Books

I’ve always liked to read and frequently have several books on the go at once though I always feel I don’t read as much as I’d like to – all too often the evil TV is to blame!  I almost never go to the library preferring to buy books on the principal that I can afford to and should support the writers. This page is always out of date!

What I’m currently reading

Books I recently finished
(last updated around 2001!)

Snow Falling On Cedars by David Guterson, really excellent story with a lot of quite poetic imagery (at least in my head), amazingly the film is as good though I would definitely read the book first as the film doesn’t fill in the details. While in part telling the story of the Californian Japanese internment camps in WW2 it is not preachy and takes a completely personal view rather than political or racial (in fact the camps are just a matter of fact part of the story really)  Great writing.

Close Range by Annie Proux, a collection of stories about Wyoming, almost all of them dark and desperate which meant I liked them of course.

Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams, another in the four part trilogy and as good as the others but not a terrific number of new ideas.

Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck, I was a bit disappointed by this book, there didn’t seem to be enough substance somehow, just an ordinary trip.

For Christmas my sister and her husband bought me The Century by Peter Jennings and Todd Brewster. It’s a review of the 20th century (so far) and will be a long term reading project with almost 600 large pages. I really enjoy this kind of book, sort of a super year end Life edition though perhaps a bit more serious.

The Truth Machine by James Halperin, the precedent to The First Immortal in which a machine is invented which can tell with absolute certainty whether someone is telling the truth. An interesting story and study of the possible societal effects of such a thing without being overly intellectual.

Holidays On Ice, by David Sedaris, a hilarious and cynical collection of short stories related to Christmas time.

Disclosure by Michael Crichton, as I started to read I thought I recognized the characters and plot and of course this was made into a movie starring Sharon Stone and Michael Douglas. The book moves along without really convincing the reader that any of the events could actually happen and then seeming to be too easily resolved. At the end it turns out that this book is based on a true story which is pretty frightening.

Neanderthal by John Darnton, an interesting if far-fetched story of a relic tribe of Neanderthals living high in a volcanically heated crater in the Himalayas. Rather simplistic and certainly unbelievable in it’s outcome but not a bad read especially at poolside in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico where I bought it used in a book store/cafe.

HMS Surprise by Patrick O’Brien, despite struggling with the first novel in this series I decided to read another and this one was much better. This is actually the 3rd in the series since I couldn’t find the 2nd. It is the continuing story of the English Naval captain as he moves through the ranks and scandals of the Royal Navy. Who knew there were so many kinds of sail on a ship?

The First Immortal by James Halperin, the story of the invention, use and perfection of cryonic freezing of people as they die and the consequences of the their eventual reintroduction to society. I really like the practical approach taken by the author who places most of the story from the turn of the century to about 2100 and builds the news events of the period into the story. At the end there is an appendix with some information on today’s cryonics possibilities and a number of web links for information. I had no idea that people were already doing this, the book is obviously in favour of the practice but is not preachy about it at all. You should read The Truth Machine first as the two novels are interconnected.

Master and Commander by Patrick O’Brian, a historical novel about a 19th century English naval captain.

Riding High by Ted Simon, the second book about his four year motorcycle trip around the world.

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje, I preferred the movie, the book is darker which I usually like but somehow it didn’t have the same effect as the film.

Jupiter’s Travels by Ted Simon, the first book about his trip around the world, it has inspired numerous people to pick up and go somewhere on their motorcycles.

The Perfect Vehicle by Melissa Holbrook Pierson, a fine description of the rewards and experiences of riding motorcycles.

More books have rolled off this page…