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Jamie John

What books did you read in 2020?

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2 minutes ago, Boothjan said:

@Stopharage I loved that Murikami book too.  It was a joy to read it.

It really was. It was effortless and enjoyable whilst being meaningful throughout. I think literary snobs often feel that books of real worth have to task the reader; Murikami is a beautiful, yet accessible writer with real soul IMHO. 

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27. Mother Ship by Francesca Segal. No idea how this ended up in my Audible library, but it's a pretty powerful account of mother's experience of having extremely premature twins.

 

Previously:

Spoiler

1. This is How You Lose the Time War

2. The Uninhabitable Earth

3. Grief is the Thing With Feathers

4. Room

5. Flowers for Algernon

6. The Emperor of all Maladies

7. The old man and the sea

8. American War

9. The Hod King

10. The Picture of Dorian Gray

11. Everything I Never Told You

12. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

13. The Testaments

14. The Great Gatsby

15. Wolf of the Plains

16. The Stars' Tennis Balls

17. A Boy and his dog at the end of the world

18. Twelve Years a Slave

19. No Country for Old Men

20. 2001: A Space Odyssey

21. Child of God

22. Mythos

23. Cities of the Plain

24. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

25. The City and the City

26. The Nickel Boys

27. Mother Ship

 

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12: Star Wars: Alphabet Squadron  - Alexander Freed

 

Reviewed here:

 

 

Spoiler

1. The Right Stuff - Tom Wolfe

2. Star Wars: Doctor Aphra: Unspeakable Rebel Superweapon - Simon Spurrier & various artists (graphic novel)

3. Immortal Hulk: Breaker of Worlds - Al Ewing & Joe Bennett (graphic novel)

4. Star Wars: Master and Apprentice - Claudia Gray

5. The Colour of Magic - Terry Pratchett

6. What Does This Button Do? - Bruce Dickinson

7. The Spirit of the Dragon - William Andrews

8. Different Seasons - Stephen King

9. Star Wars: Doctor Aphra: A Rogue's End - Simon Spurrier & Caspar WijnGaard (graphic novel)

10. Nasher Says Relax - Brian Nash

11. Star Wars: Target Vader - Robbie Thompson & Marc Laming (graphic novel)

12: Star Wars: Alphabet Squadron  - Alexander Freed

 

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On 13/03/2020 at 21:30, Jamie John said:

3. The Heroes, Joe Abercrombie

 

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I seem to be getting through books at an especially glacial pace this year, but then I'm reading more magazines and listening to more podcasts, so I suppose it stands to reason.

 

Anyway, after the enjoyable but clunky fourth book in The First Law series, this, the fifth entry, I thought was more successful. It introduces a slew of (mostly) new characters, or develops minor characters from the earlier books, and as such feels a bit like a spin-off than a 'proper' entry to the series, but I still found that it was good fun all the same - nice and bloody, anyway. I've only got the sixth and final book in the series to go now but I'm hoping he'll return to some of the characters from the original trilogy.

 

There are two other books in the same universe. One is a short story anthology (Sharp Ends), well worth a read and the other (A Little Hatred) is the first book of a new trilogy (and is ace).

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29 minutes ago, Danster said:

 

There are two other books in the same universe. One is a short story anthology (Sharp Ends), well worth a read and the other (A Little Hatred) is the first book of a new trilogy (and is ace).

 

Thanks for this. I got 'Half a King' (I think it's called) in a Kindle sale the other day too. I don't think it's set in the same universe but it's still fantasy, by the looks of it.

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3 hours ago, Jamie John said:

 

Thanks for this. I got 'Half a King' (I think it's called) in a Kindle sale the other day too. I don't think it's set in the same universe but it's still fantasy, by the looks of it.


that’s his YA story so it’s a little simpler and somewhat less violent, but still worth a go. Actually one of them has quite a nice interview in the back about how he changed his approach to it. 

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A quick primer. I read more books in the last quarter of 2019 than I had in my previous 37 years combined. This is mostly due to me stopping playing video games (the irony of posting this on here) and watching TV. 
 

1. A Conjuring of Light - V.E. Schwab. 3rd book in the Magic series (maybe the last?) and thoroughly enjoyable. 
 

2. Educated - Tara Westover. I’ve not read many books in my life but this ranks near/at the top. Devoured it over a weekend and found great value / meaning in so much of the content. 
 

3. How to Teach Quantum Physics to your Dog - Chad Orzel. Read this as a follow on to A Brief History of Time. Initially the ‘dog speak’ was off putting but overall the content was interesting and thoroughly digestible. 
 

4. Into Thin Air - Jon Krakauer. Started over Christmas and finished early in the New Year. I like Jon’s writing style (See ‘Into The Wild’) and found the story equal parts harrowing / saddening. 

 

5.  Eames - Gloria Koenig.  An overview of Ray and Charles Eames and their main works / output.  A quick read with some interesting facts.

 

6.  Change is the Only Constant: The Wisdom of Calculus in a Madcap World - Ben Orlin.  20 years after studying A-Level Maths, I finally understand the context and application of concepts that my tutors were trying to drill into me.  I might pick up Orlin's other book on Mathematics on the strength of this.

 

7.  Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman.  My first taste of his work and it took a little getting used to after solely reading V.E. Schwab for fantasy fiction over the last few months.  I warmed to the story and characters as the book progressed and ultimately found the story satisfying by the end.

 

8.  The Forever War - Joe Haldeman.  I took this recommendation from this thread (thanks @joemul) as a first foray into the work of sci-fi literature.  I found the book very enjoyable, although perhaps the closing chapters of the story felt a little rushed?  Some of the language used made me smile as I guess it dates the book to the time it was written (1970s I believe).  I found some interesting links to A Brief History of Time (I guess the general space / time physics elements) which I only read for the first time a few weeks ago.

 

9.  Alice - Christina Henry.  This was recommended by a friend (cautiously) as she said it was quite dark.  It is a reimagining of the Alice in Wonderland tale (or perhaps a follow-on) with adult themes.  The language was very easy going and time with the book flew by.  I'm going to check out the sequel if that passes for a recommendation.

 

10.  The Heart's Invisible Furies - John Boyne.  A really pleasant tale that covers the entire lifetime of the narrator from conception to... well... the end.  I liked the structure, found the characters compelling, believable enough in most of their actions and the story contrived 'just enough' to keep it fun.  It did touch me emotionally once or twice too.

 

11.  Recursion - Blake Crouch.  Second favourite book of the year (after Educated).  I loved every page / minute of my time with this and would wholeheartedly recommend it.

 

12 - Three Hours - Rosamund Lupton.  I picked up knowing absolutely nothing about the story.  I wasn't a fan of the writing style and found myself constantly tripping over words and certain sentence structures.  I also wasn't a huge fan of the setting (modern day in England) as I prefer my fiction to be set further from home (either geographically or time period).  It was a 2/3 star book for me until the final act which, to be fair, did deliver on the story and bumped it to a 3/4 star overall experience.

 

13 - Where The Crawdsds Sing - Delia Owens.  Picked this up blind not knowing that it was a generally very highly rated novel.  I thoroughly enjoyed every minute with it and would recommend it unreservedly.

 

14 - Wild - Cheryl Strayed.  I watched the movie a few weeks ago and enjoyed it.  The topic fits in with a recent passion I've found for being outdoors / in nature and walking.  I really enjoyed the book overall and would recommend it.

 

15 - The Dutch House - Ann Patchett.  This was a pleasant read that started slowly and built to be a very enjoyable character led story.  I think it's great and will likely read it again in a few years.

 

16 - American Dirt - Jeanine Cummins.  There's a little controversy about this (mainly in the US) which I wasn't aware of when I bought it.  It did play on my mind a little as I started the book but was forgotten by the end.  It's a tough read as it is describing a pretty harrowing journey for characters you begin to really care about.  Overall I enjoyed it and felt I gained an understanding of something I was very naive about.

 

17 - Touching The Void - Joe Simpson.  This is a quick and interesting read that fed my hunger for more 'Into Thin Air' mountaineering tragedies.  I winced at the description of some of the injuries and suffering but overall the (true) story is uplifting.

 

18 - A Walk in the Woods - Bill Bryson.  I wanted something lighter after the last 2 reads and this hit the spot.  I chuckled more than once and sounds the book to be full of peripheral detail (about the history of the AT and related persons / events) that was rather unexpected.  I'll likely pick up another Bill Bryson book based on this.

 

19 - The Dog Stars - Peter Heller.  I picked this up after reading @multi's thoughts on it.  I found Peter's writing style a little awkward at first but loved the setting and soon found my groove.  My only complaint (and it is really praise) is that it felt like it was over with all too soon.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

20 - The Sisters Brothers - Patrick DeWitt.  This was great fun and a very easy read.  I liked the period setting (1800s America / Gold-rush era) and the characters were great company. 

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Blood of Empire by Brian Mclellan.

 

I'd recommend the whole Powder Mage series in all honesty for those looking for a new series.

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14. The End Is Always Near by Dan Carlin. Hardcore History host and writer Dan Carlin with a customarily well researched and explained book about the various times that human civilisation has been disrupted, destroyed and reconfigured. Fairly aptly, there is a chapter in there about the threat of pandemics. If you've listened to most of his podcasts then there's a lot of content that he's previously discussed in greater detail. However, this is a bit less free-form and has more focus and specific direction. His key skill is in managing to explain huge-scale issues in a palatable format that doesn't ever feel like he's dumbing it down, missing anything out or lacking balance. 

 

Now onto the complimentary pairing of Mr Unbelievable by Chris Kamara and The Peripheral by William Gibson

Spoiler

 

1. Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh

2. Recursion by Blake Crouch

3. The Descent of Man by Grayson Perry

4. The Future Starts Here by John Higgs

5. Man's Search For Reason by Victor Frankl

6. Nomad by Alan Partridge

7. Infinite Detail by Tim Maughan

8. Animal Farm by George Orwell

9. Foundation by Isaac Asimov

10. Ayoade on Ayoade by Richard Ayoade

11. Dispel Illusion by Mark Lawrence

12. Zed by Joanna Kavenna

13. What I Talk About, When I Talk About Running by Haruka Murikami

14. The End Is Always Near by Dan Carlin.

 

 

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I love Dan Carlin. That's on my list, but my Audible listening time is much reduced at the moment. 

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28. Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian. I was recommended this but a friend, but really struggled with the first third: it's so slow and a subject matter I know little of, so I found it difficult to get a handle on. But once I got into it I really enjoyed the second half. It's genuinely very funny at times, which was not at all expected.

 

Previously:

 

Spoiler

1. This is How You Lose the Time War

2. The Uninhabitable Earth

3. Grief is the Thing With Feathers

4. Room

5. Flowers for Algernon

6. The Emperor of all Maladies

7. The old man and the sea

8. American War

9. The Hod King

10. The Picture of Dorian Gray

11. Everything I Never Told You

12. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

13. The Testaments

14. The Great Gatsby

15. Wolf of the Plains

16. The Stars' Tennis Balls

17. A Boy and his dog at the end of the world

18. Twelve Years a Slave

19. No Country for Old Men

20. 2001: A Space Odyssey

21. Child of God

22. Mythos

23. Cities of the Plain

24. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

25. The City and the City

26. The Nickel Boys

27. Mother Ship

28. Master and Commander

 

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Spoiler

 

1. Chernobyl Prayer by Svetlana Alexievich

2. How to be Champion by Sarah Millican

3. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J K Rowling

4. Leviathan Wakes by James S A Corey

5. Sober by Tony Adams

6. Caliban's War by James S A Corey

 

 

7. The Volunteer: The True Story of the Resistance Hero who Infiltrated Auschwitz by Jack Fairweather

 

The quite remarkable story of Polish resistance fighter Witold Pilecki who deliberately got himself sent to Auschwitz in order to build an underground resistance and report from the camp to the world to try and make people aware of what the Nazis were doing.  Quite how the name Witold Pilecki isn't a household name is a crime in itself, although the end of the book reveals the reasons why.  

 

It's a fascinating story of patriotism, bravery and perseverance - and it would make a fucking incredible TV series!!

 

The book is told more like a historical document at times, and whilst this ensures the author remains true to his sources, I sometimes wished he used a bit of literary embellishment because I often had to re-read passages which were astounding in terms of content, but appeared a bit 'matter of fact' in the delivery.

 

Overall, this is definitely one of the most interesting accounts of the holocaust I have read - it's infinitely better than the Tattooist of Auschwitz which takes far too many liberties IMO.

 

Definitely worth a look - I got this in one of the Kindle monthly deals.

 

4.5/5

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The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte. I really enjoyed this, and learnt loads. It's pretty accessible for a non-expert like me, and written in an engaging way. I expect some might feel it comes across as a bit inward looking in terms of name dropping and descriptions of the endlessly amazing/cool/quirky expert colleagues, but I took it all as endearing and genuine dino-nerd exuberance that rather added to the overall experience. Recommended. 

 

 

Previously: 

 

Spoiler

  Hide contents

1. This is How You Lose the Time War

2. The Uninhabitable Earth

3. Grief is the Thing With Feathers

4. Room

5. Flowers for Algernon

6. The Emperor of all Maladies

7. The old man and the sea

8. American War

9. The Hod King

10. The Picture of Dorian Gray

11. Everything I Never Told You

12. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

13. The Testaments

14. The Great Gatsby

15. Wolf of the Plains

16. The Stars' Tennis Balls

17. A Boy and his dog at the end of the world

18. Twelve Years a Slave

19. No Country for Old Men

20. 2001: A Space Odyssey

21. Child of God

22. Mythos

23. Cities of the Plain

24. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

25. The City and the City

26. The Nickel Boys

27. Mother Ship

28. Master and Commander

29. The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

 

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March book update... ended up reading less than usual due to an unhealthy amount of time spent glued to news websites.

 

14. Caliban’s War (07/03)

Continuing with the Expanse series and still really enjoying it. Trying to spread them out so they last me through the lockdown!

 

15. Three Parts Dead (16/03)

The first book in the Craft Sequence series. A friend recommended the second book but I couldn’t bring myself to read that without reading this first (despite assurances that it wasn’t necessary it just would have felt wrong!). Anyway, it took me a while to get into this despite liking the concept of law as ‘magic’ but it was worth it in the end and I’m looking forward to reading the next. 
 

16. The Light Between Oceans (26/03)

No idea what the film is like but I enjoyed this more than I expected. Maybe it just felt appropriate given the main characters live a remote life in a lighthouse far away from others....

 

17. Escape! (28/03)

Very forgetful horror about a corporate away day escape room gone wrong. Had so much potential (made me think about the brilliant film Severance). The most interesting idea came in the last few pages, so despite being underwhelming I’d probably read a sequel. 

 

18. Down and Out in Paris and London (31/03)

I loved this. The first book by George Orwell and a really fascinating account of his time in Paris and London (whilst down and out, natch!). Engaging throughout, and made me think about poverty and homelessness in ways I’d perhaps not considered before (and also made me forever grateful I’ll never have to wash pots on a Parisian restaurant!)

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30. We by Yevgeny Zamyatin. I'd forgotten buying this or anything about it, so was surprised to learn it's as old as it is - it's aged very well, I'd say. Very similar to 1984, though I now gather this was the earlier, and apparently an inspiration for Orwell. 

 

Previously:

 

Spoiler

1. This is How You Lose the Time War

2. The Uninhabitable Earth

3. Grief is the Thing With Feathers

4. Room

5. Flowers for Algernon

6. The Emperor of all Maladies

7. The old man and the sea

8. American War

9. The Hod King

10. The Picture of Dorian Gray

11. Everything I Never Told You

12. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

13. The Testaments

14. The Great Gatsby

15. Wolf of the Plains

16. The Stars' Tennis Balls

17. A Boy and his dog at the end of the world

18. Twelve Years a Slave

19. No Country for Old Men

20. 2001: A Space Odyssey

21. Child of God

22. Mythos

23. Cities of the Plain

24. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

25. The City and the City

26. The Nickel Boys

27. Mother Ship

28. Master and Commander

29. The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

30. We

 

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Spoiler

A quick primer. I read more books in the last quarter of 2019 than I had in my previous 37 years combined. This is mostly due to me stopping playing video games (the irony of posting this on here) and watching TV. 
 

1. A Conjuring of Light - V.E. Schwab. 3rd book in the Magic series (maybe the last?) and thoroughly enjoyable. 
 

2. Educated - Tara Westover. I’ve not read many books in my life but this ranks near/at the top. Devoured it over a weekend and found great value / meaning in so much of the content. 
 

3. How to Teach Quantum Physics to your Dog - Chad Orzel. Read this as a follow on to A Brief History of Time. Initially the ‘dog speak’ was off putting but overall the content was interesting and thoroughly digestible. 
 

4. Into Thin Air - Jon Krakauer. Started over Christmas and finished early in the New Year. I like Jon’s writing style (See ‘Into The Wild’) and found the story equal parts harrowing / saddening. 

 

5.  Eames - Gloria Koenig.  An overview of Ray and Charles Eames and their main works / output.  A quick read with some interesting facts.

 

6.  Change is the Only Constant: The Wisdom of Calculus in a Madcap World - Ben Orlin.  20 years after studying A-Level Maths, I finally understand the context and application of concepts that my tutors were trying to drill into me.  I might pick up Orlin's other book on Mathematics on the strength of this.

 

7.  Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman.  My first taste of his work and it took a little getting used to after solely reading V.E. Schwab for fantasy fiction over the last few months.  I warmed to the story and characters as the book progressed and ultimately found the story satisfying by the end.

 

8.  The Forever War - Joe Haldeman.  I took this recommendation from this thread (thanks @joemul) as a first foray into the work of sci-fi literature.  I found the book very enjoyable, although perhaps the closing chapters of the story felt a little rushed?  Some of the language used made me smile as I guess it dates the book to the time it was written (1970s I believe).  I found some interesting links to A Brief History of Time (I guess the general space / time physics elements) which I only read for the first time a few weeks ago.

 

9.  Alice - Christina Henry.  This was recommended by a friend (cautiously) as she said it was quite dark.  It is a reimagining of the Alice in Wonderland tale (or perhaps a follow-on) with adult themes.  The language was very easy going and time with the book flew by.  I'm going to check out the sequel if that passes for a recommendation.

 

10.  The Heart's Invisible Furies - John Boyne.  A really pleasant tale that covers the entire lifetime of the narrator from conception to... well... the end.  I liked the structure, found the characters compelling, believable enough in most of their actions and the story contrived 'just enough' to keep it fun.  It did touch me emotionally once or twice too.

 

11.  Recursion - Blake Crouch.  Second favourite book of the year (after Educated).  I loved every page / minute of my time with this and would wholeheartedly recommend it.

 

12 - Three Hours - Rosamund Lupton.  I picked up knowing absolutely nothing about the story.  I wasn't a fan of the writing style and found myself constantly tripping over words and certain sentence structures.  I also wasn't a huge fan of the setting (modern day in England) as I prefer my fiction to be set further from home (either geographically or time period).  It was a 2/3 star book for me until the final act which, to be fair, did deliver on the story and bumped it to a 3/4 star overall experience.

 

13 - Where The Crawdsds Sing - Delia Owens.  Picked this up blind not knowing that it was a generally very highly rated novel.  I thoroughly enjoyed every minute with it and would recommend it unreservedly.

 

14 - Wild - Cheryl Strayed.  I watched the movie a few weeks ago and enjoyed it.  The topic fits in with a recent passion I've found for being outdoors / in nature and walking.  I really enjoyed the book overall and would recommend it.

 

15 - The Dutch House - Ann Patchett.  This was a pleasant read that started slowly and built to be a very enjoyable character led story.  I think it's great and will likely read it again in a few years.

 

16 - American Dirt - Jeanine Cummins.  There's a little controversy about this (mainly in the US) which I wasn't aware of when I bought it.  It did play on my mind a little as I started the book but was forgotten by the end.  It's a tough read as it is describing a pretty harrowing journey for characters you begin to really care about.  Overall I enjoyed it and felt I gained an understanding of something I was very naive about.

 

17 - Touching The Void - Joe Simpson.  This is a quick and interesting read that fed my hunger for more 'Into Thin Air' mountaineering tragedies.  I winced at the description of some of the injuries and suffering but overall the (true) story is uplifting.

 

18 - A Walk in the Woods - Bill Bryson.  I wanted something lighter after the last 2 reads and this hit the spot.  I chuckled more than once and sounds the book to be full of peripheral detail (about the history of the AT and related persons / events) that was rather unexpected.  I'll likely pick up another Bill Bryson book based on this.

 

19 - The Dog Stars - Peter Heller.  I picked this up after reading @multi's thoughts on it.  I found Peter's writing style a little awkward at first but loved the setting and soon found my groove.  My only complaint (and it is really praise) is that it felt like it was over with all too soon.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

20 - The Sisters Brothers - Patrick DeWitt.  This was great fun and a very easy read.  I liked the period setting (1800s America / Gold-rush era) and the characters were great company. 

 

21 - Room - Emma Donoghue.  I've not seen the film but knew the basic premise for the story.  It was an interesting if not always pleasant read.  Not sure I'll ever pick it up again but would consider trying another work by the same author.

 

22 - The Boy from the Woods - Harlan Coben.  This was enjoyable, well written and engaging.  I will definitely be looking for more of Coben's works in the very near future.

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On 11/04/2020 at 20:47, Bushtopher said:

15. Three Parts Dead (16/03)

The first book in the Craft Sequence series. A friend recommended the second book but I couldn’t bring myself to read that without reading this first (despite assurances that it wasn’t necessary it just would have felt wrong!). Anyway, it took me a while to get into this despite liking the concept of law as ‘magic’ but it was worth it in the end and I’m looking forward to reading the next. 

 

I'm oddly glad that you liked the book, as I'm a big fan and so am always happy to hear when others read and enjoy the series as well. I note in passing that the prequel type book Last First Snow is a bit throwaway (most prequels are, especially when you know how it has to end based on the second book in the series Two Serpents Rise). 

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Spoiler

A quick primer. I read more books in the last quarter of 2019 than I had in my previous 37 years combined. This is mostly due to me stopping playing video games (the irony of posting this on here) and watching TV. 
 

1. A Conjuring of Light - V.E. Schwab. 3rd book in the Magic series (maybe the last?) and thoroughly enjoyable. 
 

2. Educated - Tara Westover. I’ve not read many books in my life but this ranks near/at the top. Devoured it over a weekend and found great value / meaning in so much of the content. 
 

3. How to Teach Quantum Physics to your Dog - Chad Orzel. Read this as a follow on to A Brief History of Time. Initially the ‘dog speak’ was off putting but overall the content was interesting and thoroughly digestible. 
 

4. Into Thin Air - Jon Krakauer. Started over Christmas and finished early in the New Year. I like Jon’s writing style (See ‘Into The Wild’) and found the story equal parts harrowing / saddening. 

 

5.  Eames - Gloria Koenig.  An overview of Ray and Charles Eames and their main works / output.  A quick read with some interesting facts.

 

6.  Change is the Only Constant: The Wisdom of Calculus in a Madcap World - Ben Orlin.  20 years after studying A-Level Maths, I finally understand the context and application of concepts that my tutors were trying to drill into me.  I might pick up Orlin's other book on Mathematics on the strength of this.

 

7.  Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman.  My first taste of his work and it took a little getting used to after solely reading V.E. Schwab for fantasy fiction over the last few months.  I warmed to the story and characters as the book progressed and ultimately found the story satisfying by the end.

 

8.  The Forever War - Joe Haldeman.  I took this recommendation from this thread (thanks @joemul) as a first foray into the work of sci-fi literature.  I found the book very enjoyable, although perhaps the closing chapters of the story felt a little rushed?  Some of the language used made me smile as I guess it dates the book to the time it was written (1970s I believe).  I found some interesting links to A Brief History of Time (I guess the general space / time physics elements) which I only read for the first time a few weeks ago.

 

9.  Alice - Christina Henry.  This was recommended by a friend (cautiously) as she said it was quite dark.  It is a reimagining of the Alice in Wonderland tale (or perhaps a follow-on) with adult themes.  The language was very easy going and time with the book flew by.  I'm going to check out the sequel if that passes for a recommendation.

 

10.  The Heart's Invisible Furies - John Boyne.  A really pleasant tale that covers the entire lifetime of the narrator from conception to... well... the end.  I liked the structure, found the characters compelling, believable enough in most of their actions and the story contrived 'just enough' to keep it fun.  It did touch me emotionally once or twice too.

 

11.  Recursion - Blake Crouch.  Second favourite book of the year (after Educated).  I loved every page / minute of my time with this and would wholeheartedly recommend it.

 

12 - Three Hours - Rosamund Lupton.  I picked up knowing absolutely nothing about the story.  I wasn't a fan of the writing style and found myself constantly tripping over words and certain sentence structures.  I also wasn't a huge fan of the setting (modern day in England) as I prefer my fiction to be set further from home (either geographically or time period).  It was a 2/3 star book for me until the final act which, to be fair, did deliver on the story and bumped it to a 3/4 star overall experience.

 

13 - Where The Crawdsds Sing - Delia Owens.  Picked this up blind not knowing that it was a generally very highly rated novel.  I thoroughly enjoyed every minute with it and would recommend it unreservedly.

 

14 - Wild - Cheryl Strayed.  I watched the movie a few weeks ago and enjoyed it.  The topic fits in with a recent passion I've found for being outdoors / in nature and walking.  I really enjoyed the book overall and would recommend it.

 

15 - The Dutch House - Ann Patchett.  This was a pleasant read that started slowly and built to be a very enjoyable character led story.  I think it's great and will likely read it again in a few years.

 

16 - American Dirt - Jeanine Cummins.  There's a little controversy about this (mainly in the US) which I wasn't aware of when I bought it.  It did play on my mind a little as I started the book but was forgotten by the end.  It's a tough read as it is describing a pretty harrowing journey for characters you begin to really care about.  Overall I enjoyed it and felt I gained an understanding of something I was very naive about.

 

17 - Touching The Void - Joe Simpson.  This is a quick and interesting read that fed my hunger for more 'Into Thin Air' mountaineering tragedies.  I winced at the description of some of the injuries and suffering but overall the (true) story is uplifting.

 

18 - A Walk in the Woods - Bill Bryson.  I wanted something lighter after the last 2 reads and this hit the spot.  I chuckled more than once and sounds the book to be full of peripheral detail (about the history of the AT and related persons / events) that was rather unexpected.  I'll likely pick up another Bill Bryson book based on this.

 

19 - The Dog Stars - Peter Heller.  I picked this up after reading @multi's thoughts on it.  I found Peter's writing style a little awkward at first but loved the setting and soon found my groove.  My only complaint (and it is really praise) is that it felt like it was over with all too soon.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

20 - The Sisters Brothers - Patrick DeWitt.  This was great fun and a very easy read.  I liked the period setting (1800s America / Gold-rush era) and the characters were great company. 

 

21 - Room - Emma Donoghue.  I've not seen the film but knew the basic premise for the story.  It was an interesting if not always pleasant read.  Not sure I'll ever pick it up again but would consider trying another work by the same author.

 

22 - The Boy from the Woods - Harlan Coben.  This was enjoyable, well written and engaging.  I will definitely be looking for more of Coben's works in the very near future.

 

23 - What I Talk About, When I Talk About Running - Haruka Murikami.  I bought and read this on the strength of the review by @Stopharage in this thread.  It was an enjoyable read that I'm sure will stay with me for a while.  I will look to pick up a novel by Murikami on the strength of his writing style in this work.

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31. The Impossible Climb by Mark Synnott. This is about the Yosemite climbing scene, and most notably Alex Honnold's climb of El Capitan, as seen in Free Solo. I know nothing about climbing, apart from having watched Free Solo, which is amazing. 

 

I thought this offered some really interesting insight into the wider climbing community, and understanding of what made Honnold's climb so incredible (aside from the obvious). I found it a bit strange that it is outwardly pitched as a story about Honnold's free solo, but the author spends rather a long time talking about his own career and travels with various other climbers. However, while I expect others might be frustrated or even find the marketing a little disingenuous, I think overall it all added to the experience for me. 

 

Previously:

 

Spoiler

1. This is How You Lose the Time War

2. The Uninhabitable Earth

3. Grief is the Thing With Feathers

4. Room

5. Flowers for Algernon

6. The Emperor of all Maladies

7. The old man and the sea

8. American War

9. The Hod King

10. The Picture of Dorian Gray

11. Everything I Never Told You

12. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

13. The Testaments

14. The Great Gatsby

15. Wolf of the Plains

16. The Stars' Tennis Balls

17. A Boy and his dog at the end of the world

18. Twelve Years a Slave

19. No Country for Old Men

20. 2001: A Space Odyssey

21. Child of God

22. Mythos

23. Cities of the Plain

24. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

25. The City and the City

26. The Nickel Boys

27. Mother Ship

28. Master and Commander

29. The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

30. We

31. The Impossible Climb

 

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13: Christine - Stephen King

 

My King read-through reaches 1983, and I wasn't really expecting much from this one. I haven't seen the film and knew nothing about the story except that it's about a possessed or demonic car, which has always seemed so ludicrous to me that I assumed King, having reached a point where literally everything he wrote became a best-seller, set himself a challenge to write a book about the most stupid premise he could imagine, to see whether the fans still lapped it up. Now I have no idea whether that was the origin of this book in reality, but if it was, King rose to his own challenge quite brilliantly. How could I have doubted him? Christine isn't about a haunted car, not really, not on anything other than a superficial level. What it's really about is people, and of course King is a master craftsman when it comes to people. Like most of his best books, this is full of believable characters who find themselves in increasingly incredible situations - but, as ever, because it develops so naturally, you just go along with it. Since finishing it I've read a few reviews that criticise it for being too long - at the time it was King's second-longest novel, after the epic The Stand - but it didn't seem too long to me, or indeed particularly long at all. It's true that it took a while for anything supernatural to start happening, but that's deliberate and effective at grounding the story in a believable reality. It might not be his best novel but it is a brilliant demonstration of what a great writer he is.

 

Spoiler

1. The Right Stuff - Tom Wolfe

2. Star Wars: Doctor Aphra: Unspeakable Rebel Superweapon - Simon Spurrier & various artists (graphic novel)

3. Immortal Hulk: Breaker of Worlds - Al Ewing & Joe Bennett (graphic novel)

4. Star Wars: Master and Apprentice - Claudia Gray

5. The Colour of Magic - Terry Pratchett

6. What Does This Button Do? - Bruce Dickinson

7. The Spirit of the Dragon - William Andrews

8. Different Seasons - Stephen King

9. Star Wars: Doctor Aphra: A Rogue's End - Simon Spurrier & Caspar WijnGaard (graphic novel)

10. Nasher Says Relax - Brian Nash

11. Star Wars: Target Vader - Robbie Thompson & Marc Laming (graphic novel)

12: Star Wars: Alphabet Squadron  - Alexander Freed

13: Christine - Stephen King

 

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Spoiler

 

1. Chernobyl Prayer by Svetlana Alexievich

2. How to be Champion by Sarah Millican

3. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J K Rowling

4. Leviathan Wakes by James S A Corey

5. Sober by Tony Adams

6. Caliban's War by James S A Corey

7. The Volunteer: The True Story of the Resistance Hero who Infiltrated Auschwitz by Jack Fairweather

 

 

8. Vespasian - The Furies of Rome by Robert Fabbri

 

This is book 7 of the 9-volume Vespasian series and one of my favourites so far.  It's got a very good balance between political intrigue, a despotic sadist as Emperor and plenty of gory battlefield action as the action returns to Britannia.  Plenty of famous historical characters appear in this volume and it covers a period of British Roman history I'm familiar with so it was a very, very enjoyable read - part fictional or otherwise.

 

With only 2 more to read, I am really going to miss reading this absolutely superb series.

 

4.5/5

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4. Blue Moon by Lee Child. 

 

I realise these aren’t for everyone but I find them easy to read and comforting in a way. When it came out, I am sure I read reviews that said this was a bit of a departure but it’s actually back to the standard formula - one town, some baddies, a girl etc. There are probably a few more modern elements (hacking, mobile phones) but no major changes plot wise. It’s the most memorable for me since Never Go Back. It’ll be interesting to see if they change much when Lee hands over the reins to his brother for writing duties.

 

Nearly finished The Boy From the Woods by Harlan Coben which I am racing through.

 

Previously: 


1. Creative Calling by Chase Jarvis
2. The Art of War by Sun Tzu

3. Armada by Ernest Cline

 

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32. The Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin. I struggled with this early in, but really enjoyed the second half. I'll probably read the other books, but might let my brain cool down for a bit first. 

 

Previously:

 

Spoiler

1. This is How You Lose the Time War

2. The Uninhabitable Earth

3. Grief is the Thing With Feathers

4. Room

5. Flowers for Algernon

6. The Emperor of all Maladies

7. The old man and the sea

8. American War

9. The Hod King

10. The Picture of Dorian Gray

11. Everything I Never Told You

12. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

13. The Testaments

14. The Great Gatsby

15. Wolf of the Plains

16. The Stars' Tennis Balls

17. A Boy and his dog at the end of the world

18. Twelve Years a Slave

19. No Country for Old Men

20. 2001: A Space Odyssey

21. Child of God

22. Mythos

23. Cities of the Plain

24. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

25. The City and the City

26. The Nickel Boys

27. Mother Ship

28. Master and Commander

29. The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

30. We

31. The Impossible Climb

32. The Three Body Problem

 

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My recommendation on Three Body is, if you can face it, plough on with the rest as soon as possible. I left a gap between them and got quite confused at times because I’d forgotten who some characters were or what they’d done in the earlier book(s).

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14: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - Rae Carson

 

Reviewed here:

 

 

Spoiler

1. The Right Stuff - Tom Wolfe

2. Star Wars: Doctor Aphra: Unspeakable Rebel Superweapon - Simon Spurrier & various artists (graphic novel)

3. Immortal Hulk: Breaker of Worlds - Al Ewing & Joe Bennett (graphic novel)

4. Star Wars: Master and Apprentice - Claudia Gray

5. The Colour of Magic - Terry Pratchett

6. What Does This Button Do? - Bruce Dickinson

7. The Spirit of the Dragon - William Andrews

8. Different Seasons - Stephen King

9. Star Wars: Doctor Aphra: A Rogue's End - Simon Spurrier & Caspar WijnGaard (graphic novel)

10. Nasher Says Relax - Brian Nash

11. Star Wars: Target Vader - Robbie Thompson & Marc Laming (graphic novel)

12: Star Wars: Alphabet Squadron  - Alexander Freed

13: Christine - Stephen King

14: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - Rae Carson

15: Star Wars: Rogues and Rebels - Greg Pak & Phil Noto (graphic novel)

16. Immortal Hulk: We Believe in Bruce Banner - Al Ewing & Joe Bennett (graphic novel)

 

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16 hours ago, Miner Willy said:

32. The Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin. I struggled with this early in, but really enjoyed the second half. I'll probably read the other books, but might let my brain cool down for a bit first. 

 

Previously:

 

  Reveal hidden contents

1. This is How You Lose the Time War

2. The Uninhabitable Earth

3. Grief is the Thing With Feathers

4. Room

5. Flowers for Algernon

6. The Emperor of all Maladies

7. The old man and the sea

8. American War

9. The Hod King

10. The Picture of Dorian Gray

11. Everything I Never Told You

12. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

13. The Testaments

14. The Great Gatsby

15. Wolf of the Plains

16. The Stars' Tennis Balls

17. A Boy and his dog at the end of the world

18. Twelve Years a Slave

19. No Country for Old Men

20. 2001: A Space Odyssey

21. Child of God

22. Mythos

23. Cities of the Plain

24. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

25. The City and the City

26. The Nickel Boys

27. Mother Ship

28. Master and Commander

29. The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

30. We

31. The Impossible Climb

32. The Three Body Problem

 


I’d definitely recommend reading the next - the series gets better and better. 

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15. Perfect Sound Whatever by James Acaster. This is quite a weird book to review. I'm sure some people would find it self-indulgent, some a curate's egg and others might lap it up. Basically, Acaster starts 2017 in a rut. His mental health is fragile, he has had suicidal thoughts, a recent break-up and issues with his agent. So, he becomes slavishly devoted to buying and consuming as much music from 2016 as he can get his hands on. The book is then a mixture of reviews of some of these musical releases and personal updates as to his progress and mental being. What is good about it is that rather than doing a straight up review into the album, he explains how the artist came to write the music and the state they were in at the time. Those personal stories of the artist's process are really informative and it shows that for Acaster it was a labour of love and that he wholeheartedly believes that 2016 was the greatest year ever for music. It's similar to Ayoade on Ayoade in that you either buy unto the premise or it's going to leave you cold pretty quickly. I enjoyed it but there were times when I skipped past discussion of numetal albums. 

 

16. Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney. I adored Normal People and it was probably my favourite book of last year. I picked this up largely on the basis of that novel and whilst I enjoyed it and thought the writing was sound, the main characters aren't particularly likeable. It shines in the naturalness of the conversational parts and it's a realistic tale of friendship, infidelity and being a young adult. 

Spoiler

 

1. Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh

2. Recursion by Blake Crouch

3. The Descent of Man by Grayson Perry

4. The Future Starts Here by John Higgs

5. Man's Search For Reason by Victor Frankl

6. Nomad by Alan Partridge

7. Infinite Detail by Tim Maughan

8. Animal Farm by George Orwell

9. Foundation by Isaac Asimov

10. Ayoade on Ayoade by Richard Ayoade

11. Dispel Illusion by Mark Lawrence

12. Zed by Joanna Kavenna

13. What I Talk About, When I Talk About Running by Haruka Murikami

14. The End Is Always Near by Dan Carlin.

15. Perfect Sound Whatever by James Acaster

16. Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney

 

 

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Spoiler

 

1. Chernobyl Prayer by Svetlana Alexievich

2. How to be Champion by Sarah Millican

3. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J K Rowling

4. Leviathan Wakes by James S A Corey

5. Sober by Tony Adams

6. Caliban's War by James S A Corey

7. The Volunteer: The True Story of the Resistance Hero who Infiltrated Auschwitz by Jack Fairweather

8. Vespasian - The Furies of Rome by Robert Fabbri

 

 

9. Star Wars: Queen's Shadow by E K Johnston

 

Reviewed here - 

 

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33. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I remembered this as one of the stronger of the series, and it was definitely a step up in comparison with the first two. My daughter preferred Chamber of Secrets, but is of course categorically wrong.

 

Previously:

 

Spoiler

1. This is How You Lose the Time War

2. The Uninhabitable Earth

3. Grief is the Thing With Feathers

4. Room

5. Flowers for Algernon

6. The Emperor of all Maladies

7. The old man and the sea

8. American War

9. The Hod King

10. The Picture of Dorian Gray

11. Everything I Never Told You

12. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

13. The Testaments

14. The Great Gatsby

15. Wolf of the Plains

16. The Stars' Tennis Balls

17. A Boy and his dog at the end of the world

18. Twelve Years a Slave

19. No Country for Old Men

20. 2001: A Space Odyssey

21. Child of God

22. Mythos

23. Cities of the Plain

24. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

25. The City and the City

26. The Nickel Boys

27. Mother Ship

28. Master and Commander

29. The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

30. We

31. The Impossible Climb

32. The Three Body Problem

33. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

 

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