Saturday, March 4, 2017

Books 2016

Here are the books I read in 2016 - there were 56 of them.  I'm pretty sure my ratings are getting tougher as time goes on.

20.5 of them were by female authors (37%).  5 were by non-white authors (9%).  Got some work to do to bring some diversity to my reading!  This year I am aiming for 50% female authors.

5 stars: 2 books (4%)

"Talking to my Country" Stan Grant. 5 stars. Must read for all Australians. Heart-breaking insight into being Indigenous. Tue Nov 29 07:42:47 +0000 2016
"Lighter than my Shadow" @KatieGreenBean. 5 stars. Gut-wrenching account of a journey through anorexia. Illustrations captured emotions. Wed Feb 03 10:26:02 +0000 2016

4.5 stars: 2 books (4%)

"The Art of Frugal Hedonism" Annie Raser-Rowland & Adam Grubb. 4.5 stars. How to live the good life on the cheap. Escape the grind! Mon Jan 30 10:13:16 +0000 2017
"Cloud Atlas" David Mitchell. 4.5 stars. Extraordinary scope and intricacy. Full meaning just out of grasp, but brilliantly told. Fri Sep 02 01:22:31 +0000 2016

4 stars: 13 books (23%)

"The Fool's Assassin" @robinhobb. 4 stars. Aaaah, so good to be back with Fitz and the Fool. Like a warm bath ... Tue Nov 29 07:50:02 +0000 2016
"Sapiens" Yuval Noah Harari. 4 stars. Concise and perceptive history of humankind with some valuable perspective on the here and now. Fri Nov 18 02:55:27 +0000 2016
"Grow A Little Fruit Tree" Ann Ralph. 4 stars. The best explanation I've read on how to grow and prune a fruit tree for the backyard. Sat Nov 12 04:38:46 +0000 2016
"The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down" Anne Fadiman. 4 stars. Fascinating account of culture clash, marvellous insight to the Hmong. Sat Nov 12 04:30:36 +0000 2016
"The Mandibles" Lionel Shriver. 4 stars. Post-financial apocalyptic - a new genre? Brings intangible ideas home. Mon Oct 24 10:11:36 +0000 2016
"Ghostwritten" David Mitchell. 4 stars. Similar, though less complex, structure to his later Cloud Atlas. Varied and unexpected. Mon Oct 24 10:15:52 +0000 2016
"Tehanu" Ursula Le Guin. 4 stars. Interestingly, I preferred the Tenar stories over the Ged ones. More intimate, less epic. Fri Sep 02 01:20:16 +0000 2016
"Day of the Triffids" John Wyndham. 4 stars. Eerie & gripping apocolyptica. Shows the existential worries of the post-war years. Tue May 31 10:15:08 +0000 2016
"Puberty Blues" Gabrielle Carey & Kathy Lette. 4 stars. If you thought kids & sex was a modern problem, read this. Some messed up stuff. Tue May 31 10:12:01 +0000 2016
"Aurora" Kim Stanley Robinson. 4 stars. Great tale of interstellar colonisation, with a strong lesson: there's no place like home. Tue May 31 10:08:00 +0000 2016
"Hyperion" Dan Simmons. 4 stars. Very effective narrative approach gradually reveals depth and weirdness of author's universe. Sat Apr 23 09:52:17 +0000 2016
"Wizard of Earthsea" Ursula Le Guin. 4 stars. Wonderful formal storytelling tone rarely used today. Sat Apr 23 09:49:37 +0000 2016
"Postcapitalism" Paul Mason. 4 stars. An unexpectedly Marxist revelation. A valuable perspective on history. Capitalism in its death throes?

3.5 stars: 15 books (27%)
"Fool's Quest" @robinhobb. 3.5 stars. Moves a bit slowly - could do with some tighter editing. Tue Nov 29 07:51:10 +0000 2016
"All That I Am" @annafunder01. 3.5 stars. The pain of watching your world fall apart. Touch wood ... Tue Nov 29 07:48:42 +0000 2016
"Z for Zachariah" Robert O'Brien. 3.5 stars. Nuclear apocalypse, self-sufficiency and an abusive over-bearing man. What's not to like? Sat Nov 12 04:46:19 +0000 2016
"The Amber Spyglass" Philip Pullman. 3.5 stars. A pleasing conclusion to the trilogy. Really pushes the fantastical side of the world(s). Mon Oct 24 10:18:01 +0000 2016
"Econobabble" @RDNS_TAI 3.5 stars. As always, Dennis cuts to the core of econo-speak. Must-read to understand what they're really saying. Mon Oct 24 10:09:04 +0000 2016
"The Subtle Knife" @PhilipPullman 3.5 stars. A step up in complexity, with the greater narrative becoming clear. Thoughtful inventive ideas. Fri Sep 02 01:28:59 +0000 2016
"The Wolf of Wall St" Jordan Belfort. 3.5 stars. Disturbing insight into the depraved meaningless lives of ultra-rich stock manipulators. Tue May 31 10:03:40 +0000 2016
"A Single Man" Christoper Isherwood. 3.5 stars. Well written - a pleasure to read. Not sure I got caught up in it's main message, though. Sat Apr 23 10:01:59 +0000 2016
"Flying Hero Class" Thomas Keneally. 3.5 stars. Great effort getting inside heads of aeroplane hostages. Some disturbing psychology! Sat Apr 23 09:57:44 +0000 2016
"The Tombs of Atuan" Ursula Le Guin. 3.5 stars. Much more intimately told than first book. Works well but lacking in scope. Sat Apr 23 09:54:02 +0000 2016
"Northern Lights" Philip Pullman. 3.5 stars. Enjoyable rollick through a magical Earth, with some confronting ideas. Sat Apr 23 09:48:01 +0000 2016
"Australia's Second Chance" @GMegalogenis. 3.5 stars. Hard sell on the value of migration, but assumes economic growth must (and can) go on! Sat Apr 23 09:45:45 +0000 2016
"The Book Thief" Markus Zusak. 3.5 stars. Use of Death as narrator was a bit awkward, but a touching story from Nazi Germany. Sat Apr 23 09:39:15 +0000 2016
"The Heroes" Joe Abercrombie. 3.5 stars. War. Bloody realistic war.
"The Mists of Avalon" Marion Bradley. 3.5 stars. The myth! The legend! The melodrama! Such tragedy! Very slow to get going, and overly long.

3 stars: 13 books (23%)
"The Gunslinger" @StephenKing. 3 stars. Trippy. Might have to read a sequel or two to decide if I like it. Mon Jan 30 10:21:25 +0000 2017
"The Alloy of Law" @BrandSanderson. 3 stars. Creative re-use of a fantasy world (he went Western). Lots of action, perhaps too much. Mon Jan 30 10:19:30 +0000 2017
"The Last Days of New Paris" China Mieville. 3 stars. Surrealism a bit beyond me, but the fascinated by the implications of the afterword. Mon Jan 30 10:16:14 +0000 2017
"Momo" Michael Ende. 3 stars. A bit eerie, and a good reminder to BE, not to DO. Wed Nov 30 22:25:18 +0000 2016
"Lab Girl" Hope Jahren. 3 stars. Scientists are crazily obsessed, and this one more than most. Paints a bleak picture of the research world. Sat Nov 12 04:35:57 +0000 2016
"Extreme Money" Satyadit Das. 3 stars. Detailed,disturbing expose of the dodgy workings of the financial system. Long-winded and scattered. Tue May 31 10:06:25 +0000 2016
"Ancillary Justice" Ann Leckie. 3 stars. Creative, but not striking, sci fi. Tue May 31 10:01:17 +0000 2016
"Fertility Without Fertilisers" Lawrence D Hills. 3 stars. Old school ideas on organic ag methods. Not much new for me except using comfrey. Sat Apr 23 09:40:49 +0000 2016
"Maskerade" Terry Pratchett. 3 stars. Sat Apr 23 09:36:04 +0000 2016
"Hero of Ages" @BrandSanderson. 3 stars. Felt stilted & cliched to start, but improved as Ruin's clever machinations were revealed. Wed Feb 03 10:20:10 +0000 2016
"Fight Like A Girl" Clementine Ford. 3 stars. Disturbing view from the trenches. Never thought of myself as an agent of the patriarchy!
"The Secret Chord" Geraldine Brooks. 3 stars. Great way to live some history.
"The Daylight Wars" Peter Brett. 3 stars. Unremarkable fantasy.

2.5 stars: 7 books (13%)
"Snow Crash" Neal Stephenson. 2.5 stars. Interesting vision of the cyber future but awkward mash of action, history and memetics. Tue Nov 29 08:00:35 +0000 2016
"Blood of Dragons"@robinhobb. 2.5 stars. Too many characters & dragons, not to mention teen love interests. Tue Nov 29 07:46:05 +0000 2016
"Banquet of Consequences" Satyajit Das. 2.5 stars. Debt & the GFC. Long-winded and contorted. Sat Nov 12 04:27:06 +0000 2016
"A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms" @GeorgeRRMartin_ 2.5 stars. Harmless but enjoyable. A few too many Aegons and Aemons ... Fri Sep 02 01:24:00 +0000 2016
"The Farthest Shore" Ursula Le Guin. 2.5 stars. Unremarkable fantasy doesn't match her others. Tue May 31 10:09:48 +0000 2016
"Fasting, Feasting" Anita Desai. 2.5 stars. Engaging portrait of Indian family life, but two distinct parts uncomfortably bolted together. Sat Apr 23 09:43:42 +0000 2016
"QF32" @RichardDeCrep. 2.5 stars. Biographical chapters were surprisingly more interesting than the overly-detailed accident itself. Wed Feb 03 10:22:05 +0000 2016

2 stars: 3 books (5%)
"Kraken" China Mieville. 2 stars. Disappointing - way too long and hard to follow all the jargon. Sat Nov 12 04:33:51 +0000 2016
"Gardens of the Moon" Stephen Erikson. 2 stars. Too many characters, not enough character. Sat Apr 23 09:55:33 +0000 2016
"The Tide Watchers" Lisa Chaplin. 2 stars. Historic novel set in Napoleonic France. A bit lame. Sat Apr 23 09:41:54 +0000 2016

1 star: 2 books (4%)
"Stranger in a Strange Land" Robert Heinlein. 1 star. Terribly aged, unbearably misogynistic. I had to stop. Tue Nov 29 08:02:18 +0000 2016
"Soil" Jamie Kornegay. 1 star. Lame thriller sucked me in with its irrelevant, tacked-on restorative ag theme. Tue Nov 29 07:55:14 +0000 2016

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