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2007 in review: #1 — Best reads of 2007: fiction

There’s a tag for that so if you hit it you’ll find them all duly noted. Just as well, as I would never have remembered them all.

However, cutting out a couple of eccentric entries, I have pared the list down to a First Fifteen.


Author Title Post
Janette Turner Hospital Orpheus Lost

Welcome to our nightmare

Elmore Leonard La Brava

Contrasts in my recent reading and viewing

Andrew McGahan Underground

The novel Andrew Bolt hates and Zadie Smith’s 21st century classic

Zadie Smith On Beauty

Easily the best novel I have read so far this year*

Dai Sijie 戴思杰 Mr Muo’s Travelling Couch

Sino-Gallic firecrackers

Kate Grenville The Secret River

May have been, very possibly…

Anne Holt What Is Mine

Promised review catch-up

Reginald Hill The Death of Dalziel

More reviews of good stuff from Surry Hills Library

Alexander McCall Smith Blue Shoes and Happiness

Two very different works of crime fiction

Robert Drewe Grace

Robert Drewe Grace (2005)

Michael Nava Rag and Bone

Book and DVD backlog

Andrew O’Hagan Be Near Me

Negotiating dangerous ground

Salman Rushdie Shalimar the Clown as above
Milan Kundera Ignorance

Milan Kundera Ignorance (2002)

Karin Fossum When the Devil Holds the Candle

Two crime fiction novels

The top five? Ignorance, The Secret River, On Beauty, Orpheus Lost, The Death of Dalziel.

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Posted by on December 9, 2007 in 2007 in review, Reading



Two very different works of crime fiction

Blue Shoes and Happiness (2006) by Alexander McCall Smith follows the formula that has made the Precious Ramotswe series so popular. To quote the novel:

“Mma Ramotswe does not solve crimes. She deals with very small things…but our lives are made up of small things.”


“Take one country… with its kind people, and their smiles, and their habit of helping one another; ignore all this; shake about; add modern ideas; bake until ruined.”

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Posted by on May 9, 2007 in Reading



2 — Books 2005

Well, the best I read in 2005. They are in order of my reading them, more or less.

1. Alexander McCall Smith: The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs, In the Company of Cheerful Ladies and the whole The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series. Most recently I read The Full Cupboard of Life.

2. Peter Goldsworthy, Three Dog Night.

3. Andrea Levy, Small Island.

weaselwords4. Don Watson, Watson’s Dictionary of Weasel Words.

5. J M Coetzee, Elizabeth Costello.

6. Judith Claire Mitchell, The Last Day of the War.

7. Alan Hollinghurst, The Line of Beauty. See also my account of it.

8. Jared Diamond, Collapse.

9. Anita Mason, Angel.


10. Amanda Lohrey, The Philosopher’s Doll.

11. Andrew McGahan, The White Earth.

12. David Malouf, The Great World.

13. Malise Ruthven, A Fury for God — re-read.

14. Mario Vargas Llosa, The Feast of the Goat.

15. Amy Tan, The Opposite of Fate: A Book of Musings.

16. Jon Krakauer, Under the Banner of Heaven.

17. Amin Maalouf, On Identity — re-read. An essential book.

18. Bishop Richard Holloway, Doubts and Loves — wonderful.

19. Christopher Hope, Brothers Under the Skin.

20. Noel Tovey, Little Black Bastard.

21. Niall Ferguson, American Colossus.

22. Rex Miller, The Millenium Matrix.

23. John Shelby Spong, Here I Stand.

24. Robert Eaglestone, Postmodernism and Holocaust Denial.

25. Stephen Bates, A Church at War: Anglicans and Homosexuality.

26. Zadie Smith, The Autograph Man.

27. Joseph E Stiglitz, The Roaring Nineties.

28. Nicholas Jose, Original Face.

29. Brian Moynahan, The Faith.

30. Giles Milton, White Gold.

31. Bain Attwood, Telling the Truth About Aboriginal History.

32. Martin Forward, Jesus: A Short Biography — especially supplements Moynahan’s first chapter or two.

33. Alexander Stille, The Future of the Past, which I have just finished. Enthralling and very important.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com34. Sue Townsend, Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction.

35. Amy Tan, Saving Fish from Drowning (2005).

UPDATE April 2008 to correct all Blogspot links ==> WordPress and “ninglunbooks” ===> New Lines.


Good articles in the Weekend Australian

There were a couple of pieces in the Review that I could really relate to. The first is a profile of Bill Bryson, whose work I enjoy.

Bryson can take on the grating tone of the disillusioned bumpkin idealist in Mr Smith Goes to Washington. He shuns political posturing and decries the pressure for big-name writers to become public figures.
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Posted by on September 3, 2006 in Aussie interest, Cultural and other, Current affairs, Films, DVDs, TV, OzLit, Reading, Surry Hills