherent Vice (Thomas Pynchon)
41. The Martian (Andy Weir)

bold- reread
« Last Edit: January 04, 2015, 09:28:17 AM by jswysin »

Beavermoose

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Re: Books Read in 2014
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2014, 11:13:03 AM »
1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
11. 12. 13. 14. 15.
16.


1. DeNiro's Game - Rawi Hage
2. Heroine - Gail Scott
3. The Stranger - Albert Camus
4. Beautiful Losers - Leonard Cohen
5. The Bus Driver Who Wanted to be God - Etgar Keret
6. Le passager - Patrick Senécal
7. Two Solitudes - Hugh MacLennan
8. From Hell - Alan Moore
9. Shantaram - Gregory David Roberts
10. A Brief History of Time - Stephen Hawking
11. On the Road - Jack Kerouac
12. In Cold Blood - Truman Capote
13. Breakfast at Tiffany's - Truman Capote
14. No Country for Old Men - Cormac McCarthy
15. The New Testament
16. The Sunset Limited - Cormac McCarthy
« Last Edit: December 11, 2014, 10:59:51 PM by Beavermoose »

verbALs

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Re: Books Read in 2014
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2014, 11:56:01 AM »
I just got John Updike "Rabbit, Run" land in my lap. Any comments?
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Junior

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Re: Books Read in 2014
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2014, 12:34:45 PM »
I purchased that recently. Haven't read it yet, though.
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