December 2006 books and 2006 books roundup

My final Crisis Group publication was a briefing on Kosovo. In my four years and eight months there, I had overseen the publication of 46 reports, 16 briefings and ten op-eds (in the last case, just counting those published under my own name; I was ghost-writer for a few more). Meanwhile I chose my new office, a serviced arrangement on Rond Point Schuman. In Belgium the big news was a hoax TV news programme announcing that Flanders had unilaterally declared independence. Gerald Ford died just after Christmas.

Anne's sister joined us again for Christmas, which was just as well when one of the household had to be taken to casualty on Christmas Day itself (naming no names). The kids enjoyed themselves, though B's behaviour was getting more and more difficult to manage:

I don't appear to have travelled this month. My overnights tally for the year was 25 places in 18 countries.

Thanks to my sudden conversion to commuting by train, I read 20 books in December 2006:

Non-fiction 8 (2006 total 70)
This Was Not Our War: Bosnian Women Reclaiming the Peace, by Swanee Hunt
The Great English Pilgrimage, by Christopher Donaldson
Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West, by Dee Brown (did not finish)
The Elusive Quest: Reconciliation in Northern Ireland, by Norman Porter
Ockham's Razor: A Search for Wonder In An Age of Doubt, by Wade Rowland
Notes from a Small Island, by Bill Bryson
An Intimate History of Humanity, by Theodore Zeldin (did not finish)
Joan of Arc: The Image of Female Heroism, by Marina Warner

Non-genre 7 (2006 total 35)
The Reader, by Bernhard Schlink
White Eagles over Serbia, by Lawrence Durrell
The Crying of Lot 49, by Thomas Pynchon
Perfume, by Patrick Süskind
Crooked Little Heart, by Anne Lamott
Lord Jim, by Joseph Conrad
Casino Royale, by Ian Fleming

SF (non-Who) 3 (2006 total 68)
Thunderbird Falls, by C.E. Murphy
Pyramids, by Terry Pratchett
Unfinished Tales, by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Christopher Tolkien

Doctor Who 2 (2006 total 28)
Timewyrm: Apocalypse, by Nigel Robinson
Timewyrm: Revelation, by Paul Cornell

Comics 0 (2006 total 6)

7,400 pages (YTD 61,600)
4/20 (34/207) by women
None (8/207) by PoC

For once I'm going to highlight one book I liked and two I didn't, rather than the other way around. Norman Porter's exploration of how to achieve reconciliation in Northern Ireland is very good and a partial recantation of his earlier views; you can get it here. I could not finish either Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee or Zeldin's An Intimate History of Humanity. You can get them here and here.

2006 books roundup

This was the first year that I did a proper book roundup at the time. Reformatting that post to my current system:

Non-fiction 70 (34% – highest of any year I have on record)
Best of 2006: Lost Lives: The stories of the men, women and children who died as a result of the Northern Ireland troubles, by David McKittrick, Seamus Kelters, Brian Feeney, Chris Thornton and David McVea; The Breaking of Nations: Order and Chaos in the Twenty-First Century, by Robert Cooper
The one you haven't heard of: Indefensible: One Lawyer's Journey into the Inferno of American Justice, by David Feige
Worst of 2006: An International Relations Debacle: The UN Secretary-General's Mission of Good Offices in Cyprus 1999-2004, by Claire Palley

SF 68 (33% – same as last year, about average)
Best of 2006 (not including rereads): The Wreck of The River of Stars, by Michael Flynn; Thud!, by Terry Pratchett
The one you haven't heard of: Impossible Stories, by Zoran Živković
Worst of 2006: Galactic Patrol, by E.E. "Doc" Smith

Non-genre 35 (17% – about average)
Best of 2006:  The Warden's Niece by Gillian Avery; The File on H, by Ismail Kadarë.
The one you haven't heard of: A Game With Sharpened Knives, by Neil Belton
Worst of 2006: Ivanhoe, by Sir Walter Scott

Doctor Who 28 (14% – same as last year; this number got bigger in between)
Best of 2006: Evolution, by John Peel; Doctor Who – The Rescue, by Ian Marter
Worst of 2006: (The Companions of) Doctor Who – Harry Sullivan's War, by Ian Marter

Comics 6 (3% – lowest of any year I have on record)
Best of 2005: The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation, by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon
Worst of 2006: Ghost World, by Daniel Clowes (second year in a row that one of his books occupied this spot)

Book of the year 2006: Lost Lives: The stories of the men, women and children who died as a result of the Northern Ireland troubles, by David McKittrick, Seamus Kelters, Brian Feeney, Chris Thornton and David McVea

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