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60 Days and Counting – Kim Stanley Robinson (2007)

I am glad that I have finally managed to finish this trilogy.
Although I enjoyed Robinson’s "Mars" series very much, I found this trilogy a bit tedious – it moves very slowly.
It is more a techno-thriller than SF, and has some great political statements and good exposition of the global climate change we are facing.
Reading this series through the 2008 election and over the transition period, it was interesting to see how his fictional new President, Phil Chase, resembles Barack Obama in many ways….
I finished this series (fianlly) in January 2009.
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The Ghost Road – Pat Barker (1995)

Interleaved stories about Billy Prior, a soldier in the 1st World War and his psychologist Dr. William Rivers, and River’s prior experiences in Melanesia.  Touches on some real historical figures such as the poet Wilfred Owen ("Dulce et Decorum Est") and Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll – "Alice in Wondoerland").
This was well deserving of the 1995 Booker Prize.
I read this in January 2009


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Hotel Du Lac – Anita Brookner (1984)

I read this over Christmas/New Year  2008/2009, while snowed in.
It was…  OK.
Winner of the Booker Prize in 1984.
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Watchmen – Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons (1986)

I savoured the cinematic devices in this book, deep vertical zooms, scene interlacing, clever segues, illustrative alliteration, recurrent visual themes, and the wealth of incrementally revealed detail which often proves relevant: all combine to make this a very enjoyable read.   Ultimately, the plot is a bit of a letdown, but the dark artistry of its grim apocalyptic vision is outstanding.
I read this in December 2008
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Arthur & George – Julian Barnes (2005)

An excellent novel from an author I like. One of his best, for sure.
This one is biographical in nature, based on real people and real events in the early 1900’s.
(I won’t tell you who the characters are, it is more fun to read the book without knowing….)
Read the Overview from http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Arthur-George/Julian-Barnes/e/9781400097036 – but don’t read the Editorial Reviews or it will spoil the experience of realizing for yourself who "Arthur" is. 
I read this in December 2008, while snowed in at home for several days.
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Surfacing – Margaret Atwood (1972)

Margaret Atwood is one of my favourite writers: any book of hers is well worth reading.
This novel slowly explores and reveals the female protagonist’s interior psychological landscape, which is as desolate and submerged as the landscape in which the story is set…
I enjoyed this, although it is definitely in her older style of writing.  It certainly seems like a book of the 70’s.  🙂
I read this in December 2008
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The White Tiger – Aravind Adiga (2008)

This won the Man Booker prize in 2008.
But it really didn’t deserve it. It just wasn’t that good.
The book has a flippant style and there is little poetry or imaginative use of language.
However, it does give a good look at the injustices, cruelties and contradictions of life in modern India, an it’s a quick read.
Some of my Indian friends at work do not like this book, I think because it shows a side of India they would rather you didn’t see.
I read this in September 2008
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Theft – Peter Carey (2006)

Another excellent novel from one of my all-time favourite authors.
I read this in June 2008.
Other books of his that I have read:
  • Oscar & Lucinda
  • The True History of the Kelly Gang
  • The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith
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The Book Of Getting Even – Benjamin Taylor (1993)

A somewhat pointless tale about an intellectual homesexual Jew…?
It was an OK read, I suppose, but I really don’t see why Philip Roth would have described it as "exuberant and charming" (it is neither) nor why he thinks Taylor has an "exceptional gift".
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