Snippets 100th Post! Review: books I read in 2012

***** 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.

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