Antilibrary

So many books to read, so little time.

2008 – the best of books, the worst of books

with 2 comments

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I’ve read a stack of books this year. Mostly non-fiction, some novels as well. Here’s the best and worst of them.

The best of books

  • Adam Zamoyski, Rites of Peace. Excellent history of the diplomatic negotiations between the European powers during the Congress of Vienna. Zamoyski exposes the horse trading and double-dealing, the land grabbing rapaciousness, and the sexual antics and moral depravity that stewed beneath a courtly veneer.

The worst of books

  • Jack Kerouac, On the Road. Pretentious and self-indulgent swill, and creepy to boot. I’ve been meaning to read this book for 20-odd years. Now I wonder why I bothered. It beats me how some people see this drivel as deep philosophy.

The book I didn’t get to

  • Robert Fisk, The Great War for Civilization. I bought this book in a fire sale about 12 months ago. Still haven’t read it. At 1300 pages it’s far too long. And I’m getting tired of reading about the Middle East and its never-ending woes.
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Written by kotare1718

December 26, 2008 at 6:52 am

Posted in Nonfiction

2 Responses

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  1. I kinda like On the Road. But I expected to hate it, and was surprised to find it was more about hedonism and simple irresponsibility than about any hippie cosmic stuff.

    1,300 pages is a lot to ask, if you are not Tolstoy or Dostoevsky.

    This year has been so hard, and weird, and exhausting and disruptive in all personal and professional aspects, that I cannot remember what I read. I read at least twenty books, and I’d have to walk around and look at the spines to try to remember which ones they were.

    Lexington Green

    December 27, 2008 at 3:39 am

  2. I did the same before writing the post. It helped also to have a look at some book reviews I’d written for my blog. At the start of the year I vowed that I’d read more novels, and have held to this. At the moment I’m reading one of Le Carre’s more recent ones – Absolute Friends.

    kotare1718

    December 27, 2008 at 3:54 am


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