February 2012 Books

This is the latest post in a series I started in late 2019, anticipating the twentieth anniversary of my bookblogging which will fall in 2023. Every six-ish days, I've been revisiting a month from my recent past, noting work and family developments as well as the books I read in that month. I've found it a pleasantly cathartic process, especially in recent circumstances. If you want to look back at previous entries, they are all tagged under bookblog nostalgia.

At work that month I had my first visit to my recently acquired client in Tbilisi, Georgia. His mansion overlooking the city is truly amazing. My own photographs were pretty awful, but as it happens Forbes magazine was there the very same day that I was, and took these magnificent shots. I also had a couple of days in Paris on the Georgian project, co-ordinating the various advisers to the campaign, which was also the first time I had a serious conversation with a senior staffer of my current employers.

In the office, my Belarusian intern M left; she now works for a legal head-hunting company in Brussels, while also doing career counselling, mainly for Russian speakers in the Brussels bubble (a larger market than you might have thought). Her successor was L, a Colombian who had just moved to Brussels as a trailing spouse and wanted to do something more interesting than academic research. We rapidly bonded over Game of Thrones and Doctor Who.

Speaking of sf, this was the month that Alice Lawson fatefully invited me to join the staff of the 2014 Worldcon as DH for Promotions. I was not immediately convinced.

Much more sadly, this was also the month that Prince Johan Friso of the Netherlands, whose wedding I had attended in 2004, had a skiing accident which he never woke up from.

I read 20 books that month.

Non-fiction 3 (YTD 14)
The Hare with Amber Eyes, by Edmund de Waal
The World of Washington Irving, by Van Wyck Brooks
My Traitor's Heart, by Rian Malan

Fiction (other than sf) 2 (YTD 4)
Let The Great World Spin
, by Colum McCann
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie

SF (other than Who) 7 (YTD 14)
Cyber Circus
, by Kim Lakin-Smith
Osama, by Lavie Tidhar
By Light Alone, by Adam Roberts
Snuff, by Terry Pratchett
The Islanders, by Christopher Priest
Year's Best SF 24, ed. Gardner Dozois
Embassytown, by China Miéville

Doctor Who etc 8 (YTD 16)
[SJA audio] The Time Capsule, by Peter Anghelides
[SJA audio] The Shadow People, by Scott Handcock
[SJA audio] The White Wolf, by Gary Russell

Touched By An Angel, by Jonathan Morris
The Eleventh Tiger, by David A. McIntee
Blood Harvest, by Terrance Dicks
The Taking of Planet 5, by Simon Bucher-Jones and Mark Clapham
The Sontaran Games, by Jacqueline Rayner

Running totals
~6,100 pages (YTD ~14,600)
2/20 (YTD 12/50) by women (Lakin-Smith and Rayner)
1/20 (YTD 1/50) by PoC (Alexie)

Much the best of these was The Hare with Amber Eyes, by Edmund de Waal. I know his brother Thomas quite well; I've never met Edmund. This is a deeply moving tale of a netsuke collection through the travails of the last century or so. You can get it here.

Second best was My Traitor's Heart, by Rian Malan, a liberal South African's account of his country, written when Mandela was still in jail and it was not at all certain that he would ever emerge. You can get it here.

I'm not usually down on Doctor Who books, but The Taking of Planet 5, by Simon Bucher-Jones and Mark Clapham was rather poor. You can get it here.

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