31/12/2012

Books 2012


December

It Shouldn't Happen To A Vet by James Herriot (1972)
I've never read these books, although I seem to recall my grandparents had most of them. Why I should have skipped them I don't know. For some reason, this tatty copy in the book exchange at work appealed. Enjoyable, snack-sized vignettes of country life.
Summer Of Love: The Making Of Sgt. Pepper by George Martin (1994)
Despite buying this book several years ago, this is the first time I have read it. A fascinating record of what happened, and no-one can doubt its veracity. Apart from the bits he can't remember, as he himself points out in the introduction! Very interesting.
The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time by Mark Haddon (2003)
An excellent and understandably famous book. Although I'm not quite sure why it qualifies as a children's book. I won't be showing this to any of my kids until they're in their early teens.
The People's Music by Ian MacDonald (2003)
MacDonald's Revolution In The Head is definitive, but this collection of magazine articles is indulgent. Clearly a highly intelligent, widely-read, erudite and articulate man, MacDonald nevertheless consistently mistakes his own prejudices for objective truths and is a canonical example of a rock snob. There is much of interest here but too often MacDonald merely comes across as an overly verbose grumpy old man. The title piece is several thousand words long but could be summed up in five: "I don't like modern music."
Microserfs by Douglas Coupland (1995)
I first read this ages ago but now I actually work in software product development it makes more sense. (Not that where I work is like Microsoft or a start-up, really.) Very accurate about some details.
Thunder, Flush And Thomas Crapper: An Encycloopedia by Adam Hart-Davis (1997)
Amusing, mildly diverting and occasionally enlightening selection of snippets about toilets. Ideal for reading on the toilet. Although the fact that my copy is second-hand makes me wonder about how hygienic it is.
The Top Gear Story by Martin Roach (2011)
Ludicrously uncritical attempt to cash in on (new) Top Gear's success. Contains fleeting insights into the history, development and rationale behind the series but wastes too much space on simple recounting of old programmes. I'm not sure why I bothered or persevered, to be honest.
Reelin' In The Years by Mark Radcliffe (2011)
A characteristically witty and engaging book. The pop anorak in me likes the concept very much: a song for every year of your life, with added trivia. The reader in me finds the result a little fragmented.

November

Morality For Beautiful Girls by Alexander McCall Smith (2001)
The overall stories are developing slowly - and the leisurely pace is one of the appeals. Very moving at the end.
Tears Of The Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith (2000)
Just as charming.
The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (1998)
I find these books charming, so I'm working my way through them again. I really like the simple style of writing.
Does Anything Eat Wasps? edited by Mick O'Hare (2005)
An amusing compilation of questions and answers from New Scientist's column "The Last Word". Full of odd snippets of information.
Rebel Code: Linux And The Open Source Revolution by Glyn Moody (2002)
Very interesting, if now somewhat out-of-date, account of the genesis of open source. I would love to see an update in the same style - so much has happened, and changed, over the last ten years. For an interesting companion piece, see Neal Stephenson's "In The Beginning Was The Command Line" (which, interestingly, Stephenson now says is obsolete).
Round The Bend by Jeremy Clarkson (2011)
Ideal reading for the loo, because it's s**t. Humour for people without a sense of humour, who consider consistent references to "horsepowers" and "torques" as witty, and referring to the US President as "Obama Barrack" to be the height of satirical sophistication. Don't get me wrong: Clarkson is a technically superb writer, it's just the content that appals.
The Secret Life Of Bletchley Park by Sinclair McKay (2010)
An interesting account of Bletchley, although one has the impression that, despite the "thousands" who worked there, the author only used a few sources.
Not The End Of The World by Christopher Brookmyre (1998)
So good I had to read it twice (see April). Spot on about the idiocies of religion.

October
Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett (1991)
About A Boy by Nick Hornby (1998)
Patriot Games by Tom Clancy (1987)

September
The House At Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne (1928) (reading to Z)
The Cathedral & The Bazaar by Eric S. Raymond (2001)
Miles And Miles by Miles Kington (1982)
Tall, Dark And Difficult by Patricia Coughlin (2001)
Don't Panic - The Official Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy Companion by Neil Gaiman (1987)
Surely You're Joking, Mr Feynman! by Richard Feynman (1985)
The British Billionaire Affair by Susanne James (2008)

August
Which Lie Did I Tell? by William Goldman (2000)
Adventures In The Screen Trade by William Goldman (1982)
Stick It Up Your Punter! The Uncut Story Of The Sun Newspaper by Peter Chippendale & Chris Horrie (1998)
Winnie The Pooh by A.A. Milne (1926) (reading to Z)
Maskerade by Terry Pratchett (1995) 
Prove Yourself A Hero by K. M. Peyton (1977)
You Don't Have To Say You Love Me by Simon Napier-Bell (1992)
Will The Revolution Be Televised? A Marxist Analysis Of The Media by John Molyneux (2011)
This Is Your Life by John O'Farrell (2002)
Showbusiness: The Diary Of A Rock 'n' Roll Nobody by Mark Radcliffe (1998)
The Political Animal by Jeremy Paxman (2003)
Why You Should Join The Socialists by Paul Foot (1993)
Love Lives by Josie Lloyd & Emlyn Rees (2004)
Thirtynothing by Lisa Jewell (2000)
Midnight In The Garden Of Evel Knievel by Giles Smith (2000)
Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett (1987)
Nightfall 2 by Isaac Asimov (1971)
The Nation's Favourite: The True Adventures Of Radio 1 by Simon Garfield (1998)

July
My Bass And Other Animals by Guy Pratt (2007)
The Colour Of Magic by Terry Pratchett (1983)
Mort by Terry Pratchett (1987)
The Making Of Us by Lisa Jewell (2011)

June
It's Different For Girls by Louise Wener (2010)
The Beatles by Hunter Davies (1968)
Working The Wheel by Martin Brundle (2004)
Feet Of Clay by Terry Pratchett (1996)
Buy Jupiter by Isaac Asimov (1976)
The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov (1972)

May
A Snowball In Hell by Christopher Brookmyre (2008)
What's Going On? by Mark Steele (2008)
He's Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo (2004)
Be My Enemy by Christopher Brookmyre (2004)
James May's Magnificent Machines by James May & Phil Dolling (2008)
The Life And Times Of The Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson (2007)

April
Country Of The Blind by Christopher Brookmyre (1997)
Not The End Of The World by Christopher Brookmyre (1998)
The Marrying Kind by Judy Christenberry (2007)
Just Friends? by Allison Leigh (2007)
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins (2006)
Alex's Adventures In Numberland by Alex Bellos (2010)

March
Celeb by Charles Peattie & Mark Warren (2002)
The Pelican Brief by John Grisham (1992)
The Runaway Jury by John Grisham (1996)
The Rainmaker by John Grisham (1995)
The Good, The Bad And The Multiplex by Mark Kermode (2011)
White Picket Fences by Tara Taylor Quinn (2002)
A Snowball In Hell by Christopher Brookmyre (2008)

February
Software Testing by Ron Patton (2006)
The Rough Guide To The Titanic by Greg Ward (2012)
Good Morning Nantwich by Phill Jupitus (2010)
Superfreakonomics by Steven D Levitt & Stephen J Dubner (2009)
Freakonomics by Steven D Levitt & Stephen J Dubner (2005)
For Richer, For Poorer by Victoria Coren (2009)
Raw Spirit by Iain Banks (2003)
Moonraker by Ian Fleming (1955)
Live And Let Die by Ian Fleming (1954)

January
Obelix And Co. by  Rene Goscinny & Albert Uderzo (1976)
Asterix And Caeser's Gift by  Rene Goscinny & Albert Uderzo (1974)
Asterix And The Chieftan's Shield by Rene Goscinny & Albert Uderzo (1968)
Asterix The Legionary by Rene Goscinny & Albert Uderzo (1967)
Asterix At The Olympic Games by Rene Goscinny & Albert Uderzo (1968)
Casino Royale by Ian Fleming (1953)
You Never Give Me Your Money by Peter Doggett (2010)
A Novel In A Year by Louise Doughty (2008)
Is It Just Me Or Are Sit-ups A Waste Of Time? by Graeme Hilditch (2008)
My Championship Year by Jenson Button (2009)
Haynes Electric Guitar Manual by Paul Balmer (2011)
Where Did It All Go Right? by Andrew Collins (2003)

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