Thursday, 3 January 2008

Books in 2007

So this is the list of books that I read in 2007; I was keeping this on my university webpage, I decided to just do it for no particular reason other than I wanted to. I started off writing quite short one line reviews, but every now and then I'd just say a little more. I'm planning to do the same thing this year, and as part of 101 Things in 1001 Days I think I'm going to write longer reviews for every book I read in that time (something to get me writing).

Here it is then (note: I decided to do this in May, and so January to April is, I think, I a complete list but probably not in chronological order).

Early 2007

Inversions by Iain M. Banks (strange and mysterious, a Culture novel disguised!)
Martian Time-Slip by Philip K. Dick (not his best, but definitely worth a read)
The Algrebraist by Iain M. Banks (interesting, takes a long time to get where it is going)
The Prestige by Christopher Priest (a great book that is the basis for an even better film)
Air by Geoff Ryman (an odd tale, well told)
Look To Windward by Iain M. Banks (another thoughtful and moving Culture book)
The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling (strange... Enjoyable, but at the same time difficult)
Neuromancer by William Gibson (re-read for the fourth time I think; a vision of the future that still seems possible)
The Mike Hammer Omnibus Volume 1 by Mickey Spillane (pretty much the birth of a genre, and very, very good)
The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time by Mark Haddon (an exceptional story)
Cell by Stephen King (I was left quite bemused... Read it in a few hours, and felt like I'd wasted my time)
Already Dead by Charlie Huston (a solid urban horror noir, 21st century vampire Mike Hammer)
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen (I was inspired to read this because I love the film so much! I wasn't disappointed)
Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds (grim and gritty near future sci-fi... Or is it?! Fantastic story)
The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz by L. Frank Baum (better and worse than the classic film)
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (my favourite book ever, re-read for the tenth time at least; the last man on earth, when everyone else is a vampire...)
Little, Big by John Crowley (I'd heard a lot about this book, and it was voted many years ago as the greatest fantasy novel ever written by a magazine I read. While it was interesting I have to say that I didn't think it was all that good)
Mad Night by Richard Sala (an interesting graphic novel, with murder, pirates, puppets and a quest for eternal youth)
Blankets by Craig Thompson (heartbreakingly wonderful graphic novel about first love and faith)
Lint by Steve Aylett (surreal tale about the greatest and worst pulp writer that never was)
Complete Prose by Woody Allen (a superb collection of funny stories and essays)
Coraline by Neil Gaiman (a children's book that I find very scary... Everything you could possibly want in a bedtime story for children, and a fantastic read for adults too)

May 2007

Glasshouse by Charles Stross (juggling mindblowing concept after mindblowing concept, and seemingly with ease... Deflates a bit towards the end, but the sheer number and intensity of his ideas will keep you reading on)
Casino Royale by Ian Fleming (the story where Bond began; an interesting read, but I wonder how Bond became so popular based on a story like this...)
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (I read the book in one sitting, I was completely gripped by the mystery. A must read!)
Black Swan Green by David Mitchell (utterly brilliant, funny and heartwarming tale about a thirteen year old stammerer's experience of 1982)
Emma by Jane Austen (a bit slow in places, but full of wonderfully drawn characters and a charming conclusion)
Scar Night by Alan Campbell (an interesting debut novel, a city suspended above a great abyss, angels, immortality and the end of the world... Looking forward to the next volume)
Less Than Heroes by David Yurkovitch (absurdist superhero graphic novel, funny, intelligent and thought-provoking)
The Emperor's New Mind by Roger Penrose (all in all quite an interesting read about physics and consciousness, although some chapters were much more difficult to get through than others)

June 2007

Feersum Endjinn by Iain M. Banks (great far future story with some interesting concepts)
The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun and Paul Hattaway (harrowing and uplifting true story about the persecution of a Chinese Church leader)
The State of the Art by Iain M. Banks (diverse mix of short stories that are well worth a look)
The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction edited by George Mann (fantastic collection of short stories overflowing with brilliant ideas)
Against A Dark Background by Iain M. Banks (his best non-Culture novel by far, a complex and awesome space opera)
Lord of the Flies by William Golding (how did I get to the age of 26 without reading this work of utter brilliance?)
JPod by Douglas Coupland (one funny, funny novel about geeks in the early 21st century. I was sorry that it was only 550 or so pages long, it seemed far too short)
A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon (a brilliantly observed family drama, and a terrific black comedy as well)
Humble Pie by Gordon Ramsay (quite enjoyable and very interesting to see how Gordon Ramsay got to where he is today)
The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (I'm glad that I've read it, but probably wouldn't say that I overly enjoyed it; it has its moments)

July 2007

Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan (future noir, a 26th century mystery that reels you in and leaves you wanting more)
Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling (I had to re-read it in anticipation of the last book! Oh, and it's good!)
Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling (not the book that I thought it would be, but a good end to the series nonetheless)
Stravaganza: City of Stars by Mary Hoffman (a young adults book, but a good one. An interesting story set in the present day and a parallel 16th century Italy)
Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus Volume 1 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko (words can't do it justice, some of the most groundbreaking comics ever written. 45 years later these comics still resonate with the reader and inspire and effect comic book creators)
No Dominion by Charlie Huston (more vampire noir; a great mystery which gives the reader a great feeling of 'being there')

August 2007

The Devil In Amber by Mark Gatiss (the second Lucifer Box novel: James Bond if James Bond were a middle-aged, upper class, bisexual assassin/spy. A cracking read)
Un Lun Dun by China MiƩville (a brilliant and wonderfully inventive novel: a skewed and fantastic city, incredible characters and a great, fast-paced story)
The Dreaming Void by Peter F. Hamilton (the first part in another galaxy-spanning epic trilogy, with extra added fantasy to make it even better)
Looking For Jake (and other stories) by China MiƩville (interesting collection of short fiction; in some ways better than most of his longer works)
The Mike Hammer Omnibus Volume 2 by Mickey Spillane (utterly riveting thrillers, fast-paced hard-boiled fiction that is still brilliant fifty years on)

September 2007

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (an absolute joy to read; a beautiful and well-written classic - why had I never read this before?)
A Pretty Face by Rafael Reig (an interesting mystery story set in a parallel Madrid, and told in an unusual way; not as good as the author's first novel though...)
Year's Best SF 11 edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer (a good short story anthology, with many good stories)
Pulp Idol 2007 by various (a small collection of short stories written by the readers of SFX magazine)
Market Forces by Richard Morgan (excellent sci-fi thriller with a message)

October 2007

Broken Angels by Richard Morgan (discards the future noir of Altered Carbon, but serves a great far future story in the same universe)
Woken Furies by Richard Morgan (hard sci-fi, revolution, future noir - an irresistible blend and an excellent novel)
To Say Nothing Of The Dog by Connie Willis (a time travelling comedy of errors and manners; very, very funny and a cracking read)
The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett (classic 30s detective novel; pretty good, but I didn't enjoy it as much as the Mike Hammer novels I've read this year)

November 2007

NOTHING! I was writing my second novel during National Novel Writing Month.

December 2007

JPod by Douglas Coupland (a re-read; a great, funny and thought-provoking novel)
Sidetracked by Henning Mankel (great crime novel by a master of suspense, building to an electrifying conclusion; he really gets you under the skin of the various characters)
The Stone Canal by Ken Macleod (an interesting alternate history - and alternate future history - from an author I will probably read more of)
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (re-read for the second time this year... Stunning, humourous, an examination of loneliness and more besides - a book that quite simply everyone should read)
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (an absolutely fascinating book... Gave me a lot of food for thought)
Darwinia by Robert Charles Wilson (interesting alternative history - with some added extreme science fiction)
The Little Endless Storybook by Jill Thompson (beautifully illustrated short story of The Endless)
Wanted by Mark Millar and J. G. Jones (utterly brilliant graphic novel, Fight Club meets Watchmen)
Ghost World by Daniel Clowes (a graphic novel that I had wanted to read for a long time, and for reasons I can't explain was mildly disappointed by)

My favourite book of the year (which I've read for the first time)... Probably a three way tie between Already Dead, Jane Eyre and Market Forces.

Health Update: The amoxycillin seems to be working; my throat isn't sore at all now, and although I'm still coughing my ears aren't sore at all, and the muted hearing of my left ear seems to be going away. Slept right through last night and woke up feeling alright.

Oh, and my first book of 2008? Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware, which took me a while to get in to, but which is an absolutely beautiful and heartbreaking story. The titular character is heartbreaking in his awkwardness and inability to express himself. Go here to see more about it, and a list of the mainstream awards that it picked up when it was published.

Right, I should really do some work. Tomorrow: films of 2007.


mattiecore said...

My first book of 2008: Repetition by Alain Robbbe-Gillet

My second book of 2008: World Without End by Ken Follett

I just need to make sure I finish them both before classes start back...

mattiecore said...

That should be Alain Robbe-Gillet. Oops!

Bilbo said...

A very interesting and eclectic list. I agree with your thumbnail reaction to "Cell" - I think Stephen King would benefit from an editor who would smack him around and get him to carve about 100-200 pages out of each book. As for Casino Royale, I think the whole James Bond series would have disappeared into the mass-market paperback swamp if not for the movies...Ian Fleming wasn't much of an author, in my opinion. And I have to admit I loved the final Harry Potter story. I'll have to keep a list for 2008, and we can compare next year at this time.

noisms said...

I've read most of the Bond books because when I was between the ages of about 11 and 14 we used to visit my uncle and he had all of them, and I often had nothing better to do of an evening than read them. They're not great, to be honest, although Casino Royale is one of the worst.