Sidebar of literary shame

There is, of course, no earthly reason why anyone would be interested in what I’ve just read, but I’ve been ignoring my personal reading record, my sidebar of literary shame, so I decided to tidy up the blog, dump this down and show that there’s more to me than tinkering with my Arduino and Raspberry Pi.

This is just a personal checklist of what I’ve read. Once in a seminar at university, Professor Hammond asked ‘who is Shakespeare addressing here?’ We all examined the ceiling, our fingernails. Eventually even I could stand the silence no longer. ‘Himself?’ I suggested. Prof Hammond laughed. ‘Well, yes, I suppose, in a way, all of us, ultimately are just… talking to ourselves…’

The Terrorists by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö. I was reading the Martin Beck books in strict order but saw this in a book sale. Classic Swedish crime fiction.
The Banned List by John Rentoul. 99p Kindle offer. Probably not worth much more, to be honest. I wish he’d done the whole thing as an alphabetical list with a brief discourse on each cliché.
Cell by Stephen King. A good read, but I wanted answers!
Where the Bodies are Buried by Chris Brookmyre. My second Brookmyre. A bit like Ian Rankin meets Kate Atkinson – in Glasgow. Enjoyed it very, very much.
The Tomorrow People in Three in Three by Roger Price and The Visitor by Roger Price & Julian R Gregory. I found 4 of the Tomorrow People books I had as a child at a book sale. I could remember The Visitor one almost word-for-word. I must have read and re-read it many times as a child.
Triangles by Andrea Newman. I joked on twitter half way through that one of these short stories about affairs would feature someone having an affair with their own husband. And it did!
When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman. Reviewed here.
How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran. It’s funny cos it’s true.
Gumble’s Yard by John Rowe Townsend.
Noah’s Castle by John Rowe Townsend. Thank god for the internet for finally allowing me to find this dystopian 70s childrens’ book which had a huge effect on me at the time. I could remember neither the title nor the author.
The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness. Grim, but brilliant kids’ book.
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. Brilliant dystopian book for teens. The short prequel is a free Kindle download.
Seven Types of Ambiguity by Elliot Perlman. 607 pages, seven viewpoints of the same extraordinarily inter-twined events. Clever, full of good ideas but I didn’t warm to the main character and didn’t love it anywhere near as much as A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz.
The Fear by Charlie Higson.
Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson. I HATED this book – which was a surprise as I really liked the previous 3 Jackson Brodies, esp the previous one. Why? Too many characters I didn’t care about. Not enough Jackson Brodie. And I know it’s grim up North – but just too, too grim. Forced myself to finish it, but only because I bloody paid for it.
When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson. MUCH better than the TV adaptation, which I found very confusing. Very readable – some of the turns choices made by the main characters have had me going ‘whaaat’? but it’s all the more believable and enjoyable for them.
One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson. Good, but didn’t enjoy it as much as Case Histories.
Case Histories by Kate Atkinson. Bliss.
Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi by Geoff Dyer. Oh me. Oh my. I reviewed this here.
Solar by Ian McEwan. Good holiday read but not stunning literature.
One Day by David Nicholls. I am officially the last person-but-one in England to read this. Loved it, though. Bastard.
Moonraker by Ian Fleming. Ah, another improbably-named young woman to see you, Mr Bond. (Like I can talk).
Obstacles to Young Love by David Nobbs. This lad Nobbs will go far. Funny, touching, very occasionally annoying, but a damn fine novel.
The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim by Jonathan Coe. Hated the ending. Sorry. Sure it’s been done elsewhere. My first, and probably last, Coe.
Hungry the Stars and Everything by Emma Jane Unsworth. Delicious! I reviewed this here.
The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber. It’s Dickens with swear words. In a good way.
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. From 1949. Perfect. It’s so good, I love it so much. Cannot believe I’ve never read this before.
Jar City by Arnaldur Indriðason – bit disappointed. Just a police procedural. Not that odd. No big DNA conspiracy.
The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford – I proof-read a neighbour’s uni essay on this and had to read it. Bleak it is, so bleak – especially for a man of my age and circumstance. Almost gave up but half way through I ‘got it’ and glad I finished it. But grim. Grim.
The Game by Jack London.
The Man Who Went Up In Smoke by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö. 2nd Martin Beck novel from the original masters of the modern (1960s) police procedural.
Devil May Care by Sebastian Faulks writing as Ian Fleming. I enjoyed this WAY more than Engleby. Really good, flavour of Bond captured very well indeed.
Dead Man’s Cove by Lauren St John. Great children’s book, set in St Ives, Cornwall. If the Laura Marlin Mysteries continue like this, I might have to write my own Caitlin Ros Mysteries. (Geddit?!)
Sweet Desserts by Lucy Ellman.
Live and Let Die by Ian Fleming.
Engleby by Sebastian Faulks. My first Faulks – he’s too damn popular with the ladies for my liking. I almost gave up on it on page 85. Luckily something happens on page 86. Blog post coming…
Street Kids by Chandrika Kaviraj. Excellent unpublished story for older children set in Pakistan and India during Partition.
The Sacred Art of Stealing by Christopher Brookmyre.
Casino Royale by Ian Fleming. My first Bond. It’s just as I would have hoped and expected. And me oh my does Vesper Lynd remind me of someone.
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. There’s a stunning novel in here, struggling to get out. Just spare me the state of Russian agriculture, Leo, I beg you…
Nemesis by Jo Nesbø – this is shaping up very nicely, up there with The Snowman and The Redeemer.

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