Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Year End Wrap-Up, Part 2 -- Books

Quote of the day: John Lennon -- Another year over, a new one just begun

Back in the last century, before i bought my first home computer, i was an avid and omnivorous reader -- i would read at least a book a week.  (I had worked with computers in the late 70's and early 80's, but i'd long been out of the bizness.) (The old Nixdorf green screens, remember them?) (Running DOS of course, Windows wasn't even a glint in Bill Gates' eye at that point.) (Yes, i decided to give up good pay and working conditions to become a cook LOL.) 

Anyway, where was i?  I bought my first computer in, i think, 1999.  It ran Windows 95 but Windows 98 had just been released.  I remember it clearly: the man in the shop told me that i didn't need 98, as 95 couldn't possibly ever be surpassed.  What did i know?  I upgraded to 98 perhaps a year later.  And as one of my first Internet friends once remarked, "The Internet is TV for people who read."  My consumption of books has declined from one per week to one or two per month.

And here's everything i've read this year: 

Jan. 11 Anthony Powell – At Lady Molly’s
Jan. 31 Michael Dibdin – Dead Lagoon
Feb. 14 Nick Hornby – Juliet, Naked
Mar. 4: Anthony Powell – Casanova’s Chinese Restaurant
Mar. 18: George MacDonald Fraser – Flashman At The Charge
Apr. 6: Sarah Dunant – The Birth Of Venus
Apr. 22: Ian McEwan – Solar
May 4: Anthony Powell – The Kindly Ones
May 9: Thomas G. Aylesworth – Great Moments Of Television
May 20: Gareth Roberts – Cracker: To Be A Somebody
May 31: Anthony Powell – The Valley Of Bones
Jun. 19: Martin Amis – The Pregnant Widow
Jun. 27: Scott Adams --The Joy Of Work
July 6: Robert Hughes – Culture Of Complaint
July 15: Anthony Powell – The Soldier's Art
Aug. 7: Mikhail Bulgakov – The Master And Margarita
Aug. 17: Martin Amis – The Rachel Papers
Aug. 26: Anthony Powell – The Military Philosophers
Sept. 10: Paul & Beth Garon – Woman With Guitar: Memphis Minnie's Blues
Sept. 21: Anthony Powell – Books Do Furnish A Room
Oct. 3: Brian Payton – The Ice Passage
Oct. 11: Leonore Fleischer – The Fisher King
Oct. 15: P.G. Wodehouse – Bachelors Anonymous
Nov. 6: Margaret Atwood – The Year Of the Flood
Nov. 16: Anthony Powell – Temporary Kings
Dec. 7: Keith Richards – Life
Dec. 18: Anthony Powell – Hearing Secret Harmonies
Dec. 28: Robert Barnard – At Death's Door

(Yes, i'm a list freak, i keep track of stuff like this.)

You'll notice i read a lot of Anthony Powell -- all volumes in his 12-volume set "A Dance To The Music Of Time," a classic of 20th century literature -- read for a second time at the suggestion of my beloved Astrid.  (I started it last October!) She also told me that there was a BBC series devoted to the books, of which i had not previously been aware, and i've just started watching the DVDs.

And what, i hear you ask, was my favourite book this year?  Brian Payton's "The Ice Passage" came close -- in fact i wrote about it on this very blog at the time i read it -- but ultimately i have to say that my favourite book was:

A fascinating and enthralling read, "co-written" with James Fox.  I wonder how much of it Keef wrote himself?

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