Sunday, January 14, 2007

book list 2006

In the spirit of 'the year in review' (albeit a little late) here is my list of books I finished in 2006 for the first time. I'm just too lazy to think of an actual post, that's right... Although I've given you short reviews of most of these. So if you're stuck on what to read in 2007, maybe this will help. * for my pick of the year, the best of the best. There are a whole lot of new favourites on this list but the red star goes for the 5 star books, not just the 4 1/2 star ones. So enjoy, those of you who actually read this whole list :p

Les Miserables- Victor Hugo Epically huge, but very classic and awesome. Many digressions, but Gavroche is the best.
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell- Susanna Clark Original fantasy with flair and a sense of humour.
The Big Over Easy- Jasper Fforde
44 Scotland Street- Alexander McCall Smith Light and engaging.
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency- Alexander McCall Smith
Like Water for Chocolate- Laura Esquivel Overly melodramatic, but the recipes sound good.
Memories of my Melancholy Whores- Gabriel Garcia Marquez Beautiful writing, melancholy.
The Color of Water- James McBride
The Hospital by the River- Dr. Catherine Hamlin
The Secret Life of Bees- Sue Monk Kidd Segregation was insane. A good read in conjunction with The Color of Water, hard to believe that people could think like that. Well written.
Girl With a Pearl Earring- Tracy Chevalier Greatly over-hyped
Gifts- Ursula le Guin Ursula le Guin is a genius fantasy writer. That said, she does have better books. Still, well-written and thought provoking.
One Night- Margeret Wild Verse novel for teenagers. Odd, but in many ways typical of writing for teenageers, that is to say slightly trashy.
*The Turning- Tim Winton Have I already praised this? Because I should have. It's amazing. The writing, the stories, the characters, the way it all melds in together. A top book.
Pigeon Post- Arthur Ransome If you've read any Arthur Ransome you'll know what this is like. Fun for when you feel like reading a children's book/
The Book Thief- Marcus Zusak It amazes me that so much has been written about WWII and the holocaust, and yet there can still be such good, moving books written about it. But this shows that it's possible once again.
In the Earth Abides the Flame- Russell Kirkpatrick Book 2 of standard fantasy quest. I feel that this writer has promise, but seems to lack polish.
The Thrall's Tale- Judith Lindbergh Rather standard and dreary historical fantasy. I didn't like any of the characters by the end.
The Dean's Watch- Elizabeth Goudge Uplifting
*number9dream- David Mitchell The discovery of the year. Have been reading my way through Mitchell's other works, but this is still my favourite.
If On a Winter's Night a Traveller- Italo Calvino Well executed and engaging, disappointing for lovers of endings.
The Dancers at the End of Time- Michael Moorcock Bizarre (in a good way) book from the place where fantasy overlaps with sci-fi
Cloud Atlas- Davis Mitchell
Espresso Tales- Alexander McCall Smith Sequel to 44 Scotland Street. Too long in this world becomes irritating, but short visits are fun.
Last Orders- Graham Swift
Silver Birch and Blood Moon- ed. Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling Collection of post-modern fairy tales that are generally pretty same-ish. Meh.
Not the End of the World- Kate Atkinson Seekers of modern fairy tales are much better advised to read this.
Oryx and Crake- Margeret Atwood Well executed post-apocalyptic sci-fi
The Bird in the Tree- Elizabeth Goudge
The Remains of the Day- Kazuo Ishiguro Melancholy through the everyday.
Murder in the Dark- Kerry Greenwood A Phryne Fisher mystery. Enjoyable, light and frothy as always.
The Secret Adversary- Agatha Christie
The Man in the Brown Suit- Agatha Christie
Wintersmith- Terry Pratchett Terry Pratchett is funny, and he also writes good fantasy. There's nothing wrong in this combination.
The Secret of Chimneys- Agatha Christie
Ghostwritten- David Mitchell Not my favourite David Mitchell, but good nonetheless.
One Good Turn- Kate Atkinson Mystery of a different cut to Agatha Christie, good on many levels.
The Seven Dials Mystery- Agatha Christie Fun, similar to the other Agatha Christie's on this list. They're all in the 1920's omnibus. I do enjoy a bit of Agatha Christie.
Heavenly Pleasures- Kate Greenwood I prefer Phryne Fisher, these are too much on the chick side of chick lit, and at times far too light on plot or drama.
To the Lighthouse- Virginia Woolf Light on plot for sure, but that doesn't matter because this is very good for reasons which I find hard to pin down. Reminds me of 'The Remains of the Day' more than anything else on this list...
Dracula- Bram Stoker Gothic horror in a thoroughly enjoyable way! Scary, but not too scary, more readable than 19th century novels often are, full of vampires and the original Dracula! Which surely counts for something.
I know You Got Soul- Jeremy Clarkson
Love Over Scotland- Alexander McCall Smith More Scotland Street
On the Jellicoe Road- Melina Marchetta Different to her last two books. I find Melina Marchetta is getting further and further away from reality... But her books are still good and very readable. I think my favourite writer of young adult fiction.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

happy new year!

I know this is very late, but happy new year all the same!
I spent my New Years Eve watching fireworks in Balmain, and then left almost straight away afterwards because I was so tired after LOTR :( What did you do with your New Years?

This is another short blog post because it's late and I'm tired once again, also I am lazy. I will try to do better in the future :) Am in Cnaberra at the moment, but off to the South Coast tomorrow. Family fun!