Saturday, November 10, 2007

Feeling Bookish

For the last 12 months I’ve deliberately avoided Star Trek novels. I went through a stage where it was all I read – which lead to books becoming samey. I wanted to challenge myself more and have tried to be far more diverse with reading material. I didn’t go totally cold turkey – I did read William Shatner’s autobiographies, though they were non-fiction so count as non- Star Trek in my eyes.

Although I haven’t kept a record of every book I’ve read here’s the ones that stand out.

The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins – while much of this fell in line with my beliefs I did find that Dawkins comes across as biased as the people he berates. I am atheist but I will, occasionally, entertain the idea that there may be some awesomely powerful entity somewhere in existence. Dawkins refuses to budge. Basically the first 100 pages are excellent, mid 100 waffle then end 100 gets back on track.

The Undercover Economist by Tim Harford - A few years ago I read ‘No Logo’ which was pretty much anti corporation. This takes the more positive view that I hold and the fascinating final chapter investigates whether sweatshops are actually the root of all evil they appear to be with surprising results.

Eats Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss - I love writing, I love the English language and I’m currently narked by the amount of people that refuse to use it properly. I hate text speak but I’m not a pedant. So while this did address some of my weaknesses with the mother tongue I doubt I will take the current corruption of grammar as seriously as this author.

Casino Royale by Ian Fleming - It’s 8 years since I read the Bond novels and the time is right to revisit Fleming’s world, especially with a new novel on the way in 2008. A little older and more familiar with 007’s world than I was back in 1999 I enjoyed this much, much more. I love the care Fleming takes over description – especially food. Though rereading it you do get a taste of what a nasty bastard Fleming intended Bond to be.

Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling – A great end to a fantastic series, though ignore the epilogue because that’s shit.

Doctor Who: The Inside Story by Gary Russell - some fascinating insights however most of the word count seems to consist of crawling up Russell T Davies arse. Was disappointed by this one, for a much more rounded version of events try and track down Panini Comics far superior annual Doctor Who series companions.

The Young Bond Adventures by Charlie Hisgon. Bond’s youth told Harry Potter Stylee. Actually it’s a great concept and the first book, Silver Fin, is excellent and a true insight into the youth of the nations favourite superspy. However books 2-4 get progressively worse. Book 4, Hurricane Gold, is awful and could easily have been condensed to 100 pages. To sum up Bond is involved in a kidnapping, escapes kidnappers then gets caught up with them again fooling them into becoming one of the gang, escapes them, drives around a bit gets caught by one of the gang again, escapes him, gets caught by gang again then escapes them only to be trapped with the ring leader on an exclusive island… zzzzz. After all of the dumb running around there’s finally a good few chapters as Bond tries to escape the Island though it then seems to end too soon with little payoff to the tiesome running around of the main part of the book.

So what’s next on the booklist? Well a bit of Doctor Who in Forever Autumn, Dom Joly’s autobiography ‘Look At Me’, Belle De Jour’s Diary of A London Call Girl, The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki And Ian Fleming’s Live & Let Die.

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