Books / Year 2016
Date: 2016-11-27 (permlink)
Author: Jon Krakauer
Name: Into Thin Air
Rating: 4 stars

I saw the Everest movie, and it was intriguing enough to make me pick up this book, which I had avoided for a very long time, due to the fact some people claimed it was biased and not a trustworthy account of what happened, and that Boukreev's book was better.

After reading this book, and lots of online sources about Boukreev etc, I've come to the conclusion Krakauer is right and Boukreev and his supporters are wrong. It is simply irresponsible for an Everest guide to gallivant around on their own, leaving the people they are being paid to guide alone.

The movie and the book also finished off whatever shred of ambition I had left in me to do any high-altitude mountaineering; the risk vs reward ratio is not where I need it to be.

Date: 2016-09-22 (permlink)
Author: John Grisham
Name: Rogue Lawyer
Rating: 3 stars

I'm writing this review six months after the fact, and I honestly can't remember a single thing about this book. I assume it was your typical Grisham book: a way to kill commuting time.

Date: 2016-09-09 (permlink)
Author: Hanya Yanagihara
Name: A Little Life
Rating: 3 stars

The book starts out slowly, taking over a hundred pages before I could start remembering which character is which, then becomes quite good, but then disintegrates into one long horrorfest.

The author really seems to enjoy making his characters suffer. At some point it just becomes too much and becomes completely detached from reality.

What's also detached from reality is that out of four random college buddies, three become world-famous, and the other one rises to the top of a huge New York law firm despite being uniquely unqualified to do so.

Date: 2016-08-24 (permlink)
Author: Tina Fey
Name: Bossypants
Rating: 2.5 stars

I expected more. The entire book is one long self-deprecating joke; there are no real feelings or events described anywhere.

Date: 2016-08-17 (permlink)
Author: Iain M. Banks
Name: The Hydrogen Sonata
Rating: 4.5 stars

I saved this for quite a while, knowing it would be the last new Banks book I'd ever get to read. It is a solid effort, and highlights what a loss his death was.

Date: 2016-07-05 (permlink)
Author: Kari Hotakainen
Name: Elämä Ja Muita Juttuja
Rating: Reread
Date: 2016-06-16 (permlink)
Author: Nigel Mansell
Name: Staying On Track
Rating: 3 stars

It is such a contrast reading about a grown man, working a normal job, trying to get into F1, as opposed to modern days, when 17-year olds jump straight from karting to F1, and never experience any of the struggles of real life during their entire lifetime.

That said, Mansell is the whiniest driver of all time, nothing is ever his fault, and everyone is always wrong and he's right, in his opinion. So while the book is entertaining, you know you're not getting anything like the full truth about the events he's talking about.

Date: 2016-05-30 (permlink)
Author: Iain Banks
Name: Espedair Street
Rating: Reread

I read this book three times 15 years ago and loved it. Decided to reread it again, which turned out to be an interesting experience. The book has stayed the same, while the world has moved on and I've changed from somebody who's younger than the characters in the book to someone who's a decade older than any of them.

The most dated aspect of the book is the glorification of the aversion to making money. In the eighties that may have been the cool thing in some circles, but you'd be hard-pressed nowadays to find anyone, anywhere who'd behave like the main character. Just yesterday I read an article about how a former member of Guns N' Roses has started a wealth management firm for rock stars; that's about as far as you could possibly get from the sensibilities in display in this book.

The above bit was about the world changing; what's changed in me is that this time around I found the main character to be annoying. Not during his career, but that's a short section of the book; most of it is about him moping about in Glasgow, retired, with his idiot buddies in tow, doing nothing at all. If that is literally the best he can do with his time then he's a person I would have no interest in knowing (or being) in real life.

Date: 2016-03-21 (permlink)
Author: John Grisham
Name: Sycamore Row
Rating: 3 stars

This is still my definitive Grisham review.

Date: 2016-03-15 (permlink)
Author: John Grisham
Name: The Racketeer
Rating: 3 stars

See this.

Date: 2016-03-09 (permlink)
Author: John Grisham
Name: The Litigators
Rating: 3.5 stars

As far as killing time on my commute goes, reading Grisham books on my new ereader is a pleasant way of doing it. No brain cells tortured, no thinking required, no concentration needed, just switch the thing on and lose yourself until it's time to get off.

Date: 2016-03-03 (permlink)
Author: John Grisham
Name: Gray Mountain
Rating: 2.5 stars

Good Grisham books feature either sleazy lawyers battling even sleazier companies, or heroic lawyers trying to right the wrongs of the world. This book features a heroine who is neither. She doesn't do anything in the book, yet everyone likes her. It's hard to avoid the feeling we're supposed to like her simply because she's young and pretty. Nothing wrong with that, but when nothing happens in an entire book it's not enough to hang an entire book on.

Date: 2016-02-10 (permlink)
Author: Brian Morton
Name: Starting Out In The Evening
Rating: Reread

As good as I remembered it being.