A low-fi list of books I've read over the last 20 years or so. These entries in bold are the books I particularly liked.
A Short History of Everything by Bill Bryson
Day of the Giants by Lester del Ray
Trash sci-fi/fantasy that manages to combine Norse mythology with zombies and nuclear weapons. (Yep! Really!)
A History of the World in 10 Chapters by Julian Barnes
Great collection of stories/essays nebulously linked (in a way that makes you think the author is terribly clever even if the reader can't see any links). Clever.
My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl
Ho ho old chap. Brilliant!
Oscar & Lucinda by Peter Carey
Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
Magnificent book. Wonderful mastery of the language of the insane.
A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
Third time through and (I think) the first time I've felt like I 'got' the strings theory. Matthew Flinders' Cat by Bryce Courtney
Well researched but woefully written airport-bookshop novel. One scene (it's the one with four inmates talking in their room at the AA hostel, if you're interested) wins my all-time "implausible conversation" prize.
The Crocodile Club by Kaz Cooke
Off-and-on Australian comic novel.
Dead-Eye Dick by Kurt Vonnegut
Season of the Jew by Maurice Shadbolt
Third time through. One of my favourite NZ novels, set in the East Coast in the time of Te Kooti and the last of the NZ wars. Beautiful staccato use of English.
The Greenstone Door by William Satchell
Great old NZ-wars novel from the 1910s. Dramatic entrances, women swooning - it's all right here.
The Island of Lost Maps by Miles Harvey
"A True Story of Cartographic Crime". A bit too try-hard in spots, but a book by map geeks for map geeks and about map geeks is hard to pass up. Fascinating and extremely well researched. In equal parts the story of "the crime" (and the crook), mapping ancient and modern and Harvey's own obsession with the story.
McCarthy's Bar by Pete McCarthy
Fantastic Irish travel book (I could have done without the "who am I" angst but at least he acknowledges he's being a wanker).
Stupid White Men by Michael Moore
An interesting, inspiring read (no doubt partly because Moore doesn't let exact science or the exact truth get in the way of a good story).
Artemis Fowl 1, 2 and 3 by Eoin Colfer
One for the Road by Tony Horwitz
Good fun Australian hitch-hiking tale from the 70s. Onya Tone.
Bachelor Kisses by Nick Earle
Very funny, very clever Aust novel with a medical bent.
The Battle for the North Island of NZ by Peter Maxwell
Covers the wars of the 1860s. Very readable and well researched. I liked the lot *except* for the bizarre attacks on "the Professor" (Belich) - a few too many bees in the old bonnet and too much time devoted to justifying their buzz. Still, amateur historians are some of my favourite people, and I LOVE this guy's passion.
Captain Cook by Vanessa Collingridge
Interesting life story of the Yorkshireman, with the author's great grandpappy thrown in to diferentiate it from a million other Cook books. I found a massive foli-sized book of grandpappy's maps later, after reading this, that brought out the nerd in me in SO many ways!
The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper
Getting into this kiddie fiction gig. I read this as a kid too.
Wizard of Earthsea (I-IV) by Ursula LeGuin
Thought I'd give another kiddie fiction book a go. I read this as a kid meself and enjoyed it. Good the second time through too, though taking itself all a little too seriously. Book IV becomes hilariously feminist.
Harry V by JK Rowling
Still great. Good on ya JK.
Unknown Lands by Fran谩s Bellec
("Log Books of the Great Explorers") Large-format illustrated history of European exploration. Magnificent colour images and old maps tho' rather poorly written.
In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
Very clever writer. Very funny and, surprisingly, one of the better 'potted histories' of Australia I've read.
No Shitting in the Toilet by Peter Moore
Backpackers' humour. Funny stuff but could have been a third shorter.
Harry Potter III and IV by JK Rowling
Second time through.
Kidnapped by RLS
Many a mickle makes a muckle.
The Tournament by John Clarke
Very peculiar. (And makes one feel very poorly read.)
The Searchers by Alan Le May
You wouldn't get away with hanging poo on noble Amerindians like that these days.
Lime Bar by Matt Condon
Magnificent Sydneysider fiction with an healthy respect for the perfect G&T (and the man who serves it).
A Cook's Tour by Anthony Bourdain
Travel and food (and belligerance, and diatribes, and humour...).
Where's Waari edited by Witi Ihimaera
Great compilation - even the stories you don't enjoy tell part of the story.
The Power of One by Bryce Courtney
Surprisingly good for a rah-rah book.
Hitch-hikers' Guide by Douglas Adams
Nth time through. Still ace.
All the Weyrs of Pern by Anne McCaffrey
Ho hum. Brain to 'off'.
Dogside Story by Patricia Grace
A bit up and down - starts with a hiss and a roar, then struggles around halftime, but gripping by the end.