Tag Archives: Best Read of 2006

Best reads of 2006

Where has the year gone? I just noticed my next lot of DVDs and books from Surry Hills Library are due back next year, so I thought it time to do my Best Reads of 2006. That links you to all the entries on books under that tag on my WordPress blog, plus I need to go back to Books and Ideas on Blogspot [entry now on WordPress] for the first three months. Any candidates I find there I will link individually, if Blogspot lets me.
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Posted by on December 11, 2006 in OzLit, Reading, Surry Hills


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Loana rules!

Here I announced that I was beginning Umberto Eco’s The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana. Yesterday I finished it, and hereby elevate it to my Best Reads of 2006 list. Go to the earlier entry for more.
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Posted by on November 23, 2006 in Reading



Umberto Eco, The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana


Is this the ultimate pomo novel? I have just started it, and have to say it is a very handsome volume indeed. And even Sydney Anglicans are reading it!

Imagine you have amnesia and can’t remember who you are or anything you did, but you can remember everything you have ever read. That’s the conceit at the heart of this (impossibly?) allusive book, which is I can at least say so far great fun to browse.
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Posted by on November 9, 2006 in Reading



Peter Carey, My Life as a Fake (2003)

Definitely very high up on my best reads of 2006! The starting point is the splendid hoax perpetrated against Max Harris in 1944, beautifully documented in Jacket Magazine. There’s more to Carey’s novel than that, much more. One clue is in the epigraph taken from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. I also see a homage to and critique of Joseph Conrad, whose work is alluded to several times. There are swipes at F R Leavis and his school of English criticism: the narrator, Sarah Wode-Douglass, reads Paradise Lost “despite Mr Leavis”, for example. I found the novel to be a multi-layered and delightful work of imagination. Do read it.
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Posted by on November 8, 2006 in Aussie interest, OzLit, Reading



Messing with history: John Birmingham

I am reading John Birmingham’s Designated Targets (2005), the second book in the Axis of Time trilogy. I haven’t read the first, but I got into what is going on fairly quickly. “A US-led task force off Indonesia in 2021 finds itself sent back to 1942, just prior to the Battle of Midway. The novels deal with a rapidly altered version of World War II, and to a lesser extent the social changes that result amongst the Allied powers.” I find the thoughts the book generates on social change, mores and attitudes then and now, most interesting.

They’re all there: wartime PM John Curtin, Churchill, Douglas MacArthur, J. Edgar Hoover, Marilyn Monroe, even a juvenile Elvis Presley! Delicious naming of some characters too: Piers Akerman and Andrew Bolt, right-wing Australian columnists, are there as SAS demolitionists; Amanda Lohrey is a RAN intelligence officer; Prince Harry is adult and in the British military, while Philip Mountbatten is still in the Royal Navy.

It is great fun, and well researched, so long as you don’t mind your head being messed with. I must look out for the others at the library.
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Posted by on October 26, 2006 in Aussie interest, OzLit, Reading



Qiu Xiaolong Death of a Red Heroine (2000)

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingQiu Xiaolong (Tchyoo Shyowloong, or near enough) is “a Shanghai native and English language author currently living in St. Louis, Missouri. He has published several mystery novels, including Death of a Red Heroine and A Loyal Character Dancer, both featuring Chief Inspector Chen Cao, a poet (and poetry-quoting) cop with integrity.” There is now a third novel, When Red is Black. He attended the Brisbane Writers’ Festival in September 2006. I happened upon his first novel in a remainder shop and am now very glad I did. See this interview.
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Posted by on October 8, 2006 in M, Marcel, Multiculturalism and diversity, Reading



It’s not often I put a thriller in “Best Books”…

Traitor’s Kiss (2003) by Gerald Seymour scores today though, and you may read more on my Blogspot Books and Ideas, posted there because WordPress was having a spasm just now.
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Posted by on October 1, 2006 in Reading