Tag Archives: #50bookchallenge

Read a Book: Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart

14 Mar

Having consumed an awful lot of Sci Fi and / or Post-Apocalyptic books over the past year – Justin Cronin’s The Passage, John Birmingham’s Without Warning, Jonathan Lethem’s Chronic City etc etc – I had high expectations for this novel.



Super Sad True Love Story

Super Sad True Love Story



Not only was there the excellent write up in the New Yorker’s “20 Under 40” issue, but reviews in such highly regarded papers including the Washington Post and New York Times made Gary Shtyngart’s new novel out to be one of the greatest satirical, sci fi, dystopian novels of recent years.

A quick plot overview also makes this out to be a great read:

Set in a world sometime in the (not too distant) future, main man Lenny Abramov returns to New York City from a sojourn in Rome – back to his job (converting ‘High Net Worth Individuals’ to live forever) while perusing his love for the beautiful Eunice Park.

His is a world where everyone is connected via their äppäräti (like an iPad fueled with Facebook on steroids) and work for multi-merged companies like UnitedContinentalDeltamerica and ColgatePalmoliveYum!BrandsViacomCredit. China rules the world, the Yuan is the main currency and  1 Euro is worth $USD8.64.

Overlaying this is Lenny’s flailing attempts to love Eunice, have her love him back, while an impending crisis of astronomical proportions brews towards the inevitable end.

Like Brett Easton Ellis writing for Futurama, this is a fantastically over-the-top novel steeped with enough satirical commentary to salvage it from being a comic book sans the pictures.

One of the oddest, most uncomfortable love stories you’re likely to read, the main issue is that from about a third of the way through, the story get’s stuck in a loop that it struggles to get out of. Like the incesent news feeds on Twitter or Facebook, the noise of the novel is interesting (made up of Instant Messages, Diary Entries and Observations), however it doesn’t push along the plot.

Once escaping, the story gallops towards its exhilarating conclusion, though a good edit would have made this a more excellent rather than okay read.

Robot Rating: 6.5/10

Book #13#50bookchallenge






Read a Book: One Day by David Nicholls

8 Mar

I’m not usually one for ‘Rom-Com’ type books. Along with ‘Chik-Lit’ and anything to do with Harry Potter – I’m in high level avoidance.


One Day by David Nicholls

One Day by David Nicholls


However – as the person who lent me this one has never been wrong with her recommendations, and with a cover drenched in plaudits from the likes of Nick Hornby

Big, Absorbing, Smart, fantastically readable… brilliant on the details of the last decades of British cultural and political life” and  Marian Keyes

“Incredibly Moving”

I thought I’d give it a go.

Set up to tell the story of Dexter and Emma – starting with a drunken night together at the end of University on July 15 1988 – each chapter is one year later. Throughout the next twenty years we follow Dex and Em as they find love, loose it, struggle with jobs, life and more.

With such a simple formula, this When Harry Met Sally type story could have easily fallen in a heap of clichés, or recalled any movie with Sandra Bullock. Instead Nicholls skirts around the predictable, peppering only when necessary, the bulk of the book an often funny, sometimes painful but always enjoyable exploration of friendship set against the backdrop of British life. 

Robot Rating: 7.5/10

Book #12#50bookchallenge


Amazon Link

Book Depository Link

Heard about the #50bookchallenge? (Books 1-10)

5 Mar

Neither had I until I started getting tweeted to about joining in. A popular hashtag for those out there who are avid reader – the aim is to read 50 books over 12 months and tweet the book number and details once you’ve finished another tome.

Some recent examples include:

@FelixFelicisXX books #3finished… #50bookchallenge … so far this has been a fail

@loveisalwaysnew Now #reading @ashwinsanghi ‘Chankya Chant’, published by Westland publications #Book13 #50bookchallenge

and my own first post:
@chloerobot Finished The Lacuna No. 10 in the #50bookchallenge – contender for Top Read of 2011 – review here: #books http://bit.ly/…


Unlike the Project365 communities (where people take a photo a day over a year and blog their snaps) the 50BookChallenge seems to have far fewer involved.

Nonetheless – as a big reader and even bigger list maker – this appeals to me on so many levels.

So to start the list off – here are Books #1 – #10 I’ve read so far in 2011.

#1 After America – John Birmingham (Robot Rating 6.5/10)

#2 The Finkler Question – Howard Jacobson (Robot Rating 7/10)

#3 Life – Keith Richards (Robot Rating 7.5/10)

#4 Skippy Dies – Paul Murray (Robot Rating 8/10)

#5 No Time To Think – Howard Rosenburg & Charles S Feldman (Robot Rating 6.5/10)

#6 How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe – Charles Yu (Robot Rating 7/10)

#7 Chocolate Wars – Deborah Cadbury (Robot Rating 7/10)

#8 The Gone Away World – Nick Harkaway (Robot Rating 8.5/10)

#9 The Imperfectionists – Tom Rachman (Robot Rating 8/10)

#10 The Lancuna -Barbara Kingsolver (Robot Rating 9/10)


Now I’m addicted – so hoping that I can keep up the average of 4.16666 books a month needed to complete the #50bookchallenge.