Monday, March 10, 2014

Reading 2012


What I read in 2012, 31 books in all:

"A Place Of My Own" Michael Pollan. 5 stars. Boy can he write! A stunning account of building and architecture.
"Infidel" Ayaan Hirsi Ali. 5 stars. Wow. Eye-opening. Shocking. More than a little worrying! Compulsory reading.

"Sarah Thornhill" by Kate Grenville. 4 stars. So much tragedy. A beautifully but starkly crafted of a history we all share.
"I Can Jump Puddles" Alan Marshall. 4 stars. He rides! What a tough kid.
"The Liveship Traders" series by Robin Hobb. 4 stars. Pirates! Magic ships! Dragons! A rich world with great characters.
"Mockingjay" Suzanne Collins. 4 stars. War. Twisted humanity. The horror!
"The Last American Man" Elizabeth Gilbert. 4 stars. A fascinating insight into an extraordinary man. He is one messed up dude though!
"Master & Commander" Patrick O'Brian. 4 stars. Indulgent nautical terms, absurd wartime gentility, daring and dorky.

"The Painted Man" by Peter V Brett. 3.5 stars. Simply written, but a good premise and gripping tale. Demons and heroes!
"Pandora's Star" by Peter Hamilton. 3.5 stars. A touch long-winded but has some cool future tech ideas and a big bang of a finish.
"For the Term of his Natural Life" Marcus Clarke. 3.5*. Harrowing and relentlessly tragic. Plot a little too contrived.
"The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins. 3.5 stars. Twisted. Un-put-down-able.
"The Street Sweeper" Elliot Perlman. 3.5 stars. Very well told stories of the Holocaust and being black in America, but too convenient.
"Catching Fire" Suzzane Collins. 3.5 stars. A worthy sequel, and not as predictable as it could have been.
"Reframe" Eric Knight. 3.5 stars. Simple really: a widening of perspective can reveal solutions. Reaffirms bottom-up action.
"I Heard The Owl Call My Name" Margaret Craven. 3.5 stars. Paints the feeling of a Canadian Indian village beautifully, full of deep sad ...
"Biggest Estate on Earth" Bill Gammage. 3.5 stars. A great realisation of how dramatically Aboriginals shaped Australia.
"Rain Wild Chronicles" Robin Hobb. 3.5 stars. Simpler style but still sucked me in. Third book added a few plot lines. Have to wait for ...
"Second Nature" Michael Pollan. 3.5 stars. Some excellent chapters on nature and culture, and the philosophy of gardening. But others drag.
"All The Pretty Horses" Cormac McCarthy. 3.5 stars. Languid.
"The Left Hand of Darkness" Ursula LeGuin. 3.5 stars. Some great ideas and well executed, but lacking in engaging characters.

"The Desert Spear" Peter Brett. 3 stars. A passable sequel that covers a lot of the same ground and doesn't progress the story much.
"Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott. 3 stars. Sometimes just a little too wholesome and moralistic. But touching nonetheless!
"Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha" Roddy Doyle. 3 stars. Never quite connected with this.
"Eat Pray Love" Liz Gilbert. 3 stars. An enjoyable and varied read, a lot of which I could relate to.
"The Ways of the Bushwalker" Melissa Harper. 3 stars. A moderately interesting, occasionally suprising, history of bushwalking in Aus.
"The Comfort of Men" Dennis Altman. 3 stars. A pleasant insight into gay life, but in a secessionist Tasmania!
"The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared" Jonas Jonasson. 3 stars. Amusing, if rather absurd.

"We Want Real Food" Graham Harvey. 2.5 stars. Alarming expose of the dramatic fall in the mineral content of foods. Not rigourous.
"The Wild Shore" Kim Stanley Robinson. 2.5 stars. Dubious premise, poorly told.

"Organic Manifesto" Maria Rodale. 1 star. Poorly informed, simplistic understanding of food systems. Unconvincing and disappointing.

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