Bryanoz reads on in 2015

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Bryanoz reads on in 2015

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1bryanoz
jan 1, 2015, 7:52pm

My 4th year in the 100 Books Challenge, and my 6th year of reading 100 books or more in a year.

I read general fiction, some classics, fantasy, and some self-help/spiritual type books.

I finished a big challenge last year so am happy to have a 'free' year of reading, my own pile plus plenty of recommendations from this group.

Comments and suggestions are very welcome !

Have begun Peter Carey's Amnesia, not gripping me so far...

Hope we all have a great new year (Year of the Spinning Mouse for discworld fans) and a 2015 full of reading, friends, and fun !

2bryanoz
jan 2, 2015, 5:28am

Some books being published this year that I am definitely looking forward to :

Alan Bradley's As Chimneysweepers Come to Dust, Jan.

Brandon Sanderson's Firefight, Jan.

Louis De Bernieres' The Dust That Falls From Dreams, June.

Toni Morrison's The Wrath of Children, Sept.

Justin Cronin's The City of Mirrors, Oct.

Alas no sign of new George RR Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, or new Abarat book....

3mabith
jan 2, 2015, 10:25am

Looking forward to following your reading!

4jfetting
jan 2, 2015, 10:53am

Welcome back! I always enjoy following your threads.

I am impatient for the new Rothfuss (and Martin) too, but I follow them on twitter and boy, do they get cranky when their fans ask when the next book is coming out. I'm a little afraid that this means they don't really know how to finish the story they started, which usually doesn't bode well.

5bryanoz
jan 2, 2015, 2:18pm

Thanks mabith and jfetting, I always read your threads and find plenty of gems there.

Seems to me they are busy touring and hearing how great they are, have come to appreciate Steven Erikson, Juliet Marillier, Brandon Sanderson who prioritise the writing and wouldn't leave their fans hanging for years...

6bryanoz
Redigeret: jan 2, 2015, 3:33pm

I have never been very good at rereads, there is always a pile of books to be read for the 1st time.
So one of my plans is to revisit those novels I read years ago and really enjoyed, such as
Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Illywacker, The Dispossessed, Mythago Wood, Ulysses, Don Quixote,
War and Peace, Swann's Way, and more. Maybe one a month....
And The Lord of the Rings and any Terry Pratchett I haven't reread..

7mabith
jan 2, 2015, 3:36pm

I used to re-read constantly until I started keeping track of the new books I read. It can definitely feel hard to make the time for it. I'm trying to reread some favorites, particularly things I've only read once, this year as well, and I'll finally be including all rereads on my threads, so hopefully that will help.

8bryanoz
jan 2, 2015, 6:56pm

mabith I count rereads and any significant reads in my threads so it hasn't been a problem...thanks.

Going with Harley's TBR jar idea, just the time to set up the list and jar could have spent reading...

9bryanoz
Redigeret: jan 2, 2015, 7:30pm

1. Amnesia, by Peter Carey.

His new novel, premise "young Australian woman releases malware that releases thousands of Australian and American prisoners" sounds interesting. Also the front cover blurb "Never have I read a novel in which I could see the genius of the writer's mind so phenomenally at work..."

Well the author of that blurb has a very different idea of genius than I do, because I thought the novel was painfully poor. Any espionage is right in the background as we follow Felix Moore, the journalist who accepts the job of writing a sympathetic book about the perpetrator and her history. Felix and I had little idea of what was happening and weren't any the wiser by the end of the novel.

I am a Peter Carey fan who accepts that his great works like Illywacker and True History of the Kelly Gang are in the distant past, but his more recent Parrot and Olivier in America and The Chemistry of Tears were still solid reads.
There are shades of Carey's trademark dark observations on human lives and society in Amnesia but they are lost in poor 'Australian lingo' - "She's a real dingbat".

Enough complaining from me, maybe I'm the dingbat if others in this thread have read the book and liked it, anyone ?

Will go onto David Mitchell's number9dream, bound to be a good read !

10bryanoz
jan 2, 2015, 7:54pm

STOP PRESS !!!

John has set up the BIG FAT BOOK CHALLENGE 2015, for anyone who reads books of 600 pages or more, or would like to !

Everyone is welcome, lets get together and get those big chunksters that sit neglected on our shelves read !

11judylou
jan 3, 2015, 5:10pm

How disappointing to hear that Carey's latest is a dud. I'm not going to be in a hurry to read it now.

12bryanoz
jan 4, 2015, 4:15am

judylou I haven't heard anyone strongly disagreeing with me on Amnesia but be warned, I 'hated' Eyrie and most others in my book club thought it was ok to good ??

13bryanoz
Redigeret: jan 4, 2015, 4:18am

2. Only Fear Dies, by Barry Long.

'A book of liberation' by a little known Australian spiritual teacher, I enjoyed this and have ordered his The Way In to read next.

Still have to organise that jar.....

14bryanoz
jan 5, 2015, 6:35pm

3. number9dream, by David Mitchell.

His 2nd novel, "Set in Japan, it narrates the search of 19-year-old Eiji Miyake for his father, whom he has never met. Told in the first person by Eiji, it is a coming of age/perception story that breaks convention by juxtaposing Eiji Miyake's actual journey towards identity and understanding with his imaginative journey" (Wiki quote).
Mitchell's novels are multilayered and a solid (not quite challenging but not easy) read. He manages to adeptly balance angst, violence, and humour in this satisfying novel that is a step on from his 1st Ghostwritten and towards the brilliant Cloud Atlas.

15bryanoz
jan 6, 2015, 5:36pm

4. The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe, by Romain Puertolas.

Titles like this one send off alarm bells - "I've got this really interesting title so I don't have to worry about writing much of a story"- but not to worry, this is a funny and even insightful story :

"One day a fakir leaves his small village in India and lands in Paris. A professional con artist, the fakir is on a pilgrimage to IKEA, where he intends to obtain an object he coverts above all others: a brand new bed of nails. Without adequate Euros in the pockets of his silk trousers, the fakir is all the same confident that his counterfeit 100-Euro note (printed on one side only) and his usual bag of tricks will suffice. But when a swindled cab driver seeks his murderous revenge, the fakir accidentally embarks on a European tour, fatefully beginning in a wardrobe of the iconic Swedish retailer" back cover blurb.

Good fun, travel, love, and happy ending - have to recommend this one !

16wookiebender
Redigeret: jan 7, 2015, 1:04am

I don't think you're a dingbat for not liking the new Carey, sounds like he hasn't spend enough time in Australia of late. Slang gets so outdated so fast. (And the title of #4 made me laugh!)

Welcome back to the group, looking forward to your reading this year again! (And what is this chunkster challenge of which you type?) ETA: found it! http://www.librarything.com/groups/bigfatbookchallenge1 and joined it!

17bryanoz
jan 9, 2015, 3:53am

5. A Stranger in Olondria, by Sofia Samatar.

Won the 2014 World Fantasy Award..back cover blurb :

"Jevick, the pepper merchant's son, has been raised on stories of Olondria, a distant land where books are as common as they are rare in his home. When his father dies and Jevick travels in his place on the yearly selling trip to Olondria, his life is as perfect as he can imagine. But as he revels in the Feast of Birds, he becomes haunted by the ghost of an illiterate girl from his own country."

Samatar's first fantasy novel and a fitting award winner. This is not the epic 'war-blood-death' of Erikson, nor the magic 'wizard-dragon-magic' kind of fantasy.
Instead the author has crafted an imaginative, detailed, and beautifically described story.
It reminded me of the underrated Always Coming Home by Ursula Le Guin, and we won't put Samatar in such exaulted company yet, but this 'enchanting' story is a great read, and if I didn't have an ever-mounting pile of books to read I would be tempted to start it again now.

18wookiebender
jan 9, 2015, 6:45pm

Bother, just took a book bullet...

19bryanoz
jan 9, 2015, 7:54pm

Didn't know 'beautifically' was a word, is now !??

wookie ha, got you ! (And you'll love it.)

20bryanoz
jan 11, 2015, 3:25am

6. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, by Rachel Joyce.

"When Harold Fry leaves home one morning to post a letter, with his wife hoovering upstairs, he has no idea that he is about to walk from one end of the country to the other. He has no hiking boots or map, let alone a compass, waterproof or phone. All he knows is that he must keep walking. To save someone's life."

Enjoyed this uplifting story of Harry and his reflections on how he (and we) settle for just getting by, forgetting about life, love, passion.

21bryanoz
jan 15, 2015, 6:26pm

7. House of Chains, by Steven Erikson.

This is the 4th novel in Erikson's 10 volume epic fantasy saga - The Malazan Books of the Fallen.

This series is a little different to others I have read in that rather than follow a character or group through adventures, each novel looks at a particular event (usually an old fashioned all out war) in the Malazan world with a host of characters, some from previous books, many new.

Although at times I am not quite sure what's happening to who, I enjoy Erikson's imagination and humour in these epic books and will be onto the next one Midnight Tides when it arrives !

22bryanoz
jan 16, 2015, 2:38am

8. The Iliad, by Homer.

Catching up with some classics that everyone but me has read, can't say I was gripped by this saga of war, jealousy, manipulation, and revenge, but as it is "one of the foremost achievements in Western literature", I am happy to admit I may have missed something !

23bryanoz
jan 18, 2015, 7:10pm

9. Charlotte Street, by Danny Wallace.

Humorous novel by Danny Wallace (author of The Yes Man and Join Me), of a 30ish English man and his struggles with life, work , and love.

10.The Way In, by Barry Long.

Little known Australian spiritual teacher, very wise.

24bryanoz
jan 20, 2015, 8:15pm

11. Steelheart, by Brandon Sanderson.

"Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his will."

Young adult action fantasy with an intense and engaging beginning but somehow lost me during the rest of the story. Not Sanderson's best work.

25bryanoz
feb 2, 2015, 9:56pm

It's early February and I am already slacking off with updating this thread ??

12. Total Freedom, by J. Krishnamurti, his teachings on life and happiness, always inspiring.

13. The Age of Magic, by Ben Okri, found this slight novel difficult to get into and much preferred his Starbook.

14. The Odyssey, by Homer, glad I have finally gotten around to reading this and The Iliad, can't say they are particularly engaging reads.

15. Giles Goat-Boy, by John Barth, a farcical account of a boy raised by goats on a college campus who decides to find out about his human side and go to college. Not an easy read but I was gradually caught up in Barth's humorous and insightful story.

26aquascum
feb 3, 2015, 8:06am

*blinks* I really can't wrap my head around the last one...

27nrmay
feb 11, 2015, 3:04pm

Love your thread.

Now I want to read Stranger in Olondria but sadly it's not in the public library. On to to the wishlist it goes!
I like the books and stories theme.

And you've reminded me to revisit Ursula Le Guin. Dispossessed has been on the TBR shelves for years along with Gifts.
Another of hers that I want to read appears on lots of "best" lists - Left Hand of Darkness. And I have a copy of Word for World Is Forest to reread.

I too would like to catch up on classics I missed.

Oddly, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was a downer and disappointment for me. I thought it was deeply depressing and tragic beginning to end.

28bryanoz
feb 24, 2015, 9:33pm

#26 I agree, and the more one tries to explain the story the more wrappier it gets !

#27 Thanks nrmay, you'll love Stranger in Olondria when you get to it.

And you have rereminded me about Ursula, there is a long list of her titles I have never read, even after enjoying The Dispossessed, The Left Hand of Darkness, and Always Coming Home.
Would be good to start at her first novel and read through the list...hmm...not in the near future but definitely worth pondering.

Which are your favourite classics ?

With Harold Fry I was caught up in the human story, just read the follow-up The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, and enjoyed that too, but probably no improvement on the first novel for you I am sorry !?
Cheers

29nrmay
feb 24, 2015, 11:00pm

some of my favorite classics -

Jane Eyre
Pride and Prejudice I have to read the rest of Jane Austen's books sometime.

I've read a few of Dickens and liked them. I want to read A Tale of Two Cities which is patiently waiting on the TBR shelves . . .

30bryanoz
feb 25, 2015, 7:04pm

nrmay agree with Jane Eyre but I am not a Jane Austen fan, have read Emma, Pride and Prejudice, and Persuasion, but I just don't get it, must not have the gene for Austen !

Am a fan of George Eliot, have you read her Middlemarch ? Also The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James is a similarish read that I would recommend if you haven't already read it.

I enjoy Dickens as well, particularly his David Copperfield, The Pickwick Papers, and Nicholas Nickleby. I didn't enjoy Tale of Two Cities as much, hope you enjoy it.
Cheers.

31bryanoz
feb 25, 2015, 7:19pm

Better post some books I have read...

16. The Slow Regard of Silent Things, by Patrick Rothfuss.
A novella about Auri a character in his Kingkiller series, didn't find it that interesting.

17. Lila, by Marilynne Robinson.
Third novel in her 'Gilead' series looking at Lila's life and her marriage to John Ames. Beautifully written and engaging story, if you haven't read Gilead please do !

18. Midnight Tides, by Steven Erikson.
Fifth in the 'Malazan Books of the Fallen and a rollicking read.
Won't attempt a story recount as there is too much happening but if you might like to try epic fantasy the first Malazan Gardens of the Moon or Bakker's The Darkness That Comes Before are good places to start.

32jfetting
feb 26, 2015, 3:21pm

I love Marilynne Robinson's work. She's one of my favorite living writers and one of the few whose books I buy as soon as they hit the shelves. Gilead is amazing, but I'm really enjoying the whole trilogy-ish series.

33nrmay
Redigeret: feb 26, 2015, 4:50pm

>31 bryanoz:
>32 jfetting:

Ok, you two! Based on your comments I'll get Gilead again from the library.
I think I had it out once but had to return before I got to it.
A lot of people have praised Lila and it showed up on best book lists for 2014.

>30 bryanoz:

Haven't read Middlemarch but I loved Silas Marner when I had to read it in school.
Lots of LT folks were reading Portrait of a Lady for an author challenge this month.
It's on my TBR shelves. Opinions seemed to vary on that one.

34bryanoz
mar 13, 2015, 6:39pm

Hope you enjoy Gilead nrmay.

19. The Angel of Losses, by Stephanie Feldman.
Somewhat interesting story of sisters and Jewish folklore.

20. Knowing Yourself, by Barry Long.
More spiritual help by this great teacher.

21. Emma, by Alexander McCall Smith.
A retelling of the classic but in modern times, a book club read that I enjoyed for Smith's humour.

35bryanoz
mar 16, 2015, 7:57pm

22. The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, by Rachel Joyce.

Enjoyed very much her The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and this follow up story was just as good.

23. Unseen Academicals, by Terry Pratchett.

Rereading the discworld novels and nearing the end :(, a great story of the wizards of Unseen University encountering the world of foot-the-ball.

36bryanoz
mar 17, 2015, 7:46pm

24. As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust, by Alan Bradley.

Seventh and latest in the Flavia series, she is reluctantly shipped off to Miss Bodycote's Female Academy, a boarding school in Canada that her mother once attended.
A body, hauntings, and mysterious disappearances mean 12 year old Flavia is busy sorting it all out, and this delightful series continues !

37bryanoz
mar 18, 2015, 11:13pm

25. The Bonehunters, by Steven Erikson.

Sixth novel in the Malazan series, brings together a few different plots nicely, Erikson's typical epic fantasy laced with some humour.
Next one - Reaper's Gale 1260 pages, need to read a few shorter novels hanging around and then onto it.

38bryanoz
mar 18, 2015, 11:23pm

26. Willful Child, by Steven Erikson.

"These are the voyages (such as they are) of the Engage-class starship Willful Child. It's rambunctious mission: to seek out new worlds on which to plant the Terrean flag, to subjugate and occasionally obliterate strange and disgusting life-forms, and to boldly go....well, you get the idea."
Erikson takes a break from his epic Malazan fantasy series and has penned this appreciation and send up of the Star Trek TV series.
Some humorous parts but Erikson is better at his epic fantasy.

39bryanoz
mar 19, 2015, 6:54am

27. Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad.

A well known classic, based on Conrad's experiences in Africa, this short novel looks at the effects of colonisation. An ok read.

40bryanoz
mar 26, 2015, 7:48pm

28. The Mystery of Edwin Drood, by Charles Dickens.

This was Dickens' last novel, unfinished when he died in 1870, and the ending is a mystery.

But there is 272 pages (in the Penguin edition) and enough story (even for the ponderously slow Charles) to interest the reader.
"Edwin Drood is contracted to marry orphan Rosa when he comes of age, but when they find that duty has gradually reduced affection, they agree to break off the engagement. Shortly afterwards, in the middle of a storm on Christmas Eve, Edwin disappears, leaving nothing but some personal belongings and the suspicion that his jealous uncle John Jasper, madly in love with Rosa, is the killer."

Of course there are a host of other characters and plots that add to the intrigue, notably the use of opium, that make this a satisfactory read. One could pursue the notes, theories, and various endings written by others if one was so inclined, I am happy to leave it there.

41bryanoz
apr 10, 2015, 7:07pm

Way behind in updates, hope everyone's reading year is proceeding nicely...

29. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, by Louis de Bernieres.

Reread for me, wonderful story ; deep, wise, humorous ; the other day someone said they saw the movie and weren't impressed, don't let the movie put you off, read this brilliant novel.

42bryanoz
apr 11, 2015, 6:34pm

30. The Three Theban Plays, by Sophocles.

The Penguin volume of Antigone, Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus ; classic ancient Greek plays and very entertaining !

43judylou
apr 12, 2015, 3:00am

#41 Have to agree. The book was wonderful, the movie so-so.

44bryanoz
apr 13, 2015, 11:21pm

Thanks judylou.

31. Let Me Be Frank With You, by Richard Ford.

Read this for book club, quite enjoyed grumpy old Frank's view on being in different situations he didn't want to be in. The women in the book club didn't like the stories but being a man tending to old and grumpy I could be sympathetic.

45bryanoz
maj 9, 2015, 8:12am

Quick update, hope everyone is enjoying their reading.

32. The Golem and the Djinni, by Helene Wecker; really enjoyed this original fantasy.

33. Villette, by Charlotte Bronte; her 4th novel, if you enjoyed Jane Eyre try Villette.

34. Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn; no doubt I am the last to read this so you all know about the plot twists and turns.

35. Stillness is the Way, by Barry Long; Barry's intensive meditation course, very helpful.

36. The Colour Purple, by Alice Walker; excellent story !

46wookiebender
maj 13, 2015, 5:17am

Hurrah for you enjoying The Golem and the Djinni! I think it's going to be one of my favourites from this year. (And thanks to whoever pushed it on me in the first place. :)

47nrmay
maj 13, 2015, 10:15am

I confess I liked Gone Girl. I sometimes go for the best sellers! Movie was good too.

Color Purple was wonderful. Hope to reread that one sometime. Also a fabulous movie.

For a whole different look at life in the U.S. south, I just finished Mama Makes Up Her Mind by Bailey White.
Very funny, mostly true vignettes. More contemprary, published 20 years ago, also set in rural Georgia.
She has a couple other books as well that I mean to read.

48bryanoz
maj 17, 2015, 8:42pm

Cheers wookie, it will be one of my best reads for 2015.

Hi nrmay, thanks for the recommendation, I'll look it up, happy reading !

37. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury, one of the classics everyone has read but me, good story.

38. Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, another classic, goodish story.

39. The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis, more classics, enjoyed this compilation of the 6 books.

49bryanoz
jun 4, 2015, 9:20am

Way way behind with updating my reading...reviews even shorter.

40. Black Swan Green, by David Mitchell, ok, preferred his other novels.

41. The Picture of Dorian Grey, by Oscar Wilde, 1st Wilde I have read, very literate, enjoyable.

42. The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide, by Douglas Adams, 1st guide book brilliant, next 5 just great !

50bryanoz
jun 5, 2015, 3:24am

43. Elizabeth is Missing, by Emma Healey; ok story, scary depiction of dementia for us oldies !

44. Simply Notice, by Peter Dziuban; interesting spiritual work.

45. Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott; as everyone knows a good classic read.

51bryanoz
jun 22, 2015, 6:31am

46. The Snow Child, by Eowyn Ivey, very good.

47. The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett, very popular historical fiction, interesting.

48. Sell Up, Pack Up and Take Off, by Stephen Wyatt, how to retire very comfortably in another country.

49. Trigger Warning, by Neil Gaiman, Neil's new collection of short stories, some very good, others ok.

50. Watership Down, by Richard Adams, animal fantasy for younger readers, ok.

52nrmay
Redigeret: jun 22, 2015, 6:13pm

Congratulations on finishing 50 before the end of June!

I also liked Snow Child. Fine sense of time and place; mystical story.

So what country are you thinking of taking off to?!! (48. above) I think about moving all the time but I have too many books . . .

53wookiebender
jun 23, 2015, 11:49pm

Excellent, I picked up (on a whim) The Snow Child from the library the other weekend.

54bryanoz
jun 26, 2015, 7:09pm

Thanks nrmay, I've actually read 62 books so far, just haven't posted them yet.

Very happy here in the Adelaide Hills , Australia, and can afford to retire comfortably here (just !).
Always good to look at all the options though, the book is aimed at Australians and looks at Bali, Thailand, Cambodia, Spain, etc., as places one can move to and live well as opposed to an expensive place to live where retiring and living well might be unlikely.

I also have too many books to move, but some extensive travelling...hmm...cheers !

Hi wookie, hope all is good with you, confident you will enjoy The Snow Child.

55bryanoz
jun 26, 2015, 7:38pm

51. Reading By Moonlight, by Brenda Walker; how reading helped her through cancer treatment, good.

52. The Magician's Guild, by Trudi Canavan; recommended by a fantasy reader I met, okay.

53. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway; okay.

56bryanoz
jul 17, 2015, 7:35am

54. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by N K Jemisin.

Published in 2010, her debut novel, and first of the Inheritance trilogy.
Quisk summary from wiki :

"Yeine Darr, mourning the murder of her mother, is summoned to the magnificent floating city of Sky by her grandfather Dekarta, the ruler of the world and head of the Arameri family. As Yeine is also Arameri (though estranged due to the circumstances of her birth), he names her his heir but has already assigned that role to both his niece and his nephew, resulting in a thorny three-way power struggle. Yeine must quickly master the intricacies of the cruel Arameri society to have any hope of winning. She is also drawn into the intrigues of the gods, four of whom dwell in Sky as the Arameri's powerful, enslaved weapons. With only a few days until the ceremony of the Arameri succession, Yeine struggles to solve her mother's murder while surviving the machinations of her relatives and the gods."

Was an ok read but didn't grab me enough to read the next one...yet.

57bryanoz
jul 31, 2015, 2:02am

Have read 72 books but slow on the reports...

55. Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier.

Wasn't looking forward to Rebecca but enjoyed the story, characters, and twists.

58nrmay
jul 31, 2015, 9:00am

I love the great variety in the books you read.
Yours is one of the few threads I follow. Our reading interests overlap.

59bryanoz
aug 1, 2015, 7:16pm

Thanks nrmay, been following your thread too, impressed with your TBR progress !
With your fantasy interest, have you read any Margo Lanagan, an Australian writer and quite original.
She is well known for her short story collections, notably Black Juice and Red Spikes, with her 2 novels Tender Morsels and Sea Hearts great reads as well.

60bryanoz
aug 1, 2015, 7:20pm

56. The Silence of the Lambs, by Thomas Harris.

Of course a nasty and unsettling book but a well written page turner !

57. Consciousness is All, by Peter Francis Dziuban.

Spiritual work, some of which was difficult to understand but quite 'enlightening', will reread.

61nrmay
aug 2, 2015, 3:34pm

>59 bryanoz:
I was happy to find that my public library has 8 titles by Lanagan. I put in a request for Black Juice.
Thanks for the tip!
I think the last Australian authors I read were Kerry Greenwood and Nevil Shute.

62bryanoz
aug 3, 2015, 5:43am

Hope you enjoy her imagination, we do have some good authors, are you familiar with Peter Carey, say True History of the Kelly Gang, Kate Grenville The Secret River, or Alex Miller's Autumn Laing ?

63bryanoz
aug 3, 2015, 5:55am

58. Light in August, by William Faulkner.

This is the most accessible Faulkner I have read (what was Absalom, Absalom! about ?), and looks at racism, class, and religion in southern 1930's USA.
Good read.

64bryanoz
aug 4, 2015, 3:49am

59. Reaper's Gale, by Steven Erikson.

Seventh volume of The Malazan Books of the Fallen, and unusually for Erikson, it follows on from the sixth The Bonehunters.
The Letherii Empire have managed to upset many people and it comes to a head here. On the approaching Edur fleet are uber warriors Karsa Orlong and Icarium Lifestealer determined to slay the emperor in combat.

Some upstart called Redmask has gathered an army and approaches from the desert.

Various squads of the Malazan army are also on their way, including the 8th squad barely led by Hellian, a female sergeant who is either inebriated or desperately in search of that state, an example of humour amongst the slaughter.

Much more happens in the 1260 pages and the reader will be dazzled by Erikson's imagination, sense of humour, and world building (and world tearing down).

Must get to Toll The Hounds soon !

65bryanoz
aug 5, 2015, 11:40pm

60. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway.

Published in 1940, this novel is based on the author's experiences in the Spanish Civil War. Though not a Hemingway fan, his A Farewell to Arms and The Sun Also Rises were ok, I enjoyed this story. His gritty descriptions of war and the people involved, and particularly the beautiful presentation of a relationship with the young Maria made this a pleasurable read.

66bryanoz
aug 6, 2015, 2:46am

61. Station Eleven, by Emily St John Mandel.

Enjoyed this novel of life before and after a devastating epidemic kills most humans.
We follow a Shakespearian troupe as they travel the country bringing entertainment and hope to the survivors.
Moments of delight are balanced with darkness making this an arresting but also troubling read.

67bryanoz
aug 6, 2015, 7:03pm

62. Snuff and

63. I Shall Wear Midnight, by Terry Pratchett.

It has been wonderful to reread the Discworld series, with the final one The Shepherd's Crown, featuring the indomitable Tiffany Aching, due soon.
Onto The Science of Discworld.....

68bryanoz
aug 8, 2015, 9:09pm

64. A Tale For the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki.

Ruth is walking along the beach when she notices something tangled up in the washed up seaweed. This turns out to be a package including a diary written by a Japanese girl.
Recent novel, shortlisted for the Booker, very much enjoyed this exploration of alienation, connection between cultures, and Zen Buddhism.

65. The Deepest Acceptance, by Jeff Foster, great spiritual book, will reread soon !

69bryanoz
aug 9, 2015, 7:51am

66. The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame, nice, cute story !

70nrmay
aug 9, 2015, 12:16pm

Since you're a Terry Pratchett fan, did you happen to see his thoughts about Wind in the Willows in the NYT By the Book?

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/17/books/review/terry-pratchett-by-the-book.html?...

71bryanoz
aug 11, 2015, 8:20am

Thanks for reminding me, I had read them in Terry's nonfiction collection...

Not long until The Shepherd's Crown !!

72bryanoz
aug 11, 2015, 8:24am

67. Neuromancer, by William Gibson.

Been on my TBR list for years, didn't grab me as much as I hoped although the 'beginning of the cyberpunk genre' thing was interesting.

73bryanoz
aug 12, 2015, 2:20am

68. The Liar's Key, by Mark Lawrence.

After the excellent Prince of Fools, the Red Queen's War series continues with The Liar's Key.
Prince Jalan is only interested in the finer things in life involving wine and women, but he is inextricably entangled with a huge Norse warrior who is determined to battle into the hell realms to get his family back.

Great fantasy with plenty of humour, and not waiting 5 years for the sequel !?

74bryanoz
aug 13, 2015, 6:56am

69. The Wasp Factory, by Iain Banks.

Seems that the author set out to write a nasty, unpleasant book and he succeeded.

75bryanoz
aug 13, 2015, 6:43pm

70. Go Tell It on the Mountain, by James Baldwin.

John Grimes is African-American, living in Harlem in 1935, and turns 14 years old.
He struggles with understanding the church which plays a strong role in his society, his father's lack of love, and his own coming of age.
Baldwin's first novel and apparently semi-autobiographical, an engaging read.

76bryanoz
aug 18, 2015, 8:37am

71. The Dust That Falls From Dreams, by Louis de Bernieres.

It has been about 10 years since de Bernieres' last novel Birds Without Wings and no doubt he has used much of that time researching and writing this new, big novel.
Blurb :
"In the brief golden years of King Edward VII's reign, Rosie McCosh and her three very different sisters are growing up in an eccentric household in Kent, with their neighbours the Pitt boys on one side and the Pendennis boys on the other. But their days of childhood adventure are shadowed by the approach of war that will engulf them on the cusp of adulthood.

When the boys end up scattered along the Western Front, Rosie faces the challenges of life for those left behind. Confused by her love for two young men - one an infantry soldier and one a flying ace - she has to navigate her way through extraordinary times. Can she, and her sisters, build new lives out of the opportunities and devastations that follow the Great War?"

De Bernieres writes beautifully, there is love, whimsy, tragedy, and hope here, and a very rewarding read.

77jfetting
aug 18, 2015, 6:53pm

>76 bryanoz: Ooooohhhh I can't wait for that one!

78nrmay
Redigeret: aug 19, 2015, 11:12am

>76 bryanoz:

Nice comment. You talked me into it!

79bryanoz
aug 19, 2015, 2:44am

You are both very welcome !

Quick birthday trip to the bookshop netted The Seed Collectors, by Scarlett Thomas, Three Moments of an Explosion, by China Mieville, The Scarlet Gospels, by Clive Barker, and Kristen Lavransdatter, by Sigrid Undset, let joy be unconfined !!

80bryanoz
aug 19, 2015, 2:53am

72. The War of the Worlds, by H.G. Wells.

First published 1897 and a great example of early science fiction as Martians land in England and are not friendly !

81nrmay
aug 19, 2015, 11:15am

Happy Birthday!

I've had Kristen Lavransdatter on my list for a long time.

82bryanoz
aug 19, 2015, 8:40pm

Thanks nrmay, I had a nice day. I've also had KL on a reading list, and the state's libraries have never heard of it so when I came across it at the book shop, an easy decision !
It is a big book so maybe later in the year....

73. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, by Carson McCullers.

Published in 1940 and McCuller's debut novel, this is the story of a 1930s US town and the various characters there. Good read.

83bryanoz
aug 20, 2015, 6:43pm

74. Howards End, by E.M. Forster.

Published in 1910, based in England, Helen and Margaret are cultured sisters who meet families both poor and rich, and attempt to 'help' both groups.
Some interesting observations on life and love by Forster, an enjoyable read.

84bryanoz
aug 21, 2015, 7:37pm

75. The Skull Throne, by Peter Brett.

Fourth and newest volume in The Demon Cycle series, and a reasonable addition. This is one of those series that started brilliantly The Warded Man but has ground to a disappointing halt IMO.
This novel is sizable at 751 pages but not that much happens....frustrating but I'll read the next one.

85bryanoz
aug 23, 2015, 9:57pm

76. All the King's Men, by Robert Penn Warren.

Enjoyed this literate account of the interweaved lives of the politician Willie Stark and the reporter/narrator of this story Jack Burden.
Something about the writing reminded me of Jack Kerouac and I wouldn't be surprised to find that he was influenced by this novel.

86bryanoz
aug 24, 2015, 7:09pm

77. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison.

Follows the life of "Milkman", a black American who struggles to understand family, church, friendship ; this novel was apparently cited when Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
A host of quirky characters and unpredictable events make this an engaging and rewarding read.

87bryanoz
aug 25, 2015, 6:58pm

78. Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.

Of course a reread for me and great fun !

88bryanoz
aug 26, 2015, 6:53pm

79. History of the Rain, by Niall Williams.

19 year old Irish Ruth is bedridden and surrounded by nearly 4000 books, mostly Victorian litereature. Her family history, her own plight, coupled with references to the classics made this novel a rewarding read for me.

89bryanoz
aug 27, 2015, 7:05pm

80. The Divine Comedy, by Dante Alighieri.

An epic poem from the 14th century and apparently one of the world's greatest works of literature.
It describes Dante's travels through hell, purgatory, and paradise, but this reader was underwhelmed, perhaps you had to be there to get the full effect !?

90bryanoz
aug 30, 2015, 8:41am

Bought my copy of The Shepherd's Crown, happy that the last Discworld novel is a Tiffany Aching-Nac Mac Feegle, some of my favourite characters, will read it slowly to eke it out.....

91mabith
aug 31, 2015, 10:57am

I keep meaning to pick up James Baldwin, thanks for the reminder. The Dust that Falls from Dreams sounds great, definitely going on the list.

92bryanoz
sep 1, 2015, 6:13pm

81. Therese Desqueyroux, by Francois Mauriac.

French novel published in 1927, Therese has been tried and acquitted of poisoning her husband, what will life be like for them now ? Short at 115 pages, interesting.

93bryanoz
sep 4, 2015, 1:33am

New John Banville novel The Blue Guitar has arrived !, is there anything better than a new book by a favourite author ?!

94bryanoz
sep 7, 2015, 3:40am

82. Toll the Hounds, by Steven Erikson.

Took me a while and I never really got caught up in this 8th instalment of the Malazan series, although there were some memorable scenes, particularly the altercation between Kruppe and Iskaral Pust, two of the comical characters of this series.
Trust the next volume Dust of Dreams will pick things up, just noticed the similarity of titles with de Bernieres' The Dust That Falls From Dreams, spooky !

95bryanoz
sep 13, 2015, 2:35pm

83. The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins.

Published in 1868 and regarded as the first detective novel, this is an intriguing and satisfying read.
Collins was a contemporary of Dickens and in true Dickensian style the detail and meanderings mean this novel is perhaps 150 pages longer than it needs to be, but this adds to the mysterious atmosphere and also means I can add this novel to the Big Fat Book Challenge !

96bryanoz
sep 13, 2015, 2:56pm

84. The Shepherd's Crown, by Terry Pratchett.

Just read a chapter a day to prolong the last novel experience.

The young witch Tiffany Aching comes of age and she needs to as the nasty elves are on the rise.

This novel lacks Terry's usual polish but his messages, wit and humour shine through.

97bryanoz
sep 14, 2015, 11:11pm

85. The Underground Girls of Kabul, by Jenny Nordberg.

Lent by a friend, this important nonfiction book looks at life for women/girls in Afghanistan, and specifically looks at girls who are raised as boys to give a boyless family some standing in the community.
We need to be informed of the plight of females there but it is upsetting reading.

98nrmay
sep 15, 2015, 6:18pm

>97 bryanoz:
I thought that book was amazing too.
Pair that one with the novel The Pearl that Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi or
One Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, also fiction.

99bryanoz
sep 18, 2015, 10:37pm

Enjoyed Splendid Suns, will chase up The Pearl That Broke Its Shell, thanks nrmay.

86. Tender is the Night, by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Enjoyed this apparently autobiographical novel of a wealthy couple frequenting the French riveria, then a beautiful young movie star arrives.

100bryanoz
sep 23, 2015, 9:27pm

87. A Wild Sheep Chase, by Haruki Murakami.

An early Murakami novel with the usual young person drawn into a mysterious quest that may or may not be resolved, but will include bizarre characters and situations.
Intriguing read.

101swimmergirl1
sep 23, 2015, 9:51pm

I have this book in my pile. A book club is going to read it.

102bryanoz
sep 30, 2015, 12:34am

swimmergirl1 Interested to hear what the book club thinks, Murakami is not for everyone !

88. The House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton.

1905 story of Lily Bart who is raised to live a high class life but it just doesn't work out for her.
OK story.

103bryanoz
okt 8, 2015, 12:30am

89. Home and the World, by Rabindranath Tagore.

Published in 1916, this novel considers the effects of Western culture on a traditional Indian family.
This is a deep story with issues of traditional male/female roles, religion/nationalism, home/outside world, and I found this a satisfying read.

104bryanoz
okt 8, 2015, 12:49am

90. Three Moments of an Explosion, by China Mieville.

New collection of short stories by this gifted fantasy author ; weird, original, and very creative, try 'The Condition of New Death', 'Sacken', and 'Dreaded Outcome', and all the others !

105bryanoz
okt 20, 2015, 5:56am

91. The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, by Philip Pullman.

The author doesn't mind being controversial and he is with this account of Jesus' life and events.

106bryanoz
okt 23, 2015, 7:16pm

92. The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas.

Finally got around to reading this classic, and of course it's a long account of a man's adventures ; involving unfair imprisonment, daring escape, treasure, revenge...

107bryanoz
okt 27, 2015, 5:38pm

Quick reviews...

93. The Blue Guitar, by John Banville.

A new Banville novel is always exciting and this sparing account of an ex-painter/thief who wonders where it all went wrong is a very satisfying read.

94. Getting Real, by Melinda Tankard Reist, ed.

Important collection of articles that "put the spotlight on the sexualisation and objectification of girls and women in the media, popular culture, and society". We all know it happens but read this to realise the extent and what can be done.

95. Scoop, by Evelyn Waugh.

Humorous satire of journalism as an occasional contributor of nature notes to a newspaper is forced to cover 'a very promising little war' in Africa and somehow manages the 'scoop'.

108bryanoz
okt 29, 2015, 5:01pm

96. A Room With A View, by E.M. Forster.

Published in 1908, young English woman Lucy Honeychurch struggles to find worth and love in a time of family expectations and repression.
Forster's thoughtful plots, accomplished descriptions and sympathy for his characters make his novels a pleasure to read.

109bryanoz
nov 5, 2015, 6:39pm

97. The Seed Collectors, by Scarlett Thomas.

I am a Scarlett Thomas fan, but like other reviewers in the 100 book challenge I am unsure about this book.
It has the Thomas unpredictability and strangeness that I enjoy in her writing but somehow it didn't gel for me, an interesting read no doubt, but......I'm just unsure...

110bryanoz
nov 6, 2015, 7:18pm

98. Wide sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys.

A kind of prequel to Jane Eyre, and so might have been more meaningful if I could remember more of Bronte's classic (only read that a few years ago so more evidence of a slipping memory...hmm)..

111bryanoz
nov 6, 2015, 7:50pm

99. Slade House, by David Mitchell.

This shorter Mitchell novel begins amicably enough in 1979 as a 13 year boy and his mother look for and find Slade House.
But all is not right with Slade House as a seemingly random person disappears every 9 years....
A creepy and enjoyable extension of his recent novel The Bone Clocks.

112bryanoz
nov 10, 2015, 5:45pm

100. Dust of Dreams, by Steven Erikson.

9th volume of the Malazan Books of the Fallen, epic fantasy on steroids as various armies, gods, creatures, and resurrected dead soldiers war, squabble, and try to survive.
I enjoy following my favourite characters, unfortunately one of them meets a particularly nasty end..:(
The Crippled God next, am interested to see how Erikson will tie up the innumerable threads.

113bryanoz
nov 11, 2015, 12:34am

101. Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand.

A bookclub read, but happy to have read about the life of Louie Zamperini, a scamp who takes up running and competes at the berlin Olympics. However war erupts and he finds himself flying in the Pacific campaign.
Getting through many close calls his plane eventually goes down.
A true story of survival, courage, and perseverance, complimented by the writing skills of Laura Hillebrand (her own story is one of overcoming adversity) whose unemotional style adds to the powerful life story.
Inspiring.

114bryanoz
nov 11, 2015, 12:37am

102. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Published 1886 and together with Frankenstein and Dracula, one of the original scary stories.

115bryanoz
nov 16, 2015, 5:39pm

103. The Casual Vacancy, by J.K. Rowling.

An engaging read about an English village council position becoming vacant due to a prominent member's death, and all that ensues.

116bryanoz
nov 23, 2015, 6:00am

104. The Screaming Staircase, by Jonathan Stroud.

Stroud is the acclaimed author of the Bartimaeus series (beginning with The Amulet of Samarkand highly recommended by me), and this young adult novel is the first in the 'Lockwood & Co' series.
"A sinister Problem has occurred in London: all nature of ghosts, haunts, spirits, and Spectres are appearing throughout the city, and they aren't exactly friendly. Only young people have the psychic abilities required to see - and eradicate - these supernatural foes....the plucky Lucy Carlyle teams up with Anthony Lockwood , the charismatic leader of Lockwood & Co., a small agency that runs independent of adult supervision."

As one would expect with Stroud, there are engaging characters, plenty of action and intrigue, and great fun; enjoyed this read and will be chasing the 2 sequels.

117bryanoz
nov 23, 2015, 5:48pm

105."Why is This Night Different from All Other Nights ?", by Lemony Snicket.

4th and final volume in the "All the Wrong Questions" series..
"There was a town, and there was a train, and there was a murder. I was on the train, and I thought if I solved the murder I could save the town. I was almost thirteen and I was wrong. I was wrong about all of it. I should have asked the question "Is it more beastly to be a murderer or to let one go free ?" Instead, I asked the wrong question -- four wrong questions, more or less. This is the account of the last. "

Great fun for all ages, the 1st one is "Who Could That be at This Hour", recommended.

118bryanoz
nov 29, 2015, 8:04am

106. The Crippled God, by Steven Erikson.

Completes the Malazan Books of the Fallen 10 volume series, and a full-on epic fantasy series it was.
It's a complicated world and I can't claim to completely understand everything that happened, but i enjoyed Erikson's imagination and many of the characters.
He has begun a 'prequel' trilogy beginning with Forge of Darkness which I will get to but there are some other fantasy books/series to visit first.

119bryanoz
nov 30, 2015, 11:32pm

First of December so will slowly read Hogfather through the month finishing Xmas eve....

120mabith
dec 1, 2015, 9:39pm

One of the best things about December is my Hogfather re-read.

121bryanoz
dec 2, 2015, 7:20am

Cheers mabith, hope you have a great Hogswatch Night and Christmas !

122bryanoz
dec 8, 2015, 5:09am

107. Inferno, by Dan Brown.

Not my usual type of read but a friend lent it to us and it is over 600 pages (for the Big Fat Book group).
A Dan Brown page turner in the Da Vinci Code style, fans of Dante and Venice will have already read it, an interesting twist or two.

123bryanoz
dec 8, 2015, 5:13am

108. Devices and Desires, by K.J. Parker.

First of a fantasy trilogy and a great read, not your average fantasy - no magic, dragons, or wizards - one reviewer described it as "intelligent and compassionate" and I agree.

124bryanoz
Redigeret: dec 8, 2015, 6:45pm

Right...am I the only fantasy fan who didn't know that K.J. Parker is the pseudonym used by Tom Holt for the last many years ? Someone should have told me really....

126mabith
dec 8, 2015, 10:18am

I didn't know that about Holt either! Though Wikipedia says the knowledge of the connection didn't go public until this past April, so I don't think we're too slow. Weirdly I keep seeing phrases like "publishes fantasy as K.J. Parker," as if there wasn't fantasy published under the Holt name?

127bryanoz
dec 8, 2015, 6:46pm

Very true mabith, there was no 'fantasy' as we generally understand the genre in Devices and Desires, and plenty in the Holt books I have read.
They need to check with us before making such outlandish statements !

128mabith
dec 9, 2015, 10:13am

Ha, they should! I do hate to think of someone being paid to do that sort of writing and coming up with that statement.

129bryanoz
dec 14, 2015, 4:18am

109. The Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan.

Old Christian classic, bit of a struggle to read.

130bryanoz
dec 24, 2015, 7:25am

110. Hogfather, by Terry Pratchett.

Happy Hogswatch everyone !

131mabith
dec 24, 2015, 10:35am

Up Rooter, up Gouger! Now I'm thinking I should have put a note in all the books I'm giving as gifts, something like, "A book isn't just for Hogswatch, it's to actually read. I'll expect a report."

132bryanoz
dec 30, 2015, 8:46pm

Good luck with that mabith !

Finished my 114th and last book for 2014, am on holiday and didn't bring my laptop/excel book list, so am relying on memory....

111. Evil For Evil, by KJ Parker.
2nd in Engineer trilogy, am very interested to see how series ends.

112. Cannot remember so will fill in later.

113. Ditto.

114. The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro.

Enjoyed this moving account of a butler's life, dignity and lost opportunity.

114 books read at average of 425ish pages, happy with reading this year, best reads to follow, Happy New Year to all !

134jfetting
dec 31, 2015, 9:31am

Happy New Year!