Books Read in 2009

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 I’m keeping to an average of more than one book a week ; 1.5 this year.
My book of the year came very early "A Thousand Spendid Suns" by Khalid Hosseini, read in January for my bookgroup. Nothing exceeded the strong emotions and tears this book generated.

Books Read in 2009
1. One Good Turn – Kate Atkinson (9)
2. The Night Watch – Sara Waters (8)
3. A Grave Man – David Roberts
4. Grumpy Old Women – Judith Holder
4. A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khalid Hosseini(Ethelreaders)(10)
5. Mary Reilly – Valerie Martin
6. At Your Own Risk – Derek Jarman
7. Affinity – Sara Waters (9)
8. The Child in Time – Ian McEwan
9. Last of the Late Developers – Peter Wyton
10. Edward Trencom’s Nose – Giles Milton
11. The Reader – Bernhard Schlink (9)
12. The Other Side of the Bridge – Mary Lawson(8)
13. David Golder – Irene Nemirovsky (9)
14. Wonder Boys – Michael Chabon (8)
15. The Coffin Dancer – Jeffery Deaver
16. Not the End of the World – Christopher Brookmyre (8)
17. Stories from your family tree – Ruth Symes
18. Boiling a Frog – Christopher Brookmyre (9)
19. 31 Songs – Nick Hornby
20. How to Talk to a Widower – Jonathan Tropper (Ethelreaders)
21. C – John Diamond (9)
22. In a Dry Season – Peter Robinson
23. The Stone Monkey – Jeffrey Deaver
24. The Front – Patricia Cornwell
25. State of Happiness – Stella Duffy
26. Extreme Motherhood – Jackie Clune
27. At the Stroke of Madness – Alex Kava
28. Bloodlines – Fiona Mountain
29. Without Consent – Georgie Hale
30. Emma – Jane Austen
31. Be My Enemy – Christopher Brookmyre (7)
32. Like – Ali Smith (8)
33. Something to Fall Back On – Maureen Lipman (didn’t finish)
34.Why Don’t Penguins Feet Freeze – New Scientist
35. Last Chance to See – Douglas Adams & Mark Carwardine
36. Charlotte Gray -Sebastian Faulks (re-read for Ethelreaders)
37. The Water Clock – Jim Kelly
38. The Fire Baby – Jim Kelly
39. Dare to be a Daniel – Tony Benn (library)
40. Firmin – Sam Savage
41. Feel – Chris Heath
42. Fatland – Greg Critser
43. Why do people hate America- Ziauddin Sardar and Merryl Wyn Davies
44. Ghostwalk – Rebecca Stott(Ethelreaders)(10)
45. A Snowball in Hell – Christopher Brookmyre (8)(library)
46. The Road Home – Rose Tremain (library)
47. One of Us -Melissa Benn
48. The Dead Heart -Douglas Kennedy (library)
48. Scapegallows – Carol Birch (library)
49. The Righteous Men – Sam Bourne
50. A Line in the Sand – Gerald Seymour
51. The Empty Chair – Jeffery Deaver
52. The Mortal Sickness – Andrew Taylor
53. The Twelfth Card – Jeffery Deaver
54. The Last Sorcerer – Michael White(library)
55. Blinded – Stephen White
56. The Colour – Rose Tremain (Ethelreaders)
57. The Cold Moon – Jeffery Deaver
58. Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem – Peter Ackroyd (10)
59. The Suspicions of Mr Whicher – Kate Summerscale (8)
60. The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein – Peter Ackroyd (library)(9)
61. The Stranger House – Reginald Hill(10)
62. The Innocent – Harlen Coben
63. Losing You – Nicci French(9)
64. Murder Most Fab – Julian Clary (library)
65. The Truth – Terry Pratchett
66. R is for Richochet – Sue Grafton(library)
67. Past Imperfect – Julian Fellowes( Ethelreaders)
68. The Blackpool Highflyer – Andrew Martin
69. The Other Hand – Chris Cleave(Ethelreaders)(8)
70. Linger Awhile – Russell Hoban (library) (8)
71. Expecting Someone Taller – Tom Holt
72, The Outcast – Sadie Jones( Ethelreaders) (8)
73. Silk – Allessandro Barrico (8)
74. Ye Gods – Tom Holt
75. Crack Down – Val McDermid
76. A Touch of Frost – RD Wingfield (7)
77. To War in Spain(Penguin 60) – Laurie Lee (10)
78. Little Black Book of Stories – A.S. Byatt (8)


That was 2008, that was.

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Only 70 books read in 2008 and a wider variety than last year. A lot of pretty light stuff, but that was relief from a rather traumatic year in my work and home life.

I’m finally learning how to STOP when I’m not getting anything from the book, rather than persevering; two books were cast aside this year – one because it was very bad science fantasy – utter tripe. The other; I had no wish to spend anymore time with the characters – although other Bookcrossers rather enjoyed it – so just me then?

With no apologies my book of the year was Dylan Thomas’ little gem, " A Child’s Christmas in Wales" – lyrical, nostalgic and a very satisfying read.
Of the rest, I’d heartily recommend "Mister Pip" by Lloyd Jones to everyone.

The list is here


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Copied from[info]madame_urushiol  and[info]lizmopuddy

The top 106 books most often marked as “unread” by LibraryThing’s users. As in, they sit on the shelf to make you look smart or well-rounded.
Bold the ones you’ve read, underline the ones you read for school, italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish, strike through what you couldn’t stand.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (on the shelf, not yet read)
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi: a novel (on the shelf, not yet read)
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey (on the shelf, not yet read)
Pride and Prejudice (on the shelf, not yet read)
Jane Eyre
A Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler’s Wife (on the shelf, not yet read)
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin (on the shelf, not yet read)
The Kite Runner (on the shelf, not yet read)
Mrs. Dalloway (on the shelf, not yet read)
Great Expectations
American Gods (on the shelf, not yet read)
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged  – not a big thing in the UK – I’ve only heard of it in the context of American friends attacking it
Reading Lolita in Tehran: a memoir in books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Middlesex on the shelf, not yet read)
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian: a novel (the very thought of this book makes me apoplectic – so much money wasted on such poor work)
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible: a novel
Angels & Demons ( I can’t say I couldn’t stand it , but it’s tripe. An airport novel for the jet-lagged at best)
The Inferno
The Satanic Verses (on the shelf, not yet read  –  I was advised to read the Koran first, suffice to say I’ve never got round to it)
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
( my first and only Jane Austen)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse(on the shelf, not yet read)
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables
The Corrections (on the shelf, not yet read)
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes: a memoi(whining misery-memoir)
The God of Small Things (on the shelf, not yet read)
A People’s History of the United States: 1492-present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything (on the shelf, not yet read)
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves (on the shelf, not yet read)
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake: a novel
Collapse: how societies choose to fail or succeed (on the shelf, not yet read)
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye (on the shelf, not yet read)
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics: a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: an inquiry into values
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

I wouldn’t say I bought any of these to “look smart”, but I’ve been influenced by recommendations, whether from friends or book reviews.
Unread books on a shelf is the norm for a Book-crosser.

2007 Top 12 reads

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Why not the traditional 10?
Well, one per month , although they didn’t arrive that way, and 12 was the total of books I’d scored as 9 or 10. Rather than battle over which of the 9s should be dropped I’ve opted for a list of 12. They are listed in the order I read them.

If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller – Italo Calvino[9]
Something Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury [9]
A big boy did it and ran away – Christopher Brookmyre [9]
Quite Ugly One Morning – Christopher Brookmyre[9]
In the Country of Last Things – Paul Auster[9]
Black Swan Green – David Mitchell(Ethelreaders)[9]
Brokeback Mountain – Annie Proulx [9]
Stuart – a life backwards – Alexander Masters [10]
Making Money – Terry Pratchett [9]
Michael Tolliver Lives – Armistead Maupin [10]
The Uncommon Reader – Alan Bennett[9]
The Man in the Picture – Susan Hill[10]

Applause for Christopher Brookmyre, this year’s find; a surreal, comedic, political satirist I was introduced to by my reading group, who is now making up a big part of my TBR list.

Three books scored 10.
“The Man in the Picture” was a classic ghost story by Susan Hill, as sinister as “The Woman in Black” but with a modern setting taking in Venice and England. I bought it just before Christmas from my favourite bookshop Topping & Co,  along with “Michael Tolliver Lives”. 

“Michael Tolliver..” and my other 10, “Stuart – A Life Backwards”, are the books that have most affected me this year. Both are, in their own way, about family and life changing events. Both have their joyous moments when you find yourself smiling or laughing out loud as you read and both bring you to tears at the end; for one they are of relief and the other despair. I recommend both heartily. They are not for the faint-hearted, they both depict real life and should carry an “Adult” rating for language, sex and in one case violence, but shouldn’t reading challenge us to look beyond the often cosy world we live in?

2007 reading

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This was how 2007 went. I achieved my goal of averaging more than one book a week. I read some rubbish, read some good stuff and learnt how to stop reading and move on if I didn’t like the book – it’s only taken me 4 decades to learn how to do that!

Books Read in 2007
1. Flying Under Bridges – Sandi Toksvig
2. Shopaholic Abroad – Sophie Kinsella
3. If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller – Italo Calvino (Glasgowgal)[9]
4. The Hogfather – Terry Pratchett
5. Dead Midnight – Marcia Muller
6. The Powerbook – Jeanette Winterson (Daemonwolf)[8]
7. Something Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury (AliceF)[9]
8. Therapy – David Lodge
9. All Shall be Well – Deborah Crombie
10. The Sacred Art of Stealing – Christopher Brookmyre (Ethelreaders)[8]
11. A Pair of Silk Stockings – Kate Chopin
12. A big boy did it and ran away – Christopher Brookmyre [9]
13. As Used On The Famous Nelson Mandela – Mark Thomas [8]
14. The Glass Night – John de Falbe
15. Half of a Yellow Sun – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie( Ethelreaders)[8]
16. The Liar – Stephen Fry
17. War Crimes for the Home – Liz Jensen[8]
18. Catharine – Jane Austen
19. Monstrous Regiment – Terry Pratchett
20 Sudden Death – Rita Mae Brown
21. Restless – William Boyd(Ethelreaders)
22. Soft – Rupert Thomson
23. Eye for an Eye – Malorie Blackman
24. Dude Where’s My Country? – Michael Moore
25. Split Second – Alex Kava
26. Above All Honor – Radclyffe
27. Quite Ugly One Morning – Christopher Brookmyre(9)
28. Ship of Brides – Jojo Myers (Ethelreaders)
29. Giotto’s Hand – Iain Pears
30. In Your Dreams – Tom Holt(8)
31. The Hippopotamus – Stephen Fry
32. In the Country of Last Things – Paul Auster(9)
33. Catharine – Jane Austen
34. Bimbos of the Death Sun – Sharyn McCrumb
35. 1979 – Rhona Cameron
36. Always outnumbered, always outgunned – Walter Mosely

37. Last Bus to Woodstock – Colin Dexter
38. One Man’s Dream – Thorpeness – Ailsa Ogilvie DeMille
39. Emotional Geology – Linda Gillard (library)(8)
40. Jpod – Douglas Coupland (library)
41. Indelible – Karin Slaughter
42. This book will save your life – a.m.homes (Ethelreaders)
43. Unique Item – Milorad Pavic(zzz)
44. At Risk – Patricia Cornwell
45. A Patchwork Planet – Anne Tyler
46. The Fourth Hand – John Irving
47. Pond Lane and Paris – Susie Verecker(library)
48. The Sidmouth Letters – Jane Gardam
49. Seeds of Greatness – John Canter (library)
50. Otherwise Pandemonium – Nick Hornby
51. A Young Man’s Passage – Julian Clary (library)
52. Wolves Eat Dogs – Martin Cruz Smith
53. Wilt on High – Tom Sharpe
54. Life on Mars – Alexander Stuart
55. The Picture She took – Fiona Shaw
56. Black Swan Green – David Mitchell(Ethelreaders)(9)
57. How I live Now – Meg Rosoff (suedo)
58. Can I come down now Dad John Hegley
59. Brokeback Mountain – Annie Proulx( 9)
60. Murder in Memoriam – Didier Daeninckx
61. Chairman Blair’s Little Red Book – Steve Bell & Brian Homer
62. Moving Pictures – Terry Pratchett
63.Stuart – a life backwards – Alexander Masters (10)
64. Lucky You – Carl Hiaasen
65. Wild Mary – Patrick Marnham (Ethelreaders)
66. Making Money – Terry Pratchett (9)
67. Neuromancer – William Gibson (cayenne-UK)
68. The Camomile Lawn – Mary Wesley
69. The Testament of Gideon Mack – James Robertson (ethelreaders)(8)
70. The Anonymous Venetian – Donna Leon
71. Michael Tolliver Lives – Armistead Maupin (10)
72. The Uncommon Reader – Alan Bennett(9)
73. The Man in the Picture – Susan Hill(10)

Rings and Rays received from generous bookcrossers
Pattern Recognition – William Gibson (kittiwake)
If on a winter’s night a traveller – Italo Calvino (glasgowgal)
The Powerbook – Jeanette Winterson (Daemonwolf)
Something Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury (AliceF)
As Used On The Famous Nelson Mandela – Mark Thomas (safrolistics)
Eye for an Eye – Malorie Blackman (Beebarf)
Delta Novel with a hundred endings – Milorad Pavic (zzz)
Neuromancer – William Gibson (Cayenne-UK)
How I live Now – Meg Rosoff (suedo) 

Daily declutter 2: Cookery Books

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The cookery books are all on one shelf and I had a bit of a blast at the recipes torn out of magazines and the free supplements from magazines and supermarkets last year. Nevertheless, the shelf started with 33 books and now has 27. Not a great deal of change, but an improvement. The removals will go to the next Bookcrossing meeting I attend.

I realised whilst doing this that the most battered, and therefore most used, books are ones I’ve had for years: Claudia Roden’s Middle-Eastern Cookery, Madhur Jafferey’s Indian Cooking, Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery. All over 20 years old and they got most of their staining a long time ago. I don’t  put much effort into cooking now, it’s just a matter of sticking something into the oven or on a griddle, cooking some veg and that’s that. On a bad day “cooking “involves a microwave and takes under 5 minutes.  

I am now eating more healthily, or did until Christmas intervened, but that also means more boringly, and what’s the point of cooking a large dish if that means you’ll be eating it for the rest of the week as the freezer is too small to take left-overs?


Discworld booklist – as seen on pussreboots & elhamisabel’s LJ

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The Discworld Books

Bold are ones I’ve read. Italic are ones that are on my TBR list. I’m not including the peripheral books (Nanny Ogg’s Cookbook and the like).

The Colour of Magic (1983)
The Light Fantastic (1986)
Equal Rites (1987)
Mort (1987)
Sourcery (1988)
Wyrd Sisters (1988)
Pyramids (1989)
Guards! Guards! (1989)
Faust Eric (1989)
Moving Pictures (1990)
Reaper Man (1991)
Witches Abroad (1991)
Small Gods (1992)
Lords and Ladies (1992)
Men at Arms (1993)
Soul Music (1994)
Interesting Times (1994)
Maskerade (1995)
Feet of Clay (1996)
Hogfather (1996)
Jingo (1997)
The Last Continent (1998)
Carpe Jugulum (1998)
The Fifth Elephant (1999)
The Truth (2000)
Thief of Time (2001)
The Last Hero (2001)
The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents (2001)
Night Watch (2002)
The Wee Free Men (2003)
Monstrous Regiment (2003)
A Hat Full of Sky (2004)
Going Postal (2004)
Thud! (2005)
Wintersmith (2006)
Making Money (2007)
I Shall Wear Midnight (coming)
Raising Taxes (coming)

Conclusion: After resisting Pratchett for years as “books for boys who haven’t grown up” i.e. the techies and computer nerds I worked with  13 years ago,  I now have a habit.