My Books of The Year

For reasons which are now somewhat lost on me, I kept a note of which books I read this year just gone (by the cunning method of putting them all in a pile in the corner). So that I have a more permanent record of this snapshot, I have written up a list and (since it was in '07), given a 7 word summary of each. The list makes for depressing reading, since it shows up my tastes as being staggeringly low brow. In my defence, I will say only that some of these were read under duress (i.e. while travelling on planes and being unable to read anything of any significant depth or quality), and a few were read partly in order to up my count (well, wouldn't you up yours?). Anywhere, here are my books of 2007 in strictly non-chronological order:
  1. The Liar (Stephen Fry) - Fry's autobiographical youthful fancy bears multiple re-readings
  2. Playpower (Richard Neville) - Incredibly archaic firsthand account of seventies hippiedom.
  3. The Crying of Lot 49 (Thomas Pynchon) - Frustrating erudite underground US postal conspiracy novella
  4. Digital Fortress (Dan Brown) - Readable but terrible tediously flawed techno thriller
  5. Burglar on the Prowl (Lawrence Block) - Chripy tale: purloining and hugely improbable coincidence
  6. The Golden Thread (John Mortimer) - Rumpole in fine form, defending the delinquent
  7. Double Whammy (Carl Hiaasen) - More lively Florida corruption and murder antics
  8. Journey Around My Room (Xavier De Maistre) - Peculiar florid 17th Century geographically challenged travelogue
  9. Dawn of The Dumb (Charlie Brooker) - Collected columns of charmingly curmudgeonly cynical critic
  10. Lies and the Lying Liars who tell them (Al Franken) - Haphazard and disorganized swing at right-wing liars
  11. Perfect Crimes and Impossible Mysteries (Ed. Mike Ashley) - Delightful collection of ingenious locked room mysteries
  12. Cruel World (John Morgan) - Disturbing self-published tale of madness and religion
  13. Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows (JK Rowling) - Boy wizard goes camping, dies, recovers, wins
  14. Kitty Takes a Holiday (Carries Vaughn) - More entertaining werewolf hijinks for poor Kitty
  15. Before Midnight (Rex Stout) - A Wolfe story like all the others
  16. The Medical Detectives (Berton Roueche) - Fascinating stories of disease inference and analysis
  17. Jingo (Terry Pratchett) - Entertaining fantasy fodder for a long flight
  18. Side Effects (Woody Allen) - Hit-and-miss humour, some great ideas
  19. In Our Humble Opinion (Tom and Ray Magliozzi) - Genial Car Talk hosts unpleasant on paper
  20. Adventures in the Screen Trade (William Goldman) - Compelling insider stories and anecdotes on Hollywood
  21. Out of the Ordinary (Jon Ronson) - Need to imagine author's voice while reading
  22. Be My Enemy (Christopher Brookmyre) - Excellent knockabout murder and mayhem caper novel
  23. The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat (Oliver Sacks) - Diverting case histories but no 'Medical Detectives'
  24. The 9/11 Report (Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon) - Devastating catalogue of failures - in comic form
  25. The Areas of My Expertise (John Hodgman) - Good, but not outstanding, hobo names included
  26. Barcelona Plates (Alexei Sayle) - Superb collection, especially first and last stories
  27. The Key (Malcolm McClintick) - Slight police procedural by former public defender
  28. Which Lie Did I Tell? (William Goldman) - More of the same from screenwriter and raconteur
  29. Lyra's Oxford (Philip Pullman) - Short and unfulfilling tale of Dark Materials
  30. Deception Point (Dan Brown) - Screaming baby on lap of next passenger
  31. Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death (M.C. Beaton) - Light silly mystery introducing largely unsympathetic detective
  32. Tanner on Ice (Lawrence Block) - Odd adventure tale of cryogenically preserved spy
  33. Perplexing Puzzles and Tantalizing Teasers (Martin Gardner) - Presented no significant challenge, mostly old puzzles
  34. Rumpole of the Bailey (John Mortimer) - First collection of Rumpole stories sets tone
  35. Rumpole for the Defence (John Mortimer) - Another collection with some sharply plotted tales
  36. The Men Who Stare at Goasts (Jon Ronson) - More investigation into peculiar beliefs, most ambiguous
  37. King's College Cambridge Annual Report 2006 - I read it for the member's obituaries
  38. Micronations (Lonely Planet) - Odd guide to places not on map
  39. In the Beginning... was the command line (Neal Stephenson) - Not hugely insightful potted history of computers
  40. The Collector Collector (Tibor Fischer) - Definitely worth a second reading (or third?)
  41. Rumpole on Trial (John Mortimer) - This year I couldn't get enough Rumpole...
  42. The Uncommon Reader (Alan Bennett) - Addictive novella when ER finally starts reading
  43. Skinny Dip (Carl Hiaasen) - Buoyant Florida thriller hooked me on Hiaasen
  44. Unleashing Web 2.0 (Gottfried Vossen and Stephan Hagemann) - Soulless trawl through buzzwords without giving insight
  45. Time To Murder and Create (Lawrence Block) - Scudder swiftly investigates who killed a blackmailer
  46. Dummies Guide to Buying a Home - Visions of mortgages dance before my eyes
  47. Thud! (Terry Pratchett) - Another plane ride, another pratchett passes time
  48. Buffy Season 8 (Whedon et al) - Buffy's back, this time in comic form
  49. The Nudist on the Late Shift (Po Bryson) - Enthralling and scary tales from bubble 1.0
  50. Enclopedia Brown Collection (Donald Sobol) - Frankly stupid, irritating "solve-it-yourself" mysteries

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