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Ancillary Justiceby Ann LeckieOn a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest.Once, she was the Justice of Toren - a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy.Now, an act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with one fragile human body, unanswered questions, and a burning desire for vengeance.
Beyond the Great IndoorsElling has a wildly overactive imagination and has been molly-coddled by his mother all his life, so when she dies he is left completely incapable of taking care of himself. After a stint in the very helpful Broynes Rehabilitation Centre, Elling returns to Oslo with his room-mate Kjell Bjarne in tow. Together the odd couple embark on a free-spirited new life.On a quest to live like normal average people, Elling and Kjell's friendship grows - kittens, girlfriends and terrorist poetry enter the equation - even fame beckons. But there are fears to conquer before that, answering the telephone for one, leaving the house for another and the journey outdoors is by no means an easy one.A touching and hiliarious comedy of anxiety from Norway's biggest talent, Beyond the Great Indoors rejoices in the simplest pleasures of life and reminds us of the importance of conquering our everyday fears.
White Teeth by Zadie SmithOn New Year's morning, 1975, Archie Jones sits in his car on a London road and waits for the exhaust fumes to fill his Cavalier Musketeer station wagon. Archie—working-class, ordinary, a failed marriage under his belt—is calling it quits, the deciding factor being the flip of a 20-pence coin. When the owner of a nearby halal butcher shop (annoyed that Archie's car is blocking his delivery area) comes out and bangs on the window, he gives Archie another chance at life and sets in motion this richly imagined, uproariously funny novel. Epic and intimate, hilarious and poignant, White Teeth is the story of two North London families—one headed by Archie, the other by Archie's best friend, a Muslim Bengali named Samad Iqbal. Pals since they served together in World War II, Archie and Samad are a decidedly unlikely pair. Plodding Archie is typical in every way until he marries Clara, a beautiful, toothless Jamaican woman half his age, and the couple have a daughter named Irie (the Jamaican word for "no problem"). Samad —devoutly Muslim, hopelessly "foreign"— weds the feisty and always suspicious Alsana in a prearranged union. They have twin sons named Millat and Magid, one a pot-smoking punk-cum-militant Muslim and the other an insufferable science nerd. The riotous and tortured histories of the Joneses and the Iqbals are fundamentally intertwined, capturing an empire's worth of cultural identity, history, and hope.Zadie Smith's dazzling first novel plays out its bounding, vibrant course in a Jamaican hair salon in North London, an Indian restaurant in Leicester Square, an Irish poolroom turned immigrant café, a liberal public school, a sleek science institute. A winning debut in every respect, White Teeth marks the arrival of a wondrously talented writer who takes on the big themes —faith, race, gender, history, and culture— and triumphs.
Norwegian WoodSynopsisToru, a quiet and preternaturally serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Toru begins to adapt to campus life and the loneliness and isolation he faces there, but Naoko finds the pressures and responsibilities of life unbearable. As she retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself reaching out to others and drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman.Beren's WaffleBeautiful and touching. Easy-ish read too without being trashy.
The Blind Assassin - Margaret Atwood (a story-within-a-story set in post-Great-War Toronto, 2000, 648 pp)"Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge."These words are spoken by Iris Chase Griffen, married at eighteen to a wealthy industrialist but now poor and eighty-two. Iris recalls her far from exemplary life, and the events leading up to her sister’s death, gradually revealing the carefully guarded Chase family secrets. Among these is “The Blind Assassin,” a novel that earned the dead Laura Chase not only notoriety but also a devoted cult following. Sexually explicit for its time, it was a pulp fantasy improvised by two unnamed lovers who meet secretly in rented rooms and seedy cafés. As this novel-within-a-novel twists and turns through love and jealousy, self-sacrifice and betrayal, so does the real narrative, as both move closer to war and catastrophe. Margaret Atwood’s Booker Prize-winning sensation combines elements of gothic drama, romantic suspense, and science fiction fantasy in a spellbinding tale.
Philip Roth - NemesisI noted this down ages ago but never got round to reading it.Summer, 1944. In the 'stifling heat of equatorial Newark', a terrifying epidemic is raging, threatening the children of the New Jersey city with maiming, paralysis, life-long disability, even death. Vigorous, decent, twenty-three year old playground director Bucky Cantor is devoted to his charges and disappointed with himself because his weak eyes have excluded him from serving in the war. As polio begins to ravage Bucky's playground, Roth leads us through every inch of emotion such a pestilence can breed: the fear, the panic, the anger, the bewilderment, the suffering and the pain.Through this story runs the dark question that haunts all four of Roth's late short novels, Everyman, Indignation, The Humbling, and now, Nemesis: what choices fatally shape a life? How powerless is each of us up against the force of circumstances?
The Snowman by Jo NesbøQuoteOslo in November. The first snow of the season has fallen. A boy named Jonas wakes in the night to find his mother gone. Out his window, in the cold moonlight, he sees the snowman that inexplicably appeared in the yard earlier in the day. Around its neck is his mother’s pink scarf.Hole suspects a link between a menacing letter he’s received and the disappearance of Jonas’s mother—and of perhaps a dozen other women, all of whom went missing on the day of a first snowfall. As his investigation deepens, something else emerges: he is becoming a pawn in an increasingly terrifying game whose rules are devised—and constantly revised—by the killer.Fiercely suspenseful, its characters brilliantly realized, its atmosphere permeated with evil, The Snowman is the electrifying work of one of the best crime writers of our time.
Oslo in November. The first snow of the season has fallen. A boy named Jonas wakes in the night to find his mother gone. Out his window, in the cold moonlight, he sees the snowman that inexplicably appeared in the yard earlier in the day. Around its neck is his mother’s pink scarf.Hole suspects a link between a menacing letter he’s received and the disappearance of Jonas’s mother—and of perhaps a dozen other women, all of whom went missing on the day of a first snowfall. As his investigation deepens, something else emerges: he is becoming a pawn in an increasingly terrifying game whose rules are devised—and constantly revised—by the killer.Fiercely suspenseful, its characters brilliantly realized, its atmosphere permeated with evil, The Snowman is the electrifying work of one of the best crime writers of our time.
Bel-Ami by Guy de Maupassant QuoteIt's not difficult to appear bright, don't worry. The main thing is never to show obvious ignorance of anything. You prevaricate, avoid the difficulty, steer clear of the problem and then catch other people out by using a dictionary. All men are stupid oafs and ignorant nincompoops.If you've seen the film, forget that you've seen the film. That sparkly Twilight motherfucker utterly ruined it.Bel-Ami is the story of a rather dim and talentless, but somewhat cunning, very beautiful, and distinctly dickish man who f***s his way to the top. In 19th-Century Paris. That is to say, it's a gripping story of b******s, whores, fops, swooning wenches and idiots.The novel is probably most notable for having (a) the biggest womaniser in the history of literature, and (b) the most compelling and attractive woman in the history of literature (if you like your women with brains, that is).Mme. Forestier, I love you.+2 culture points, as it's not only a classic, but a foreign one to boot. Have a bonus point if you read it in French.
It's not difficult to appear bright, don't worry. The main thing is never to show obvious ignorance of anything. You prevaricate, avoid the difficulty, steer clear of the problem and then catch other people out by using a dictionary. All men are stupid oafs and ignorant nincompoops.
Day of the Oprichnik – Vladimir Sorokin (Russia, 2006, 191 pp.)Moscow, 2028. A scream, a moan, and a death rattle slowly pull Andrei Danilovich Komiaga out of his drunken stupor. But wait--that's just his ring tone. So begins another day in the life of an oprichnik, one of the czar's most trusted courtiers--and one of the country's most feared men.In this new New Russia, where futuristic technology and the draconian codes of Ivan the Terrible are in perfect synergy, Komiaga will attend extravagant parties, partake in brutal executions, and consume an arsenal of drugs. He will rape and pillage, and he will be moved to tears by the sweetly sung songs of his homeland.Vladimir Sorokin has imagined a near future both too disturbing to contemplate and too realistic to dismiss. But like all of his best work, Sorokin's new novel explodes with invention and dark humor. A startling, relentless portrait of a troubled and troubling empire, Day of the Oprichnik is at once a richly imagined vision of the future and a razor-sharp diagnosis of a country in crisis.
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna ClarkeWith magic long since lost to England, two men are destined to bring it back; the reclusive Mr. Norrell and daring novice Jonathan Strange. So begins a dangerous battle between two great minds. Historical fiction/fantasy. Think Charles Dickens crossed with JK Rowling.
All the Light We Cannot See - Anthony DoerrMarie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When Marie-Laure is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris, and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire NorthQuoteHarry August is on his deathbed--again. No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes--until now.As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside. "I nearly missed you, Doctor August," she says. "I need to send a message." This is the story of what Harry does next, and what he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow.Spoiler A book I've finished! I'm nominating this because I loved it. f***ing loooved it. It's an absolute joy to read. Easy, fun book. Totally wacko approved, imo.
Harry August is on his deathbed--again. No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes--until now.As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside. "I nearly missed you, Doctor August," she says. "I need to send a message." This is the story of what Harry does next, and what he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow.
The Yiddish Policemen's Union - Michael ChabonFor sixty years Jewish refugees and their descendants have prospered in the Federal District of Sitka, a "temporary" safe haven created in the wake of the Holocaust and the shocking 1948 collapse of the fledgling state of Israel. The Jews of the Sitka District have created their own little world in the Alaskan panhandle, a vibrant and complex frontier city that moves to the music of Yiddish. But now the District is set to revert to Alaskan control, and their dream is coming to an end.Homicide detective Meyer Landsman of the District Police has enough problems without worrying about the upcoming Reversion. His life is a shambles, his marriage a wreck, his career a disaster. And in the cheap hotel where Landsman has washed up, someone has just committed a murder—right under his nose. When he begins to investigate the killing of his neighbor, a former chess prodigy, word comes down from on high that the case is to be dropped immediately, and Landsman finds himself contending with all the powerful forces of faith, obsession, evil, and salvation that are his heritage.
A Canticle for Leibowitz - Walter M Miller JrIn the depths of the Utah desert, long after the Flame Deluge has scoured the earth clean, a monk of the Order of Saint Leibowitz has made a miraculous discovery: holy relics from the life of the great saint himself, including the blessed blueprint, the sacred shopping list, and the hallowed shrine of the Fallout Shelter.In a terrifying age of darkness and decay, these artifacts could be the keys to mankind's salvation. But as the mystery at the core of this groundbreaking novel unfolds, it is the search itself—for meaning, for truth, for love—that offers hope for humanity's rebirth from the ashes.
The Tree with No Name by Drago JancarA diary recounting four decades' worth of sexual exploits, the memoir of a mental institution attendant, and a familiar-looking bicycle dredged out of a river--the discovery of these artifacts sends an archivist on an obsessive quest to discover their owners' identities and fates. Shifting between Slovenia's postcommunist present and its wartime occupation by the Axis, The Tree with No Name might well be Drago Jancar's masterpiece: a compelling and universally significant story of an individual confronting the constraints on truth set by his--and every--culture.
The Stranger Beside Me- Ann RuleAnn Rule was a writer working on the biggest story of her life, tracking down a brutal mass-murderer. Little did she know that Ted Bundy, her close friend, was the savage slayer she was hunting.
The Rules of Attraction by Bret Easton EllisSynopsisIncisive, controversial and startlingly funny, The Rules of Attraction examines a group of affluent students at a small, self-consciously bohemian, liberal-arts college on America’s East Coast.Lauren, who changes the man in her bed even more often than she changes course, is dating Victor but sleeping with Sean. Sean – cool, ambivalent and deeply cynical – might be in love with Lauren, but he’s not going to let that stop him from bedding Paul. Paul, as shrewd as he is passionate, is Lauren’s ex-lover and the final point in this curious triangle. This is a breathtaking tale of sex, expectation, desire and frustration.
I reckon we could have an N-O book group, might be interesting.
Quote from: Ian W on Tuesday 7 October 2014, 02:56:23 PMI reckon we could have an N-O book group, might be interesting. There was brief talk on this in the NFL thread.
We actually mooted that in the NFL thread, though it was more of spoof on our teams' abject failures. It's actually not a bad idea. Edit: What Mike said.
Quote from: Mike on Tuesday 7 October 2014, 02:59:53 PMQuote from: Ian W on Tuesday 7 October 2014, 02:56:23 PMI reckon we could have an N-O book group, might be interesting. There was brief talk on this in the NFL thread. Coco's not allowed to join the book group.
I seem to have stumbled into uncharted NFL thread territory.
Quote from: Ian W on Tuesday 7 October 2014, 03:02:50 PMI seem to have stumbled into uncharted NFL thread territory. Time to pick a team.
Quote from: Mike on Tuesday 7 October 2014, 03:03:24 PMQuote from: Ian W on Tuesday 7 October 2014, 03:02:50 PMI seem to have stumbled into uncharted NFL thread territory. Time to pick a team.Newcastle United Football Club.
Could it have feasibly climbed high enough to leave the atmosphere?
Me? What the f*** are we gonna read?
I would do about a month, it's quicker than it seems. I would rather read a full book than short stories. Either each person takes a turn to choose one, or vote as Elliotman said.Also been in groups with a limit (like number of pages) on what can be chosen, but that's a bit unnecessary usually.
Do it Mike.
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