It’s a much slower year, in terms of reading, than the previous two (see here & here). Which sounds a little strange, considering the fact that I’m now working from home, and consequently should have significantly more time to read. But then, I read some of the tomes ranging from 500-900 pages each, and so that’s ok (Of course, I also cheated & read a number of westerns, but let’s not think about that!) 🙂
The best books I read were:
1. Stop What You’re Doing And Read This
2. The Better Mousetrap
3. Would you like some bread with that book?
4. The Secrets of Consulting: A Guide to Giving and Getting Advice Successfully
5. Luka and the Fire of Life
6. A Game of Thrones
The complete list of the books I read in the first 6 months of 2012, with a brief review is below. Enjoy!
1. Terry Pratchett – Carpe Jugulum – Pratchett leads you down quite a few blind alleys, on a hilarious horror story with witches, to an extremely satisying ending with a twist.
2. Vendela Vida – The Believer Book of Writers Talking to Writers – Interesting interviews, although some of them were mutual admiration society stuff. Still, a worthwhile peek into the writers’minds.
3. Jeremy Hope – Reinventing the CFO – A war-cry to the CFO’s to change: the world has changes, and the stresses are many; the only CFOs worth looking at/for, are those who know how to lead this. Hope tells them how!
4. Paul Hoffman – The Left Hand of God – Hoffman built an interesting, gripping premise for 300 pages, and then lost it not knowing what to do with it! Disappointing!
5. Salman Rushdie – Luka and the Fire of Life – Rushdie tells a children’s tale; only it’s too powerful to be read only by kids! Proves why he is one of the best writers around.
6. George R.R. Martin – A Game of Thrones – This book proved well deserving of the hype…as well as being as good as the tv series based on it! Martin spins a complex web of stories, which will captivate, enthrall & fascinate readers of all hues & age groups!
7. George R.R. Martin – A Clash of Kings – Martin continues the saga with a worthy sequel to “A Game of Thrones”. Although I need a break from this epic thriller now, I can’t seem to let go of the Starks & the Lanisters!
8. Cyrus Broacha – The Average Indian Male – Cyrus tries to be funny. In fact, he tries too hard. And fails consistently. Add to that, the numerous spelling & grammatical errors that plague this book, and you’ll be well advised to avoid this altogether!
9. Josh Horowitz – The Mind of the Modern Moviemaker – Only for movie buffs; the interviews give an insight into the minds of the folks selected, but most of them are people you’ve never heard of, and so are left wondering about their inclusion.
10. Louis L’Amour – Dutchman’s Flat – Nice stories to while away the time, daydreaming of a place long ago, the Wild American West.
11. Eugene O’kelly – Chasing Daylight: How My Forthcoming Death Transformed My Life – O’kelly writes movingly of meeting the final days head-on; with joy & building on the relationships.
12. Louis L’Amour – Kiowa Trail – Westerns in first-person are never as much fun as those in third-person; strictly for L’amour fans
13. Gerald M. Weinberg – The Secrets of Consulting: A Guide to Giving and Getting Advice Successfully – Invaluable resource book for all consultants, and their clients! The book’s funny, irreverent tone only masks some really good & true & serious advice.
14. Marshall Goldsmith – Mojo: How to get it, How to keep it, How to get it back, If you lose it – Goldsmith is the world’s leading executive coach, and the book demonstrates why. It’s witty, insightful, and filled with really good advice on how to become more effective professionally. However, he fails when he asks you to compromise your values in order to succeed professionally.
15. Jennifer Egan – A Visit From The Goon Squad – No more classical literature for me. Ever. Thoroughly disappointed by the fact that critics seem to love only the books which somehow are a showcase for the writer’s wordsmithy, rather than for actual story-telling. Nothing moves in this book for damn near 200 pages!
16. Neil Gaiman – The Sandman: Book of Dreams – Really good stories with many layers, and awesome one-liners!
17. Louis L’Amour – The Daybreakers – Part of the immortal western series, “The Sacketts”, this is a slow, thoughtful examination of human frailties & motivations, set in the context of the Wild West.
18. Richard N. Bolles – What Color Is Your Parachute?: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers – This is the definitive how-to manual on finding a job. But it left me a bit disappointed, since there was nothing really new here!
19. Ronald Cohen – The Second Bounce of the Ball: Turning Risk into Opportunity – Good guide to making use of your inner uncertainties, and overcoming them, in order to succeed as an entrepreneur. Could have done without the repetitive examples of how Cohen made it happen!
20. Michael Robotham – The Wreckage – About a 100 pages too long, but a delightful thriller nonetheless.
21. Angie Sage – Septimus Heap I: Magyk – Why does all YA fiction have to travel the same roads as Rowling/Pratchett, I’ll never know…but it’s getting repetitive, and quite boring folks!
22. Veena Venugopal – Would you like some bread with that book? – The best book I’ve read this year! A journey into a reader’s heart…lots of laughs!
23. Neil Gaiman, Mike Dringenberg – The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes (Volume 1) – The reputation of this book, as one of the foremost comics of all time, is rightly deserved!
24. Lynda Gratton – The Shift: The future of work is already here – Gratton examines the changes in the world, and how they impact work & workplaces. A sociological masterpiece!
25. Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely – All-Star Superman, Volume 2 – Not really all that great
26. Jon Stock – Games Traitors Play – Jon Stock writes a spy thriller, reminiscent of Jason Bourne, but rather darker. I do wish he’d found a better way to end this one though.
27. Oliver Sacks – The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat – Some interesting cases, of rare neurological disorders, which give us an insight into what makes us whole, what makes us human!
28. David Stone – The Orpheus Deception – Stone writes a worthy sequel to Echelon Vendetta, which I read 2 years ago.
29. Swapan Seth – This is All I have to Say – Short, quick reads; musings on everyday life, from success & failure, to marriage, love & parenting! The chapter on failure was great!
30. Mark Haddon, Michael Rosen, Zadie Smith, Carmen Callil, Jeanette Winterson, Tim Parks, Blake Morrison, Maryanne Wolf, Nicholas Carr, Jane Davis – Stop What You’re Doing And Read This – A collection of 10 essays about reading, and books, and the thoughts & dreams of readers. Absolutely delightful. Goes to the top shelf!
31. Tom Holt – The Better Mousetrap – Possibly the best fiction I have read this year, or in the last 2 years! Holt at his personal best. An engaging, hilarious mix of magic, management and humor.
32. Vilayanur Ramachandran – The Emerging Mind – Ramachandran’s BBC The Reith Lectures compiled in one small volume. Essential for anyone who wants to understand neuroscience.