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My Back Pages - December


Well, are you set for the big finish? You'll recall at the beginning of the year I'd set for myself the target of reading 50 books this year. Well, I went a little over, zipping through 6 books last month and ending out the year with a total of 67. It was an interesting month, as electric as ever, and I gave four books five/five stars.

First there was This Was a Man by Jeffrey Archer, one of my favourite authors, the 7th and final book in the so-called Clifton Chronicles, a sprawling family history of business and politics.

Then there was the excellent Testimony: A Memoir, the long-anticipated autobiography of The Band's Robbie Robertson.

Then I read a book recommended by my wife, The Book of Negroes by Canadian author Lawrence Hill. Very well written. Great story.

Don't know why, but I picked up Phil Collins' autobiography, Not Dead Yet: The Memoir. Meh. It was so-so. But it had a lot of interesting trivia about Genesis and Collins' solo career.

And then I read two excellent novels. The first was Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon's Moonglow. The second was Steven Rowley's first book, Lily and the Octopus, a quirky tale about a man and his dachshund.

So here's how I rated each book:

This Was a Man - Jeffrey Archer *****
Testimony: A Memoir - Robbie Robertson *****
The Book of Negroes - Lawrence Hill *****
Not Dead Yet: The Memoir - Phil Collins ****
Moonglow - Michael Chabon ****
Lilly and the Octopus - Steven Rowley *****

Later this week I'll re-cap my reads for 2016 and let you in on my favourites of the year.

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My Back Pages - November

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Here, as promised is a month-by-month breakdown of the 67 books I delved into this year. I got off to a strong start and then my intake dwindled for a couple of months until picking back up in April. I'll let you in on my favourites at the end of this list.

January

Here, There and Everywhere:
My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles - Geoff Emerick - ****
H is for Hawk - Helen Macdonald - ***
Close To The Edge - The Story of Yes - Chris Welch - ***
Sweet Caress - William Boyd - ****


February

Purity by Jonathan Franzen 
Still Alice by Lisa Genova.


March

Natchez Burning - Greg Iles
The Promise (Elvis Cole #20) - Robert Crais

April

The Snowman (Harry Hole)- Joe Nesbo ****
Phantom (Harry Hole) - Joe Nesbo ****
The Leopard (Harry Hole) - Jo Nesbo ****


May

George Harrison Reconsidered ***
The Heart Goes Last - Margaret Atwood ****
Dropping The Needle - The Vinyl Dialogues Volume II ***
The Electric Mist with the Confederate Dead, (Dave Robicheaux #6) - James Lee Burke****


June/.July

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He'd covered all the bases. He'd bought the ring, a bouquet of flowers and a set of knee pads. If she said "no" at least they'd have a good laugh over the knee pads. If she said yes they'd remember him down on his knees this day forever.

He grabbed everything, locked the apartment door and descended the stairs. The restaurant was nearby so he decided to walk. As he waited on the corner for the light to change he thought of spending the rest of his life with Georgina. Not that he was being presumptuous but he had a good sense she felt the same way too. He was sure it was kismet. And besides wi…