December 2nd, 2013


Books 71 - 80.

71. Raum - The Aztec Empire: An Interactive History Adventure ('You Choose'-series)
This is a kids' 'choose your own adventure' type of book, but it was fun to read. The pictures in this book were also pretty, and the extra information added to the book was good, too.

72. Beckett - Spiritual Letters
I've mostly read her books on art (and one on poetry), but her thoughts on spiritual things - as well as some art, as usual - are very helpful and down to earth. Lovely to read, and the book smelled like fresh new schoolbooks, which I loved.

73. St. Catherine Of Bologna - The Seven Spiritual Weapons (English translation)
Slim but packed with good stuff. Also shows how she handled her depression pretty well considering it wasn't really known yet... the life she lived helped definitely a great deal in keeping her active even at the worst times. But it's also a good read on motivating oneself in our spiritual life.

74. Ellena - The Diary Of A Nose: A Year In The Life Of A Perfumeur (English translation)
Never actually boring, an intersting view on life of a perfume-creator. :)

75. Collns - CSI: Killing Game
The usual good CSI-episode-in-a-book book, good to read now and then.

76. Mosley & Spencer - The Fast Diet
AKA the 5:2 diet; I bought this one mainly cos I just wanted the basics, not so much the recipes which I can do elsewhere. But the idea and the explanation of the details of this diet certainly made it sound like a good diet to try. Recommended.

77. Anonymous (Lady Sarashina) - As I Crossed A Bridge Of Dreams: Recollections Of A Woman In 11th-Century Japan (English translation)
Slim one. Will probably one day read it at the same go as Lady Murasaki and Sei Shonagon's diaries, to compare. This woman was a real introvert even by that times' standards, and had some bad timings due to excessive dreaminess, but her travel/pilgrimage commentaries were interesting.

78. Confucius - The Analects (English translation)
Not sure if I recommend, but it does bring up some good ideas and felt sensible, so for me it was worth a read.

79. De Mello - The Song Of The Bird (Finnish translation)
Meditative pieces from various religions (though ultimately Christian), a quick read and an eye-opener; loved it.

80. Bl. Angela Of Foligno - Complete Works (English translation)
At times a bit heavy-going, it does bring up some good points.
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Book #65: Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett

Number of pages: 316

This book once again gives significant parts to Death and his Granddaughter, Susan. In this story, however, Susan is called upon by Death to team up with the Monks of Time to stop the creation of a clock that can stop time altogether, ending the world. Death, meanwhile, is busy rounding up the other horsemen of the apocalypse to ride out together at the point where inevitably time stops completely. The story also focusses on the monks, in particular Lu Tze and his apprentice, Lobsang Ludd; the story also features Nanny Ogg, who reveals a dark secret about a baby she once helped deliver. Incidentally, it is also the fourth consecutive book to feature one of the "Igors", who first appeared in a cameo during "Jingo".

I have found this to be one of the better Discworld novels of recent times, although it gets incredibly bizarre at times, particularly the unexpected twist regarding two of the story's characters. Not surprisingly, a lot of the humour is taken from Biblical prophecies from the book of Revelation, but there are some other moments of typical Pratchett genius too.

The main villains of the story are the sinister auditors, who are attempting to end the world; this leads to a Reservoir Dogs-based running joke whereby they start naming themselves after different colours; however, there are so many of them that they start running out of colours. The book also features a brilliant James Bond-inspired sequence with Lu Tze and Lobsang meeting a character named "Qu". My other favourite moments included War being under the thumb of his wife, a sequence involving the Auditors having to follow all signs literally and the concept of a forgotten fifth horseman of the apocalypse.

Overall, this is a decent story and more importantly, an original one.

Next book: Rob Roy by Sir Walter Scott
Briana and Aunty Tara
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Books 3 & 4 - 2012

I'm sooooo behind in reviews, I'm still writing 2012 reviews up (not to mention the 20 something 2013 reviews I need to write). Given I'm on leave for five weeks, I'm hoping to catch up in the lead up to the end of the year.

Without further ado…books 3 and 4 for 2012:

Book 3: The Last Warrior by Susan Grant – 378 pages

Description from
As a decorated soldier, the young General Tao knows only one kind of honor--to his people. But when his own king betrays him, he discovers that his sacrifices, his successes, may not have been for the good of the country at all. Fate--and his enemies--throw him together with Elsabeth, a red-haired beauty who has served as the royal tutor. Her loyalties, though, remain with her father's people, the rebellious Kurel, who worship the old ways, even harboring the forbidden arks that brought the Kurel to this planet ages ago. When a threat greater than their peoples' war looms, intent on destroying the world they both know, the fierce warrior and the sensitive scholar must unite. Together, they must fight for their planet, for their world and for their love.

This is Susie’s latest book and the last one of her’s I had to read. It’s the first in a new trilogy about two races who inhabit the same planet. One is pacifist, the other fighting a war against a third species who is threatening to take over the whole planet. It’s definitely an idea I’ve seen pop up in Star Trek a number of times. Either way, it was a good read. A little duller than Susie’s other books, probably because I prefer space based dramas, and this one has no space elements (yet; there is clearly intention for this in future books in the same trilogy), but otherwise, it had the typical Susie elements – an attractive hero, a damsel who doesn’t quite meet the definition of a ‘in distress’ and a war no one wants to fight but has not choice but to be involved in. I’m still waiting for the sequel, nearly two years later, but if you’re of the patient sort, definitely a decent read.

3 / 50 books. 6% done!

910 / 15000 pages. 6% done!

Book 4: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – 454 pages

Description from
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. But Katniss has been close to death before - and survival, for her, is second nature. The Hunger Games is a searing novel set in a future with unsettling parallels to our present. Welcome to the deadliest reality TV show ever...

Given the latest in the teen trilogies had actually got decent reviews compared to its predecessor (I’m looking at you, Twilight), I decided I give it a shot. I was pleased to find it actually deserving of its fame. I’m not going to bother rehashing the plot as we all know it, but I will say that it’s a fast and engrossing read. The characterization is good (the female lead has a backbone, guts, and a brain – its like the total opposite of Twilight!), the pacing solid, and the story itself has that eerie quality that comes with a story that reflects back at you the flaws of our own society in a manner that is perverse but also frighteningly familiar. Few trilogies are engaging enough for me to continue going one after the other (I usually have to leave a gap). This was one of the few that I felt a strong desire to follow up quickly. Definitely deserving of its fame.

4 / 50 pages. 8% done!

1364 / 15000 pages. 9% done!

Currently reading:
- The Other Queen
by Philippa Gregory – 437 pages
- Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore
by Bettany Hughes – 412 pages
- The Authenticity Hoax: How we get lost finding ourselves
by Andrew Potter – 283 pages

And coming up:
- The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Volume 3: White Gold Wielder
by Stephen Donaldson – 500 pages
- The Odyssey
by Homer – 324 pages
- One for the Money
by Janet Evanovich – 290 pages
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Books 105-108 for 2013

105. Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster. 93 pages.

A philanthropist sends a young woman to college in the early 1900s and the book consists of her letters to her anonymous benefactor.

A warm, gentle, happy story. Thanks to k425 for pointing me towards the free kindle download, as I might have missed out on it otherwise.

106. The Ghost and Mrs McClure by Alice Kimberley. 196 pages.

Widowed Penelope McClure moves with her young son to help her aunt restore the fortunes of her ailing bookshop. But when they stage a book signing, the author keels over dead in mid-speech and Penelope falls under suspicion. Coincidentally, the bookshop is haunted by the ghost of the private investigator who inspired the work of the author in question and he applies his detective skills to find the real guilty party.

Nothing too cerebral here, but good fun.

107. E is for Evidence by Sue Grafton. 227 pages.

The fifth Kinsey Milhone mystery. This time Kinsey finds herself in the frame for insurance fraud and her efforts to extricate herself open old wounds both for her and for others.

This series seems to be improving as it goes on.

108. Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett. 375 pages.

Latest in the Discworld series. Some people apparently think that the more recent books in the series show evidence of Mr Pratchett's unfortunate illness ( or "embuggerance" as the man himself refers to it), but to me, this one is as strong as any of the preceding books, both in terms of plot and humour.

Moist von Lipwig isn't may favourite Discworld character, I admit, but this is possibly the best book to feature him so far and there are plenty of olther characters, old and new to enhance proceedings.

This time the steam train comes to the Discworld and the question arises as to whether it's a problem or a solution....

Great fun :)