11 April 2013

2013 Reading: Part 1

I'm usually pretty good at keeping track of what movies I see during a year. I've never been that good at keeping a list of the books I read. In the past I've often had two or more books on the go at the same time. I've decided that I'd like to keep a log of what I read (starting from February/March, because that's the first time this year I remember reading a book cover to cover).

Books read so far this year... (that I remember)

1. James Patterson & Mark Sullivan, Private Berlin

James Patterson's "Private" series is an interesting one, in that so far only a couple have featured the same characters. The Private of the title is an investigation firm with agencies around the world, so there have been novels set in LA, London, Sydney and now Berlin.

On a side note, "Private Oz" had some great little phrases and characterisations included that made it look like Patterson and his co-writers had done their research. And then a paragraph later you'd come across something so Americanised that would never be said/seen/done in Australia, that you'd start to wonder if Crocodile Dundee II was their "research".

2. James Patterson & Marshall Karp, NYPD Red

A thriller centred around a police division tasked with high-profile (ie rich and famous) victims, this wasn't quite as appealing as some of his other stand-alone thrillers. If this becomes a series, it'll be interesting.

3. Clive Cussler, Sahara

I've seen the movie a few times, and it's a fun adventure ride. I picked up the original novel version a while ago at one of those 3-for-$X sales, and finally got around to reading it on my recent trip to Adelaide. It's packed full of a lot more action than the film, and while many of the plot points are the same, the focus of the book is different. In the novel, the treasure hunt is a fairly minor (and late arriving) subplot to the main issues of slavery (left out of the film) and pollution (in the film, but with less impact).

A great read. Note to self: Don't watch the movie straight after reading the book.

4. Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game

Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game
The first book this year that I've read before.

This was the first book for the year that I've read before (albeit years ago). It'll be interesting to see how the film adaptation turns out. The movie project has been on-and-off-again for many years, and will finally be in cinemas towards the end of 2013. From the looks of promotional pictures with Asa Bonneville ("Hugo") in the lead role, they have increased the ages of the protagonists. Ender is six at the beginning of the book, when he is taken off to military school. It works in the future setting in book form, but perhaps would be unsettling on screen. I'm guessing they may also want to avoid certain "Phantom Menace" errors...

5. Orson Scott Card, Speaker For The Dead

I followed "Ender's Game" with its sequel, which was a Lifeline Bookfest purchase from several years ago that I finally got around to reading. It was quite a good read - I think it's the first science fiction novel that I've ever read that has a heavy focus on anthropology and biology, rather than just a "Alien-race-of-the-week" storyline that 1960s Star Trek episodes often relied on.

The author's introduction mentions a third book, and of course now that I look it up this year, there are even more featuring the character of Ender Wiggin. I'll have to visit my library a bit more often, I think!

Currently reading/almost finished:

6. Christopher Priest, The Prestige

7. Ian Fleming, Casino Royale

More on these in a later post.

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