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Old December 31 2012, 11:19 PM   #1
Miss Chicken
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Books read in 2012

I would appreciate it if people recommended their favourite reads of 2012 rather then just posting a list .

I had planned on reading 100 books but managed only to reach 76.

The fiction books I read were

FICTION
1) Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins 4/5
2) Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins 4/5
3) Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs 3.5/5
4) The Takers - R.W. Ridley 3/5
5) Delon City - R.W. Ridley
6) Into the Wild - Erin Hunter 2.5/5
7) The Hound of the Baskervilles - Arthur Conan Doyle 4.5/5
8) The Drought - J.G. Ballard 2/5
9) The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman 3.5/5
10) The Flatey Enigma - Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson 3.5/5
11) The Eyre Affair - Jasper Fforde 4/5
12) The Giver - Lois Lowry 4/5
13) Lost in a Good Book - Jasper Fforde 4/5
14) A Study in Scarlet - Arthur Conan Doyle 4/5
15) On the Cold Coasts - Vilborg Davidsdottir 3/5
16) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon 4/5
17) Island Life - William Meikle 3/5
18) Halfway Human - Carolyn Ives Gilman 3/5
19) The Novice’s Tale - Margaret Frazer 4/5
20) Black Skies - Arnaldur Indridason 4/5
21) The Sign of Four - Arthur Conan Doyle 3.5/5
22) The Servant’s Tale - Margaret Frazer 4/5
23) The Valley of Fear - Arthur Conan Doyle 3.5/5
24) The Outlaw’s Tale - Margaret Frazer 3/5
25) The Hitman’s Guide to House Cleaning - Hallgrimur Helgason 4/5
26) The Oriental Casebook of Sherlock Holmes: Nine Adventures from the Lost Years - by Ted Riccardi 3.5/5
27) The Bishop’s Tale - Margaret Frazer 3/5
28) In the Darkness - Karin Fossum 4/5
29) Arthur and George - Julian Barnes 3.5/5
30) The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry - Rachel Joyce 4/5
31) Holmes on the Range - Steve Hockensmith 4/5
32) The Fish Can Sing - Halldor Laxness 5/5
33) Dear Mr Holmes: Seven Holmes on the Range Mysteries - Steve Hockensmith 4/5
34) Season of the Witch - Arni Thorarinsson 3/5
35) Pigeon English - Stephen Kelman 3.5/
36) Life of Pi - Yann Martel 5/5
37) The Glass Collector - Anna Perera 4/5
38) Stone Tree - Gyrdir Eliasson 3.5/5
39) Season of the Rainbirds - Nadeem Aslam 3.5/5
40) The Merry Misogynist - Colin Cotterill 4/5
41) Gregor the Overlander - Suzanne Collins 2.5/5
42) The Boy’s Tale - Margaret Frazer 3.5/5
43) Love Songs from a Shallow Grave - Colin Cotterill 4/5
44) Slash and Burn - Colin Cotterill 4/5
45) From the Mouth of the Whale – Sjon 4/5
46) Petrified - Barbara Nadel 4/5
47) The Last Brother - Nathacha Appanah 4/5
48) The One Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared – Jonas Jonasson 3.5/5
My favourite of these was, by far, The Fish Can Sing by Icelandic Nobel Prize winner Halldor Laxness. It is a beautifully written book set in the early in the 20th century in Iceland. It is about a young boy Álfgrímur, and his adoptive grandparents and the community of misfits and eccentrics that live with them in their house. I absolutely adored the grandfather and the grandmother in this story.

Another Icelandic novel I enjoyed was The Hitman's Guide to House Cleaning. A Croatian hitman working in New York finds himsellf on the run. He ends up in Iceland after killing and taking the identity of an American televangelist. He finds Iceland and its people bewildering..

I also loved "Life of Pi" but I don't think I need to summarise it because it is a well known novel.

NON-FICTION
1) The Boy in the Box: The Unsolved Case of America's Unknown Child - David Stout 3/5
2) The Girl Who Was on Fire (Your Favorite Authors on Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games Trilogy) - Leah Wilson et al 3/5
3) Barbie and Ruth - Robin Gerber 3.5/5
4) Sherlock Holmes for Dummies 4/5
5) Txtng: The Gr8 Db8 - David Crystal 4.5
6) Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World - Joan Cruet 4.5/5
7) Australian Book of Disasters - Larry Writer 2/5
8) Over the Edge of the World - Laurence Bergreen 4/5
9) They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky: The Story of Three Lost Boys from Sudan - Benjamin Ajak et al. 4/5
10) Call the Midwife: A True Story of the East End in the 1950s - Jennifer Worth 4/5
11) An Athropologist on Mars - Oliver Sacks 4/5
12) Shadows Of The Workhouse: The Drama Of Life In Postwar London - Jennifer Worth 3.5/5
13) Farewell to the East End - Jennifer Worth 3.5/5
14) Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank - Randi Hutter Epstein 3/5
15) 100 Cats Who Changed Civilization: History's Most Influential Felines - Sam Stall 3/5
16) Bending the Willow: Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes - David Stuart Davies 4.5/5
17) The Science of Sherlock Holmes - EJ Wagner 4/5
18) Rabbit Stew and a Penny or Two: A Gypsy Family Hard Times and Happy Times on the Road in the 1950s - Maggie Smith Bendell 4/5
19) 1788: The Brutal Truth of the First Fleet - David Hill 4/5
20) Forbidden Signs: American Culture and the Campaign Against Sign Language - Douglas C Baynton 3.5/5
21) Lighter Shades of Grey: a (very) critical reader's guide to Fifty Shades of Grey - Cassandra Parkin 4/5
22) Everyone Here Spoke Sign Language: Hereditary Deafness on Martha's Vineyard -Nora Ellen Groce 4/5
23) The Fossil Hunter: Dinosaurs, Evolution, and the Woman Whose Discoveries Changed the World - Shelley Emling 3/5
24) The Glass Castle - Jeannette Walls 3.5/5
25) Forgotten Bookmarks: A Bookseller's Collection of Odd Things Lost Between the Pages - Michael Popek 3.5/5
26) Talking Hands: What Sign Language Reveals About the Mind by Margalit Fox 5/5
27) 50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God by Guy P Harrison 3.5/5
28) The Cross in the Closet by Timothy Kurek 2/5
MY favourite non-fiction reads were

**Talking Hands: What Sign Language Reveals About the Mind by Margalit Fox.

Margalit Fox is a journalist who has a master's degree in linguistics. She accompanies a linguistics team to an isolated Bedouin village in Israel. The village had been found seven generations before by a deaf Egyptian and his Palestinian wife. Two of the couple's sons inherited the recessive gene for deafness.

Three generation ago, after numerous cousin marriages, the hereditary deafness resurfaced with 10 children born deaf in that generation. Those children and their families started to create a new language which they passed onto the next generation. Now there are about 150 deaf people in a village with a total population of 3000.

This language, known as Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language (ABSL) is one of the world's newest language and is of great interest to linguists as it is a key to how language started and how our minds are programmed for language.
[I][B]

Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World - Joan Cruet

In 1864 two different crews are shipwrecked on different sides of Auckland Island south of New Zealand. Because an impassable ridge separate the two crews they are unaware of each other presence through the whole of their ordeals.

One crew has good leadership and the men pull together to survive. Luckily this crew are able to salvage items from their wreckage.

The second crew has poor leadership. Their captain becomes catatonic after the shipwreck. The only man who seemed to have the skills and drive needed to survive is one of the common seamen and the officers are not willing to let him take control. This crew also do not have the luxury of a wrecked boat close to shore and there are few seals on their side of the island.


Bending the Willow: Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes by David Stuart Davies. Excellent book that looks at the 10 years Jeremy spent playing the role of Sherlock Holmes, including his battle with manic depression (bipolar order) and heart disease.

Last edited by Miss Chicken; December 31 2012 at 11:40 PM.
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Old December 31 2012, 11:40 PM   #2
Starbreaker
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Re: Books read in 2012

Death du Jour by Kathy Reichs (Bones/Tempereance Brennan, Book 1)
Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
The Long Earth by Stephen Baxter & Terry Pratchett
Old Man's War by John Scalzi
Android's Dream by John Scalzi
Redshirts by John Scalzi
Walls of the Universe by Paul Melko
Star Trek: Indistinguishable From Magic by David A. McIntee

Last edited by Starbreaker; January 1 2013 at 12:08 AM.
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Old December 31 2012, 11:42 PM   #3
Miss Chicken
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Re: Books read in 2012

What was the Temperance Brennan book like? I do watch the TV series but haven't got around to Kathy Reich's books. Should I bother?

I am doing a Category Challenge over at LibraryThing. One of my categories is mysteries and I have only selected 6 books out of 13 I need to read for the challenge so Death du Jour could be a possibility.
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Old January 1 2013, 12:08 AM   #4
Starbreaker
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Re: Books read in 2012

I thought it was a really good book. It's set in Montreal and Tempe isn't nearly as socially awkward as her Bones counterpart. The case is actually particularly memorable. I found it a lot better than any of Patricia Cornwell's stuff.
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Old January 1 2013, 03:20 AM   #5
trampledamage
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Re: Books read in 2012

I agree about Death du Jour - the early Kathy Reichs books are very good, and much better mysteries than Patricia Cornwell in my opinion. I have never seen the TV show so I don't know how they compare but I definitely recommend the book.

Most of my reading this year was re-reading books I've enjoyed now that I've discovered getting e-books from my library on my ipod. Two series by John Sandford - the Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers series, and currently The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (mysteries involving magic and fantasy and very enjoyable).
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Old January 1 2013, 04:28 AM   #6
Miss Chicken
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Re: Books read in 2012

The Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers don't seem to be available Kindle (at least not for Australians). However I will pencil them in as possibilities.

I will probably try a Kathy Reich's book after I have read the mystery books I already have.

I looked up the Dresden Files and it is more expensive to buy them for the Kindle than to buy as paperback. I will probably buy the paperback (as I do not like spending more than $9.99 for a Kindle book).
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Old January 1 2013, 01:15 PM   #7
lurok
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Re: Books read in 2012

When reading for pleasure (as opposed for work, which is mainly travel guides) I tend to get into an author then work way through catalog. So 2012 I revisited John Wyndham, and read all Poe and Lovecraft for first time. Also Steve Jobs and David Cameron biogs. Currently ploughing way through dull Atlas Shrugged. Recommendation: Yoko Ogawa. Superb writer.
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Old January 1 2013, 04:25 PM   #8
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Re: Books read in 2012

I had quite a busy, not so nice year in 2012, so I read very little books. Just 20. Horrible.

But, my favs were indeed the Hunger Games trilogy, I was captivated from the first page.. and that when I was so hesitant to try them. I usually don't care much for YA books, but these were amazing.

Now, let me check my Goodreads site for which books I read hee hee, hardly remember now.
Darkover Landfall, Marion Zimmer Bradley. I love series that start sci fi and then turn into a sort of fantasy, so this series is just my cup of tea.

Peter V. Brett - The Painted Man, LOVED this, original, though a bit grim (but that's never stopped me), and in a way also post-apocalyptic. Like, far far future where people dont remember us anymore.

Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass, loved that book years back when the Subtle Knife wasn't out yet and I had to wait for it. Somehow never got around to reading that second one, but well.. if you hate the film, you'll love the book? Nah, not that strong but I didn't care for the film.
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Old January 1 2013, 08:24 PM   #9
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Re: Books read in 2012

Fiction

1. Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
2. The Sea by John Banville
3. Arthur & George by Julian Barnes
4. The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
5. Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon
6. The Wapshot Chronicles by John Cheever
7. The Stories of John Cheever by John Cheever
8. Selected Stories of Anton Chekhov by Anton Chekhov (translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky)
9. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
10. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
11. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
12. The Hours by Michael Cunningham
13. The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt
14. Hard Times by Charles Dickens
15. Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky)
16. Crime & Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky)
17. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas (translated by Richard Pevear)
18. Troubles by J. G. Farrell
19. The Singapore Grip by J. G. Farrell
20. Go Down, Moses by William Faulkner
21. Intruder in the Dust by William Faulkner
22. Winter of the World by Ken Follett
23. The Immoralist by André Gide (translated by David Watson)
24. The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol by Nikolai Gogol (translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky)
25. Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol (translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky)
26. Rites of Passage by Sir William Golding
27. Close Quarters by Sir William Golding
28. Fire Down Below by Sir William Golding
29. The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene
30. The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
31. The Quiet American by Graham Greene
32. Monsignor Quixote by Graham Greene
33. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (translated by Julie Rose)
34. The Fall of the King by Johannes V. Jensen (translated by Alan G. Bower)
35. Snow Country by Kawabata Yasunari (translated by Edward G. Seidensticker)
36. Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally
37. On the Road by Jack Keroauc
38. Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler (translated by Daphne Hardy)
39. Before the Throne by Naguib Mahfouz (translated by Raymond Stock)
40. Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel
41. A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin
42. A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin
43. A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin
44. Amsterdam by Ian McEwan
45. New and Collected Poems (1931-2001) by Czeslaw Milosz
46. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
47. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet by David Mitchell
48. Flowering Judas and Other Stories by Katherine Anne Porter
49. Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Katherine Anne Porter
50. The Leaning Tower and Other Stories by Katherine Anne Porter
51. The Serpent's Shadow by Rick Riordan
52. The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling
53. Grimus by Sir Salman Rushdie
54. Shame by Sir Salman Rushdie
55. The Gospel According to Jesus Christ by José Saramago (translated by Giovanni Pontiero)
56. Cain by José Saramago (translated by Margaret Jull Costa)
57. The Poetry of Jaroslav Seifert by Jaroslav Seifert (translated by Ewald Osers)
58. The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
59. Gimpel the Fool and Other Stories by Isaac Bashevis Singer
60. The Magician of Lublin by Isaac Bashevis Singer (translated by Elaine Gottlieb and Joseph Singer)
61. The Spinoza of Market Street by Isaac Bashevis Singer
62. Short Friday and Other Stories by Isaac Bashevis Singer (translated by various)
63. The Séance and Other Stories by Isaac Bashevis Singer (translated by various)
64. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (translated by H. B. Willetts)
65. Apricot Jam and Other Stories by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (translated by Stephan Solzhenitsyn and Kenneth Lantz)
66. Poems New and Collected, 1957-1997 by Wislawa Szymborska (translated by Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Baranczak)
67. The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Count Leo Tolstoy (translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky)
68. Hadji Murat by Count Leo Tolstoy (translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky)
69. Kristin Lavransdatter III: The Cross by Sigrid Undset (translated by Tiina Nunnally)
70. Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth
71. Rabbit is Rich by John Updike
72. Rabbit at Rest by John Updike
73. Omeros by Derek Walcott
74. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
75. Orlando: A Biography by Virginia Woolf
76. Soul Mountain by Gao Xingjian (translated by Mabel Lee)
77. Red Sorghum by Mo Yan (translated by Howard Goldblatt)

For fiction, standouts would be the completion of the George R. R. Martin novels (which I had started reading the previous year), two of the classic French novels (The Three Musketeers and Les Miserables), The Singapore Grip, and Cloud Atlas. The last novel I read for the year was Arthur & George, which was also excellent. A lot of my reading this year was poetry and short-story collections, which are a bit harder to grade as a whole, but I'm a huge fan of Isaac Bashevis Singer's writing.

Graphic Novels

1. Criminal: Last of the Innocent by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
2. Fables v.16: Super Team by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, et al.
3. Fables v.17: Inherit the Wind by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckhingham, et al.
4. The Unwritten v.5: On to Genesis by Mike Carey and Peter Gross
5. The Unwritten v.6: Tommy Taylor and the War of Words by Mike Carey, Peter Gross et al.
6. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century: 2009 by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill
7. Habibi by Craig Thompson

All of these save Moore are top-form stuff. I continue to be underwhelmed by the League property, which has sucked up so much of Moore's time over the last fifteen years.


Non-Fiction

1. The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus (translated by Justin O'Brien)
2. Crowds and Power by Elias Canetti (translated by Carol Stewart)
3. The Madman and the Butcher: The Sensational Wars of Sam Hughes and General Arthur Currie by Tim Cook
4. Hitler: 1936-1945: Nemesis by Ian Kershaw
5. William Lyon Mackenzie King: A Life Guided by the Hand of Destiny by Allan Levine
6. Peter the Great: His Life and World by Robert K. Massie
7. Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie
8. The Captive Mind by Czeslaw Milosz (translated by Jane Zielonko)
9. Jerusalem: The Biography by Simon Montefiore
10. The Labyrinth of Solitude and Other Writings by Octavio Paz (translated by Lysander Kemp et al.)
11. One Earth, Four or Five Worlds: Reflections on Contemporary History by Octavio Paz (translated by Helen R. Lane)
12. The Conquest of Happiness by Bertrand Russell, 3rd Earl Russell
13. The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steve Pinker
14. The Gulag Archipelago: An Experiment in Literary Investigation: Volume 1 by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (translated by Thomas P. Whitney)

Massie's two works of Russian biography are extremely impressive, particularly Peter the Great, which is pretty much the story of the birth of Russia as a state. Pinker's book is fascinating reading for its implications for the present day and the future. Solzhenitsyn's first volume is long and anecdote-heavy, but well worth reading.
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Old January 1 2013, 10:01 PM   #10
Hunter X
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Re: Books read in 2012

I managed to get a few novels in at the beginning and end of the year, including Pride and Prejudice, The Hunger Games trilogy, Gathering Blue (a pseudo-sequel to The Giver) and The Children of Hurin, which I just finished yesterday. Otherwise it was a lot of theological reading for graduate school, the highlights of which included Jonathan Edwards's biography by George Marsden, Prayer by Hans Urs von Balthasar, For the Life of the World by Alexander Schmemann, Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and some classic pastoral manuals by Gregory the Great, Richard Baxter, Philipp Spener, among others. I'm going to try to sneak a few more novels in this year, just to break up the school reading.

I also was able to read a lot about George Herbert for a project, which made my English Lit undergrad heart happy.
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Old January 1 2013, 10:59 PM   #11
Miss Chicken
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Re: Books read in 2012

But, my favs were indeed the Hunger Games trilogy, I was captivated from the first page.. and that when I was so hesitant to try them. I usually don't care much for YA books, but these were amazing.
I loved them too. I know many people were disappointed in the ending of Mockingjay but I think it was an excellent ending.

I managed to get a few novels in at the beginning and end of the year, including Pride and Prejudice, The Hunger Games trilogy, Gathering Blue (a pseudo-sequel to The Giver)
Gathering Blue is on my TBR pile. I hope to get around to it in about March.

For fiction, standouts would be the completion of the George R. R. Martin novels (which I had started reading the previous year), two of the classic French novels (The Three Musketeers and Les Miserables), The Singapore Grip, and Cloud Atlas. The last novel I read for the year was Arthur & George, which was also excellent.
I read all 5 of the Song of Ice and Fire books over a 2 month period in 2011. I loved them. My son is now reading them but is only half way through the second book. I wish he would hurry up as there are events in the third book I would love to discuss with him.

I have Cloud Atlas on my KIndle and hopefully I will read it before seeing the movie.

I liked Arthur and George but I think I would have preferred it if it had been a non-fiction telling of the story. I recently downloaded Conan Doyle and the Parson's Son: the George Edalji Story by Gordon Weaver onto my Kindle.
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Old January 1 2013, 11:50 PM   #12
trampledamage
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Re: Books read in 2012

Miss Chicken wrote: View Post
The Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers don't seem to be available Kindle (at least not for Australians). However I will pencil them in as possibilities.

I will probably try a Kathy Reich's book after I have read the mystery books I already have.

I looked up the Dresden Files and it is more expensive to buy them for the Kindle than to buy as paperback. I will probably buy the paperback (as I do not like spending more than $9.99 for a Kindle book).
Do your libraries have the facility for borrowing e-books? Ours do and it's fantastic. Our system is called Library2go but I don't know if that's a local brand name or a global one.
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Old January 2 2013, 12:02 AM   #13
Hunter X
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Re: Books read in 2012

Miss Chicken wrote: View Post
I managed to get a few novels in at the beginning and end of the year, including Pride and Prejudice, The Hunger Games trilogy, Gathering Blue (a pseudo-sequel to The Giver)
Gathering Blue is on my TBR pile. I hope to get around to it in about March.
I noticed that Lois Lowry also just came out with a fourth (and apparently final) book in the series. Gathering Blue was good but decidedly unfinished, so I'm curious if the next two really wrap things up.
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Old January 2 2013, 01:08 AM   #14
Miss Chicken
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Re: Books read in 2012

trampled a mage wrote: View Post
Miss Chicken wrote: View Post
The Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers don't seem to be available Kindle (at least not for Australians). However I will pencil them in as possibilities.

I will probably try a Kathy Reich's book after I have read the mystery books I already have.

I looked up the Dresden Files and it is more expensive to buy them for the Kindle than to buy as paperback. I will probably buy the paperback (as I do not like spending more than $9.99 for a Kindle book).
Do your libraries have the facility for borrowing e-books? Ours do and it's fantastic. Our system is called Library2go but I don't know if that's a local brand name or a global one.
I just looked up to see how many ebooks they have - a total of 3348 (2256 fiction and 1092 non-fiction). That includes all genres including children's books.

They do not have any of the John Stanford e-books and the only Kathy Reichs e-book they have is 206 Bones.
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