The History Book Club discussion


Comments Showing 1-24 of 24 (24 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Velvetink (new)

Velvetink | 59 comments Thanks so much Bentley. Am just having a few computer issues today I need to sort out before I start. Also I've gone considerably off track this year in my historical readings..while I've read 86 books, not all are in that genre. Thinking I shall just post the ones that fit.

message 2: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Within this thread, you can post all of them.

message 3: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Don't forget to give the books a rating and maybe a few words about how you liked the book.

message 4: by Velvetink (new)

Velvetink | 59 comments Bentley wrote: "Don't forget to give the books a rating and maybe a few words about how you liked the book."

Yes, thanks I will. I was just practicing the formating. Need to do it over now in the right order of reading. I shall delete that post.

message 5: by Velvetink (last edited Nov 06, 2010 04:25AM) (new)

Velvetink | 59 comments JANUARY

1. Batik; Warisan Budaya Asli Indonesia by Aep S. Hamidin Aep S. Hamidin
Finish date; January, 2010
Rating; B. More of a coffee table book. Good photographs.

2. A Monk Swimming by Malachy McCourt Malachy McCourt Malachy McCourt
Finish date; January 3, 2010
Rating; A. Autobiography of Frank McCourt's brother. The start of my aim to read more Irish writers.

3. The Falls (P.S.) by Joyce Carol Oates Joyce Carol Oates Joyce Carol Oates
Finish date; January 5, 2010
Rating: C. Somewhat let down with this one after her fictional biography of Marilyn.

4. Bold in Her Breeches Woman Pirates Across the Ages by Jo Stanley Jo Stanley
Finish date: January 15, 2010
Rating; B-. Good information, writing was a bit sloppy.

5. Buried Alive Sydney 1788-1792 Eyewitness Accounts of the Making of a Nation by Jack Egan Jack Egan
Finish date; January 18, 2010
Rating; B. Extracts from various colonial diaries. Not a complete history by any means, but interesting.

message 6: by Velvetink (last edited Nov 06, 2010 04:22AM) (new)

Velvetink | 59 comments 6. 'Tis (Frank McCourt, #2) by Frank McCourt Frank McCourt Frank McCourt
Finish date; January 22, 2010
Rating; A. Frank McCourt's memories of growing up in Ireland & his early life in the USA.

7. A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami Haruki Murakami Haruki Murakami
Finish date; January 31, 2010
Rating. C

8. The Town and the City (Penguin Modern Classics) by Jack Kerouac Jack Kerouac Jack Kerouac
Finish date; January 31, 2010
Rating; A.


9. Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernières Louis de Bernières Louis de Bernières
Finish date; Feb 6, 2010
Rating; A.
A love story set on a Greek Isle during WW2, info about the Italian army there that I didn't know much about.

10. A Bastard of a Place The Australians in Papua by Peter Brune Peter Brune
Finish date; Feb 10, 2010.
Rating; A+. Eyeopening

message 7: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Hi Velvetink, I have had a copy of Peter Brune's "A Bastard of a Place" on my 'to-read' list for some time now. Have you read Paul Ham's "Kokoda" and if so how does it compare?

A Bastard of a Place The Australians in Papua by Peter Brune by Peter Brune

Kokoda by Paul Ham by Paul Ham

message 8: by Velvetink (last edited Nov 06, 2010 01:38AM) (new)

Velvetink | 59 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "Hi Velvetink, I have had a copy of Peter Brune's "A Bastard of a Place" on my 'to-read' list for some time now. Have you read Paul Ham's "Kokoda" and if so how does it compare?

Kokoda by Peter FitzSimonsPeter FitzSimons

- I found Peter Brune's book concentrated more on the decisions of the higher ranks - truthfully just scanned through some sections, mainly because I was looking for anyone who may have been the same unit as my grandfather.

message 9: by Velvetink (last edited Nov 06, 2010 04:28AM) (new)

Velvetink | 59 comments 11. Drylands by Thea Astley Thea Astley Thea Astley
Finish date; Feb 10, 2010
Rating; A. A bookstore owners' experience in an oppressive dying Australian country town.

12. The Conjuror's Bird by Martin Davies Martin Davies
Finish date; Feb 13, 2010
Rating; A+. Bit of a cross genre, detective + ornithology history. Loved this one.

13. Are You Somebody? The Life and Times of Nuala O'Faolain by Nuala O'Faolain Nuala O'Faolain Nuala O'Faolain
Finish date; Feb 26, 2010
Rating; A+
Autobiography of Nuala O'Faolain - Irish Journalist.

14. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters Sarah Waters Sarah Waters
Finish date; Feb 26, 2010
Rating; C.
Historical fiction, plot too absurd for me, but the historical descriptions were good.

15. Angela's Ashes A Memoir of a Childhood by Frank McCourt Frank McCourt Frank McCourt
Finish date; March 2010
Rating; A+.

16. Life at the Bottom The Worldview That Makes the Underclass by Theodore Dalrymple Theodore Dalrymple Theodore Dalrymple
Finish date; March 2, 2010
Rating; A+. he specialises in skewering sacred cows.

17. Ingenious Pain by Andrew Miller Andrew Miller
Finish date; March 8, 2010
Rating: A.
Cross genre, historical fiction and fantasy.

18. The Ringing Cedars #1 Anastasia by Vladimir Megré Vladimir Megré Vladimir Megré
Finish date; March 11, 2010
Rating; C-.
Not sure how to classify this, autobiography/folk tale/botany/cedar product advertisement. Russian.

19. Lost in Transmission by Jonathan Harley Jonathan Harley
Finish date; March 15, 2010
Rating; A.
Biographical memoirs of an ABC television journalist, his time in India, Pakistan and Afganistan from around 1999 up till September 11 and the following war on Terror.

How Rich Countries Got Rich and Why Poor Countries Stay Poor by Erik S. Reinert Erik S. Reinert
Finish date; March 16, 2010
Rating; B.
I'm new to economics so was a lot to take in. Mainly challenges economic orthodoxy.

21. Gould's Book of Fish by Richard Flanagan Richard Flanagan Richard Flanagan
Finish date; March 23, 2010
Rating; A+
An alternative history of a Tasmanian convict/painter.

22. Charlotte Badger-Buccaneer by Angela Badger Angela Badger
Finish date; March 23-4
Rating; B-.
Historical fiction of a convict woman, not really a buccaneer though.

23. Silencing Dissent How the Australian government is controlling public opinion and stifling debate by Clive Hamilton, Sarah Maddison Clive Hamilton, Sarah Maddison
Finish date; March 27, 2010
Rating; A+
A must read.

message 10: by Velvetink (last edited Nov 06, 2010 04:12AM) (new)

Velvetink | 59 comments APRIL

24. Roman Song by Brian Kennedy Brian Kennedy
Finish date: April 8, 2010
Rating; C
A poor Irish singer makes good in Rome. Gay love & romance.

25. But the Dead Are Many (Uqp Fiction) by Frank Hardy Frank Hardy
Finish date; April 10, 2010
Rating; B
Semi autobiographical fiction covers Frank Hardy's early naive days with the Australian Communist party during the cold war period.

26. Globalizing Rights The Oxford Amnesty Lectures 1999 (Oxford Amnesty Lectures) by Matthew Gibney Matthew Gibney
Finish date; April 11, 2010
Rating; A++
another must read = differing views on Globalization

27. Closed for Winter by Georgia Blain Georgia Blain
Finish date; April 28, 2010
Rating; C-
Sad and depressing


English Toss on Planet Andong by Dave Franklin Dave Franklin Dave Franklin
Finish date; May 5, 2010
Rating; C
Won this in the GR giveaways. Not my style really, comedy & satire, but the Korean setting interested me as did the life of an English tutor.

29. Flash House by Aimee E. Liu Aimee Liu Aimee Liu
Finish date; May 13, 2010.
Rating; A+
Engaging historical fiction, set in India & Nepal -1949 in India not long after India's Partition. Led me to other books = Kipling's view of the Great Game, Sven Hedin (explorer), Robert Shaw (explorer).

Beautiful Malice  by Rebecca James Rebecca James Rebecca James
Finish date; May 14, 2010
Rating; C
Won this on GR giveaways. A teen book - I could not fully relate (guess I am getting old). My 21yr old daughter read it, thought it too predictable.

State of the World 2005 Global Security by Worldwatch Institute Worldwatch Institute
Finish date; May 15, 2010
Rating; B-.
Covers the basics, a bit dated now.

The Australian Security Intelligence Organization An Unofficial History (Cass Series Studies in Intelligence) by Frank Cain Frank Cain
Finish date; May 15-16, 2010
Rating; B.
Covers only the early history.

33. Covet by Tara Moss Tara Moss
Finish date; May 17, 2010. Didn't finish.
Rating; C
a playaway audio book. Did not like the narrator (an American) trying to do an Australian accent.

34. The Death Collectors by Jack Kerley Jack Kerley Jack Kerley
Finish date; May 18, 2010
Rating; C to B
fast paced - serial killer novel. Others might rate it higher. I read them to take my mind off things.

35. Media Wars News at a Time of Terror by Danny Schechter Danny Schechter
Finish date; May 19, 2010
Rating; C
How the news is constructed. A little repetitive and dry.

36. Televising War From Vietnam to Iraq by Andrew Hoskins Andrew Hoskins
Finish date; May 20, 2010
Rating B
Hoskins’ main assertion is that television is central to the ‘social memory of war’. An interesting read.

message 11: by Velvetink (new)

Velvetink | 59 comments 37.
Ernest Hemingway;A Reconsideration by Phillip Young.
(sorry there are 873 drop down page menus for Hemingway - I went through 70 menus before I gave up searching in the add book/author gizmo).
Finish date; May 26, 2010
Rating; A

38. Chocolat by Joanne Harris Joanne Harris Joanne Harris
Finish date; May 28, 2010
Rating; C.

39. We Don't Live Here Anymore Three Novellas by Andre Dubus Andre Dubus Andre Dubus
Finish date; May 30, 2010
Rating; B
Short stories.

40. Kokoda by Peter FitzSimons Peter FitzSimons Peter FitzSimons
Finish date; May 30, 2010
Rating, B+
Discovered more pain in this than other books on the subject.

41. The Devil's Feather by Minette Walters Minette Walters Minette Walters
Finished; May 31, 2010
Great crime writer.


42. Dark Places by Kate Grenville Kate Grenville
Finish date; June 7, 2010
Rating; C-
Fiction - Could not stomach the main character.

43. The Angel of History by Bruno Arpaia Bruno Arpaia
Finish date; June 10, 2010
Rating; A+
Historical fiction; episodes involving Walter Benjamin are interwoven with the fictional story of some Spanish refugees during WW2. Walter Bendix Schönflies Benjamin (15 July 1892 – 27 September 1940) was a German-Jewish intellectual (philosopher, sociologist, literary critic,).

44. The man who painted women by John Sefton Newton John Sefton Newton
Finish date; June 11, 2010
Rating; C
Historical fiction of an artist a Spanish painter - a protege of Picasso, I took to be real, but in fact did not exist. Gets silly towards the end.

45. The Schoonermaster's Dance by Alan Gould Alan Gould
Finish date; June 14, 2010
Rating; C-B
Mariner's historical fiction. Not bad.

46. The Deposition of Father McGreevy by Brian O'Doherty Brian O'Doherty
Finish date; June 16, 2010
Rating; B, but it won't appeal to everyone. Written in a particularly meandering Irish way. The demise of a small Irish village during WW2.

47. Dreaming of East Western Women and the Exotic Allure of the Orient by Barbara Hodgson Barbara Hodgson
Finish date; June 20, 2010
Rating; C
A Mini coffee table book, introduction to 19th C women explorers.

48. The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl Matthew Pearl Matthew Pearl
Finish date; June 21, 2010
Rating, A
Alt. History/crime fiction 1865 Boston, involves poets and writers like Longfellow.

message 12: by Velvetink (last edited Nov 22, 2010 07:40AM) (new)

Velvetink | 59 comments 49. The garden of earthly delights  by Nicholas Salaman Nicholas Salaman
Finish date; June 25, 2010
Rating; A.
alt.Historical fiction

50. Dick for a Day What Would You Do If You Had One? by Fiona Giles Fiona Giles
Rating D
Funny this should end up No.50.


51. Diane Arbus A Biography by Patricia Bosworth Patricia Bosworth
Finish date; July 4,2010
Rating A+ Excellent biography of the photographer

52. Miracles of Life by J.G. Ballard J.G. Ballard J.G. Ballard
Finish date; July 9, 2010
Rating A+. Excellent.Interesting chapters on internment camps of Shanghai during WW2.

53. My Reading Life by Bob Carr Bob Carr
Finish date; July 14, 2010
Rating; B+. Lists a great selection of books Bob Carr recommends with his reviews. Many political/war/economics.

54. Young Will The Confessions of William Shakespeare by Bruce Cook Bruce Cook Bruce Cook
Finish date; July 17, 2010
Rating; B
Historical alt? fiction about Shakespeare

55. The Complete Mexican Cookbook Over 180 Authentic Recipes by Lourdes Nichols Lourdes Nichols
Finish date. July 26, 2010
Rating B. The taco sauce is good.

56. Just Kids by Patti Smith Patti Smith Patti Smith
Finish date; July 28, 2010
Rating; B+
Her life with Robert Mapplethorpe (photographer)

57. Punk Is Dead Punk Is Everything by Bryan Ray Turcotte Bryan Ray Turcotte
Finish date; July 30, 2010
Rating; D for text, A for great collection of posters

58. Let Sleeping Vets Lie by James Herriot James Herriot James Herriot
Finish date; July 30, 2010
Rating; B. Classic series about Yorkshire vets.


59. Acid Row by Minette Walters Minette Walters Minette Walters
Finish date; August 1, 2010
Rating; B-

60. Stasiland by Anna Funder Anna Funder
The author is the girl on this cover.
Finish date;August 4, 2010
Rating; A+.
investigates the GDR (before the Wall came down in 1989) and the life of the East Germans under the Stasi in interview form & her personal experiences.

61. A Hack's Progress by Phillip Knightley Phillip Knightley
Finish date; August 6, 2010
Rating; A+
Autobiography of an Australian Journalist.

message 13: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Impressive listing of books so far.

message 14: by Velvetink (new)

Velvetink | 59 comments Thanks Bentley, These days limiting myself to 2nd hand books in an effort to recycle, but sometimes find it difficult to keep on my preferred themes. The Up side is I have plenty to read when I get insomnia. ;))

message 15: by Velvetink (last edited Nov 22, 2010 07:40AM) (new)

Velvetink | 59 comments 62. The Bride Stripped Bare by Anonymous Nikki Gemmell
Finish date; 12 August 2010
Rating; C
My excuse = everyone seemed to be reading it.

63. Agent of the Devil by Hans Habe Hans Habe
Finish date; 13 August,2010
Rating; B.
The author Habe was an intelligence office during WW11 for the US Army. Written in 1958 -a classic spy thriller it's a bit dated now, but interesting.

64. James Nachtwey; Civil Wars (German Language) by James Nachtwey James Nachtwey
Finish date; 13 August, 2010
Rating A
James Nachtwey is a documentary war photographer, excellent - one of my heroes. - there's a DVD "War Photographer" also worth tracking down.

message 16: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
An impressive list Velvetink.,

message 17: by Velvetink (new)

Velvetink | 59 comments Thanks Bentley. I hope I can stay on track a bit better next year though.

message 18: by Velvetink (last edited Nov 22, 2010 07:42AM) (new)

Velvetink | 59 comments 65. Looking for the Mahdi by N. Lee Wood N. Lee Wood
Finish date; 15 August, 2010.
Sci-fi, an all-too-possible near-future where the face of global politics appears ominously familiar- set in the middle east mostly - main characters a journalist and a cyborg, reads a bit like Tanith LeeTanith Lee and William GibsonWilliam Gibson

66. Bliss (Travelman Romance) by Katherine Mansfield Katherine Mansfield Katherine Mansfield
Finish date;18 August, 2010
Rating, B. Classic Mansfield short story.

67. Gavin Maxwell A Life by Douglas Botting Douglas Botting
Finish date; 23 August, 2010
Rating A+++
Excellent - Douglas Botting a first rate biographer.
Much to enjoy for everyone, Maxwell led an amazing life, Grandson to a Duke, his SAS service, shark hunting, writing, conservationist, explorer, & much more.

68. Capote in Kansas A Ghost Story by Kim Powers Kim Powers
Finish date; 25 August, 2010
Rating; B
an alternative history of Harper Lee and Truman Capote with a twilight zoneish twist.

69. Mother Tongue by Demetria Martinez Demetria Martinez
Finish date; 28 August, 2010
Rating A+
Lyrical & poetic, Brings to life the heartache of refugees from El Salvador.


70. Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O'Connor Flannery O'Connor Flannery O'Connor
Finish date; 6 September 2010
Rating; C
O'Conner was an astute observer & writer. O’Connor loved the South,(she was born in Georgia) but I found the stories oppressive and depressing.

71. Katherine Mansfield. The woman and the writer. by Gillian Boddy Gillian Boddy
Finish date: 6 September, 2010
Rating; A
Very good biography of this New Zealand writer.

72. The Potato Factory by Bryce Courtenay Bryce Courtenay Bryce Courtenay
Finish date; 6 September, 2010
Rating; C-B
Australian/Colonial/Convict history based on real people (and Fagin from Dicken's Oliver Twist).
Oliver TwistCharles Dickens

73. Photocopies Stories by John Berger Photocopies: StoriesJohn Berger John Berger
Finish date; 7 September, 2010
Rating A.
Short stories of his time living in provincial France and memories of people he knows.Exquisite vignettes.

74. THE GREAT WORLD (PICADOR BOOKS) by David Malouf THE GREAT WORLDDavid Malouf David Malouf
Finish date; 14 September, 2010
Rating; A+
The lives & friendship of two Australian men over 60 odd years who met first as Japanese POW's & survived Changi & the Malay railway. Impressive writing, first time I have read Malouf.

message 19: by Velvetink (last edited Nov 24, 2010 06:25AM) (new)

Velvetink | 59 comments 75. Soft Machine by William S. Burroughs William S. Burroughs William S. Burroughs
Finish date; shelved halfway till 20 September, 2010
I was looking forward to seeing Burroughs' cut and paste method in the original. Bitterly disappointed.

76. Metallic Love (Silver Metal Lover, #2) by Tanith Lee Tanith Lee Tanith Lee
Finish date; 22 September, 2010
Rating; B-A
Sci-fi/fantasy, follow on from Silver Metal Lover.
The Silver Metal Lover (Silver Metal Lover, #1) by Tanith Lee Tanith Lee Tanith Lee

77. Journey into Barbary by Wyndham Lewis Wyndham Lewis Wyndham Lewis
Finish date: 27 September,2010
Extracts from Lewis's diaries of his travels in and around Morocco. Could have been edited better. Interesting,strange & funny explorer.

78. Kandy. What a drag! by Ken (Kandy) Johnson Ken (Kandy) Johnson
Finish date: 27 September, 2010
Rating: C
Poorly written autobiography.Could have been terrific if ghost written.


79. Howards End by E.M. Forster E.M. Forster (link to author won't work for me :()
Finish Date; 01 October, 2010
Perhaps the film was better? Didn't grab me but worth reading if you want to know what it was like around 1910 in England.

80. The Magdalene Scrolls by Barbara Wood Barbara Wood Barbara Wood
Finish date: 5th October,2010
Rating: D minus
Plot unbelievable, but interesting from early Jewish and Christian history point of view.

81. The Witch of Exmoor by Margaret Drabble Margaret Drabble Margaret Drabble
Finish Date; 12 October, 2010
Rating: B
Could have spent more time developing the main character but otherwise satisfying.

82. Bridge Across My Sorrows by Christina Noble Christina Noble
Finish date; 14 October, 2010
Rating; A
Irish author's autobiography and her quest to set up a foundation in Vietnam for homeless children.

83. Nat's Nat and That's That A Surfing Legend by Nat Young Nat Young
Finish date; 22 October, 2010
Rating A.
Very honest autobiography of an Australian surfing legend.

84. The Sound of One Hand Clapping by Richard Flanagan Richard Flanagan Richard Flanagan
Finish date; 27 October, 2010
Rating; A
Moving story set in a Tasmanian dam construction camp about a Slovenian family.


85. Don't Shoot Darling Women's Independent Filmmaking in Australia by Annette Blonski Annette Blonski
Finish Date; 1 November,2010
Rating: A
A fascinating and definitive record of independent women's filmmaking in Australia.

86. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami Haruki Murakami Haruki Murakami
Finish date; 5 November, 2010
Rating; A+
Inspirational not only to runners. Ironic I had a broken ankle when I started this.

89. A Late Education. Episodes in a Life by Alan Moorehead Alan Moorehead
Finish date; 8 November, 2010
Rating; A.
Very good memoir of the author, an Australian Journalist - he also covers fellow journalist, Alexander Clifford & their time together during WW2.

90. My Idea of Fun by Will Self Will Self Will Self
Finish date; 18 November, 2010
Rating; A
A strange kind of fantasy.

91. Gossip from the Forest by Thomas Keneally Thomas Keneally Thomas Keneally
Finish date; 24 November, 2010
Rating. B
It's a fictional presentation of the peace talks that took place in the forest of Compiègne in November 1918. It's written from the point of view of the German negotiator, Mattias Erzberger, a liberal pacifist. Made me google Napoleon III's private railway carriages. There's a link in my review to a recent photo of one of the carriages restored.

message 20: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Wow, you are reading machine.

message 21: by Velvetink (new)

Velvetink | 59 comments ;0 I've had insomnia all year, it's pretty much been my way of dealing with it. Normally I've never read this much.

message 22: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Well you spent your time wisely.

message 23: by Elizabeth S (new)

Elizabeth S (esorenson) | 2011 comments A very impressive list. While insomnia isn't fun, at least you get the benefit of more time to read. A "No great loss without some small gain" type of thing. Although having more time to read might be a big gain. :)

And thanks for your reviews. Some of those books look really interesting.

message 24: by Velvetink (new)

Velvetink | 59 comments 92. Icon (Cdn.Edition) by Frederick Forsyth Frederick Forsyth Frederick Forsyth
Finish date; 19 December 2010
Rating; B+

93. Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer Jonathan Safran Foer Jonathan Safran Foer
Finish date; 29 December 2010
Rating; A.
Young American man's search for Jewish roots in the Ukraine (former Volhynia area). I gave it an A for the inspiration, but the style might not be to everyone's taste. Extremely funny in parts & moving. There's a film also of the same name based on the book which I hear is worth tracking down.

back to top