***** 5 Star – Extremely engaging, conceptually fascinating, masterfully written.
- The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) by Margaret Atwood.
- Concrete Island (1973) by J.G. Ballard.
- Highrise (1975) by J.G. Ballard. Best opening line for a book, ever.
- The Transmigration of Timothy Archer (1982) by Philip K. Dick. This was the last book written before his death and addressed the usual themes: madness vs reality, belief systems, life after death.
- Solaris (1961) by Stanislaw Lem. Polish author. This amazing story was made into an amazing film by Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky in 1972.
- Londoners: The Days and Nights of London Now… (2012) by Craig Taylor. Non-fiction. Fascinating.
- Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (1985) by Jeanette Winterson.
**** 4 Star – Very engaging and well-written.
- The Steep Approach to Garbadale (2007) by Iain M. Banks
- The Man in the High Castle (1962) by Philip K. Dick.
- Two Steps Forward (2011) by Irma Gold. Australian author. Highly recommended. Hang on, maybe this should have 5 stars?
- The Sailor who fell from Grace (1963) by Yukio Mishima. Somewhat disturbing.
- The Prime of Miss Brodie (1961) by Murial Spark. Funny.
- The Garden of Evening Mists (2012) by Tan Twan Eng. Quite a page turner even though it’s a bit unbelievable in places.
- EcoHouse 2. A Design Guide (2003) by Sue Roaf. Non- Fiction
*** 3 Star – Fine for a holiday
- The Hunger Games (2008) by Suzanne Collins.
- Blackwater (1993) by Kirsten Ekman. Swedish Crime.
- Stasiland (2003) by Anna Funder. A great example of how an author can ruin some fascinating subject matter- I didn’t enjoy the author’s somewhat pompous voice.
- The Dark Wet (2011) by Jess Huon
- Drink, Smoke, Pass Out (2012) by Judith Lucy. There’s a certain skill required in making a reader laugh out loud on almost every page. This would’ve rated higher if the book wasn’t so closely related in content to the author’s recent TV show. (Spiritual Journey)
- Thérèse Raquin (1867) by Emile Zola. I learnt that In mid-19th century France the morgue operated an open-house viewing of corpses to aid in identification. It was also a popular kind of entertainment for all walks of life.
** 2 Star – Pages were skipped to get to the end.
- We All Fall Down (2012) by Peter Barry
- Frankenstein (1818) by Mary Shelley. Considering how long ago this was written, I know this book deserves more stars- it’s just that I was bored out of my brains whilst reading it. I did, however, learn what a “charnel house” is.
* 1 Star – Don’t bother.
- Money (1984) by Martin Amis, I got interested in this author because he had written Invasion of the Space Invaders only two years earlier. So I was disappointed to read Money – it was billed as a great tongue-in -cheek black comedy, but I just couldn’t see the humour in the main character: an ugly, drunk, misogynist, capitalist, travelling the world to be obnoxious. I didn’t bother finishing it.
- Hotel Iris (2010) by Yoko Ogawa. There seems to be a certain genre of modern Japanese stories which are selected to be translated into English; often containing sex and violence. This story was about a much older man and a 17 year old school girl involved in a sadomasochistic relationship. Not my cup of tea.