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Jamie John

What books did you read in 2019?

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22. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. Unlike anything else I’ve read this year. My minor grievances at having to look up what some of the Spanish words meant were trivial (can be fiddly on the Kindle). Wish I’d known more about the Dominican Republic’s history prior to reading this, as I felt a bit ignorant at some of the references. There’s no central conceit or McGuffin at the centre of the story; instead it’s an intriguing tale of how a family deals with living under a tyrannical regime with something hanging over them. 

 

23. Parsnips, Buttered by Joe Lycett. Quite enjoyed his occasional appearances on Comedy Countdown. Bit of a modern take on The Timewaster’s Diaries. Wasn’t as amusing as I thought it would be; seems as though it’s better to pick up on Audible as he delivers it. 

 

Strangely enough I’ve been reading Stranger Than We Could Imagine too. Have been savouring it a chapter at a time.  Brilliant book. 

Spoiler

 

1.The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah

2. Borne by Jeff VanderMeer.

3. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.

4.In your defence:Stories of Life and Law by Sarah Langford

5.My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen

6. Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

7. 84k by Claire North

8. Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor

9. The Water Cure by Sarah MacIntosh

10. Journeyman by Ben Smith

11.Do you dream of Terra-Two by Temi Oh

12. The Wall by John Lanchester

13. Blood, Sweat and Pixels by Jason Schreier

14. Romesh autobiography

15. The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham

16. Submission by Michel Houellebecq

17. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Ademyemi.

18. One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence

19. Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

20. Vicious by V.E.Schwab

21. My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

22. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

23. Parsnips, Buttered by Joe Lycett

 

 

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11. Mortal Engines, Philip Reeve

 

200px-Mortal_engines.jpg

 

This was good, steam-punky fantasy fun. Like a lot of YA fiction, the ending seems a little bit rushed, but the overall premise (earth has been reduced to a post-apocalpytic wasteland where mobile cities eat each other to survive) is interesting and well-described. 

 

Reading next: Journey to the Centre of the Earth, by Jules Verne. 

Spoiler

1. Life, the Universe and Everything, Douglas Adams.

2. The Spy Who Came In From the Cold, John Lewis Carre

3. The Fishermen, Chigozie Obioma

4. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson

5. The Black Echo, Michael Connelly

6. Ready Player One, Ernest Cline

7. American Gods, Neil Gaiman

8. The Girl With the Dragon's Tattoo, StiegLarsson

9. The Lost World, Arthur Conan Doyle

11. Classic Scrapes, James Acaster

 

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31. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. I loved this - it's clever, moving, has fascinating and believable characters, and is phenomenally well written. Best book I've read this year.

 

Previously:

 

Spoiler

1. The Body Library by Jeff Noon

2. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

3. Enlightenment Now

4. The book of Humans

5. Little Fires Everywhere

6. Everything Under

7. The Stand

8. Roadside Picnic

9. The Retreat of Western Liberalism

10. Things Fall Apart

11. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

12. Hello World

13. All the Pretty Horses

14. The Tatooist of Auschwitz

15. Normal People

16. The Undoing Project

17. The Fifteenth Life of Harry August

18. The Hobbit

19. Six Days of War

20. The Expert System's Brother

21. All the President's Men

22. Station Eleven

23. In Order to Live

24. The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read

 25. Senlin Ascends

26. Daughters of the Dragon

27. The Crossing

28. Chernobyl - History of a Catastrophe

29. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

30. The Sellout

 

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@Miner Willy May I ask your opinions on The Body Library (interested in this and the prequel), Station Eleven (same) and Senlin Ascends (as an indication of if we like the same stuff for comparison)?

 

I’m just nearing the end of The Arm of The Sphinx and I’ve loved them both.

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@charley farley - as the resident Station Eleven fanboy I implore you to go for it. It's a really unconventional dystopian novel with a great deal of charm and heart running through it. The 2 Jeff Noon 'Nyquist' books are based on superb world building with an effective and engaging protagonist; the level of craft and ideas within are impressive. Big fan of the Senlin books too. 

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9 hours ago, charley farley said:

@Miner Willy May I ask your opinions on The Body Library (interested in this and the prequel), Station Eleven (same) and Senlin Ascends (as an indication of if we like the same stuff for comparison)?

 

I’m just nearing the end of The Arm of The Sphinx and I’ve loved them both.

 

I really liked all three. I posted about each in a little more detail when I finished them - so just check earlier posts in this thread.

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On 03/01/2019 at 22:27, Miner Willy said:

I've set a 30 book challenge. Finished the first one today: The Body Library by Jeff Noon. It was in one of the Guardian best of 2018 roundups and the description sounded right up my street. I loved the start and enjoyed it throughout, but it fell short of greatness for me, despite being brilliantly inventive and well written.

 

@charley farley - This was the Body Library post. Stupidly, I had no idea it was second in a series until I finished it.

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29. Snap (04/07)

 

Kinda forgettable but enjoyable thriller about when a mum disappears leaving her kids in a car at the side of a road. 

 

30. The Lies of Locke Lamora (15/07)

 

Picked this up as I know it’s well liked by many on here. Loved it! Looking forward to reading the next in the series soon - hope it’s as good as this was!

 

31. Sourcery (20/07)

 

Slowly making my way through all of Pratchett again. Picked up more of the subtle stuff that I missed when I first read when I was younger. 

 

32. The Power (23/07)

 

Recommended. Interesting novel about what happens when women discover/develop the power to kill with a single touch. 

 

33. The Falcon of Sparta (29/07)

 

Latest Conn Iggulden. Not as good as his previous books, but an interesting story I’d not previously been aware of. Probably didn’t help that I was expecting this to be about the famous stand of 300 Spartans (it’s actually set around 80 years later). 

 

34. American War (06/08)

 

Recommended. Novel about a second US civil war in the 2070s, brought about in part due to climate change. Really enjoyed this. Didn’t go in the direction I was expecting. 

 

I’m on holiday at the moment so will probably read another Pratchett next..... Wyrd Sisters is the next in the series I think.

 

Previously.....

Spoiler

1. The Two Towers (05/01)

2. The Return of the King (10/01)

3. The Lottery (15/01)

4. Ender’s Game (19/01)

5. Speaker for the Dead (25/01)

6. I See You (28/01)

7. Watership Down (02/02)

8. The Hunting Party (09/02)

9. 2020 Commission Report on the North Korea Nuclear attacks against US (13/02)

10. Extracted (19/02)

11. Executed (24/02)

12. Extinct (06/03)

13. If Beale Street Could Talk (10/03)

14. Perfume (15/03)

15. Tribune of Rome (22/03)

16. Rome’s Executioner (30/03)

17. Party Games (01/04)

18. Alexander Hamilton (30/04)

19. False God of Rome (08/05)

20. Rome’s Fallen Eagle (14/05)

21. Masters of Rome (22/05)

22. Rome’s Lost Son (31/05)

23. The Furies of Rome (07/06)

24. Rome’s Sacred Flame (12/06)

25. Emperor of Rome (20/06)

26. The Passengers (23/06)

27. One Word Kill (27/06)

28. Limited Wish (01/07)

 

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  • LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring - Beyond having had my Dad read the Hobbit to me when I was proper young, I'd never read any of the books. My only point of reference is the 2000s films, which I didn't realise took the dialogue almost straight off the page.
  • Killers of the Flower Moon - A David Grann nonfiction book on a true crime case I'd never heard of, the Osage murders, an Indian tribe found oil on their reservation and all became multi-millionaires in the 1920s, only to start being knocked off one by one, in not particularly subtle ways (when they sent someone to Washington to intercede on their behalf, he was snatched with a bag over his head, stabbed 17 times and dumped in some marshes). It's a real page turner, but like his other work feels a bit like a lengthened magazine feature.

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The Handmaid's Tale-  Never let it be said that there's not a bandwagon goes rolling by that  I won't  try to jump on months or years after it's passed. Atwood's fairly short story is light on background initially but builds up a picture of the society gradually  and becomes more interesting as it goes.Unfortunately by the time my interest was piqued it was pretty much over. Spoilers  for the ending:

Spoiler

The epilogue  detracted from the story somewhat as  the final chapter of Offred trusting to her fate /faith and getting in the van it  is cleared up fairly conclusively  , despite us never knowing if she ultimately "made it" or not.That ambiguity would have been much more satisfying for me but can understand if people  liked the ending.Did like the fact that the epilogue involved a murky future history session, for some reason that really gets me and I was  blown away by that aspect of Riddley Walker , trying to piece together what happened through hearsay/ incomplete records , legends etc.

 

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14. Cujo - Stephen King

 

I didn’t have high expectations for this, despite its good reviews. A Stephen King book about a rabid dog, some of it told from the dog’s point of view, seemed like it might well be completely trashy. I really must learn to have more faith in Mr King. As ever, this has a cast of well-drawn characters with real lives and problems, but this time the central peril is completely non-metaphysical, almost mundane. This didn’t go the way I was expecting (the last third of Carrie but with a killer dog on the rampage) but instead became a tight, at times deliberately claustrophobic horror.

 

Interestingly it started with an explicit call back to some of the events of The Dead Zone, but this isn’t really a sequel to that book, although if you’ve read that first you’ll recognise some characters and places including the town of Castle Rock. The strange thing is that this link, which is returned to several times, provides the only supernatural element of the story, but it never becomes central to the plot, to the point I finished the book wondering why he bothered including it at all. But it doesn’t detract from the overall quality. It’s not top tier King but his average is still better than most people’s best.

 

Spoiler

1. The Long Walk - Richard Bachman (Stephen King)
2. The Martian Chronicles - Ray Bradbury 
3. Interview with the Vampire - Anne Rice  
4. Neurotribes - Steve Silberman
5. Star Wars: Thrawn Alliances - Timothy Zahn
6. The Dead Zone - Stephen King
7. The Dragon Queen - William Andrews
8. Firestarter - Stephen King
9. The Sirens of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut
10. God Emperor of Dune - Frank Herbert
11. The Song of Achilles - Madeline Miller

12. Roadwork - Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

13. The Three Body Problem - Cixin Liu

14. Cujo - Stephen King

 

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32. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. This book's central relationship between a young blind girl and her father is really beautifully portrayed, but the rest left me somewhat cold for the most part, and it definitely felt overlong.

 

Previously:

 

Spoiler

1. The Body Library by Jeff Noon

2. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

3. Enlightenment Now

4. The book of Humans

5. Little Fires Everywhere

6. Everything Under

7. The Stand

8. Roadside Picnic

9. The Retreat of Western Liberalism

10. Things Fall Apart

11. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

12. Hello World

13. All the Pretty Horses

14. The Tatooist of Auschwitz

15. Normal People

16. The Undoing Project

17. The Fifteenth Life of Harry August

18. The Hobbit

19. Six Days of War

20. The Expert System's Brother

21. All the President's Men

22. Station Eleven

23. In Order to Live

24. The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read

 25. Senlin Ascends

26. Daughters of the Dragon

27. The Crossing

28. Chernobyl - History of a Catastrophe

29. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

30. The Sellout

31. The Underground Railroad

 

 

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33. The Railway Man by Eric Lomax. I really enjoyed this. It's the true story of a very normal young Scottish man - boy really - who goes off the the second world war and becomes a POW where he is horribly tortured. I found the simple way it was told really powerful, and his account of his later life, the way he was emotionally scarred by his ordeal, and then how he learnt to forgive extremely moving. 

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36 minutes ago, Miner Willy said:

33. The Railway Man by Eric Lomax. I really enjoyed this. It's the true story of a very normal young Scottish man - boy really - who goes off the the second world war and becomes a POW where he is horribly tortured. I found the simple way it was told really powerful, and his account of his later life, the way he was emotionally scarred by his ordeal, and then how he learnt to forgive extremely moving. 

 

It's very good.

 

On a similar topic, I wholeheartedly recommend The Forgotten Highlander by Alastair Urquhart. He was also a POW on the death railway. It's an extraordinary memoir. 

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9 hours ago, Boothjan said:

 

It's very good.

 

On a similar topic, I wholeheartedly recommend The Forgotten Highlander by Alastair Urquhart. He was also a POW on the death railway. It's an extraordinary memoir. 

 

Thanks. Added to the list!

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24. Normal People by Sally Rooney. Was swayed by all the award buzz this has received, despite being a bit put off by the blurb. I absolutely adored it. Became emotionally invested in the deeply flawed characters, was fully drawn into their ever-changing relationship and was impressed with the story telling. 

 

Always more interested and impressed with fluent and engaging writing than death by a thousand sophisticated and showy sentences. The character building of the two main protagonists was great and they were realistic, Rooney’s quality comes from writing about people who must exist, so human are their flaws, mannerisms, quirks and vices. 

 

About 20 pages in I realised that this was one of those books I would be rewarded with sorrow upon completing it. That sadness you receive on a good thing coming to an end, 

 

Would heartily recommend. 

 

Slight genre shift and next up is Peter Crouch’s autobiography.

 

Spoiler

1.The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah

2. Borne by Jeff VanderMeer.

3. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.

4.In your defence:Stories of Life and Law by Sarah Langford

5.My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen

6. Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

7. 84k by Claire North

8. Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor

9. The Water Cure by Sarah MacIntosh

10. Journeyman by Ben Smith

11.Do you dream of Terra-Two by Temi Oh

12. The Wall by John Lanchester

13. Blood, Sweat and Pixels by Jason Schreier

14. Romesh autobiography

15. The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham

16. Submission by Michel Houellebecq

17. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Ademyemi.

18. One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence

19. Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

20. Vicious by V.E.Schwab

21. My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

22. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

23. Parsnips, Buttered by Joe Lycett

24. Normal People by Sally Rooney

 

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Spoiler

 

1. Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

2. Sea of Thieves: Athena's Fortune by Chris Allcock

3. How To Be Right in a World Gone Wrong by James O'Brien

4. Old Too Soon, Smart Too Late by Kieron Dyer with Oliver Holt

5. Our Story by Ron and Reg Kray with Fred Dineage

6. Step By Step - The Life in My Journeys by Simon Reeve

7. How Not To Be A Boy by Robert Webb

8. Cheer Up Peter Reid by Peter Reid

9. The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski

10. Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View by various authors

11. Survivor – Auschwitz, The Death March and My Fight for Freedom by Sam Pivnik

12. Daughters of the Dragon by William Andrews

13. The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz by Denis Avey

14. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

15. Vespasian - Tribune of Rome by Robert Fabbri

 

 

Just back from a lovely week in Bulgaria so these were my holiday books:

 

16. Indianapolis by Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic

 

I've read a few books on the USS Indianapolis before - notably the excellent In Harm's Way by Doug Stanton, but this new book about the ship is significantly more detailed and thorough.  It chronicles the ship's missions before it's infamous final voyage, and also goes into the fine details of Captain McVay's unjust court martial, and his subsequent exoneration.  Of course, the first hand accounts of the survivor's experiences in the water are incredibly powerful and often gruesome. 4/5

 

17. Vespasian - Rome's Executioner by Robert Fabbri

 

Part 2 of the excellent Vespasian series.  I love this series and part 2 improves on the opening book by adding some tremendous action scenes including an immense sea battle that reminded me of Assassins Creed Odyssey.  We also get a glimpse into the insane debauchery of Emperor Tiberius on the island of Capri.  These books combine political intrigue beautifully with epic fights with good, strong characters and I'm definitely going to read them all! 4/5

 

18. This Is Going To Hurt - The Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay

 

Plenty of people recommended this to me and I got through it in about a day.  It's a very good read, VERY funny in places and then incredibly moving on the next page.  If you didn't already hate the Tories (and Jeremy Hunt in particular) this first hand account of how the NHS's resources have been irreparably stretched certainly will. 4/5

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34. The Unauthorised Biography of Ezra Maas by Daniel James. Picked this up after reading about it on the Guardian following its shortlisting for an award. It's certainly as unusual as the noise around it suggests: it's three or four narratives within one novel, and straddles several genres while also offering an overview of recent art trends and loads more besides. I don't quite know how to summarise it, but I do think it's a fantastic piece of experimental writing.

 

Previously:

 

Spoiler

1. The Body Library by Jeff Noon

2. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

3. Enlightenment Now

4. The book of Humans

5. Little Fires Everywhere

6. Everything Under

7. The Stand

8. Roadside Picnic

9. The Retreat of Western Liberalism

10. Things Fall Apart

11. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

12. Hello World

13. All the Pretty Horses

14. The Tatooist of Auschwitz

15. Normal People

16. The Undoing Project

17. The Fifteenth Life of Harry August

18. The Hobbit

19. Six Days of War

20. The Expert System's Brother

21. All the President's Men

22. Station Eleven

23. In Order to Live

24. The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read

 25. Senlin Ascends

26. Daughters of the Dragon

27. The Crossing

28. Chernobyl - History of a Catastrophe

29. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

30. The Sellout

31. The Underground Railroad

32. All the light we cannot see

33. The Railway Man

 

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35. The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood. A short novel about the life of Odysseus's wife, Penelope, with particular focus on the lives of women in the tales. I flew through it and did really enjoy it, but then I do love the classics. 

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11. The Establishment by Owen Jones

A review for this 2014 book said it would make any reader's blood boil, and it does, going on about the various ways the esablishment in politics, the press and think tanks protect themselves against real democracy and "the masses". It didn't really impart anything new, and some may say it went over old ground,. Sobering nonetheless, with a lot of bile directed at Tony Blair. Yeah, I've read better.


 

Spoiler

 

1. The Panama Papers by Frederik Obermaier and Bastian Obermayer
2. Broken Skin by Stuart McBride
3. Can't Stand Up For Falling Down by Allan Jones

4. Masters Of War by Chris Ryan

5. The Speed Of Sound by Thomas Dolby

6. Divine Justice by David Baldacci

7. Them by Jon Ronson

8. Rip It Up And Start Again: Post-punk 1978-1984 by Simon Reynolds

9. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

10. The Growth Delusion by David Pilling

11. The Establishment by Owen Jones

 

 

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Spoiler

1. Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

2. Sea of Thieves: Athena's Fortune by Chris Allcock

3. How To Be Right in a World Gone Wrong by James O'Brien

4. Old Too Soon, Smart Too Late by Kieron Dyer with Oliver Holt

5. Our Story by Ron and Reg Kray with Fred Dineage

6. Step By Step - The Life in My Journeys by Simon Reeve

7. How Not To Be A Boy by Robert Webb

8. Cheer Up Peter Reid by Peter Reid

9. The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski

10. Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View by various authors

11. Survivor – Auschwitz, The Death March and My Fight for Freedom by Sam Pivnik

12. Daughters of the Dragon by William Andrews

13. The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz by Denis Avey

14. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

15. Vespasian - Tribune of Rome by Robert Fabbri

16. Indianapolis by Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic

17. Vespasian - Rome's Executioner by Robert Fabbri

18. This Is Going To Hurt - The Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay

 

19. Vespasian - False God of Rome by Robert Fabbri

 

Part 3 of the Vespasian series and definitely the best yet as we finally reach Caligula's reign of insanity, intertwined with the birth of Christianity.  This lends itself perfectly for Fabbri's style of fabricating historical fact with juicy fiction.  The format is becoming familiar and comfortingly so.

 

It's also getting easier to fly through this series as the books go on because they're increasing in quality, and are therefore much harder to put down!  I have the 4th instalment ready on my Kindle, which I'll start after reading all about Peter Crouch....

 

4.5/5 

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Spoiler

 

1. Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

2. Sea of Thieves: Athena's Fortune by Chris Allcock

3. How To Be Right in a World Gone Wrong by James O'Brien

4. Old Too Soon, Smart Too Late by Kieron Dyer with Oliver Holt

5. Our Story by Ron and Reg Kray with Fred Dineage

6. Step By Step - The Life in My Journeys by Simon Reeve

7. How Not To Be A Boy by Robert Webb

8. Cheer Up Peter Reid by Peter Reid

9. The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski

10. Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View by various authors

11. Survivor – Auschwitz, The Death March and My Fight for Freedom by Sam Pivnik

12. Daughters of the Dragon by William Andrews

13. The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz by Denis Avey

14. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

15. Vespasian - Tribune of Rome by Robert Fabbri

16. Indianapolis by Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic

17. Vespasian - Rome's Executioner by Robert Fabbri

18. This Is Going To Hurt - The Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay

19. Vespasian - False God of Rome by Robert Fabbri

 

 

20. How to Be a Footballer by Peter Crouch

 

An Amazon 99p special - this was a decent read.  It's not much of an autobiography, more of an insight into various aspects of footballers' lives such as fashion, endorsements, houses, what goes on in the dressing room, adjusting to fame/fortune etc but it's told in a whimsical way.  Crouch has always been a likeable guy and it comes across in his writing.

 

Worth a read - though it's not the best footballing memoir I've read.  Worth it for a quid, mind you.

 

3.5/5

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36. Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami. I really, really liked this. Two excellent, very different narratives that eventually come together in an intelligent, believable way. I thought it was frequently funny, with strong dialogue between characters - and it had some really great voicework on the Audible version I listened to.

 

Previously:

Spoiler

1. The Body Library by Jeff Noon

2. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

3. Enlightenment Now

4. The book of Humans

5. Little Fires Everywhere

6. Everything Under

7. The Stand

8. Roadside Picnic

9. The Retreat of Western Liberalism

10. Things Fall Apart

11. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

12. Hello World

13. All the Pretty Horses

14. The Tatooist of Auschwitz

15. Normal People

16. The Undoing Project

17. The Fifteenth Life of Harry August

18. The Hobbit

19. Six Days of War

20. The Expert System's Brother

21. All the President's Men

22. Station Eleven

23. In Order to Live

24. The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read

 25. Senlin Ascends

26. Daughters of the Dragon

27. The Crossing

28. Chernobyl - History of a Catastrophe

29. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

30. The Sellout

31. The Underground Railroad

32. All the light we cannot see

33. The Railway Man

34. The Unauthorised Biography of Ezra Maas

35. The Penelopiad

36. Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

 

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37. Rosewater by Tade Thompson. I didn't love this unfortunately. The premise is very similar to that of Roadside Picnic - Earth following a mysterious, non-aggressive alien invasion - but I don't think it's as impressive, and I wasn't particularly taken with either the story or any of the characters.

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I set my GoodReads target at 10 books this year but that was before I joined a book club, however I've had to change it a few times now, especially as ive been including the books I'm reading to the kids (we're working our way through Roald Dahl's works, a chapter a night) and TPB/Graphic Novels/Manga I've read too

 

Anyway, so far I've read

 

The Tattooist of Auschwitz - Heather Morris

The Mechanics Tale - Steve Matchett

Norse Mythology - Neil Hainan

The Day of the Triffids - John Wyndham

The Psychology of Zelda - Anthony M Bean

Georges Marvelous Medicine - Roald Dahl

Malaterre part 1 - Pierre- Henry Forming

Fantastic Mr Fox - Roald Dahl

Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman

Red Earth and Pouring Rain - Vikram Chandra

The Haunting of Hill House - Shirley Jackson

Han Solo - Marjorie M Liu, Jason Aaron, Mark Brooks

Captain Marvel vol 1 - Kelly Sue DeConnick, David Lopez

Leviathan Wakes - James S. A. Corey

Matilda - Roald Dahl

Captain Marvel vol 2 - Kelly Sue DeConnick, Mario Tamara, David Lopez

Captain Marvel vol 3 - Kelly Sue DeConnick,  David Lopez

A Game of Thrones - George R R Martin

The Sandman: Overture - Neil Gaiman, JH Williams III

Neuromancer - Williams Gibson

Showa 1926-1939 (A History of Japan) - Shigeru Mizuki

Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing - Bob Mortimer, Paul Whitehouse

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

Immortal Hulk vol 1 - Al Ewing, John Bennett

Immortal Hulk vol 2 - Al Ewing, John Bennett

A Clash of Kings - George R R Martin

Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy - Sernii Plokhy

The Witches - Roald Dahl

Record of a Spaceborn Few - Becky Chambers

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12. Church Of Fear: Inside The Weird World Of Scientology by John Sweeney

This documents Sweeney's attempt to produce a documentary about Scientology for Panorama in 2007. You might know the clip of him losing it big time with some smarmy twat who had basically been winding him up for days. This book brilliantly gives the lead up to this event and the aftermath. Sweeney reads his own book and brings a theatricality that I quite enjoyed but some may find it irritating. It's not going to tell you anything new about Scientology if you've read anything else, but as he says himself this is more an account of his interraction with the nutters.

 

1. The Panama Papers by Frederik Obermaier and Bastian Obermayer
2. Broken Skin by Stuart McBride
3. Can't Stand Up For Falling Down by Allan Jones

4. Masters Of War by Chris Ryan

5. The Speed Of Sound by Thomas Dolby

6. Divine Justice by David Baldacci

7. Them by Jon Ronson

8. Rip It Up And Start Again: Post-punk 1978-1984 by Simon Reynolds

9. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

10. The Growth Delusion by David Pilling

11. The Establishment by Owen Jones

12. Church Of Fear: Inside The Weird World Of Scientology by John Sweeney

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A while since I updated.

 

12. Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Jules Verne

 

Like Conan Doyle's The Lost World, which I read earlier this year, and Wells' The Time Machine before that, I can't say I found this especially gripping but I could still see why it's a seminal work when it comes to sci-fi as a genre. The proposterousness of the whole plot made it hard for me to suspend my disbelief, however, especially when compared with the verisimilitude of modern SF.

 

13 & 14. The Blade Itself and Before They Are Hanged, Joe Abercrombie

 

I'm re-reading this series because I enjoyed it so much the first time around. They really are great "low" fantasy stories. I actually prefer them to A Song of Ice and Fire, I think. They certainly don't suffer from the bloat that plagues the later books in that series, nor does the focus stray from the main cast of characters. I'm currently getting towards the end of the third book, The Last Argument of Kings, and then I'm straight on to the next trilogy in the same universe (prequels, I think), which I've not yet read. Highly recommended to anyone who likes medieval-type fantasy.

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13. Hunter Killer By Chris Ryan

I quite enjoyed the first Danny Black novel but barring some excitement towards the end this was dismal. A couple of SAS guys are told to take out some islamic terrorists in the UK, they then go to deepest Yemen and basically abuse the locals until they do what they're told. Everyone in Yemen is, according to the story, smelly, shifty, cowardly, greedy, lazy and slack, unlike our boys who are disciplined, thorough, resourceful, brave, and don't take no shit from those ruperts in the headshed, mucker. Always thought the slating of writers like Ryan and Andy McNab was a bit lazy but judging by this book my opinion is changing. A shame because I enjoyed the Strike Back TV series.

 

1. The Panama Papers by Frederik Obermaier and Bastian Obermayer
2. Broken Skin by Stuart McBride
3. Can't Stand Up For Falling Down by Allan Jones

4. Masters Of War by Chris Ryan

5. The Speed Of Sound by Thomas Dolby

6. Divine Justice by David Baldacci

7. Them by Jon Ronson

8. Rip It Up And Start Again: Post-punk 1978-1984 by Simon Reynolds

9. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

10. The Growth Delusion by David Pilling

11. The Establishment by Owen Jones

12. Church Of Fear: Inside The Weird World Of Scientology by John Sweeney

13. Hunter Killer by Chris Ryan

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