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What books did you read in 2021?


Jamie John
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I've been determined to read the Wheel of Time books for years. I've tried three or four times, and each time I've got up to book four before giving up. 

 

I'm trying again - and the thing is, I've just got to the end of book 2 and I loved it. It's a smashing tale. I'm not entirely sure I got that kind of buzz the last time I read it, which bodes well.

 

Another thing that bodes well is reading them on my Kindle and having the font size bigger - I'm now positive that a lot of the ill will I've had towards the books has been because the small text just contributed to me getting a headache and being miserable all the time.

 

Although...the real test will be if I can get through book four and feel the same, with the knowledge that some of the later books are acknowledged to be rather a trudge to get on with. We'll see I guess! 

 

Anyway, book 1 and 2 are great and both end well, and if nothing else that's okay.

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Like the first 4 maybe are really good. Might even be a couple more than that. Then it takes a massive dive in quality where basically nothing happens for thousands and thousands of pages. There are little bits of quality in there, but it just doesn’t go anywhere for literally entire books. Then you get the Brandon Sanderson stuff which is the opposite, where lots of stuff happens, but it’s like it’s written by a form of sentient fungus.

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  • 2 weeks later...

44. Cage of Souls by Adrian Tchaikovsky. I thought this was OK - interesting enough as Tchaikovsky always is, but I didn't think it was among his best work, and found the Audible narrator pretty annoying.

 

45. Calling Bullshit. Recommended on Rllmuk, I think in one of the Covid/misinformation threads. Definitely worth a read.

 

46. We Die Alone by David Howarth. True story of pretty incredible personal endurance in WW2.

 

47. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. Enjoyable narration, but not really my sort of thing. Not sure how it landed on my Kindle - probably a deal of the day impulse buy.

 

48. The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel. Posted earlier in the thread. I loved this.

 

49. Many Different Kinds of Love by Michael Rosen. Account of Rosen's battle with Covid. Some genuinely moving parts and unsurprisingly some pretty horrible sections describing the challenges he's faced.

 

50. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. Really enjoyable Audlble sale purchase. I do like a bit of popular science as I find this stuff fascinating and often need it dumbing down.

 

Previously:

 

Spoiler

1. Piranesi

2. The Devil and the Dark Water

3. I Love the Bones of You

4. Feral

5. Melmoth

6. The Beekeeper of Aleppo

7. Deadeye Dick by Kurt Vonnegut
8. Moneyball by Michael Lewis
9. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

10. The Deficit Myth

11. Butcher's Crossing

12. Schismatrix

13. There is no Antimemetics Division

14. Lost at Sea

15. The Assault on Truth

16. A Month in the Country

17. Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea

18. The Mermaid of Black Conch

19. Bear Head

20. The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God's Holy Warriors

21. Walking to Aldebaran

22. 24 Hours in Ancient Rome

23. The Memory Police

24. The Ardent Swarm

25. Firewalkers

26. Failures of State

27. West with Giraffes

28. Command and Control

29. Conversations with Friends

30. The Panama Papers

31. The Premonition

32. Contact

33. Zone One
34. Guns, Germs and Steel
35. Creativity
36. The Midnight Library
37. A Different Drummer
38. Sunburn: The Unofficial History of the Sun Newspaper

39. Just Ignore Him

40. The Fellowship of the Ring

41. The Two Towers

42. The Return of the King

43. American Dirt

44. Cage of Souls

45. Calling Bullshit

46. We Die Alone

47. I Capture the Castle

48. The Glass Hotel

49. Many Different Kinds of Love

50. A Short History of Nearly Everything

 

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1 hour ago, Miner Willy said:

 

 

50. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. Really enjoyable Audlble sale purchase. I do like a bit of popular science as I find this stuff fascinating and often need it dumbing down.

 

 

This is part of Audible Plus if you didn't know... I assume you bought it before they started it...

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Spoiler

1. Cibola Burn by James S A Corey - 4/5

2. How Not To Be a Professional Football by Paul Merson - 1.5/5

3. The Twins of Auschwitz by Eva Mozes Kor - 4/5

4. Ian Wright - A Life in Football: My Autobiography by Ian Wright - 4/5

5. Straight Outa Crawley: Memoirs of a Distinctly Average Human by Romesh Ranganathan - 4/5

6. My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen - 4/5

7. I, Claudius by Robert Graves - 4/5

8. The Aquariums of Pyongyang by Kang Chol-Hwan - 4/5

9. A Time To Kill by John Grisham - 3.5/5

10. Star Wars - The High Republic - The Light of the Jedi by Charles Soula - 4/5

 

11. F**k You Very Much - The Surprising Truth About Why People Are So Rude by Danny Wallace

 

What starts as a standard daft Danny Wallace 'boy project' actually turns into a rather fascinating yet wholly entertaining study into rudeness and goes into more detail with examples you wouldn't think were obvious.

 

I always enjoy Danny Wallace's books - Yes Man, With Friends Like These and Are You Dave Gorman? being my favourites - I just enjoy his style and his sense of humour, and the whole reason for his investigation into rudeness was the service he received when trying to buy his son a hot dog.  Why did this happen, what could he have done to prevent it, was he being unreasonable with his reaction?  The subsequent study into what is perceived to be rude in other countries, why there's a clear difference in how society deems rudeness between genders, famously rude people and why how they are allowed to get away with it (hi, Donald....) - with the omnipresent elephant in the room being the woman who was rude when all he was doing was trying to buy a hot dog.

 

Really entertaining and interesting - worth a look.  Another bargain Kindle read for 99p!

 

4/5

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1 hour ago, Timmo said:

 

This is part of Audible Plus if you didn't know... I assume you bought it before they started it...

 

Yeah, I saw that but I'd previously bought it in a sale. Certainly don't begrudge paying for it at all though!

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On 16/08/2021 at 10:41, Miner Willy said:

47. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. Enjoyable narration, but not really my sort of thing. Not sure how it landed on my Kindle - probably a deal of the day impulse buy.


Everyone should read this book, it’s a work of pure wonder.

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Billy Summers by Stephen King.

Another non-supernatural book by King.

The story of an assassin and the events leading upto and beyond his last job . I enjoyed it and King will never not be readable but it should have finished thirty pages earlier and I think he struggled with the direction the book should take in the second half so he introduces another main character.

There were several nods to one of his very famous earlier stories which I enjoyed.

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The Obelisk Gate- N. K. Jemison

 

Part 2 of a 3 part Triolgy- the 1st being the 5th season which I read earlier this year. Good, feels like the middle section of a trilogy and it's nice not to have a 30 something white dude  who may be  "the one"  as a protagonist. Have the 3rd in paperback that my wife bought me  6 years ago for Christmas  after I mentioned the trilogy was of interest, I'm assuming she felt i might want to see how it all turns out to save myself some time.

Spoiler

1.best served cold -Joe Abercrombie

2. Ancillary Justice- Ann Leckie

3.the 5th Season - N.K. jemisen

4. All you need is kill-

5 To kill a mockingbird- Harper lee

6. Pompeii- Robert Harris

7.D-Day through German eyes Volumes 1&2 - Holger Eckhertz

8. There is no antimemetics division

9 Fight Club- Chuck Palahniuk

10.Mortal engines-Philip Reeve

11.Dune- Frank Herbert

11. The 1st 15 lives of Harry August- Claire North.

Currently reading Legacy - lessons in leadership ( methods used by the all blacks etc)and Left of Bang  which is  an awareness and self defence  guide for marines but can be applied to everyday situations. Picked up Iron Coffins by Herbert Werner - he was a U-boat commander during WW 2 and it was recommended by a mate who was a submariner  in the Navy. As opposed the air force ....

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26. Alien 3 by William Gibson. Been meaning to read this for a fair few years now and having watched the first 4 Alien films with the kids over the Summer hols, thought this was an opportune time to do so. Would have loved to have seen this made, although not to replace the actual Alien 3, as they're both fairly distinct episodes. Think Gibson's treatment would have made a more visually arresting film and would have been more in keeping with the previous 2 films. 

 

27. Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe. I'll often champion books in these threads and go on about them. Station Eleven by Emily St Mandel, The Devil in the City by Erik Larson and Stranger Than We Can Imagine by John Higgs to name a few. This is right up there with the best books I've read in years. I can't profess to know a great deal about the Northern Ireland conflict beyond a cursory 9 'o Clock News knowledge. Keefe tells the story of the Troubles by focusing on a number of the key players and shows how their lives interacted. It begins with the disappearance of a mother of 9 from Divis Flats, looks at the actions of various members of the IRA, explains the Boston Project and the Peace Process and much more. For a historical investigative tome it often reads more like a crime thriller with a mixture of superb research, intriguing and beguiling characters, shocking events and much more. It's a fascinating and entertaining read and I'd recommend it to anyone. It also pulls off that extremely difficult task of being hugely educative whilst also being an absorbing read. It's not an exhaustive retelling of the Troubles but an almost faultless glimpse into the lives, machinations and desires of some of the key characters. It's unflinching at times and takes aim at all sides. 

 

It's superb - just buy it.  

Spoiler

1. Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell. 

2. Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam.

3. Cage of Souls by Adrian Tchaikovsky.

4. Doggerland by Ben Smith. 

5. The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson.

6. Malorie by Josh Malerman

7. We Are Bellingcat by Elliot Higgins.

8. Blacktop Wasteland by S.A.Cosby

9. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

10. Step by Step by Simon Reeve

12. Firewalkers by Adrian Tchaikovsky

11. Wallking to Alderbaran by Adrain Tchaikovsky

12. Firewalkers by Adrian Tchaikovsky

13. Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener

14. Press Reset by Jason Schreier

15. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

16. Dogs of War by Adrian Tchaikovsky

17. The Assault on Truth: Boris Johnson, Donald Trump and the Emergence of a New Moral Barbarism by Peter Oborne

18. The Premonition by Michael Lewis

19. Hungry by Grace Dent

20. Many Different Kinds of Love by Michael Rosen

21. The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

22. The Mixer by Michael Cox

23. Whose Game is it Anyway? by Michael Calvin

24. Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

25. To be a Machine by Mark O'Connell

26. Alien 3 by William Gibson

27. Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe

 

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9. Just Like You by Nick Hornby

 

I usually like Nick's books and High Fidelity is probably in my top three of all time and one of the few books I have read more than once. However, this all feels a little forced. It's about a relationship between a young black man and and older white woman that develops around the EU Referendum. The relationship elements are well written as usual but the endless Brexit discussion stands out like a sore thumb. It's like he wants to cover all the arguments for and against and does so with the subtlety of a sledgehammer.

 

10. A Biker's Life - Misadventures On (and Off) Two Wheels by Henry Cole

 

This is Henry's autobiography and I bought it as a big fan of The Motorcycle Show and enjoyed his Shed book. I found this a really interesting read - very honest about his upbringing and education at Eton along with his Heroin addition. I had no idea he directed Mad Dogs and Englishmen with Elizabeth Hurley - he cast her on the afternoon before she wore the safety pin dress. Even if you aren't a big fan of him on his various television shows, I'd still recommend this.

 

Previously:

Spoiler

1. The Guest List by Lucy Foley

2. Believe Me by JP Delaney

3. The Secret Barrister by Anon

4. The Sentinel by Lee and Andrew Child

5. Heartburn by Nora Ephron

6. Going the Wrong Way by Chris Donaldson

7. WIN by Harlan Coben

8. The Life Changing Magic of Sheds by Henry Cole

 

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12. Sunburn by James Felton - entertaining piss-take of The Sun in 99 headlines. It'll be nothing new to anyone faintly aware of how The Sun operated especially in the 80s, and you could argue having a go at the paper was low-hanging fruit. Thankfully James Felton's direct humour makes it worth the time.  Even better is Alexei Sayle reads the audio version and does a great job. He does all the silly voices and is a perfect fit for the material.


 

Spoiler

01. Timescape by Gregory Benford

02. The Commitments by Roddy Doyle

03. From Elephant To Hollywood by Michael Caine

04. The Assault On Truth by Peter Oborne 

05. Coming Up For Air by George Orwell

06. The Prime Ministers by Steve Richards

07. Beneath The Bleeding by Val McDermid

08. Fully-Automated Luxury Communism by Aaron Bastani

09. Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strubatsky

10. Alphabetical by Michael Rosen

11. Shatter The Bones by Stuart MacBride

12. Sunburn by James Felton

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
Spoiler

1. Cibola Burn by James S A Corey - 4/5

2. How Not To Be a Professional Football by Paul Merson - 1.5/5

3. The Twins of Auschwitz by Eva Mozes Kor - 4/5

4. Ian Wright - A Life in Football: My Autobiography by Ian Wright - 4/5

5. Straight Outa Crawley: Memoirs of a Distinctly Average Human by Romesh Ranganathan - 4/5

6. My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen - 4/5

7. I, Claudius by Robert Graves - 4/5

8. The Aquariums of Pyongyang by Kang Chol-Hwan - 4/5

9. A Time To Kill by John Grisham - 3.5/5

10. Star Wars - The High Republic - The Light of the Jedi by Charles Soula - 4/5

11. F**k You Very Much - The Surprising Truth About Why People Are So Rude by Danny Wallace - 4/5

 

12. The Accidental Footballer by Pat Nevin

 

This is one of the best footballing autobiographies I have ever read - it's so very different from the usual ones, but that sums up Pat Nevin pretty well - he's not a normal footballer, and the title relates to the fact that whilst he adored the game, he played purely for the love of the game and not for fame and fortune.  In fact, I think Nevin would have been just as happy writing for the NME (such is his interest and love of music) and he very nearly didn't take up football as a career as he was part way through a university degree in Scotland at the time.

 

Throughout this, Nevin comes across as a thoroughly honest and decent man.  You could argue that this also is not 'normal' in the industry!  He never used an agent, never dishonoured a contract and rarely if ever speaks ill of others, despite many personality clashes with coaches/team mates (mainly due to his personality being so different to the stereotype!) 

 

I found his professionalism and the way Nevin speaks about so many things that are close to him very refreshing.  It's very well written (no ghost writer either, something he goes out of his way to point out) and full of interesting behind the scenes facts.  

 

I think my only real criticism is that it doesn't really cover his life after he signed for Tranmere in 1992.  He played for a few more sides in Scotland after that, and I was hoping to hear about his life after football as he comes across as a really interesting individual.

 

Great read - it was only published earlier this year too.  Highly recommended.  It's the polar opposite of the duff Paul Merson book I read earlier this year!!

 

4.5/5

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11. How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran

 

I read the sequel to this (How to be Famous) last year and loved it. Picked this up just afterwards and finally got around to reading it on holiday. It chronicles the origins of Dolly Wilde, a teenage girl from Wolverhampton who changes her life and becomes a writer for a fictional version of the NME in the 90's. It was really interesting reading this so soon after the Nick Hornby book as Caitlin is also political but makes her points in a more subtle way, woven in to the story. The bands are very much of my time and it must have been very satisfying to write the scathing reviews Dolly becomes famous for.

 

Previously:

 

Spoiler

1. The Guest List by Lucy Foley

2. Believe Me by JP Delaney

3. The Secret Barrister by Anon

4. The Sentinel by Lee and Andrew Child

5. Heartburn by Nora Ephron

6. Going the Wrong Way by Chris Donaldson

7. WIN by Harlan Coben

8. The Life Changing Magic of Sheds by Henry Cole

9. Just Like You by Nick Hornby

10. A Biker's Life by Henry Cole

 

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The Stand - Stephen King 

 

Classic King novel I never read before despite being a big King fan back in the day. Took me 44 hours to finish, which with my limited reading time meant I've been spending about a month with it. 

It's a good book but not top tier King for me. I enjoyed spending time with the characters and finding out what happens to them but it doesn't really have the suspense and mystery I love in his best work. Also it's a bit dated in some ways with women and people of color being portrayed in ways that made me raise an eyebrow here and there. And of course the concept itself has been done in many different ways since which makes it less interesting. 

Still, if you're a King fan and you haven't read it then it's definitely worth the time. 

 

4/5

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There is no Antimemetics Division - qntm

 

Picked this up based on the recommendations in here and I'm glad I did! I read it almost in 1 go on a long distance flight and what a ride it was!

As recommended it's best to go into this knowing as little as possible, but it's no spoiler to say it's very well written and takes its central concept and the reader seriously. Highly recommended if you like sci-fi and lovecraftian horror. 

 

5/5

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12. Jews Don't Count by David Baddiel

 

I've liked Baddiel since The Mary Whitehouse Experience days and have read a number of his adult novels. This has obviously had a lot of publicity and I was curious to read his thoughts about how Jews are ignored as a minority. It's a fairly short read littered with examples, predominately from media to back up his theory. Given the subject, it is written with humour and without being judgemental. Towards the end I tired a little of the constant Twitter screen grabs but would recommend people give it a read as it made me think about my attitudes and perceptions.

 

Previously:

Spoiler

1. The Guest List by Lucy Foley

2. Believe Me by JP Delaney

3. The Secret Barrister by Anon

4. The Sentinel by Lee and Andrew Child

5. Heartburn by Nora Ephron

6. Going the Wrong Way by Chris Donaldson

7. WIN by Harlan Coben

8. The Life Changing Magic of Sheds by Henry Cole

9. Just Like You by Nick Hornby

10. A Biker's Life by Henry Cole

11. How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran

 

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4 autobiographies in a row. Only just realised that was the case, so going to give them a break for a while. 

 

28. Stalin Ate My Homework by Alexei Stalin. Wasn't quite what I expected, focused mostly on Sayle's upbringing and life growing up in Liverpool. It's a warm and nostalgic love letter to his communist parents and the city. There's no discussion of his 20s and beyond and whilst I enjoyed it, I would have liked to have a wider scope covered.

 

29. The Gaffer by Neil Warnock. Very much a Marmite personality. He's outspoken throughout and doesn't hold back on criticising other managers and some of the players that he used to manage. He's a passionate and engaging writer and whilst a certain amount of scepticism needs to be held onto, the tales he recounts seem grounded in some of the darker and more nefarious parts of the beautiful game. 

 

30. Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey. Again, another Marmite character. I've always warmed to McConaughey and his mid-career McConnaisance (a term he reveals that he made up and fed to a journalist). He had a fairly volatile upbringing and cuts his fiery parents a lot of slack. There's a fair bit of obtuse navel-gazing at times and he has pages that talk about the wet dreams which shaped the directions of his life (yes, really). He also incudes examples of his writing, poetry, philosophical musings and mantras. I'm sure it would annoy some readers but he's a genuinely interesting and soulful character. He's brutally honest at times and whilst his early career hedonism may grate, his later transition to commitment and family life is refreshing. 

 

31. The Accidental Footballer by Pat Nevin. Similar thoughts to @Boothjanabove. Only reservation I'd have with recommending it is that some people might think that Nevin paints himself as incessantly worthy and cultured. He comes across as being on the right side of history with his references to facing up to the discrimination of others. However, that would be mean; this approach seems utterly genuine rather than forced and fake. A footballer who was more interested in society and culture, it's a refreshing look at one of football's curios. A guy who would hang out with John Peel over a night out with the team. I'd liked to have seen more about his media career, but I'd imagine that this will have done well enough to command a follow-up. 

Spoiler

1. Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell. 

2. Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam.

3. Cage of Souls by Adrian Tchaikovsky.

4. Doggerland by Ben Smith. 

5. The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson.

6. Malorie by Josh Malerman

7. We Are Bellingcat by Elliot Higgins.

8. Blacktop Wasteland by S.A.Cosby

9. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

10. Step by Step by Simon Reeve

12. Firewalkers by Adrian Tchaikovsky

11. Wallking to Alderbaran by Adrain Tchaikovsky

12. Firewalkers by Adrian Tchaikovsky

13. Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener

14. Press Reset by Jason Schreier

15. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

16. Dogs of War by Adrian Tchaikovsky

17. The Assault on Truth: Boris Johnson, Donald Trump and the Emergence of a New Moral Barbarism by Peter Oborne

18. The Premonition by Michael Lewis

19. Hungry by Grace Dent

20. Many Different Kinds of Love by Michael Rosen

21. The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

22. The Mixer by Michael Cox

23. Whose Game is it Anyway? by Michael Calvin

24. Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

25. To be a Machine by Mark O'Connell

26. Alien 3 by William Gibson

27. Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe

28. Stalin Ate My Homework by Alexei Sayle

29. The Gaffer by Neil Warnock

30. Greenlights by Mathew McConaughey

31. The Accidental Footballer by Pat Nevin

 

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Iron Coffins  - Herbert Werner

Wrote about it in the "currently reading " thread, was about 1/3 the way through and it continues the same , recommended for those with an interest in military history.

 

Previously

Spoiler

.best served cold -Joe Abercrombie

2. Ancillary Justice- Ann Leckie

3.the 5th Season - N.K. jemisen

4. All you need is kill-

5 To kill a mockingbird- Harper lee

6. Pompeii- Robert Harris

7.D-Day through German eyes Volumes 1&2 - Holger Eckhertz

8. There is no antimemetics division

9 Fight Club- Chuck Palahniuk

10.Mortal engines-Philip Reeve

11.Dune- Frank Herbert

11. The 1st 15 lives of Harry August- Claire North.

12.The Obelisk Gate- N.K Jemisen

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

51. The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex. I swear someone keeps buying audiobooks I've never heard of and putting them on my Audible account. I don't know where this came from, and to be honest I didn't think it was very good. Oh well.

 

52. Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds. This has been on my Audible forever and I kept putting it off. I shouldn't have - it's great.

 

53. Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe. Recommended on here, and justifiably so. This is brilliant.

 

54. Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway. Very good, with

Spoiler

a really strong gut punch ending.

 

I need to read some more Hemingway.

 

55. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. This has also been on my Audible for ages. I sometimes struggle with fiction on Audible, and this took me a while to get going with all the characters and names and places and so on. But once I got into it I loved it.

 

56. True Grit by Charles Portis. I think I have @ZOK to credit for pointing me to this one. I think the narrator would be memorable in almost any hands, but Donna Tartt really brings the character of Mattie to life.

 

57. Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein. I loved The Door into Summer so have decided to read a load more Heinlein, but this was a strange one. There were parts I really, really liked, and parts that either went over my head or else just weren't all that interesting.

 

Previously:

 

Spoiler

1. Piranesi

2. The Devil and the Dark Water

3. I Love the Bones of You

4. Feral

5. Melmoth

6. The Beekeeper of Aleppo

7. Deadeye Dick by Kurt Vonnegut
8. Moneyball by Michael Lewis
9. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

10. The Deficit Myth

11. Butcher's Crossing

12. Schismatrix

13. There is no Antimemetics Division

14. Lost at Sea

15. The Assault on Truth

16. A Month in the Country

17. Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea

18. The Mermaid of Black Conch

19. Bear Head

20. The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God's Holy Warriors

21. Walking to Aldebaran

22. 24 Hours in Ancient Rome

23. The Memory Police

24. The Ardent Swarm

25. Firewalkers

26. Failures of State

27. West with Giraffes

28. Command and Control

29. Conversations with Friends

30. The Panama Papers

31. The Premonition

32. Contact

33. Zone One
34. Guns, Germs and Steel
35. Creativity
36. The Midnight Library
37. A Different Drummer
38. Sunburn: The Unofficial History of the Sun Newspaper

39. Just Ignore Him

40. The Fellowship of the Ring

41. The Two Towers

42. The Return of the King

43. American Dirt

44. Cage of Souls

45. Calling Bullshit

46. We Die Alone

47. I Capture the Castle

48. The Glass Hotel

49. Many Different Kinds of Love

50. A Short History of Nearly Everything

51. The Lamplighters

52. Pushing Ice

53. Say Nothing

54. Farewell to Arms

55. Wolf Hall

56. True Grit

57. Starship Troopers

 

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On 27/09/2021 at 17:25, Miner Willy said:

51. The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex. I swear someone keeps buying audiobooks I've never heard of and putting them on my Audible account. I don't know where this came from, and to be honest I didn't think it was very good. Oh well.

 

52. Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds. This has been on my Audible forever and I kept putting it off. I shouldn't have - it's great.

 

53. Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe. Recommended on here, and justifiably so. This is brilliant.

 

54. Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway. Very good, with

  Reveal hidden contents

a really strong gut punch ending.

 

I need to read some more Hemingway.

 

55. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. This has also been on my Audible for ages. I sometimes struggle with fiction on Audible, and this took me a while to get going with all the characters and names and places and so on. But once I got into it I loved it.

 

56. True Grit by Charles Portis. I think I have @ZOK to credit for pointing me to this one. I think the narrator would be memorable in almost any hands, but Donna Tartt really brings the character of Mattie to life.

 

57. Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein. I loved The Door into Summer so have decided to read a load more Heinlein, but this was a strange one. There were parts I really, really liked, and parts that either went over my head or else just weren't all that interesting.

 

Previously:

 

  Reveal hidden contents

1. Piranesi

2. The Devil and the Dark Water

3. I Love the Bones of You

4. Feral

5. Melmoth

6. The Beekeeper of Aleppo

7. Deadeye Dick by Kurt Vonnegut
8. Moneyball by Michael Lewis
9. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

10. The Deficit Myth

11. Butcher's Crossing

12. Schismatrix

13. There is no Antimemetics Division

14. Lost at Sea

15. The Assault on Truth

16. A Month in the Country

17. Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea

18. The Mermaid of Black Conch

19. Bear Head

20. The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God's Holy Warriors

21. Walking to Aldebaran

22. 24 Hours in Ancient Rome

23. The Memory Police

24. The Ardent Swarm

25. Firewalkers

26. Failures of State

27. West with Giraffes

28. Command and Control

29. Conversations with Friends

30. The Panama Papers

31. The Premonition

32. Contact

33. Zone One
34. Guns, Germs and Steel
35. Creativity
36. The Midnight Library
37. A Different Drummer
38. Sunburn: The Unofficial History of the Sun Newspaper

39. Just Ignore Him

40. The Fellowship of the Ring

41. The Two Towers

42. The Return of the King

43. American Dirt

44. Cage of Souls

45. Calling Bullshit

46. We Die Alone

47. I Capture the Castle

48. The Glass Hotel

49. Many Different Kinds of Love

50. A Short History of Nearly Everything

51. The Lamplighters

52. Pushing Ice

53. Say Nothing

54. Farewell to Arms

55. Wolf Hall

56. True Grit

57. Starship Troopers

 


I’m glad you liked it! True Grit the only audiobook I keep on my phone when I’m not currently listening to it - if ever I have nothing specific to listen to I just crank it up again at a random point, it’s always great.

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14. The Fifth Head of Cerberus- Gene Wolfe

 

Three interconnected stories set on colonised French planet(s)  where the existence of the aboriginal population is debated  and uncertain as they're supposedly elusive shape shifters.The 1st story won a number of awards but for me felt initially like a Dickensian tale and I have bad associations with Dickens. I also have bad associations with Wolfe after reading The Shadow of the Torturer and half of The claw of the Conciliator and I allowed my previous bias to inform my opinion on this , I didn't enjoy it for large parts.

 Previously:

Spoiler

1.best served cold -Joe Abercrombie

2. Ancillary Justice- Ann Leckie

3.the 5th Season - N.K. jemisen

4. All you need is kill-

5 To kill a mockingbird- Harper lee

6. Pompeii- Robert Harris

7.D-Day through German eyes Volumes 1&2 - Holger Eckhertz

8. There is no antimemetics division

9 Fight Club- Chuck Palahniuk

10.Mortal engines-Philip Reeve

11.Dune- Frank Herbert

11. The 1st 15 lives of Harry August- Claire North.

12.The Obelisk Gate- N.K Jemisen

13. Iron Coffins- Herbert Werner

 

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13. Overpaid, Oversexed and Over There by David Hepworth

A book looking back at British bands going over to America, how they managed the culture shock and how they were accepted. Starts off with The Beatles appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964 and goes on to a second British Invasion in the mid 80s with the likes of Culture Club. Lots of interesting info especially if you like your 60s and 70s rock and pop. 

Spoiler

01. Timescape by Gregory Benford

02. The Commitments by Roddy Doyle

03. From Elephant To Hollywood by Michael Caine

04. The Assault On Truth by Peter Oborne 

05. Coming Up For Air by George Orwell

06. The Prime Ministers by Steve Richards

07. Beneath The Bleeding by Val McDermid

08. Fully-Automated Luxury Communism by Aaron Bastani

09. Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strubatsky

10. Alphabetical by Michael Rosen

11. Shatter The Bones by Stuart MacBride

12. Sunburn by James Felton

13. Overpaid, Oversexed and Over There by David Hepworth

 

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32. The Only Plane in the Sky by Garrett M. Graff. Fantastic, exhaustingly researched account of what happened on 9/11 the words of over 500 people who were involved. From rescue workers to survivors, it’s an incredibly absorbing work that took the best part of 10 years to write. Would recommend this to anyone who has a passing interest in this. 
 

33. Dreamland by Rosa Rankin-Gee. A dystopian novel about Margate.  Very much a tale of two halves. First half I struggled with as the sense of foreboding human tragedy filled the narrative. I didn’t feel it was a effecting as I would have expected or that engaging. However, the second half becomes more urgent and interesting. A 3/5 for me. 
 

34. And Away by Bob Mortimer. Joyous. Life-affirming. Highly amusing. In places, very surprising. Never knew he was a solicitor and had to use these skills when Jarvis Cocker mooned Michael Jackson. If that doesn’t intrigue you enough to pick this up then you’re beyond help. 

 

Spoiler

1. Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell. 

2. Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam.

3. Cage of Souls by Adrian Tchaikovsky.

4. Doggerland by Ben Smith. 

5. The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson.

6. Malorie by Josh Malerman

7. We Are Bellingcat by Elliot Higgins.

8. Blacktop Wasteland by S.A.Cosby

9. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

10. Step by Step by Simon Reeve

12. Firewalkers by Adrian Tchaikovsky

11. Wallking to Alderbaran by Adrain Tchaikovsky

12. Firewalkers by Adrian Tchaikovsky

13. Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener

14. Press Reset by Jason Schreier

15. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

16. Dogs of War by Adrian Tchaikovsky

17. The Assault on Truth: Boris Johnson, Donald Trump and the Emergence of a New Moral Barbarism by Peter Oborne

18. The Premonition by Michael Lewis

19. Hungry by Grace Dent

20. Many Different Kinds of Love by Michael Rosen

21. The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

22. The Mixer by Michael Cox

23. Whose Game is it Anyway? by Michael Calvin

24. Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

25. To be a Machine by Mark O'Connell

26. Alien 3 by William Gibson

27. Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe

28. Stalin Ate My Homework by Alexei Sayle

29. The Gaffer by Neil Warnock

30. Greenlights by Mathew McConaughey

31. The Accidental Footballer by Pat Nevin

32. The Only Plane in the Sky by Garrett M. Graff

33. Dreamland by Rosa Rankin-Gee

34. And Away by Bob Mortimer

 

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Ghost on the throne by James Romm( non fiction)

 

I have found myself somewhat obsessed by Alexander the Great and having read several books of his campaigns, was left wondering what happened after he died. The answer is that the Diadochi had a series of never ending wars with shifting allegiances over decades. I was particularly taken with his elite troop, the silver shields who were middle aged men when he inherited them from his father and where still utterly unbeaten and unbeatable decades later in their seventies, still beating every enemy they met. They reminded me of a group of Cohen the barbarians from discworld. 

 

The White ship by Charles Spencer.

Another non fiction about the sinking of the white ship in 1120 with the sole heir to the throne on board and how that one event was probably the single most colossal upheaval in British history. A true life game of thrones.

 

 

 

 

 

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14. When Gravity Fails by George Alec Effinger

I enjoyed this cyberpunk-noir set in the middle-east. An intriguing world well realised.


 

Spoiler

01. Timescape by Gregory Benford

02. The Commitments by Roddy Doyle

03. From Elephant To Hollywood by Michael Caine

04. The Assault On Truth by Peter Oborne 

05. Coming Up For Air by George Orwell

06. The Prime Ministers by Steve Richards

07. Beneath The Bleeding by Val McDermid

08. Fully-Automated Luxury Communism by Aaron Bastani

09. Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strubatsky

10. Alphabetical by Michael Rosen

11. Shatter The Bones by Stuart MacBride

12. Sunburn by James Felton

13. Overpaid, Oversexed and Over There by David Hepworth

14. When Gravity Fails by George Alec Effinger

 

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16. Oryx & Crake - Margaret Atwood

 

Post apocalyptic shenanigans and a general run up in a pretty dystopian future, took me a year to read it as I wasn't getting too much from it so put it down about 1/2 way through. Picked it back up last week and really enjoyed the 2nd half , not sure what I was doing putting it down, structurally and tonally it was consistent throughout. 1st part of the MaddAddam series and ends pretty much as a setup for the next book - seems like it might be worth continuing.

 

Previously:

 

 

Spoiler

1.best served cold -Joe Abercrombie

2. Ancillary Justice- Ann Leckie

3.the 5th Season - N.K. jemisen

4. All you need is kill-

5 To kill a mockingbird- Harper lee

6. Pompeii- Robert Harris

7.D-Day through German eyes Volumes 1&2 - Holger Eckhertz

8. There is no antimemetics division

9 Fight Club- Chuck Palahniuk

10.Mortal engines-Philip Reeve

11.Dune- Frank Herbert

12. The 1st 15 lives of Harry August- Claire North.

13.The Obelisk Gate- N.K Jemisen

14. Iron Coffins- Herbert Werner

15. The Fifth Head of Cerberus- Gene Wolf

 

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Spoiler

1. Cibola Burn by James S A Corey - 4/5

2. How Not To Be a Professional Football by Paul Merson - 1.5/5

3. The Twins of Auschwitz by Eva Mozes Kor - 4/5

4. Ian Wright - A Life in Football: My Autobiography by Ian Wright - 4/5

5. Straight Outa Crawley: Memoirs of a Distinctly Average Human by Romesh Ranganathan - 4/5

6. My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen - 4/5

7. I, Claudius by Robert Graves - 4/5

8. The Aquariums of Pyongyang by Kang Chol-Hwan - 4/5

9. A Time To Kill by John Grisham - 3.5/5

10. Star Wars - The High Republic - The Light of the Jedi by Charles Soula - 4/5

11. F**k You Very Much - The Surprising Truth About Why People Are So Rude by Danny Wallace - 4/5

12. The Accidental Footballer by Pat Nevin - 4.5/5

13. Star Wars - The High  Republic - Into the Dark by Claudia Gray - 4/5

 

14. Munich by Robert Harris

 

Saw this was being made into a film by Netflix, due out in January and as I love a bit of historical fiction, I thought I'd give this a go as it was 99p on Kindle.

 

This is a clever look behind the scenes of the Munich agreement signed by Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler in 1938, and how the tensions around the summit could have led to disastrous consequences around the globe.  Most of the book is centered around 2 fictitious characters - Hugh Legat on the British side, and Paul Hartmann on the German.  It's very effective - the 2 men went to Oxford together before the Nazi's rise to power, and the numerous mentions of their lives together are a stark contrast to the difficult political landscape they now find themselves in.

 

Harris' depiction of Chamberlain goes against the unsympathetic view that most hold of him, which is again very effective indeed.  Similarly, the aura surrounding the Fuhrer is well written and adds necessary tension to many scenes.

 

Munich - like the other Robert Harris books I've read - is very easy to race through with plenty of tense, dramatic moments.  Above all, it makes this key moment in history feel interesting and I'm looking forward to seeing how it's adapted for the screen because I really enjoyed the book.

 

4/5

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58. Stranger Than We Can Imagine: Making Sense of the Twentieth Century by John Higgs. Finished this a while ago, but I do recall enjoying it.

 

59. Kindred by Octavia E Butler. This felt a bit dated in some ways - there were bits of dialogue which felt really quite clunky at times, but the premise - a black woman and her white husband travel back from 1970s US to slavery America - provided a really powerful and affecting perspective on being subjected to slavery. I found it more effective in that respect even than something like The Underground Railroad (which is a much better book, in my opinion).

 

60. Kleptopia: How Dirty Money is Conquering the World by Tom Burgis - Rich corrupt people are rich and corrupt. This was interesting enough, but I've probably read enough of these kinds of books for a while.

 

61. Puckoon by Spike Milligan. I don't really get funny books - they just don't seem to work for me. However, this was recommended on here by @ZOK, so I thought I'd give it a try. And yeah: it definitely has some amusing scenes, but I don't really get funny books. It's not you; it's me. Sorry.

 

62. The Master: The Long Run and Beautiful Game of Roger Federer by Christopher Clarey. If you've ever been in the tennis thread (or noticed by avatar) then you might have guessed that I am sort of in love with Roger Federer. I don't normally read bios, but as it's him... anyway, it's pretty good, apart from the rah rah American chapter about his brand and wealth and fucking zzzzz. Oh, and I listened on Audible and the narrator did accents for everyone, which was offputting as I know all the people he's quoting and none of them sound anything like his voice, especially the Federer one, so really why not just read the book in your own voice?

 

63. The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character and Achievement by David Brooks. Given to me by a friend who I very much like and respect. He said it's the book he wishes he'd read earlier in his life, but I found it a bit average and very similar to a dozen other books I've read by Gladwell or Matthew Syed etc. So it'll be an interesting conversation when I give it back to him and he enthusiastically asks what I thought. 

 

Previously:

 

Spoiler

1. Piranesi

2. The Devil and the Dark Water

3. I Love the Bones of You

4. Feral

5. Melmoth

6. The Beekeeper of Aleppo

7. Deadeye Dick by Kurt Vonnegut
8. Moneyball by Michael Lewis
9. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

10. The Deficit Myth

11. Butcher's Crossing

12. Schismatrix

13. There is no Antimemetics Division

14. Lost at Sea

15. The Assault on Truth

16. A Month in the Country

17. Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea

18. The Mermaid of Black Conch

19. Bear Head

20. The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God's Holy Warriors

21. Walking to Aldebaran

22. 24 Hours in Ancient Rome

23. The Memory Police

24. The Ardent Swarm

25. Firewalkers

26. Failures of State

27. West with Giraffes

28. Command and Control

29. Conversations with Friends

30. The Panama Papers

31. The Premonition

32. Contact

33. Zone One
34. Guns, Germs and Steel
35. Creativity
36. The Midnight Library
37. A Different Drummer
38. Sunburn: The Unofficial History of the Sun Newspaper

39. Just Ignore Him

40. The Fellowship of the Ring

41. The Two Towers

42. The Return of the King

43. American Dirt

44. Cage of Souls

45. Calling Bullshit

46. We Die Alone

47. I Capture the Castle

48. The Glass Hotel

49. Many Different Kinds of Love

50. A Short History of Nearly Everything

51. The Lamplighters

52. Pushing Ice

53. Say Nothing

54. Farewell to Arms

55. Wolf Hall

56. True Grit

57. Starship Troopers

58. Stranger Than We Can Imagine: Making Sense of the Twentieth Century

59. Kindred

60. Kleptopia: How Dirty Money is Conquering the World

61. Puckoon

62. The Master: The Long Run and Beautiful Game of Roger Federer

63. The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character and Achievement

 

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That’s a shame you didn’t like it @Miner Willy - it’s an individual thing, but I must have read it a hundred times and there are passages in there that still make me cry with laughter!

 

I think it gives you an insight into Milligan’s darker side too, some of it is too sad for words.

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