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FaisalJ

FaisalJ

Joined May 2016

Enriching my life one book at a time
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Binocular Vision by Edith Pearlman
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FaisalJ
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George Smiley is taken out of retirement to investigate the murder of a former Estonian general. This leads him to his long time adversary Karla, the spy master of the secretive communist spy agency. Considered the end of the Karla trilogy, Smiley sees how much they are both a like. 8/10: not James Bond but a more thoughtful spy novel. I like the idea that spies are actually sad boring people. 😂

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FaisalJ
Easy Money: A Novel | Jens Lapidus
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Three criminals involved in the drug trade get involved in the same smuggling scheme for different reasons. 8/10

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FaisalJ
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Creosus the last king of Lydia goes through a journey of discovery based on words of a Greek philosopher and a misread prophecy. Historical fiction based on records and myth. 8/10

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It‘s the Greek Myth retold by Stephen Fry. He wit and charm comes through as if he is telling the story. Entertaining and informative, learned new stories and facts about the Greek Gods. 8/10

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History of a brutal time of Albanian history and the man behind it. Enver Hoxha ruled with an iron fist using Stalinist policies that mechanized brutality and mass killings. 8/10

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FaisalJ
My Cat Yugoslavia: A Novel | Pajtim Statovci
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An immigrant lonely buys a snake which he is afraid off. Meets a cat that triggers his need to rediscover his home country. Story explores his experiences growing up as an immigrant in Finland. 7/10.

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FaisalJ
The Concert | Barbara Bray, Ismail Kadare, Jusuf Vrioni
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I learned a lot about Albanian culture and politics during its communist era. It‘s about the breakup of the alliance with China. How it affected the lives of the people from the political aftermath. 8/10

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FaisalJ
The Concert | Barbara Bray, Ismail Kadare, Jusuf Vrioni
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I like the comparison of an ashtray to a battle field between to lovers.

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FaisalJ
The Concert | Barbara Bray, Ismail Kadare, Jusuf Vrioni
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Something I go through before parties

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FaisalJ
The Concert | Barbara Bray, Ismail Kadare, Jusuf Vrioni
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It‘s funny and a sad quote. 😝

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FaisalJ
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Makana is hired by an art dealer to find an ex Iraqi general in Cairo. The investigation gets complicated with the arrival of American mercenaries and a LA cop. Corrupt politicians and local gangsters get mixed up with the investigation. Exciting thrill ride from start to finish, really makes you feel you are in Cairo. 8/10

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FaisalJ
Death and the Penguin | Andrey Kurkov
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Mehso-so

Satire taking place during post Soviet Ukraine, about a writer and penguin owner writes obituaries of prominent people for a local newspaper. After a number of deaths his writings gets him trouble with the local mafia. Premise more interesting than the story. Starts exciting then gets bogged down with family stuff, then ends abruptly. Maybe I didn‘t understand the references and historical contexts. 7/10

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FaisalJ
Sick Puppy | Carl Hiaasen
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A lobbyist sweet talks a deal to convert a toad sanctuary into a residential building. His plans get thwarted by a 20yr old rich man child environmentalist. Things get complicated with the involvement of a hit man and a 60 year old tramp. 8/10

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FaisalJ
Sick Puppy | Carl Hiaasen
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Typical dogs! 😂 🐕 🐶

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FaisalJ
The Old King in His Exile | Stefan Tobler, Arno Geiger
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Memoirs of a man looking after his father who is suffering from Alzheimer‘s. From feeling upset, to acceptance then to understanding, their experiences brought them closer. 8/10

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FaisalJ
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What‘s seems like a mundane case involving inheritance, leads to a conspiracy and a ship battle. Solid read, loved revisiting familiar characters. It was a bit slow in the middle when they were traveling. But picked up towards the end. 7/10

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FaisalJ
The Old King in His Exile | Stefan Tobler, Arno Geiger
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An Alzheimer sufferer‘s world confuses him so much that he wants to go somewhere safe or “home”. The sad part is that they can never feel at home even though they are with their families. 😢

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FaisalJ
A Confederacy of Dunces | John Kennedy Toole
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A satire of twentieth century American life and modern trends. It‘s about a fat windbag who thinks he is smarter than everyone. His long suffering mother had enough of his stupid behavior getting them into trouble.

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FaisalJ
A Confederacy of Dunces | John Kennedy Toole
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“I mingle with my peers or no one, since I have no peers, I mingle with no one.” Page 105.
I can relate 😂

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FaisalJ
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Mehso-so

Historical account of the rise of two brothers from a Berber tribe that took power during Morocco‘s turmoil period in the early 1900s. The subject is interesting at times but I felt the author could of added more flare to the story. If you are interested in Moroccan history then it‘s for you. 7/10

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FaisalJ
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Asks questions of being human and the conscious mind. Has two parallel stories; one a cyber punk noir story of an information war and the other a fairy tale town with beasts. Only towards the end you find out how they are related. 8/10

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FaisalJ
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Harry Hole has to hunt down a serial killer that creates snowmen before committing a murder. The killer has a fascination with Hole. Lives up to its reputation as being one of the best Harry Hole thrillers. It doesn‘t let up with the excitement and suspense. 8/10 I will take a break from my Hole marathon till a later date.

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FaisalJ
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Tragic tale of a man choosing a comfortable life over his true feelings. He was not comfortable with his sexuality, confused and disgusted with himself. His choice destroyed lives leading to another man‘s desperation. 8/10

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FaisalJ
Fall of Hyperion | Dan Simmons
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Continuation of the Hyperion saga, the pilgrims journey concludes with universe wide implications. The scope of the tale increases to the entire human race. War, conspiracy, spirituality and religion all come together. Starts as a space opera, then turns into sci-fi fantasy and concludes as myth. 8/10

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FaisalJ
The Redeemer | Jo Nesbo
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Another fine Harry Hole thriller, about a contract killer after his target and Harry has to stop him. A lot other elements are involved which derail the case. Also concludes some story elements from the last book. 8/10

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FaisalJ
The Redeemer | Jo Nesbo
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True words of wisdom from Harry Hole‘s mother. Page 552.

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FaisalJ
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Jim‘s obsession with his childhood friend takes him on a journey through the 1940s gay scene. Growing and changing as a person learning more about him self. Meeting different people who express themselves in their own way, trying to cope with loneliness. 8/10

4 likes2 stack adds
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FaisalJ
The Armageddon Rag: A Novel | George R. R. Martin
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A retired rock music reporter is called back to cover a once famous rock promoter gruesome murder. He meets people from his past who changed or just lost their way. 8/10

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FaisalJ
Immoralist | Andr Gide
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Mehso-so

Micheal is forced to marry by his father. During their honeymoon, Micheal goes through a sexual awakening that threatens his marriage. Micheal meets many people and goes through experiences. A bit slow at times and the story ends with no resolution. 7/10

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FaisalJ
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Entertaining and thrilling, perfect conclusion to the Tom Waaler and Harry Hole rivalry spanning three books. Harry has to work under Waaler to catch a serial killer who has a fascination with pentagrams. Lots of tension between the two characters. 8/10

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FaisalJ
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Richly documented accounts of gay people lives during late 1800s-post WWI. Interesting information on the first Gay rights groups and the ideology behind their work. 8/10

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FaisalJ
The Painted Veil | W. Somerset Maugham
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A shallow socialite gets into an affair, when her husbands finds out he exacts revenge by taking her to a cholera infested village. Enjoyable read with interesting character growth. Explores themes of love, companionship and religion. 8/10

3 likes1 stack add
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FaisalJ
The Painted Veil | W. Somerset Maugham
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It was a different time them. Lol

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FaisalJ
The Hearing Trumpet | Leonora Carrington
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Mehso-so

A humorous tale of an old lady going to a home for old ladies that is run by a fanatical doctor. Themes of establishment, religion and ritual. Story starts as a realistic fantasy but gets bogged down in the middle with the history of a nun. The last part turns completely surreal. 7/10

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FaisalJ
Old Man and the Sea | Ernest Hemingway
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A modern classic a fable on mans obsession. Lol 8/10

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FaisalJ
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Mehso-so

Dog turns clever through scientific experiments, is looked after by his creator's family. He feels conflicted between his animal self and human mind. He loves and hates mankind. He feels empty and bored with the menial tasks given to him. Explores very interesting themes but the plot is slow and badly implemented. 7/10

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FaisalJ
Madness | Roald Dahl
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Very different from Dahl's children stories, these tales are unexpected and unusual. Almost every story has a twist ending. I was entertained reading each tale, I would read each short story in between novels. 8/10

ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled Stacked! And that cover is freaking me out. 2y
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FaisalJ
Nemesis | Jo Nesbo
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Thrilling Harry Hole novel with many twists and turns. Harry has to investigation a violent bank robbery at the same time trying to clear his name from his ex girlfriends murder. Revenge is the major theme, from the name of art work to people's motives. Harry makes a lot of mistakes due to his lust for revenge which makes things worst. 8/10

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Nemesis | Jo Nesbo
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Harry's experience with suicide notes. I like the dark humor nature of this quote.

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FaisalJ
Imperium | Ryszard Kapuscinski
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Reporter's experience in the former USSR as it was collapsing. Weaving history, stories, culture, and people's experiences to create a mosaic of chaos. 9/10

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FaisalJ
Imperium | Ryszard Kapuscinski
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Very imaginative way to explain 20th century Russian history.

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FaisalJ
Imperium | Ryszard Kapuscinski
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Example of the human cost of Stalin's vision during his reign.

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FaisalJ
Imperium | Ryszard Kapuscinski
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Kind of scary. To replace one god with yourself. Explains Stalin's brutal tactics.

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FaisalJ
Imperium | Ryszard Kapuscinski
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So true of human nature.

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FaisalJ
Imperium | Ryszard Kapuscinski
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Wow I never truly understood the effect that communism has on something so mundane as shopping.

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FaisalJ
Imperium | Ryszard Kapuscinski
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A romantic way to look at a cruel violent ruler.

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FaisalJ
Imperium | Ryszard Kapuscinski
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Explains why many people still dress up during the summer, it's because they are thinking men! Lol 😂

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FaisalJ
Imperium | Ryszard Kapuscinski
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Very interesting, I never know why people wore black in funerals.

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FaisalJ
Song of Kali | Dan Simmons
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Fantasy thriller about a journalist who travels to Calcutta to meet people who claim to be in contact with a deceased poet M Das. Amazing description of the contradiction of beauty and sleaze that make up Calcutta. Good build up but takes time to get going, only by the last third it starts moving. There is no clear conclusion to the events. 7.5/10

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FaisalJ
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A humour look at the pointlessness of WW1 though the eyes of a Czech every man. It was written but a Czech anarchist post WW1. He hated the bourgeoisie and wanted to shake the establishment. His intention was to write 6 volumes but died after writing the 4th. I only read the first volume. Starts off hilarious but it rambles on during the middle. 7/10