In no particular order and with no analysis either, these were my favourite books on a monthly basis throughout the year. I would be hard pressed to choose a favourite, so won't.
6 crime, 2 politics, 1 thriller, 1 short stories, 1 sports biography, 1 modern fiction/literature(?)
12 bloody good books!
Berney, Lou - Gutshot Straight (2009) (December, 2012)
Smith, Roger - Mixed Blood (2009) (November, 2012)
Book of the month – A History Of The World Since 9/11
In A History of the World Since 9/11 Dominic Streatfeild expertly combines history, biography and investigative journalism to show how a massacre on a clear September day in 2001 has touched the lives of millions of people around the world. In a series of brilliantly interlinked chapters he shows how an Afghani wedding party; and a gas station proprietor in Texas; and a planespotter in Mallorca have been affected, sometimes devastatingly, by the American response to the attacks on the Twin Towers. Streatfeild shows how the sleep of reason and good sense in successive US administrations post-9/11 has brought forth the monsters of extraordinary rendition, Guantanamo Bay, extrajudicial execution and wholesale contravention of international law. This is a work that informs as it entertains and induces outrage as it inspires.
Book of the month though Harris’s Ghost.......even if I did slightly spoil it for myself by watching the film first!
Britain's former prime minister is holed up in a remote, ocean-front house in America, struggling to finish his memoirs, when his long-term assistant drowns. A professional ghostwriter is sent out to rescue the project - a man more used to working with fading rock stars and minor celebrities than ex-world leaders. The ghost soon discovers that his distinguished new client has secrets in his past that are returning to haunt him - secrets with the power to kill.
Robert Harris is once again at his gripping best with the most controversial new thriller of the decade.
Short stories from Pollock – the pick of the month – Knockemstiff
Blurb... Knockemstiff is a pitch-dark and often hilarious collection of stories set in the tiny Appalachian town of Knockemstiff, Ohio, a community so deprived and diminished it no longer appears on any map.
The youth of Knockemstiff grow up in the malignant shadow of their parents; raised on abuse, alcohol, drugs and cigarettes, they are stunted in every possible way: emotionally, mentally, sometimes physically. They talk a lot about escape but they never so much as cross the county line.
The stories in Knockemstiff are simple and compact, blunt and brutal, but are also infused with a deep sympathy for the incapacitating loneliness of poverty, neglect and severely limited horizons.
Knockemstiff is a human, very funny and unforgettable debut from a stunning new voice in American fiction.
By a country mile - book of the month........Zadoorian’s Leisure Seeker.
Blurb....... In Michael Zadoorian's The Leisure Seeker the Robinas have shared a wonderful life for more than sixty years. Now in their eighties, Ella suffers from cancer and John has Alzheimer's. Yearning for one last adventure, the self-proclaimed "down-on-their-luck geezers" kidnap themselves from the adult children and doctors who seem to run their lives and steal away from their home in suburban Detroit on a forbidden vacation of rediscovery. With Ella as his vigilant copilot, John steers their '78 Leisure Seeker RV along the forgotten roads of Route 66 toward Disneyland in search of a past they're having a damned hard time remembering. Yet Ella is determined to prove that, when it comes to life, you can go back for seconds—even when everyone says you can't.
Stella, Charlie - Johnny Porno (2010) (September, 2012)
Lynn Kostoff – The Long Fall
Blurb...... At once authentic and flip, by turns wildly funny and deadly serious, as riveting as it is inventive, The Long Fall twists sibling rivalry inside out and sets the conventional crime novel on its head. In sunbaked Phoenix, Arizona, this never-predictable tale tosses into its antic mix a dead father, his two sons—one a small-time ex-con with a consistent genius for sabotaging his own best interests, the other a straight, uptight solid citizen with a moneymaking chain of dry-cleaning stores and a restive ex-stewardess of a wife named Evelyn—and a sicko cop with a twisted worldview. Recently released from prison—twenty-four months for possession of a truckload of black-market saguaro cacti—and in deep debt to an unforgiving crank dealer, Jimmy Coates returns home only to discover that his brother has cut him out of his inheritance. A not-unjustifiable desire to settle old scores and new sends Jimmy on a robbery spree that wipes out four of his brother’s dry-cleaning establishments. But when he finds himself tumbling for a mutinously sexy Evelyn, the impulse to vengeance reverses itself. Unwittingly, however, Jimmy has already set in motion a series of dangerous consequences—adultery, blackmail, love, betrayal—that culminate in a blueprint for murder. And it could be Jimmy himself who is taking the long fall.
Nicol, Mike - Payback (2010) (October, 2012)
Book of the month is Stasiland
In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell; shortly afterwards the two Germanies reunited, and East Germany ceased to exist. In a country where the headquarters of the secret police can become a museum literally overnight, and one in 50 East Germans were informing on their countrymen and women, there are a thousand stories just waiting to get out. Anna Funder tells extraordinary tales from the underbelly of the former East Germany - she meets Miriam, who as a 16-year-old might have started World War III, visits the man who painted the line which became the Berlin Wall and gets drunk with the legendary "Mik Jegger" of the East, once declared by the authorities to his face to "no longer to exist". Written with wit and literary flair, Stasiland provides a rivetting insight into life behind the wall.
Ed Smith – year long cricket diary. Who’d have thought a cricket book would get the top prize?