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I read an awful lot. So I thought I’d keep a list of every book I have read in 2012. I’ll post this in three parts, and I’ll list the books in the approximate order in which I read them. I’d love to hear which books you read this year. Let me know in the comments.

The Man Who Owns the News: Inside the Secret World of Rupert Murdoch, by Michael Wolff
What should have been an enjoyable, irreverent read about a fascinating man was marred for me by…well, by a repetitive ‘tick’ that the author…well, that the author can’t stop… well, pulling off…

The Final Testament, by James Frey
There are some superbly brutal passages in this controversial, arguably blasphemous, novel. Yet for me it rather lost its way after a superb opening quarter. (Frey’s 2006 LA novel Bright Shiny Morning is magnificent, by the way.)

A High Price: The Triumphs and Failures of Israeli Counterterrorism, by Daniel Byman
This is a readable, informed and thorough book that does well exactly what it set out to do. Which is all you can ask of it, really.

A New Voice for Israel: Fighting for the Survival of the Jewish Nation by Jeremy Ben-Ami
Controversial but refreshing-even-when-you-don’t-always-agree writing by the head honcho of the notorious J-Street.

Sweet Revenge: The Intimate Life of Simon Cowell, by Tom Bower
Ooh, I love a bit of Cowell. This is one of the best celebrity books I’ve ever read. I was chuffed to see me and my own Simon Cowell biography name-checked in the ‘Thanks’ page.

Here Comes Everybody: The Story of The Pogues, by James Fearnley
Definitely my favourite book of 2012. I loved Fearnley’s vivid, dark and romantic memoir of his time in The Pogues, despite some hellishly pretentious vocabulary. Overall, it reads more like a novel than a non-fiction work. I just loved it.

Sikhism: A Very Short Introduction by Eleanor Nesbitt
I’d always suspected I would find Sikhism interesting and inspiring. As I learned while reading this book, my hunch had been correct. Big up Guru Nanak!

The Triumph of Military Zionism: Nationalism and the Origins of the Israeli Right, by Colin Shindler
I suppose I should have loved this book but I found the style a little grey and pompous. The highlights were the glimpses into the fascinating mind and writings of Jabotinsky.

7 Responses to “My year in books: part one”

  1. Eleanor S says:

    Hi chasy

    Great books youve read. Id love to know more about sikhism and i need to brush up on my israeli reading!

    I am currently reading two books- one is about abraham lincoln and american history, its called the team of rivals by doris kearns goodwin. all about lincoln and his political friends and their rise to power quite interesting but hard book to get through.

    am also reading a funny book called ‘The Hundred Year Old Man who climbed out of the window and disappeared’ by jonas jonasson. I recommend this book highly, I think you’ll enjoy it. xxxx

  2. monica schubert says:

    have you read THE UNMAKING OF ISRAEL by Gershom Gorenberg? If not, perhaps you should. Even for admirers it’s an eye opener, enjoy the season, Monica

  3. Richard Armbach says:

    What kind of christian knows what he is getting for christmas….

    Maybe next year Chas you could row the boat out and attempt ” A drink with Shane McGowan ”

    oops I forgot ……pardon me.

  4. Ric says:

    ‘Israel is Real’ by Rich Cohen – a silly title, but a deeply thought-out book.
    ‘There Once Was a World’ by Yaffa Eliach. If any work of history deserves the word picaresque, this one does. I would challenge the idyllic gloss it puts on the narrow strictures of shtetl life, but it’s a unique tale of centuries of life in Belarussia.
    ‘Collapse’ by Jared Diamond. Challenges accepted ideas about modern progress. I don’t agree with some of his conclusions, but it’s a powerful argument.
    ‘Vanished Kingdoms’ by Norman Davies. An entrancing stroll down the forgotten byways of European history. As one might expect from such a staunch Polonophile, he is perhaps too harsh in denying that Communism brought any benefits; but otherwise a magnificent treat for anyone interested in history.

  5. La Cumparsita says:

    I was at school with Professor Eleanor – so pleased you found her book to be interesting.

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