Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Book reviews 2015

It's that time of year again.  Here are all the books I read in 2015.

No 5 star books this year!  It did feel like I was missing some high calibre reading.  Or perhaps I am getting more critical as time goes on ...

43 books in total - much the same as 2014.

4.5 stars: 5 books
"Island Home" Tim Winton. 4.5 stars. At last! Captures the strength of place that is Australia. Spoke to me strongly. Wonderfully written. Wed Feb 03 10:14:28 +0000 2016
"This Changes Everything" @NaomiAKlein. 4.5 stars. Unashamedly left-wing view on climate change, extractivism & democracy. Change is coming! Thu Dec 17 01:07:57 +0000 2015
"The Martian" Andy Weir" 4.5 stars. What a cracker of a story! Totally over-the-top and with some dubious bits, but heaps of fun. Sun Apr 26 00:40:42 +0000 2015
"Farmer Boy" Laura Ingalls Wilder. 4.5 stars. Such a warm immersion in the wholesome world of 19th century farming. A lot of work though! Mon Mar 02 08:50:21 +0000 2015 
"Blood & Guts" Sam Vincent. 4.5 stars. Ouch, @seashepherd counter-productive, Australia shallow and Japan patriotic. Great analysis & prose. Fri Jan 09 06:10:20 +0000 2015 

4 stars: 9 books
"Dirt Music" Tim Winton. 4 stars. Immersive and beautifully crafted, but climax was out of place. Okay, so maybe I can get into his writing. Wed Feb 03 10:08:13 +0000 2016

"Dark Emu" Bruce Pascoe. 4 stars. Shocking that Aboriginal agriculture is so unknown - a revelation! Sun Nov 08 03:05:48 +0000 2015
"The Wahls Protocol" Terry Wahls. 4 stars. Sums up my approach to health and chronic illness. Now just to get all 9 cups of vegies ... Thu Jul 23 08:30:41 +0000 2015
"Words of Radiance" Brandon Sanderson. 4 stars. Really suckered me in, even with its slow pace. Does everyone have to be a hero though? Thu Jul 23 08:29:25 +0000 2015
"Ishi in two worlds" Theodora Kroeben. 4 stars. The last "wild" Indian. Humble and accepting, despite losing everything. Such wisdom! Fri Jun 05 03:04:13 +0000 2015
"The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible" Charles Eisenstein. 4 stars. Amazing transformative ideas, but hard to stay engaged. Sun Apr 26 00:37:59 +0000 2015 
"The Third Plate" Dan Barber. 4 stars. A chef's unfolding understanding of the food system and how to make it sustainable. Mon Mar 02 09:00:13 +0000 2015 
"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" Roald Dahl. 4 stars. A joy to revisit this classic tale of fun and frivolity. I love Dahl's irreverence! Mon Mar 02 08:57:23 +0000 2015
"Healing Is Possible" Neil Nathan. 4 stars. Practical approaches to treating chronic illness and pain. Some good ideas and experience here. Wed Feb 04 05:12:45 +0000 2015
 
3.5 stars: 13 books
"We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves" Karen Joy Fowler. 3.5 stars. Engaging read on family, psychology and animal rights. Thu Dec 17 01:09:33 +0000 2015
"Saturdee" Norman Lindsey. 3.5 stars. Evocative tale of childhood in late 19th century rural Australia. Fantastic language, and totally mad! Thu Dec 17 01:05:29 +0000 2015
"Limits to Growth Revisited" Ugo Bardi. 3.5 stars. Good explanation of dynamic modelling, but too much attention on responding to critics. Thu Dec 17 01:01:25 +0000 2015
"The Thousand Mile Summer" Colin Fletcher. 3.5 stars. A simple (but long) walk the length of California. Engaging & captivatingly beautiful. Sun Nov 08 03:07:53 +0000 2015
"The Way of Kings" Brandon Sanderson. 3.5 stars. Some good characters and ideas, addictive fantasy, but perhaps overly drawn out. Fri Jun 05 03:05:32 +0000 2015
"Railsea" China Mieville. 3.5 stars. Awesome and improbable concept, but unconvincing ending. Mon May 11 01:04:53 +0000 2015
"Little House on the Prairie" Laura Ingalls Wilder. 3.5 stars. Sweet pioneering story shot through with heartache of American Indian loss. Sun Apr 26 00:34:27 +0000 2015
"The Wayfinders" Wade Davis. 3.5 stars. A compelling argument for maintaining cultural diversity. Trad Polynesian navigation = incredible! Tue Apr 07 03:44:11 +0000 2015
"The Feel-Good Hit of the Year" Liam Pieper. 3.5 stars. What a sheltered life I have led. Many thanks to my boring conservative parents ;). Tue Apr 07 03:41:49 +0000 2015 
"Paradise Lot" Eric Toensmeier. 3.5 stars. A real-world small-scale food forest. Specifics not that applicable to Tas, but exciting concepts Tue Mar 10 02:06:48 +0000 2015 
"The Slow Regard of Silent Things" Patrick Rothfuss. 3.5 stars. Sweet, gentle and a little lonesome. Drifts along nicely with little intent. Mon Mar 02 09:02:18 +0000 2015 
"The Paleo Approach" Sarah Ballantyne. 3.5 stars. Dietary treatment for autoimmunity: no grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, dairy OR nightshades! Mon Mar 02 08:48:50 +0000 2015 
"Red Mars" trilogy, Kim Stanley Robinson. 3.5 stars. Brings the colonisation of Mars to life - amazing technology, difficult humans, Wed Feb 04 05:13:51 +0000 2015 

3 stars: 11 books
"The Giver" Lois Lowry. 3 stars. Maybe my mind was on holiday, but this didn't amaze me or get me thinking. Perhaps more relevant to youth. Wed Feb 03 10:18:00 +0000 2016
"The Good Man Jesus & the Scoundrel Christ" @PhilipPullman. 3 stars. A great idea but ultimately a strong message didn't come through. Wed Feb 03 10:12:09 +0000 2016
"The Well of Ascension" @BrandSanderson. 3 stars. Builds well on the first book. I like the way he resolves the plot, but it grows deeper. Thu Dec 17 01:11:05 +0000 2015
"All Joy and No Fun" Jennifer Senior. 3 stars. Well-rounded look at the rewards and challenges of modern parenting. Mon Jun 29 03:41:03 +0000 2015
"Caleb's Crossing" Geraldine Brooks. 3 stars. Fascinating slice of history that I was unfamiliar with - late 17thC colonial America. Mon Jun 29 03:39:55 +0000 2015
"Dodger" Terry Pratchett. 3 stars. Good characters and historical context, but didn't draw me in. Mon May 11 00:41:29 +0000 2015
"Dead Lucky" Lincoln Hall. 3 stars. Incredible mountaineering survival story, but lost in too much detail. Sun Apr 26 00:38:54 +0000 2015
"The E-Myth Revisited" Michael Gerber. 3 stars. Source needs to be more like McDonalds! Small business success through a franchising mindset Sun Apr 26 00:36:06 +0000 2015
"The Roving Party" Rohan Wilson. 3 stars. Brutal and gloomy. What a dark history we have. Tue Apr 07 03:45:07 +0000 2015
"English Passengers" Matthew Kneale. 3 stars. A good tale, but characterisation of historical figures too blunt and over-the-top. Tue Jan 06 03:26:00 +0000 2015
"The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry" Rachel Joyce. 3 stars. Largely unremarkable, but a pleasant read. A somewhat woeful end. Tue Jan 06 03:24:32 +0000 2015


2.5 stars: 3 books
 "Infamy" Lenny Bartulin. 2.5 stars. Tasmanian historical fiction. Too many characters, not enough plot. Sun Nov 08 03:10:03 +0000 2015
"The Final Empire" Brandon Sanderson. 2.5 stars. A simple good vs evil plot with some good ideas, but feels like a first novel. Fri Sep 25 09:44:30 +0000 2015
 "Trigger Warning" Neil Gaiman. 2.5*. Some good short stories, but mostly I missed the point of them and they weren't unsettling as intended. Sat Aug 15 02:28:47 +0000 2015

2 stars: 2 books
"Sand" Hugh Howey. 2 stars. Had potential, but not convincing. Sun Nov 08 03:04:12 +0000 2015
"The Guns of Navarone" Alistair MacLean. 2 stars. A bit of mindless action-packed war heroism. Thu Jul 23 08:26:58 +0000 2015

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