Sunday 20 November 2011

Books Read This Year of Grace 2011


The Fry Chronicles                                            Stephen Fry
When the Lights Went Out                                  Andy Beckett
Any Souvenirs?*                                               George Mikes
How to Make Friends and Influence People             Dale Carnegie
Origins of the Cold War (1983 ed.)                        Martin McCauley
Precarious Living                                                Dr. Martin Israel
The Crisis of Islam                                              Bernard Lewis
Yezidism in Europe                                    Philip G. Kreyenbroek 
With Friends Like These                                     Larry L. Watts
Ataturk                                                            Andrew Mango
Snow                                                                       Orhan Pamuk
The Balkans*                                                          Mark Mazower
The Yezidis                                                              Eszter Spat
Roumeli: Travels in Northern Greece                   Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor
Black Mischief*                                              Evelyn Waugh
The Transformation of British Life 1950-2000     Andrew Rosen
The Comedians                                               Graham  Greene
Reflections on the Impact of the French Revolution  Alexandru Zub
The Spy who Came in from the Cold                 John Le Carre
From the Holy Mountain                                        William Dalrymple
The Lady in the Lake*                                      Raymond Chandler
The Catholic Church And Nazi Germany                   Guenter Lewy
Farewell, My Lovely*                                        Raymond Chandler

* =  reread
bold = I loved it

I am proud I read five novels (one recent) instead of the usual one a year. All the books were worth reading except for the Stephen Fry book which interested me  a lot for personal reasons. Two I read on-line. Dale Carnegie and Martin israel are the ones I most recommend but I haven't nearly finished either. I wonder why I only liked From the Holy Mountain a great deal rather than loving it. Larry Watts' magnum opus is very good. Black Mischief is a book to read in your teens or early 20s. At 13 I wept copiously. With The Comedians you can hear the wheels turning. Raymond Chandler never fails to exhilarate even on a fourth reading. Like a great ballet dancer doing pirouettes.Eszter Spat's slim book was the one I liked best, partly because she writes well, partly because of the subject matter, partly as an aide memoire of an afternoon spent in Lalish in March

 I also - an unusual achievement for me - manged to see two films, both dire, both set in Paris: To Catch a Thief and the new Woody Allen.


  1. Have you read the Patrick O'Brian novels? I thoroughly enjoyed them. Also finally read 'Life and Fate', by Vasily Grossman, which was ok, but I feel that something was lost in the translation.

  2. And what about the Catholic Church and Ustase Croatia?

  3. I started the O'Brian one set in Mauritius when I was there but life is too short for stories that are merely stories and I am doubtful about historical novels - Raymond Chandler on the other hand is a poet.