Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Reading 2012

During 2012 I read 47 fiction and 10 non-fiction books. My favourites were The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway (historical fiction) for its incredible insight into how people feel during wartime and Infidel, My Life by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (non-fiction) for completely changing my thoughts on religion.

The fiction I gave 10 stars to were:

Dunmore, Helen - The Siege
Shaffer, Mary Ann - The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Pratchett, Terry & Baxter, Stephen - The Long Earth
Kane, Ben - Hannibal, Enemy of Rome
Burnett, Frances Hodgson - The Secret Garden
Shute, Nevil - A Town Like Alice
Iggulden, Conn - The Conqueror Series
Galloway, Steven - The Cellist of Sarajevo

The non-fiction I gave 10 stars to were:

Ali, Ayaan Hirsi - Infidel, My Life
Albanov, Valerian - In the Land of White Death
Seierstad, Asne - One Hundred and one Days

The other books I read were the following. The books with a star did not receive 10 stars, but I still consider them 'must-reads':

*Szpilman, Wladyslaw - The Pianist (non-fiction)
Dobbs, Horace - The Magic of Dolphins (non-fiction)
Bryson, Bill - Notes From a Big Country (non-fiction)
Cornwell, Bernard - The Last Kingdom
Cornwell, Bernard - The Pale Horseman
Niffenegger, Audrey - The Night Bookmobile
Cornwell, Bernard - The Lords of the North
Cornwell, Bernard - Sword Song
Cornwell, Bernard - The Burning Land
Cornwell, Bernard - Death of Kings
Drayson, Nicholas - A Guide to the Birds of East Africa
King, Rachael - The Sound of Butterflies
Shreve, Anita - Resistance
Earle, Liz - Skin Secrets (non-fiction)
Savage, Sam - Firmin
*Haddon, Mark - The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time
*Du Maurier, Daphne - Rebecca
*Seierstad, Asne - With Their Backs to the World (non-fiction)
*Adams, Richard - Watership Down
*Verne, Jules - Around the World in Eighty Days
*Joyce, Rachel - The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
Zafon, Carlos Ruiz - The Angel's Game
Lewycka, Marina - A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian
Jian, Ma - Red Dust (non-fiction)
Cornwell, Bernard - Redcoat
Cornwell, Bernard - The Fort
Cornwell, Bernard - Rebel
Cornwell, Bernard - Copperhead
Cornwell, Bernard - Battle Flag
Cornwell, Bernard - The Bloody Ground
*Lee, Harper - To Kill A Mocking-Bird
Dann, Colin - King of the Vagabonds
Potter, Beatrix - The Fairy Caravan
*Adams, Douglas - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Adams, Douglas - The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
Adams, Douglas - Life, The Universe & Everything
Adams, Douglas - So Long and Thanks for All the Fish
Adams, Douglas - Mostly Harmless
Montgomery, LM - Anne of Green Gables
Fitzgerald, F Scott - The Great Gatsby
Paolini, Christopher - Eragon
Paolini, Christopher - Eldest


  1. I've read Bernard Cornwall's King Arthur series, but nothing else by him, need to try some of his othersl
    You sure have eclectic taste in books.

  2. I am a great admirer of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and I had/have her book Infidel although I lent it to someone and I'm not sure if I have it back. I couldn't read it at the time I bought it. My thoughts on religion had already changed though.

    It's a long time since I read the Bill Bryson (Notes from a Big Country) and, having read most if not all of his books I sometimes get confused but I think that was the one where he said "There is always a little more toothpaste in the tube." Not as good as the opening line from his earliest book "I come from Des Moines. Somebody has to."

    I read Watership Down when it came out and although I persevered I thought it was one of the most horrible books I've ever read (possibly eclipsed by The Lord of The Flies).

    I was a passionate follower of the Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy when it was a trilogy in four parts. I skipped through the fifth (Mostly Harmless) simply because the title was a reference to an incident in one of the earlier books that I recalled when the description of earth was revised after lengthy research from 'Harmless' to 'Mostly Harmless'.

    I've not read that Anita Shrive - must look for it (if I don't already have it back in Scotland).

    1. I wonder what it is about Watership Down (both the book and film) that seems to affect people so much.

      I find Bryson's style wonderful in small doses, but found it difficult reading the entire book of chapters in succession. Might try dipping into the next one now and again rather than trying to read it from cover to cover.

  3. I was trying to remember who recommended The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway.

    I've been keeping The Angel's Game for a special reading occasion because I thought I'd love it. But I notice it didn't get an asterisk.

    I concur with The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, The Long Earth, Hannibal, Enemy of Rome being in a top ten. But Seige left me drained. (Though it waas awfully cleverly written...)

    1. I really enjoyed The Angel's Game, but it is a little odd (you'll have to read it to understand why) so I wouldn't necessarily recommend it.