2018: the year in books – a new record!

Back in 2009 I started posting a summary at the end of the year of what I read during the year (see my posts from 2009201020112012201320142015, 2016, 2017) and people have been enjoying it, so here I present the 2018 end-of-year post. I set a moderate goal of 50 books this year but obliterated that and broke my 2009 record of 100 books by reading 101. It was a really enjoyable reading year as I finally read a large number of classic fiction books that have been on my list for many years. Next year I’m setting myself a goal of reading 50 books again as I have a lot of lengthy biographies and other history books I want to tackle.

For the record, I mostly read ‘real’ books – i.e. not in electronic form – I really don’t like reading off a screen. Yes, I’ve seen electronic readers – we both have iPads – but I don’t like reading electronically. Having said that, I did read about 40 books electronically this year out of necessity (insurmountable luggage weight and volume restrictions on two of our trips). I also don’t ‘speed read’ – I read quickly and make lots of time for reading.

Why do I track metrics? Because I like doing it, and being able to compare against previous years. Some people don’t understand the logic in that – each to their own :-)

Last night I looked through the list of books I’d read to pick my top ones, and although I couldn’t pick a single title as the top one, there was really no contest for my favorite two books of the year: The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. I’ve read LOTR 4 times now and I don’t know how many times I’ve read the Hitch-Hikers series. If you’ve never read them, I strongly recommend you give them a try. You can read my review of them in the top-10 list below.

Now the details. I enjoy putting this together as it will also serve as a record for me many years from now. I hope you get inspired to try some of these books – push yourself with new authors and very often you’ll be surprisingly pleased. Don’t forget to check out the previous year’s blog posts for more inspiration too.

As usual I leave you with a quote that describes a big part of my psychological make-up:

In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro!

Analysis of What I Read

I read 27,480 pages, which is an average of 75.29 pages a day. The chart below shows the number of pages (y-axis) in each book I read (x-axis).

The average book length was 272 pages, which is a lot shorter than previous years and that’s because I read a lot of classics on my iPad while on trips. The obvious outlier in the chart is The Lord of the Rings.

I read a lot more fiction than in previous years.

The Top 10

I read a lot of excellent books this year and once again I couldn’t whittle it down to a top-10, so here is my top 12. If you don’t read much, at least consider looking at some of these in 2019. It’s impossible to put them into a priority order so I’ve listed them in the order I read them, along with the short Facebook review I wrote at the time.

 #4; The Remains of the Day; Kazuo Ishiguro; 256pp; Fiction; January 15; (Wow – what a wonderful book! I picked this up as Ishiguro won the 2017 Nobel Prize for Literature, and this particular book of his won the Booker Prize in 1989. The book is a series of reminiscences by Mr Stevens, the perfect butler, of his time working for Lord Darlington between the two World Wars as he takes a week-long trip into the English countryside in the late 1950s. There are really three stories – Stevens himself and his misguided, blinkered trust in his master, Lord Darlington’s involvement in machinations with Germany, and Stevens’ relationship with the housekeeper, Miss Kenton. It’s beautifully written, and Ishiguro captures the essence of the anachronistic, stiff-upper lip butler to perfection. *Highly* recommended. I have no doubt this will be in my top-10 for 2018.)

 #11; The Old Man And the Sea; Ernest Hemingway; 128pp; Fiction; February 4; (This is the first Hemingway book I’ve ever read, and I really enjoyed it. It’s about the truly epic struggle between a currently unlucky, 80+ year old Cuban fisherman and an enormous marlin he hooks way out in the sea. Hemingway’s writing is excellent and I found it compelling and evocative. Highly recommended!)

 #31; The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; Douglas Adams; 160pp; Science Fiction; February 26; (I haven’t read the Hitch Hiker series since 1999, so thought it about time for a reread. The Earth is blown up to make way for a hyperspace bypass, but 5 minutes before the culmination of the computer program it was running, for the mice who owned the planet… Everyone should read these – wonderful stuff! 42!)

 #33; Foundation; Isaac Asimov; 320pp; Science Fiction; February 28; (Can’t believe I haven’t read the Foundation series until now! This is Asimov’s classic story of the Foundation; ostensibly created to preserve mankind’s knowledge once the Empire collapses, but actually the seed of the next Galactic Empire and the brainchild of Hari Seldon who can see the future through mathematically extrapolating from the present. Well written and gripping – highly recommended for sci-fi fans!)

 #34; Dune; Frank Herbert; 544pp; Science Fiction; March 1; (I also can’t believe I haven’t read the Dune series until now, as I love the movie. The first book sees House Atreides take over the desert planet Arrakis from House Harkonnen and then lose it amidst treachery and murder. Paul Atreides then becomes the leader of the native Fremen people and becomes the legend they’ve been waiting for, plus all the drama with the giant sand worms and the spice. Well written and gripping – highly recommended for sci-fi fans!)

 #45; The Handmaid’s Tale; Margaret Atwood; 325pp; Fiction; April 2; (Quite a disturbing book about the Republic of Gilead (in what was the USA) where most women are subjugated, men and women are strenuously segregated, and women are not permitted to read. The focus of the book is the Handmaid Offred (Belonging to Fred), whose job is to have monthly, clinical sex with the man whose house she belongs to so that him and his (barren) wife can have a child, although she can remember how society was before. It is a time of dangerously low birth rates due to widespread anti-fertility disease and pollution, and the Gileadean society was the result of a revolution in US. Very well written and interesting to read. Highly recommended.)

 #50; Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence; James R. Clapper; 432pp; Nonfiction; July 7; (Clapper was the Director of National Intelligence from 2010 to 2017, and is a retired Air Force lieutenant-general who spent his entire career in intelligence. The book is excellent. The first 100 or so pages details Clapper’s military career and then it gets into his experiences with and views on a variety of well-known episodes such as Benghazi, Snowden, and the Abbottabad raid that took out Osama bin Laden. The final 100 pages are about the 2016 election, and specifically the Russian interference in the election. Clapper’s views are balanced, professional, and very insightful, as one would expect from someone who was an integral part of (and eventual leader of) the U.S. intelligence community for 55 years, and he writes with a sense of humor too. He holds some of the media, some of Congress, and the current president in disdain for their willful disregard of facts, promulgation of falsehoods, and unwillingness to understand the capabilities and limitations of intelligence gathering and analysis, and considers a variety of moral and ethical questions on facets of intelligence. I found the book hugely interesting and it was obvious that Clapper wanted to write the straight up, unpartisan, and unembellished truth of what the intelligence services did and knew about all these topics, including mistakes that he and they made. Highly recommended! PS In the past when I’ve read and reviewed a book that some people disagree with, I’ve been accused of pushing a political agenda. I find that accusation highly distasteful. I read what I read because I’m interested in a wide variety of subjects and viewpoints, and I present reviews here of everything I read.)

 #65; Things Fall Apart; Chinua Achebe; 209pp; Fiction; July 26; (Excellent book! It follows the life of a clansman from the lower Niger river area in the early to mid-1800s. The first part of the book illustrates how the clan hangs together, its customers and rituals and deities. Then in the second part white men come as missionaries and then as oppressors, which gradually breaks the clan system apart and destroys the old way of life. Which is exactly what happened for much of Africa under colonial rule. Highly recommended!)

 #75; Dracula; Bram Stoker; 336pp; Fiction; August 8; (Excellent book! I love the Francis Ford Coppola movie (and I know many don’t) so I know the story well, but I’ve never read the original book until now. The classic vampire story is quite a page-turner, and written from the perspective of several of the protagonists through the medium of their diaries. Having the movie in my head helped me visualize a lot of the scenes from the book and I’m happy to say that although Coppola and the screenwriter(s) used a lot of artistic license, they did a good job of staying faithful to the story. Highly recommended for any fans of Gothic horror, and anyone who hasn’t read it.)

 #83; The Secret History; Donna Tartt; 576pp; Fiction; September 7; (What an excellent book! It’s about a small group of students at an elite New England college who learn ancient Greek under the tutelage of an eccentric professor. They’re very close-knit and descend into moral bankruptcy when they commit a ritual murder. From that point on the group gradually fractures and they all become psychologically disturbed, with shocking results (without giving away too much). It’s extremely well-written and very engaging – I literally couldn’t put it down during the second half. Highly recommended!)

 #90; The Lord of the Rings; J.R.R. Tolkien; 1184pp; Fantasy Fiction; November 13 (The link is the paperback edition, but I have a magnificent leather-bound edition that cost quite lot as this is one of my favorite books. Unless you were living in a cave in 2001-2003, you can’t have missed at least hearing about the three Lord of the Rings movies that dominated the cinema in each of those years, with the final one (The Return of the King) being one of only three movies ever to win 11 Academy Awards (alongside Titanic, and the 1959 Ben-Hur). I first read TLOTR when I was 11, read it again in college, and then again in 2000 while on parental leave from Microsoft after my first daughter was born, making this my fourth reading. After 18 years, I’d forgotten how rich the storytelling is, and how many things were left out of the movies. The story is very complicated, but can be boiled down to: an evil ring must be taken into the heart of the most dangerous place (Mordor) in the land (Middle Earth) so it can be destroyed, and the task falls to a hobbit, about the most unlikely of all the good races in Middle Earth (men, dwarves, elves, hobbits, and so on). All kinds of side stories happen, leading up to the final battles. You don’t *have* to read The Hobbit first, but it certainly helps. This is an absolutely wonderful book, and I can’t recommend it enough! And the movies are just stunning, especially in their longest Director’s Cut editions – I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve watched them.)

 #96; The Restless Wave: Good Times; Just Causes; Great Fights; and Other Appreciations; John McCain; 416pp; Nonfiction; December 16; (As I mentioned in my post here after he passed away, McCain was a true American patriot, a many-times decorated war hero, served our country for 60 years, and was also the son and grandson of 4-star U.S. Navy admirals. I bought this book the day before his death, as I wanted to read what he had to say about his political life in what was probably his final opportunity. It’s a very well-written (in part no doubt due to his partnership with his long-time friend, speech writer, and ghost writer Mark Salter) and frank memoir. Given his vociferous opposition to Trump, I was expecting an excoriating attack but when he did criticize, it was subtle and classy. He actually had about as much criticism for Obama (around foreign policy weakness and mistakes) and Bush (on the war in Iraq). McCain’s outright vitriol was all directed at Vladimir Putin, who he calls an “evil man”. No matter whether you agreed with McCain’s politics or not, I think his book is worth reading, especially as a plea for America to champion human rights and democracy across the world, and for an end to the gridlocked U.S. political system. I *highly* recommend it. The Amazon precis says everything I would, so here it is: “Written while confronting a mortal illness, McCain looks back with appreciation on his years in the Senate, his historic 2008 campaign for the presidency against Barack Obama, and his crusades on behalf of democracy and human rights in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Always the fighter, McCain attacks the “spurious nationalism” and political polarization afflicting American policy. He makes an impassioned case for democratic internationalism and bi-partisanship. He tells stories of his most satisfying moments of public service, including his work with another giant of the Senate, Edward M. Kennedy. Senator McCain recalls his disagreements with several presidents, and minces no words in his objections to some of President Trump’s statements and policies. At the same time, he offers a positive vision of America that looks beyond the Trump presidency.”)

The Complete List

And the complete list, with links to Amazon so you can explore further. One thing to bear in mind, the dates I finished reading the book don’t mean that I started, for instance, book #2 after finishing book #1. I usually have anywhere from 10-15 books on the go at any one time so I can dip into whatever my mood is for that day. Some books I read start to finish without picking up another one and some books take me over a year. Lots of long airplane flights and boat trips help too!

  1. Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself; Garrett M. Graff; 560pp; Nonfiction; January 1
  2. Prince of Fire; Daniel Silva; 432pp; Fiction; January 12
  3. Haynes: Nuclear Weapons: 1945 Onwards (Strategic and Tactical Delivery Systems); David Baker; 192pp; Nonfiction; January 14
  4. The Remains of the Day; Kazuo Ishiguro; 256pp; Fiction; January 15
  5. Safe from the Sea; Peter Geye; 256pp; Fiction; January 19
  6. Sea Power: The History and Geopolitics of the World’s Oceans; Admiral James Stavridis; 384pp; Nonfiction; January 23
  7. Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI; David Grann; 338pp; History; January 26
  8. The Spider Network: The Wild Story of a Math Genius; a Gang of Backstabbing Bankers; and One of the Greatest Scams in Financial History; David Enrich; 528pp; Nonfiction; January 31
  9. Galapagos; Kurt Vonnegut; 336pp; Fiction; February 3
  10. Anthem; Ayn Rand; 112pp; Fiction; February 4
  11. The Old Man And the Sea; Ernest Hemingway; 128pp; Fiction; February 4
  12. The Alchemist; Paulo Coelho; 208pp; Historical Fiction; February 6
  13. Of Mice and Men; John Steinbeck; 112pp; Fiction; February 7
  14. The Pearl; John Steinbeck; 90pp; Fiction; February 8
  15. All Quiet on the Western Front; Erich Maria Remarque; 304pp; Fiction; February 9
  16. Pattern Recognition; William Gibson; 368pp; Fiction; February 12
  17. Less Than Zero; Bret Easton Ellis; 208pp; Fiction; February 13
  18. Anansi Boys; Neil Gaiman; 400pp; Fiction; February 13
  19. The Dubliners; James Joyce; 170pp; Fiction; February 15
  20. Haunted; Chuck Palahniuk; 432pp; Fiction; February 16
  21. Heart of Darkness; Joseph Conrad; 78pp; Fiction; February 17
  22. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; Robert Louis Stevenson; 54pp; Fiction; February 18
  23. A Christmas Carol; Charles Dickens; 88pp; Fiction; February 18
  24. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich; Alexander Solzhenisyn ; 208pp; Fiction; February 19
  25. Childhood’s End; Arthur C. Clarke; 218pp; Science Fiction; February 19
  26. Neverwhere; Neil Gaiman; 400pp; Fiction; February 20
  27. Crash; J.G. Ballard; 224pp; Fiction; February 21
  28. Cannery Row; John Steinbeck; 192pp; Fiction; February 22
  29. Candide; Voltaire; 84pp; Fiction; February 23
  30. The Fall of the House of Usher; Edgar Allen Poe; 52pp; Fiction; February 24
  31. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; Douglas Adams; 160pp; Science Fiction; February 26
  32. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe; Douglas Adams; 199pp; Science Fiction; February 27
  33. Foundation; Isaac Asimov; 320pp; Science Fiction; February 28
  34. Dune; Frank Herbert; 544pp; Science Fiction; March 1
  35. Life; the Universe; and Everything; Douglas Adams; 160pp; Science Fiction; March 3
  36. Spook Country; William Gibson; 496pp; Fiction; March 4
  37. Treasure Island; Robert Louis Stevenson; 122pp; Fiction; March 5
  38. Dune Messiah; Frank Herbert; 329pp; Science Fiction; March 7
  39. So Long; and Thanks for All the Fish; Douglas Adams; 192pp; Science Fiction; March 8
  40. To The Lighthouse; Virginia Woolf; 310pp; Fiction; March 9
  41. Zero History; William Gibson; 544pp; Fiction; March 11
  42. The Man From St. Petersburg; Ken Follett; 320pp; Fiction; March 12
  43. The Difference Engine; William Gibson and Bruce Sterling; 448pp; Fiction; March 18
  44. Yemen: Dancing on the Heads of Snakes; Victoria Clark; 336pp; Nonfiction; March 30
  45. The Handmaid’s Tale; Margaret Atwood; 325pp; Fiction; April 2
  46. War Factory: Transformation Book Two; Neal Asher; 476pp; Science Fiction; May 22
  47. King Stephen; Donald Matthew; 302pp; History; May 27
  48. The Blackwater Lightship; Colm Toibin; 288pp; Fiction; June 6
  49. As Kingfishers Catch Fire; Gerard Manley Hopkins; 53pp; Fiction; July 4
  50. Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence; James R. Clapper; 432pp; Nonfiction; July 7
  51. The West Highland Lines: Post Beeching; Gordon D. Webster; 176pp; Nonfiction; July 8
  52. The Maltese Falcon; Dashiell Hammett; 224pp; Fiction; July 10
  53. The Crying of Lot 49; Thomas Pynchon; 192pp; Fiction; July 11
  54. The Metamorphosis; Franz Kafka; 60pp; Fiction; July 11
  55. The Prince; Niccolo Machiavelli; 80pp; Nonfiction; July 13
  56. Siddhartha; Herman Hesse; 160pp; Historical Fiction; July 14
  57. The Dharma Bums; Jack Kerouac; 244pp; Fiction; July 16
  58. Me Talk Pretty One Day; David Sedaris; 288pp; Nonfiction; July 17
  59. Imperial Bedrooms; Bret Easton Ellis; 178pp; Fiction; July 19
  60. A Journey to the Center of the Earth; Jules Verne; 160pp; Fiction; July 21
  61. The Pit and the Pendulum; Edgar Allen Poe; 32pp; Fiction; July 22
  62. Foundation and Empire; Isaac Asimov; 320pp; Science Fiction; July 23
  63. Northanger Abbey; Jane Austen; 192pp; Fiction; July 24
  64. The Sun Also Rises; Ernest Hemingway; 256pp; Fiction; July 25
  65. Things Fall Apart; Chinua Achebe; 209pp; Fiction; July 26
  66. The Bell Jar; Sylvia Plath; 244pp; Fiction; July 27
  67. The Great Gatsby; F. Scott Fitzgerald; 180pp; Fiction; July 28
  68. Second Foundation; Isaac Asimov; 279pp; Science Fiction; July 30
  69. The Trial; Franz Kafka; 256pp; Fiction; August 2
  70. The Big Sleep; Raymond Chandler; 231pp; Fiction; August 3
  71. The Age of Innocence; Edith Wharton; 240pp; Fiction; August 4
  72. Choke; Chuck Palahniuk; 304pp; Fiction; August 5
  73. Snuff; Chuck Palahniuk; 208pp; Fiction; August 6
  74. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; Lewis Carroll; 108pp; Fiction; August 7
  75. Dracula; Bram Stoker; 336pp; Fiction; August 8
  76. On The Road; Jack Kerouac; 304pp; Fiction; August 10
  77. Naked Lunch; William S. Burroughs; 304pp; Fiction; August 11
  78. Rabbit; Run; John Updike; 336pp; Fiction; August 12
  79. Rant: The Oral Biography of Buster Casey; Chuck Palahniuk; 336pp; Fiction; August 13
  80. Pygmy; Chuck Palahniuk; 256pp; Fiction; August 14
  81. Fight Club; Chuck Palahniuk; 224pp; Fiction; August 15
  82. Survivor; Chuck Palahniuk; 304pp; Fiction; August 16
  83. The Secret History; Donna Tartt; 576pp; Fiction; September 7
  84. Warriors of the Storm; Bernard Cornwell; 297pp; Historical Fiction; September 11
  85. The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness; Sy Montgomery; 262pp; Nonfiction; October 8
  86. The Saga of Gunnlaug Serpent-tongue; Anonymous; 56pp; Fiction; October 19
  87. Cardinal Wolsey: A Life in Renaissance Europe; Stella Fletcher; 240pp; History; October 21
  88. Other Minds: The Octopus; the Sea; and the Deep Origins of Consciousness; Peter Godfrey-Smith; 255pp; Nonfiction; November 2
  89. Infinity Engine: Transformation Book Three; Neal Asher; 488pp; Science Fiction; November 6
  90. The Lord of the Rings; J.R.R. Tolkien; 1184pp; Fantasy Fiction; November 13
  91. Wintering; Peter Geye; 320pp; Fiction; November 17
  92. On Murder Considered As One of the Fine Arts; Thomas de Quincey; 57pp; Fiction; November 22
  93. The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty; Sebastian Barry; 336pp; Fiction; November 25
  94. The Diary of a Bookseller; Shaun Bythell; 310pp; Nonfiction; December 1
  95. The Flame Bearer; Bernard Cornwell; 304pp; Historical Fiction; December 9
  96. The Restless Wave: Good Times; Just Causes; Great Fights; and Other Appreciations; John McCain; 416pp; Nonfiction; December 16
  97. Persopolis Rising; James S.A. Corey; 560pp; Science Fiction; December 23
  98. Haynes: NASA Hubble Space Telescope – 1990 onwards (including all upgrades); David Baker; 181pp; Nonfiction; December 25
  99. Aphorisms on Love and Hate; Friedrich Nietzsche; 57pp; Nonfiction; December 26
  100. A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionized the Cosmos; Dava Sobel; 288pp; History; December 27
  101. Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins Of The Internet; Hafner & Lyon; 304pp; History; December 30

2017: the year in books

Back in 2009 I started posting a summary at the end of the year of what I read during the year (see my posts from 2009201020112012201320142015, 2016) and people have been enjoying it, so here I present the 2017 end-of-year post. I set a moderate goal of 50 books this year but I only managed 48 as I spent a bunch of time in the first half of the year catching up with my magazine backlog. Next year I’m setting myself a goal of reading 50 books again.

For the record, I read ‘real’ books – i.e. not in electronic form – I don’t like reading off a screen. Yes, I’ve seen electronic readers – we both have iPads – but I don’t like reading electronically. Having said that, I did read one electronically this year out of necessity, and will have to read a few in 2018 electronically due to insurmountable luggage weight and volume restrictions on one of our trips. I also don’t ‘speed read’ – I read quickly and make lots of time for reading.

Why do I track metrics? Because I like doing it, and being able to compare against previous years. Some people don’t understand the logic in that – each to their own :-)

I went back-and-forth over the last few days about which book to nominate as my favorite, and I just couldn’t come to a decision, so just like in most years, I give you my favorite 3 books: The North Water by Ian McGuire, I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong, and Remarkable Books: The World’s Most Beautiful and Historic Works by DK. All three are superb books and I strongly recommend you give them a try. You can read my review of them in the top-10 list below.

Now the details. I enjoy putting this together as it will also serve as a record for me many years from now. I hope you get inspired to try some of these books – push yourself with new authors and very often you’ll be surprisingly pleased. Don’t forget to check out the previous year’s blog posts for more inspiration too.

As usual I leave you with a quote that describes a big part of my psychological make-up:

In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro!

Analysis of What I Read

I read 20,628 pages, which is an average of 56.52 pages a day. The chart below shows the number of pages (y-axis) in each book I read (x-axis).

The average book length was 430 pages, almost exactly the same as last year (429) but shorter than previous years. That’s because I again read a lot of series books where each isn’t hugely long.

I read a lot more nonfiction than in previous years, which is shown by 8 of my top-13 below being nonfiction books.

The Top 10

I read a lot of excellent books this year and I thought as I only read 48 that I’d be able to whittle them down to a top-10, but I couldn’t, so here is my top 13. If you don’t read much, at least consider looking at some of these in 2017. It’s impossible to put them into a priority order so I’ve listed them in the order I read them, along with the short Facebook review I wrote at the time.

 #3; The Bone Tree; Greg Iles; 816pp; Fiction; January 10; (This is the follow-on from the fantastic Natchez Burning, which was my favorite book of 2014, and you really need to read that before this one, as this one continues the story from the next day. This book starts to pull the characters into the Kennedy assassination investigations and links to the extreme racist murders from the 1960s. It’s hard to say more without giving away some of the plot and twists. The writing is excellent, with great dialog, and the book is a real page-turner. The story isn’t complete though – that’s coming in March in Iles’ conclusion to the trilogy: Mississippi Blood. Highly recommended!)

 #10; Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield; Jeremy Scahill; 681pp; Nonfiction; April 21; (This is an extremely interesting book that investigates the ongoing, autonomous U.S. military operations around the world that have been undertaken as part of the war on terror. It exposes the extrajudicial capture/torture/kill program that was created in secret by the Bush administration (and continued and greatly enhanced by the Obama administration), and operated by the CIA and various Special Forces under the JSOC umbrella in Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Somalia. It uses the case of Anwar Awlaki as the center-point of the narrative. He was a U.S. citizen of Yemeni descent, who became an Islamic teacher and, after fleeing the U.S., went on to become an outspoken proponent of violent jihad against the West. He was linked to AQAP and wrote for their Inspire newsletter. I actually downloaded one of the newsletters to read – quite disturbing stuff. It’s a huge book that’s full of factual information without engaging in partisan criticism. Scahill raises some excellent questions about the morality and constitutional legality of such a program, especially when it targets U.S. citizens for death. Whether you agree with such programs or not, the book is well worth reading. Highly recommended!)

 #14; The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter; David Sax; 304pp; Nonfiction; July 11; (What a great book! As a confirmed Luddite, I was really looking forward to the various parts of the book. It covers the resurgence of vinyl records, paper and magazines (check out Stack and Delayed Gratification, both of which I subscribed too), photo film, board games, books, bricks-and-mortar retail, and analog ideas around work, education, and online companies. It’s quite clear that going all digital isn’t what people want. Very interesting, not written in a preachy or manifesto way, and highly recommended!)

 #18; Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal; Eric Schlosser; 362pp; Nonfiction; August 25; (Schlosser’s book is a searing expose of the business practices behind the American fast food industry, focusing on McDonald’s and the giant beef processing companies that supply it. Although written in 2001, the industry is still much the same today (not including those chains that create and cook their food fresh every day). The most shocking thing is really how the industry has pressured the government into reducing and/or removing safety and health inspections from the beef supply chain. Once you read about the meat processing facilities, I’ll be surprised if you ever eat a frozen beef patty again. This is definitely not a go-vegetarian rant, but a level-headed, fact-based examination of how fast food is sourced, processed, and prepared. Highly recommended. (And I also strongly recommend Schlosser’s Command and Control that I read a few years ago.))

 #22; What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures; Malcolm Gladwell; 448pp; Nonfiction; September 3; (I really enjoy Gladwell’s books (e.g. The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers) and this one was just as good. Rather than being a book that focuses on a single topic about how to understand ourselves and the world, this is a collection of some of Gladwell’s best long articles for The New Yorker along the same lines. It covers 19 topics, all of which are extremely interesting and thought provoking. Highly recommended! (and all his other books too!))

 #23; Crystal Fire: The Invention of the Transistor and the Birth of the Information Age; Riordan and Hoddeson; 368pp; History; September 3; (This book recounts the history of the development of the transistor, from the beginnings of solid-state physics in the late 1800s and early 1900s through to the invention and fabrication of the first microchips in the early 1960s. It’s also something of a biography of William Shockley, who was arguably the central character in the transistor’s creation, along with John Bardeen and Walter Brattain, fellow Bell Labs employees and co-winners of the 1956 Nobel Prize for Physics. Hugely interesting and very readable – highly recommended!)

 #27; Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty; Acemoglu and Robinson; 544pp; Nonfiction; September 9; (The book puts forth a theory that nations with inclusive economic and political institutions are much more likely to succeed than those with extractive institutions (extractive meaning that the populace is exploited by a small elite for their own gain, inclusive meaning that all citizens are treated equally and property rights are protected by law). It also explains why inclusive institutions developed in some parts of the world and not in others, with exploitative colonialism being a major historical impediment to inclusivity. Lots of interesting case studies and history – highly recommended!)

 #30; The North Water; Ian McGuire; 272pp; Historical Fiction; September 26; (Excellent book! (So good I just picked up all McGuire’s other novels.) Set in the mid-1800s as the whaling industry is coming to an end. A ship sets off for the Greenland waters and many dark things happens. It reminds me of Melville’s Moby Dick, but a lot faster, and a lot more raw. Highly recommend and a possible candidate for my best book of the year!)

 #31; I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life; Ed Yong; 357pp; Nonfiction; October 1; (What an excellent book! Thanks to Buck Woody for the recommendation. The book explains all kinds of fascinating things about bacteria and our microbiomes, the history of their understanding by science, and how the quest to rid ourselves of them is futile, and in quite a few cases, actually harming people that live in developed nations. More interestingly, it also introduces many scientists who have identified beneficial bacteria and used them to help solve medical or environmental problems – e.g. preventing the dreaded Bd fungus killing a group of frogs, inoculating a group of mosquitoes with a bacteria that prevents them carrying dengue fever, and fecal-matter transplants to help sufferers of persistent C-diff infections – poo pill anyone? Hugely interesting, and written in an entertaining manner, this book is for anyone. Highly recommended!)

 #36; Days Without End; Sebastian Barry; 272pp; Historical Fiction; October 13; (This is my time reading Barry’s work and won’t be the last (already bought 3 more of his books). The book follows a pair of Irish immigrants who join the US army in the mid-1800s, take part in brutally putting down Indians, and fight in the Civil War on the Union side. Very atmospheric and a page turner. Highly recommended!)

 #37; The Lighthouse Road; Peter Geye; 304pp; Historical Fiction; October 14; (Excellent novel, following a misbegotten family in early 1900s north Minnesota – starting with a young Norwegian immigrant woman. Logging, wolves, fishing, orphans, tough times, and heartbreak, lots of heartbreak. Highly recommended.)

 #44; The Little Paris Bookshop; Nina George; 416pp; Fiction; November 18; (I started this last week on the day Coco died as a distraction – what could be more uplifting for a bibliophile than a book about books and a bookshop? It’s a lovely book, about a bookseller who prescribes certain books to ease his customers’ pains. He loses love, takes his floating bookshop downriver, and finds it again. Gentle read and very relaxing. And did I mention it’s about books? Recommended.)

 #47; Remarkable Books: The World’s Most Beautiful and Historic Works; DK; 256pp; Nonfiction; December 25; (Merry Christmas! Just finished book #47 this year. As you all know I’m seriously addicted to books and reading – a true bibliophile. I’ve been working through this wonderful book during December reading about a few books each day. Here’s the Amazon blurb about it that describes is better than I can:<begin> A beautifully illustrated guide to more than 75 of the world’s most celebrated rare and seminal books and handwritten manuscripts ever produced with discussions of their purpose features and creators. From ancient masterpieces such as The Art of War written on the leaves of bamboo to the stunningly illustrated Birds of America to Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book Remarkable Books delves into the stories behind the most incredible tomes ever produced offering an insight into their wider social and cultural context and is chronologically ordered to demonstrate the synergies between the growth in human knowledge and the bookmaking process. Alongside breathtaking images of the books and manuscripts themselves close-up views draw out interesting features which are discussed in greater detail while biographies tell the lives of the people who produced them. This coffee table–worthy book is wrapped in a textured jacket with gold foil making it a great gift for those with an interest in literature and art and design. <end> I’m familiar with many of the books covered especially the illustrated manuscripts from the Middle Ages as those are of particular interest to me. It really is a fantastic book itself and I hugely recommend it!)

The Complete List

And the complete list, with links to Amazon so you can explore further. One thing to bear in mind, the dates I finished reading the book don’t mean that I started, for instance, book #2 after finishing book #1. I usually have anywhere from 10-15 books on the go at any one time so I can dip into whatever my mood is for that day. Some books I read start to finish without picking up another one and some books take me over a year. Lots of long airplane flights and boat trips help too!

  1. Memories of Ice: A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen; Steven Erikson; 1187pp; Fantasy Fiction; January 3
  2. The Wine-Dark Sea; Patrick O’Brian; 295pp; Historical Fiction; January 5
  3. The Bone Tree; Greg Iles; 816pp; Fiction; January 10
  4. Indonesia, Etc.: Exploring the Improbable Nation; Elizebath Pisani; 416pp; Travel; January 22
  5. The Life of Elizabeth I; Alison Weir; 656pp; History; February 20
  6. Forbidden Places: Exploring our Abandoned Heritage; Sylvain Margaine; 256pp; Photography; March 1
  7. House of Chains: A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen; Steven Erickson; 1040pp; Fantasy Fiction; March 27
  8. The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution; Francis Fukuyama; 608pp; Nonfiction; April 2
  9. Fresh Air Fiend: Travel Writings; Paul Theroux; 480pp; Travel; April 9
  10. Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield; Jeremy Scahill; 681pp; Nonfiction; April 21
  11. Shift; Hugh Howey; 608pp; Science Fiction; May 10
  12. A Night Without Stars; Peter F. Hamilton; 640pp; Science Fiction; May 25
  13. Babylon’s Ashes; James S. A. Corey; 538pp; Science Fiction; June 27
  14. The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter; David Sax; 304pp; Nonfiction; July 11
  15. The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck; Sarah Knight; 224pp; Nonfiction; July 29
  16. The Bat; Jo Nesbo; 384pp; Fiction; August 18
  17. The Kingdom by the Sea: A Journey Around the Coast of Great Britain; Paul Theroux; 368pp; Travel; August 23
  18. Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal; Eric Schlosser; 362pp; Nonfiction; August 25
  19. The Commodore; Patrick O’Brian; 303pp; Historical Fiction; August 28
  20. Bleak House; Charles Dickens; 1088pp; Fiction; August 28
  21. The Yellow Admiral; Patrick O’Brian; 264pp; Historical Fiction; August 29
  22. What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures; Malcolm Gladwell; 448pp; Nonfiction; September 3
  23. Crystal Fire: The Invention of the Transistor and the Birth of the Information Age; Riordan and Hoddeson; 368pp; History; September 3
  24. The Hundred Days; Patrick O’Brian; 272pp; Historical Fiction; September 5
  25. Blue at the Mizzen; Patrick O’Brian; 252pp; Historical Fiction; September 6
  26. Book 21 / The Complete Aubrey/Maturin Novels; Patrick O’Brian; 65pp; Historical Fiction; September 6
  27. Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty; Acemoglu and Robinson; 544pp; Nonfiction; September 9
  28. Midnight Tides: A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen; Steven Erikson; 960pp; Fantasy Fiction; September 15
  29. Dark Intelligence: Transformation Book One; Neal Asher; 402pp; Science Fiction; September 23
  30. The North Water; Ian McGuire; 272pp; Historical Fiction; September 26
  31. I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life; Ed Yong; 357pp; Nonfiction; October 1
  32. Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis; Robert F. Kennedy; 222pp; History; October 4
  33. The Peripheral; Willam Gibson; 485pp; Science Fiction; October 5
  34. Dust; Hugh Howey; 480pp; Science Fiction; October 10
  35. Night of Knives: A Novel of the Mazalan Empire; Ian C. Esslemont; 304pp; Fantasy Fiction; October 12
  36. Days Without End; Sebastian Barry; 272pp; Historical Fiction; October 13
  37. The Lighthouse Road; Peter Geye; 304pp; Historical Fiction; October 14
  38. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore; Robin Sloan; 288pp; Fiction; October 25
  39. Neutron Star; Larry Niven; 285pp; Science Fiction; October 25
  40. Archipelago: Portraits of Life in the World’s Most Remote Island Sanctuary; Middleton and Liittschwager; 264pp; Photography; October 26
  41. Atlas of Remote Islands; Judith Schalansky; 144pp; Nonfiction; October 27
  42. The Technician; Neal Asher; 503pp; Science Fiction; November 9
  43. Atlas of Cursed Places: A Travel Guide to Dangerous and Frightful Places; Olivier Le Carrer; 144pp; Nonfiction; November 15
  44. The Little Paris Bookshop; Nina George; 416pp; Fiction; November 18
  45. Platform Souls: The Trainspotter as 20th-Century Hero; Nicholas Whittaker; 288pp; Nonfiction; November 24
  46. Origin; Dan Brown; 461pp; Fiction; December 8
  47. Remarkable Books: The World’s Most Beautiful and Historic Works; DK; 256pp; Nonfiction; December 25
  48. Mrs Rosie and the Priest; Giovanni Boccaccio; 54pp; Fiction; December 27

2016: the year in books

Back in 2009 I started posting a summary at the end of the year of what I read during the year (see my posts from 200920102011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015) and people have been enjoying it, so here I present the 2016 end-of-year post. I set a moderate goal of 50 books this year but I only managed 45 – the first year since 2009 that I’ve missed my goal – as I spent a bunch of time catching up with my magazine backlog. Next year I’m setting myself a goal of reading 50 books again.

For the record, I read ‘real’ books – i.e. not in electronic form – I don’t like reading off a screen. Yes, I’ve seen electronic readers – we both have iPads – and I’m not interested in ever reading electronically. I also don’t ‘speed read’ – I read quickly and make lots of time for reading.

Why do I track metrics? Because I like doing it, and being able to compare against previous years. Some people don’t understand the logic in that – each to their own :-)

I went back-and-forth over the last few days about which book to nominate as my favorite, and I just couldn’t come to a decision, so just like in most years, I give you my favorite 3 books: Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software by Charles Pretzold, Gardens of the Moon: A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erickson, and The Departure: The Owner: Book One by Neal Asher. All three are superb books (with the last two being the start of series) and I strongly recommend you give them a try. You can read my review of them in the top-10 list below.

Now the details. I enjoy putting this together as it will also serve as a record for me many years from now. I hope you get inspired to try some of these books – push yourself with new authors and very often you’ll be surprisingly pleased. Don’t forget to check out the previous year’s blog posts for more inspiration too.

As usual I leave you with a quote that describes a big part of my psychological make-up:

In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro!

Analysis of What I Read

I read 19,344 pages, or 53.00 pages a day, and a book every 8.1 days or so. The chart below shows the number of pages (y-axis) in each book I read (x-axis).

2016booklengths

2016genres

The average book length was 429 pages, slightly longer than last year but shorter than previous years. That’s because I again read a lot of series books where each isn’t hugely long.

The Top 10

I read a lot of excellent books this year but because I only read 45, I was able to whittle them down to a top-10, unlike previous years. If you don’t read much, at least consider looking at some of these in 2017. It’s impossible to put them into a priority order so I’ve listed them in the order I read them, along with the short Facebook review I wrote at the time.

1 #2; Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software; Charles Petzold; 396pp; Nonfiction; January 14; (This book is really excellent! It’s a very cleverly written introduction and exploration of how computers work at the logic level, and takes the reader from the basics of electricity and binary to the intricacies of memory busses, CPUs, and assembly language. I quickly skimmed the first hundred or so pages until I got to the part about building counters from relays and it started to refresh my memory with things I’d learned back in 1990 when I did my B. Eng (Hons) degree in computer science and electronics in Edinburgh.I read this book as a way to kick start getting back into computer design as I want to build a CPU and computer system out of TTL logic (one of my many, many ‘spare time’ goals). First though, when I get home I’m going to build some logic circuits out of relays – just for the fun of hearing all the little clicks as the relays change state :-)! I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to know a bit more about how computers work.)

2 #12; The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood; James Gleick; 544pp; Nonfiction; February 12; (This is an excellent history of the methods of dissemination of information (think printing press, visual telegraph, morse code), and on the creation and development of the various facets of information theory, including quantum computation and genetics. Dense, but very interesting, and highly recommended.)

3 #13; Gardens of the Moon: A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen; Steven Erikson; 752pp; Fantasy Fiction; March 2; (This is the start of a 10-volume, fantasy epic. I picked up the first few to try out and have been enjoying it since I started the first one on the flights home from diving earlier this month. The story is very involved, with magic, immortals, empires, and lots of intrigue and the book throws you right in from page one. All the books are 700-1000+ pages, so a real treat to read. Highly recommended!)

4 #20; SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome; Mary Beard; 606pp; History; May 14; (This is an excellent book for history buffs and anyone interested in ancient Rome. She adroitly covers how Rome developed over its first 1,000 years, clashes between prominent Romans, the rise of the Emperors, the development of political democracy and on into a dictatorial empire, how they treated slaves and women, and much more. I found it hugely readable and not dry in the least, and it’s inspired me to read a bunch of books on Rome and the Romans that I’ve had for a while. Highly recommended!)

5 #22; World Order; Henry Kissinger; 432pp; Nonfiction; June 3; (Kissinger’s excellent disquisition is part history, part survey, and part explanation and I found it immensely interesting. He examines in great detail the Westphalian order (named after the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia that ended the devastating Thirty Years War), where there’s a balance of power between states, and the problems that arise when the balance is disrupted (e.g. both World Wars), along with sections on Europe, Islamism and the Middle East, and Asia and China. Almost 1/3 of the book is dedicated to the history of major U.S. foreign policy since WWI, and all the wars we’ve fought since then to try to maintain order and/or defend a people being wrongly subjugated. He ends with an analysis of how technologies are affecting world order, and a call to action for future policy changes to maintain it. This is the first book of Kissinger’s that I’ve read, and his powerful intellect and clarity of thought are obvious throughout; I have many of his other works and I’m looking forward to reading them too. Hugely recommended!)

6 #23; The End of Alchemy: Money;  Banking;  and the Future of the Global Economy; Mervyn King; 447pp; Nonfiction; June 7; (King was the Governor of the Bank of England from 2003 to 2013, so had a ringside seat of the financial crisis in 2008-9. Rather than being self-aggrandizing or trying to deflect blame, he dispassionately analyzes what he believes led to the crisis: an unwillingness to look beyond liquidity problems to solvency problems, coupled with the alchemy of creating supposed liquid assets (e.g. derivatives based on slices of mortgage loans) from illiquid assets (e.g. sub-prime mortgages). He also explains why the world economy is still in disequilibrium rather than rebounding and presents some interesting ideas for how to change; basically a major reform of the banking sector, including how central banks respond to monetary crises. Unfortunately, it’ll require a multi-country effort to fix the financial problems the world faces – which at present seems unlikely to happen. Along the way King explains a lot about macro- and micro-economic theory and the history of finance over the last 100 years, which in itself makes for a fascinating read. Highly recommended!)

7 #28; Desert Air; George Steinmetz; 380pp; Photography; July 11; (Steinmetz is an aerial photographer who specializes in deserts and this book is a visually stunning collection of photography of major deserts and features in them from across the world. Other books of his I’ve read are African Air and Empty Quarter: A Photographic Journey to the Heart of the Arabian Desert, and I highly recommended all of them.)

8 #31; The Silk Roads: A New History of the World; Peter Frankopan; 645pp; History; August 11; (This is a very interesting book tracing the varied history of the countries along the Silk Road, including empires, explorers, and religions that affected the various routes. A lot of what’s in the book I already knew, but having it all presented in one volume in a chronological sequence was excellent. The last 100 pages or so detailed the quite despicable British and American machinations around the countries in the Middle East for their own (mostly oil-related) gains, to the huge detriment of the native populations, which I felt quite ashamed to read about, being of both nationalities. Highly recommended for history fans!)

9 #36; The Departure: The Owner: Book One; Neal Asher; 412pp; Science Fiction; September 29; (Asher is one of my favorite sci-fi authors and most of his novels are set in his Polity universe. This is the first in a trilogy, set on Earth a hundred years or so in the future, where there’s a single brutal government, and the colony on Mars that’s just been abandoned by Earth. The protagonist wakes up inside a sealed box on a conveyor belt leading to an incinerator and has to figure out his previous life and then start working on revenge. Lots of action, cool machines and robots, futuristic technology and all very fast paced. I can’t wait to read the next two – highly recommended!)

10 #40; Trainspotting; Irvine Welsh; 348pp; Contemporary Fiction; November 21; (This is one of my all-time favorite movies and Kimberly bought me a leather-bound, signed edition of the book for my birthday in July, so I decided to read it again. It jumps straight in to the lives of a handful of degenerate heroin addicts living in Edinburgh (see the prequel book Skagboys for the back-story). It’s a fantastic book, but not for the faint-hearted at all – it’s written in colloquial Scots, littered with four-letter words, and will likely be hard going for most people reading it. However, if you can stomach it, it’s well worth reading for insight into the Edinburgh drug culture of the 1980s and 1990s.)

The Complete List

And the complete list, with links to Amazon so you can explore further. One thing to bear in mind, the dates I finished reading the book don’t mean that I started, for instance, book #2 after finishing book #1. I usually have anywhere from 10-15 books on the go at any one time so I can dip into whatever my mood is for that day. Some books I read start to finish without picking up another one and some books take me over a year. Lots of long airplane flights and boat trips help too!

  1. Path of the Assassin; Brad Thor; 503pp; Contemporary Fiction; January 2
  2. Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software; Charles Petzold; 396pp; Nonfiction; January 14
  3. Sarum: The Novel of England; Edward Rutherford; 1344pp; Historical Fiction; January 16
  4. The Orphan Master’s Son; Adam Johnson; 480pp; Contemporary Fiction; January 20
  5. Desolation Island; Patrick O’Brian; 325pp; Historical Fiction; January 21
  6. The Abominable; Dan Simmons; 663pp; Historical Fiction; January 24
  7. Out of the Flames; Lawrence & Nancy Goldstone; 368pp; History; January 27
  8. The Fortune of War; Patrick O’Brian; 329pp; Historical Fiction; January 28
  9. A Short Guide to a Long Life; David Agus; 190pp; Nonfiction; January 29
  10. The Surgeon’s Mate; Patrick O’Brian; 382pp; Historical Fiction; January 30
  11. The Ionian Mission; Patrick O’Brian; 400pp; Historical Fiction; February 1
  12. The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood; James Gleick; 544pp; Nonfiction; February 12
  13. Gardens of the Moon: A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen; Steven Erikson; 752pp; Fantasy Fiction; March 2
  14. Soviet Ghosts: The Soviet Union Abandoned: A Communist Empire in Decay; Rebecca Litchfield; 192pp; Photography; March 26
  15. A Death in Vienna; Daniel Silva; 400pp; Contemporary Fiction; March 28
  16. Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand; Helen Simonson; 384pp; Contemporary Fiction; April 12
  17. The Swerve – How the World Became Modern; Stephen Jay Greenblatt; 368pp; History; April 13
  18. The Geography of Genius: A Search for the World’s Most Creative Places from Ancient Athens to Silicon Valley; Eric Weiner; 368pp; Nonfiction; April 26
  19. The Empty Throne; Bernard Cornwell; 296pp; Historical Fiction; May 11
  20. SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome; Mary Beard; 606pp; History; May 14
  21. Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power; Robert D. Kaplan; 400pp; Nonfiction; May 21
  22. World Order; Henry Kissinger; 432pp; Nonfiction; June 3
  23. The End of Alchemy: Money; Banking; and the Future of the Global Economy; Mervyn King; 447pp; Nonfiction; June 7
  24. The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot; Robert MacFarlan; 448pp; Nonfiction; June 24
  25. Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic; Tom Holland; 464pp; History; June 27
  26. The Vikings: A History; Robert Ferguson; 464pp; History; July 10
  27. Journey Without Maps; Graham Greene; 272pp; Travel; July 11
  28. Desert Air; George Steinmetz; 380pp; Photography; July 11
  29. Travels with Charley: In Search of America; John Steinbeck; 288pp; Travel; July 13
  30. Treason’s Harbour; Patrick O’Brian; 314pp; Historical Fiction; August 6
  31. The Silk Roads: A New History of the World; Peter Frankopan; 645pp; History; August 11
  32. The Far Side of the World; Patrick O’Brian; 355pp; Historical Fiction; August 12
  33. The Reverse of the Medal; Patrick O’Brian; 269pp; Historical Fiction; August 13
  34. The Letter of Marque; Patrick O’Brian; 287pp; Historical Fiction; August 15
  35. Deadhouse Gates: A Tale of The Malazan Book of the Fallen; Steven Erikson; 959pp; Fantasy Fiction; September 27
  36. The Departure: The Owner: Book One; Neal Asher; 412pp; Science Fiction; September 29
  37. Zero Point: The Owner: Book Two; Neal Asher; 406pp; Science Fiction; October 9
  38. A Burglar’s Guide to the City; Geoff Manaugh; 304pp; Nonfiction; October 13
  39. Jupiter War: The Owner: Book Three; Neal Asher; 356pp; Science Fiction; November 3
  40. Trainspotting; Irvine Welsh; 348pp; Contemporary Fiction; November 21
  41. The Atrocity Archives; Charles Stross; 368pp; Science Fiction; December 5
  42. The Jennifer Morgue; Charles Stross; 416pp; Science Fiction; December 9
  43. The Thirteen-Gun Salute; Patrick O’Brian; 324pp; Historical Fiction; December 17
  44. The Nutmeg of Consolation; Patrick O’Brian; 384pp; Historical Fiction; December 20
  45. The Truelove; Patrick O’Brian; 267pp; Historical Fiction; December 2