Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
Very good book. Interesting and suspenseful.
Exit A, by Anthony Swofford
Disappointing. It has its moments, but not enough to carry it. Not recommended.
Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe
A great book. Very powerful, and extremely interesting.
Half of a Yellow Sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Really enjoyed this one. It's very interesting, moving and well-written.
Disgrace, by J. M. Coetzee
Amazing book. I can see why it won the awards that it did.
All of these people, by Fergal Keane
Really good biography. A really interesting life, with some a personal side that is very moving.
Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell
For most of the book I couldn't work out if it was too gimmicky, but the last couple of chapters really swung it for me. It does lay it on a bit thick at times, but there are some real high points.
Touching From a Distance, by Deborah Curtis
I really enjoyed this. It's a fascinating biography. Well worth a read if you enjoyed the film, there is plenty more in here.
The Girl Who Played Go, by Shan Sa
A beautiful book. My copy has no crease down the spine, as the book felt so delicate and I didn't want to damage it.
Every Light in the House Burnin', by Andrea Levy
Very enjoyable read. I found "Small Island" to be a better book, but this was still worth the time.
The Road to Wigan Pier, by George Orwell
Very interesting book. Both learning about the world that he is visiting, and seeing the way that he views that world.
The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro
Not my favourite of his, but still readable. The ambiguity of the central character reminded me of "An Artist of the Floating World", but I found that more powerful.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
Really good book. Very short, but excellent. He portrays the character very well.
The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger
I enjoyed it, but I felt like I missed something. This was another one that I think I would have liked to study in school.
Bloody Foreigners, by Robert Winder
Very interesting history. I hadn't realised quite how much influence some of the influxes to this country had had.
The Human Mind, by Robert Winston
An excellent book. There were plenty of points where I would have liked more detail, but it couldn't have been the book it is if my wish had been fulfiled.
My Friend Leonard, by James Frey
Excellent follow up to "A Million Little Pieces." Doesn't quite hit those heights, but it is still very moving.
The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy
A wonderful book with many different themes. One paragraph blew me away with the writing skill it exhibited.
Cosmos, by Carl Sagan
The best book on space I've read, and still very relevant today.
Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro
Haunting and touching. I really enjoyed it.
A Million Little Pieces, by James Frey
Brilliant. I have never been so moved by a book. I don't care how much is friction, and while the style didn't annoy me; I found it very powerful.
No One Belongs Here More Than You, by Miranda July
A collection of short stories. Well worth a read. Some of them blew me away.
Black Swan Green, by David Mitchell
Absolutely amazing. Precisely like being a 13 year old boy. A fabulous book.
Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov
Very skillful writing means that the subject matter of the book is examined without being judgemental. Well worth a read.
Nature via Nurture, by Matt Ridley
He very quickly makes it clear that his position is that development is influenced by nature and nurture, and moves on to examining how each of the influenced varies, and what this leads to. It is all the better book for it. A very interesting read.
The Interesting Narrative, and Other Writings, by Olaudah Equiano
Pretty interesting stuff, part examination of the slave trade, part adventure. He is an intruguing character. Pretty tough going sometimes, and crushed under the weight of all of the footnotes.
Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
Read this after seeing a pretty bad performance of it at Edingburgh last year. It's pretty good, but certainly not the best dystopian novel.
Midnight's Children, by Salman Rushdie
One big chunk of book. Glad I read it, particularly for what I learnt about the history of the subcontient. I can't say I enjoyed all that much though.
An Artist of the Floating World, by Kazuo Ishiguro
Read this on the train from Birmingham to Edinburgh, as it is not too thick. It was truly excellent, with many different themes running all the way through. It had the property that I seem to find in all of his books, where the pace is slow, and it seems simple on the surface, but it triggers so many ideas in your mind as you read you have trouble holding on to them. When a thought does manage to fight it's way to the top and crystalise, it is gone just as quick, leaving just the sensation of a profound insight, but often with the details as blurry as they were. Truly cemented Ishiguro as my favourite author at the moment, I find his subtle power and strong imagery untouchable.
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
This is what kept me entertained on the way back from Edinburgh. A classic, I know, but I actually knew little about it, except for the briefest of outlines. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and was surprised by the perspective chosen, and the content of most of the book. I wish I had been given this as a text in school, i think it might have been more interesting than the books that I did study, though that might have ruined it for me.
The Place at the End of the World: Stories from the Frontline, by Janine di Giovanni
A collection of her writings from various conflict situations around the world. She combines some very good writing, with some great stories, and each of the conflicts she reports on needs to be learned about. She beautifully exposes some of the greater issues involved with the small stories she tells, each of which engages you with the suffering of the people, making it very emotional. She is absolutely my hero now, for going in to these places in the first place, and then coming out of them and writing in such an engaging and revealing way.
In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
A very interesting read. A very different book to most, and from that perspective very worthwile.
Ghostwritten, by David Mitchell
Very well told set of stories that link together beautifully. They are very disjoint in style and content, but the overall theme pulls them together, and he really explores the theme well with this device.
Yes Man, by Danny Wallace
Finshed it for the second time. A great laugh. The Amsterdam bit is the funniest thing I've ever read, gaining me some funny looks on the train.
Spoken Here, by Mark Abley
An interesting journey studying many endangered languages, looking at the many factors that have contributed to their decline, and the efforts to save them. It also presents a good case for supporting the diversity of languages, and why English becoming the dominant language, while convenient, may be stifling much more than other languages.
GB 84, by David Peace
Angry, angry, angry. A mix of fact and fiction that looks at the UK miner's strike of 1984. It uses the stories of several different characters to examin some of the issues of the conflict by examing small parts of it from different angles. I don't know enough about the subect, so I was keen to learn more, especially as it is partially set around the area where I grew up. I was generally unstatisfied though, while I did learn about the issues I found that the writing tended to grate with me. The story of one character, a miner, told in a very interesting style, using his voice, but written in a style similar to newspaper columns, with a stream of conciousness feel, was genuinely touching in places.
Security Engineering, by Ross Anderson
So far, so good. Still going over the basics, but he presents them well, with a couple of insights as well.