Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Monday, January 2, 2012

Book List 2012

It's the second day of the new year, you slugs. Get your books out and start reading!

Here's my list. I predict I'll make about a third of it by year's-end, if I'm lucky. Also, I hate Barack Obama because I think he reads faster than I do. That is unacceptable.

Everything marked with a * is something I'm already reading currently. Blame that crazy Canuck for teaching me bad reading habits. All book recommendations accepted. Quite a few on this year's list are from friends, old and new.

  1. *7 Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen R. Covey
  2. *50 Stories - Kay Boyle
  3. 130 Projects To Get You Into Filmmaking - Grove
  4. A Concise History of Indian Art - Roy C. Craven
  5. A History of Cambodia - David Chandler
  6. A History of Democratic Kampuchea - Khamboly Dy
  7. A History of India 1 - Romila Thapar
  8. A History of India 2 - Percival Spear
  9. *A House in Gross Disorder - Cynthia B. Herrup
  10. A Journalist, A General, and An Army in Burma - U Thaung
  11. A Nation in Waiting - Adam Schwartz
  12. A New History of India - Stanley Wolpert
  13. *A Spy's Revenge - Richard V. Hall
  14. A Tale Of Millions: Bangladesh Liberation War - M. Rafiqul Islam
  15. Adventures in the Skin Trade - Dylan Thomas
  16. Agnes Smedley - J.R. & S.R. MacKinnon
  17. Alexander The Great - W.W. Tarn
  18. *Among the White Moonfaces - Shirley Lim
  19. An Advanced History of India - Majumdar, Raychaudhari, & Datta
  20. Angle of Repose - Wallace Stegner
  21. Asian Dragons & Green Trade - Simon Tay & Daniel Esty
  22. Back to Mandalay - Gerry Abbott
  23. Bangladesh From Mujib to Ershad, an interpretive study - Lawrence Ziring
  24. Beating the Blues - Thase & Lang
  25. Before Kampuchea - Milton Osborne
  26. Being Wrong - Kathryn Schultz
  27. *Bird by Bird - Anne Lamott
  28. Black Dog of Fate - Peter Balakian
  29. Cambodia Silenced: The Press Under 6 Regimes - Harish Mehta
  30. Cambodia's Hidden Scars -
  31. Can You Forgive Her? - Anthony Trollope
  32. Captains of Consciousness - Stuart Ewen
  33. Ceylon - S. Arasaratnam
  34. China's Second Revolution - Harry Harding
  35. Chinese Customs - Henri Dore
  36. Chinese Warlord - The Career of Feng Yu Hsiang - James E. Sheridan
  37. Cinema, Emergence, & The Films of Satyajit Roy - Keya Ganguly
  38. Clarissa - Samuel Richardson
  39. Colonial Masculinity - Mrinalini Sinha
  40. Crime and Punishment - Dostoevsky
  41. Daddyji - Ved Mehta
  42. Death in Venice - Thomas Mann
  43. Decolonizing the Mind - Ngugi wa Thiong'o
  44. Designer Genes - Chee Heng Leng & Chan Chee Koon, eds.
  45. Desis in the House - Sunaina Maira
  46. Dharma and Development -
  47. Digital Filmmaking - Mike Figgis
  48. Discos and Democracy - Orville Schell
  49. *Don Quixote - Cervantes
  50. *Dread - The Rastafarians of Jamaica - Joseph Owens
  51. *Dubliners - James Joyce
  52. Enemies of the People - Anne F. Thurston
  53. Extraordinary Popular Delusions - Charles Mackay
  54. Facing the Cambodian Past - David Chandler
  55. Facets of Taoism - Holmes Welch & Anna Seidel
  56. Fighting Spirit of East Timor - Rowena Lennox
  57. *Finnegan's Wake - James Joyce
  58. Fire In The Lake - Frances Fitzgerald
  59. First Person Singular - Joyce Carol Oates
  60. Flash of the Spirit -
  61. Flashbacks - Morley Safer
  62. Flower Of The Dragon - Richard Boyle
  63. Folklore From Contemporary Jamaicans - Daryl C. Dance
  64. Folklore of Tamil Nadu - S.M.L. Lakshman Chettiar
  65. Following Ho Chi Minh - Bui Tinh
  66. Futureland - Walter Moseley
  67. Gandhi - Louis Fischer
  68. Gandhi's Truth — On the Origins of Militant Nonviolence - Erik H. Erikson
  69. Gangsters and Revolutionaries - Robert Cribb
  70. *Getting Organized - Stephanie Winston
  71. Gotta Have It - Spike Lee
  72. Grasshoppers and Elephants - Wilfred Burchett
  73. Granta on Film
  74. Heritage of China - Contemporary Perspectives on Chinese Civilization - Ed. Paul S. Ropp
  75. *Hero And Deity - Pham Quynh Phuong
  76. Herzog - Saul Bellow
  77. Hinduism - Its Historical Development - Troy Wilson Organ
  78. *I Can Make You Thin - Paul McKenna
  79. In One's Own Shadow - Xin Liu
  80. Incursion: From America's Chokehold on the NVA Lifelines to the Sacking of the Cambodian Sanctuaries - J.D. Coleman
  81. India Wins Freedom - Maulana Abul Kalam Azad
  82. Indian Art - Philip Rawson
  83. Indonesian Confrontation - Gabriel Tan
  84. Into Cambodia - Keith William Nolan
  85. IsvarChandra Vidyasagar -
  86. Khmers Stand Up! - Justin Corfield
  87. Laogai - The Chinese Gulag - Harry Wu Hong da
  88. *Lempriere's Dictionary - Lawrence Norfolk
  89. Leviathan - Hobbes
  90. Light in August - William Faulkner
  91. Mandarins, Jews, and Missionaries - Michael Pollak
  92. Mandate of Heaven - Orville Schell
  93. Masters of Light - Schaefer & Salvato
  94. May 13 - Kua Kim Soong
  95. Meena, Heroine of Afghanistan - Melody Ermachild Chavis
  96. Microeconomic Theory - Gould & Ferguson
  97. *Middlemarch - George Eliot
  98. Mike Leigh on Mike Leigh - Amy Raphael, ed.
  99. My Traitor's Heart - Rian Malan
  100. Myths About The Ethnic Chinese "Economic Miracle" - Joaquin Sy & Go Bon Juan
  101. *Nakshi Kantha of Bengal - Sila Basak
  102. Norodom Sihanouk: My War With The CIA - Wilfred Burchett
  103. One Blood — The Jamaican Body - Elisa Janine Sobo
  104. Orientalism - Edward W. Said
  105. Our Lady of Controversy - Alma Lopez
  106. *Outwitting the Gestapo - Lucie Aubrac
  107. Painting Islam as the New Enemy -
  108. Pearl S. Buck, A Cultural Biography - Peter Conn
  109. Personal Voices - Chinese Women in the '80s - Emily Honig & Gail Hershatter
  110. Physics and Philosophy - Werner Heisenberg
  111. Physiology of the Human Body - Guyton
  112. Pol Pot - Philip Short
  113. Popular Songs and Ballads of Han China - Anne Birrele
  114. *Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - James Joyce
  115. Primitive Art - Frank Boas
  116. *Prometheus Rising - Robert Anton Wilson
  117. Punjabi Century 1857-1947 - Prakash Tandon
  118. Rasta & Resistance - Horace Campbell
  119. Rastafari Roots & Ideology - Barry Chevannes
  120. Reading Lolita In Teheran - Azar Nafisi
  121. Red China Blues - Jan Wong
  122. Reeducating Chinese Anti-Communists - J.A. Fyfield
  123. Resistance and Reform in Tibet -
  124. Revolution Postponed - Margery Wolf
  125. River of Shadows - Rebecca Solnit
  126. Roots of Rastafari - Virginia Lee Jacobs
  127. Rosie - Anne Lamott
  128. Rural Development in China - Fei Hsiao Tung
  129. Satyajit Ray: The Inner Eye (The Biography Of A Master Film-Maker - Andrew Robinson
  130. Sayles on Sayles - Gavin Smith, ed.
  131. Screenwriting 434 - Lew Hunter
  132. Self Censorship: Singapore's Shame - James Gomez
  133. Shanghai Refuge, A Memoir of the WWII Jewish Ghetto - Ernest G. Heppner
  134. Sherpas Through Their Rituals - Sherry B. Ortner
  135. Shoot Me - Simonelli & Frumkes
  136. Showdown - Jorge Amado
  137. Singapore The Air-Conditioned Nation - Cherian George
  138. Singapore Women Re-presented - Constance Singam and Audrey Chin
  139. Sisters in the Resistance - Margaret Collins Weitz
  140. Sisters of Heaven - Gully
  141. Son of the Revolution - Liang Heng & Judith Shapiro
  142. Strangers Always A Jewish Family in Wartime Shanghai - Rena Krasno
  143. Stress and Mental Health in Malaysian Society - Tan Chee Khuan
  144. The Adventures of Wu - H.Y. Lowe
  145. The Argumentative Indian - Amartya Sen
  146. The Art of the Novel - Milan Kundera
  147. The Audacity of Hope - Barak Obama
  148. The Autobiography of An Unknown Indian - Nirad C. Chaudhary
  149. The Bedroom of The Mister's Wife - Philip Hensher
  150. The Bengal Muslims 1871 - 1906 - Ahmed
  151. The British Humiliation of Burma - Terence R. Blackburn
  152. The Butcher Boy - Patrick McCabe
  153. *The Canterbury Tales - Chaucer
  154. The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence - Victor Marchetti & John D. Marks
  155. The City & The City - China Mieville
  156. The Declaration of Independent Filmmaking - Polish, Polish, & Sheldon
  157. The Devil Finds Work - James Baldwin
  158. The Discovery of India - Jawaharlal Nehru
  159. The Dragon Empress - Marina Warner
  160. The Emergence of Modern Turkey - Bernard Lewis
  161. The May 13 Generation - Poh Soo Kai, ed.
  162. The Forgotten Army (Indian Mutiny) - Peter Ward Fay
  163. The Gate - Francois Bizot
  164. The Gene Hunters Biotechnology and the scramble for seeds - Calestous Juma
  165. The Gift - Lewis Hyde
  166. The Great Hedge of India - Roy Moxham
  167. The Hatchet Man of Singapore - J.B. Jeyaretnam
  168. The Idiot - Fyodor Dostoevsky
  169. The Indonesian Revolution and The Singapore Connection - Yong Mun Cheong
  170. The Journey to the West, Vol. 1 - Anthony Yu
  171. *The Last Emperor - Edward Behr
  172. The Lives of Agnes Smedley - Ruth Price
  173. The March of Folly From Troy To Vietnam - Barbara W. Tuchman
  174. The Men Who Ruled India Vol. I The Founders - Philip Woodruff
  175. The Men Who Ruled India, Vol. II The Guardians - Philip Woodruff
  176. The Mighty Wave - He Jin (Transl: Tan Jing Quee, Loh Miaw Gong, Hong Lysa)
  177. *The Mind's I - Hofstadter & Dennett
  178. The Mother Tongue - Bill Bryson
  179. The New China - Alvin Rabushika
  180. The Opium War Through Chinese Eyes - Arthur Waley
  181. The Origins of Chinese Kongsi -
  182. The Political Economy of Social Control in Singapore - Christopher Tremewan
  183. The Politics of Sri Lanka - Robert N. Kearney
  184. The Politics of the Chinese Cultural Revolution - Lee Hong Yung
  185. The Portable Dorothy Parker - Brendan Gill
  186. The Rape of Bangladesh - Mascarenhas
  187. The Rastafarians - Leonard E. Barrett, Sr.
  188. The Remembered Village - M.N. Srinivasan
  189. The Rig Veda - Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty, transl
  190. *The Rise & Fall of the Knights Templar - Gordon Napier
  191. The Sinkiang Story - Jack Chen
  192. The Soong Dynasty - Sterling Seagrave
  193. The Spirit of Chinese Politics - Lucian Pye
  194. The Story of Zahra - Hanan al-Shaykh
  195. The Ugly Chinaman - Bo Yang
  196. The Unmaking of Malaysia -
  197. The Voice At The Backdoor - Elizabeth Spencer
  198. The Wilting of the Hundred Flowers - Mu Fu Sheng
  199. Third World Filmmaking -
  200. Time Bombs in Malaysia - Lim Kit Siang
  201. Transition to Neo-Confucianism - Anne D. Birdwhistell
  202. Unmasking Najib -
  203. Victims and Perpetrators - Ea Meng-try & Sorya Sim
  204. Wanted: Equality and Justice In The Muslim Family - Zainah Anwar, ed.
  205. War and Peace - Tolstoy
  206. Who Killed Aung San? - Kin Oung
  207. West Indians And Their Language - Peter A. Roberts
  208. Western Birds - Roger Tory Peterson
  209. Wikileaks - David Leigh & Luke Harding
  210. Wild Swans - Jung Chang
  211. Witness to an Era - Frank Moraes
  212. Women Creating Indonesia: The First Fifty Years -
  213. Women in the Holocaust - Dalia Ofer, Lenore J. Weitzman, Eds.
  214. Writers' Workshop in a Book - Cheuse and Alvarez
  215. Yonnondio - Tillie Olsen
  216. Your Future, My Faith, Our Freedom - Chee Soon Juan
  217. Your Memory: A User's Guide - Alan Baddeley

There's about 105 books left to go on the list, but I can't climb up to reach them. Soon as the knee heals, I'll update the list. Helps me keep track of what I've lent, borrowed, read, and given away. This year's heavy on fiction, so quit complaining, all you monsters. And for god's sake, I don't want to hear any whining about all the war-related and torture-related history stuff I'm reading. Especially since y'all so don't want me pointing out who gave/lent them to me, yaknow?

Year-end Book Review 2011

Photo copyright K. Smokey Cormier

It's the first day of 2012, and time for the annual Book Review and Book List.

I started off with 189 books on the list, which I thought was ridiculously high, even for a no-longer-painfully-employed person with a gimpy leg requiring lots of icing and elevation. Before the year was out, the list had swelled to 305 books. After Dad and Zingiber both died, I couldn't read for a long time. I had expected I could get through 60 books at best, what with all my own projects (none of which got off the ground this year, so I don't want to hear NOBODY bitching, OK? I started. I made the effort. It's ongoing. They'll happen. Now lea'me 'lone).

I ended reading 85. Still means I have a shitload of reading to do, but at least these books are done, read and to be returned to friends, library, etc., as applicable. Most important: there are no longer enormous piles of books everywhere. That's the goal. To read everything I find interesting and want to and can, to keep up with my interests by reading all the current stuff in teh fields various, and to get rid of anything I won't use again. I'm getting old enough that I have to think about whoever's going to have the unenviable task of shoveling my shit, just like I shoveled my parents'. When I pop my clogs, I want to go with two sets of clothing, my bed, and a few books, and not much else.

And right now, the fact that 305 books is an infinitesimal fraction of the number of books in this house is something to consider.

No more lengthy reviews. Everything's linked if you want more info, and feel free to ask if you want/need. For those who've been complaining that I read too much depressing shit, please note that I read a shitload of fluffy stuff. :P Everything marked with a florid pink star is something I'm currently reading. Blame that crazy Canuck for this bad new habit of reading a few pages here and there and then picking up something else. I won't do it no more, I promise.

  1. Adam Bede - George Eliot Very very so worth the reading.
  2. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks Eh. Novel.
  3. Blackwater - Kerstin Ekman Weird, interesting murder mystery (?), skilled writer, complex situation.
  4. Buddhism in Vietnam - Minh Chi, Ha Van Tan, Nguyen Tai Thu Interesting mainly to students of one or the other of the title topics.
  5. Chinese Carving - Craig Clunas Beautiful, fascinating, informative.
  6. Darkly Dreaming Dexter - Jeff Lindsay Fluff.
  7. Deadheads - Reginald Hill Very well-written semi-fluffy fluff.
  8. Dearly Devoted Dexter - Jeff Lindsay So the fluff.
  9. Dexter by Design - Jeff Lindsay I had a thing for Dexter, momentarily.
  10. Dexter in the Dark - Jeff Lindsay Also.
  11. Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant - Anne Tyler Powerful writer. Makes it look easy.
  12. Fables in Slang - George Ade Landmark work in the field.
  13. Foreign Correspondence - Geraldine Brooks Interesting, worth reading, not a keeper.
  14. From Bush to Bush - Don Novello He's still hilarious.
  15. From Caligari to Hitler - Siegfried Kracauer Seminal work on early German film.
  16. From Colony to Nation - Singapore History Museum Primer, only of interest to those with an interest in the history of the country.
  17. Ho Chi Minh: A Journey - Lady Borton Interesting. Very interesting.
  18. Ho Chi Minh On Revolution - Bernard Fall, ed. In Nguyen Ai Quoc's own words.
  19. In Pursuit of Mountain Rats - Anthony Short Outdated, incorrect in parts, doctrinaire, an apologist for colonialism, mostly.
  20. Justice Hall - Laurie King Not worth reading.
  21. Life - Keith Richards Fan of Keef's music, but his life, not so much.
  22. Lo t'o Hsiang Tzu (Rickshaw) - Lao She Not sure I liked the translation so much, but it's one of the first Chinese literary works that revolves around a poor peasant character.
  23. MacArthur Strikes Back - Harry A. Gailey Military history. Interesting look at the war in those parts.
  24. Midnight Fugue - Reginald Hill I can't find enough words of praise for Reginald Hill, even when he's writing fluff.
  25. Minorities of the Sino-Vietnamese Borderland - Maurice Abadie Fascinating snapshot in time of the border tribes living in/between Vietnam and China.
  26. Murder and Mayhem in 17th Century Cambodia - Alfons van der Kraan Not for the tender of heart or mind. Most annoying, van der Kraan talks about how important it was for the Dutch to "punish" the "savage" monarchs of various nations whose wealth the Dutch desired. Ugh. The blood boils.
  27. Offerings: The Ritual Art of Bali - Francine Brinkgreve Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful.
  28. On Beulah Heights - Reginald Hill OK, it was fluff, but rather depressing fluff.
  29. On The Road - Jack Kerouac Greatly overrated.
  30. People's War, People's Army - Vo Nguyen Giap Giap's notes for speeches he gave and articles he wrote. Interesting, but limited.
  31. Porcelain From The VungTao Wreck - Sverker Hallstrom Fascinating/mixed description of an excavation of a shipwreck revealing the nature and aspects of trade between China and VN.
  32. Pump Six - Paolo Bacigalupi Fluff.
  33. Random Acts of Senseless Violence - Jack Womak Er ... bloody fluff.
  34. Rastafarian Theology - Imani Nyah No. Just no.
  35. Rickshaw Coolie: A People's History - J. Francis Warren Interesting look at the historical facts of life for poor working people in colonial Singapore.
  36. Sandakan: A Conspiracy of Silence - Lynette Ramsay Silver Yet another senseless tragedy of WW II
  37. Selves/Jati Diri - Kwok Kian Woon, T. Sasitharan, Arun Mahizhnan, eds. Interesting
  38. Sexual Behaviour of Women in Singapore - V. Aputharajah Dated. Informational. Useful.
  39. Shakespeare Wrote For Money - Nick Hornby Another delightful writer.
  40. Shirin Fozdar, Asia's Foremost Feminist - Rose Ong Why is so little known about this fascinating woman?
  41. Shit My Dad Says - Justin Halperin Fluff. Brian ought to know.
  42. Silas Marner - George Eliot Good. Great. What a writer.
  43. Signal to Noise - Sinclair Fluff.
  44. Singapore:Journey Into Nationhood Limited interest.
  45. Singapore & The Many-Headed Monster - Joe Conceicao Memoirs, really. Of dubious interest.
  46. Singapore's People's Action Party: Its History, Organization and Leadership - Pang Cheng Lian Reads like a poli sci major's thesis. And inadequate, at that.
  47. Start-up - Jerry Kaplan Very interesting.
  48. Stories of Your Life - Ted Chiang Interesting.
  49. Stuff on My Cat Total fluff, but enjoyable.
  50. Sunset Limited - James Lee Burke Fluff. Interesting.
  51. Suspicious Death Scene Investigation - Anthony Busuttii, Peter Vanezes, eds. If this book weren't so expensive, I'd want it. It's a professional manual for people who actually do this shit for a living. Fascinating.
  52. The Birth of Vietnam - Keith Weller Taylor For students of VN history. Really excellent, too.
  53. The Book of Salt - Monique Truong A very impressive first work.
  54. The Clock Winder - Anne Tyler She's a damn good writer.
  55. The Death of the Heart - Elizabeth BowenHow ignorant I am, to only just have discovered this writer!
  56. The End of The Affair - Graham Greene Way overrated.
  57. The Golden Gate and The Silver Screen - Geoffrey Bell The SF Bay Area and the movie industry. Fascinating.
  58. The Gone-Away World - Nick Harkaway Fluff.
  59. The Haunted Screen - Lotte Eisner A classic of film history and German Expressionism.
  60. The Ho Chi Minh Trail - Hoang Khoi Interesting. Wish I'd kept my copy, now.
  61. The Illustrated Communist Manifesto - Delightful.
  62. The Imp - Yes.
  63. The Japanese Occupation:Singapore 1942-1945 - Singapore Archives & Oral History Dept Depressing.
  64. The Jews of Singapore - Joan Bieder Fascinating.
  65. The Life Cycle of Software Objects - Ted Chiang Fluff.
  66. The Penang Po Leung Kuk - Neil Khor Jin Kiong Limited interest: Chinese women in Southeast Asia, prostitution, social ailments and response.
  67. The Peranakan - Fascinating snippets of Peranakan history and culture
  68. The Rice Birds: Folktales from Thailand - C. & K. Velder Very interesting
  69. The Seed Finder - John Jeavons & Robin Leler For serious gardeners. Getting dated, though.
  70. The Singapore Council of Women and The Women's Movement - Phyllis Ghim Lian Chew Limited interest.
  71. The Singapore House - Edwards Limited interest.
  72. The Syonan Years I - Lee Geok Boi Japanese occupation of Singapore. Extremely depressing.
  73. The Syonan Years II - Lee Geok Boi See above.
  74. The Tragedy of Wanit - Benjamin Batson & Shimizu Hajime Thailand in WW II
  75. The Violent Bear It Away - Flannery O'Connor Not fluff. Very depressing.
  76. The Warden - Anthony Trollope Not fluff, but not depressing, either.
  77. The Wha Chi Memoirs - Liang Shang Wan, Jian Hua Resistance guerillas in the Philippines.
  78. The Wood Beyond - Reginald Hill Priceless.
  79. This Is Not Civilization - Robert Rosenberg Interesting, if sometimes cynical and dreary.
  80. Vietnam & America: The Most Comprehensive Documented History of the Vietnam War - Gettleman, et al For historians and scholars.
  81. VietNam Cultural Window - A contemporary magazine about VN culture and modern VN
  82. Warsaw of Asia: The Rape of Manila - Boni Escoda Interesting, but in desperate need of an editor.
  83. We The Animals - Justin Torres What an excellent opus!
  84. When Elephants Dance - Tess Uriza Holthe Just watch the movie, it'll hurt less.
  85. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte I'm still amazed at the power of this young girl's book.
  86. *7 Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen R. Covey I'm reading this because my time management skills suck ass, OK? Ditto for the others in this vein.
  87. *50 Stories - Kay Boyle Been meaning to read her forever, and I'm glad I finally did.
  88. *A House in Gross Disorder - Cynthia B. Herrup Fascinating but complex and now I can't remember what it's about. Law and power. I know that much.
  89. *A Spy's Revenge - Richard V. Hall Urgh. A spy scandal, but I don't remember when.
  90. *Among the White Moonfaces - Shirley Lim Peranakan feminist's memoirs
  91. *Don Quixote - Cervantes
  92. *Dubliners - James Joyce
  93. *Finnegan's Wake - James Joyce
  94. *Getting Organized - Stephanie Winston
  95. *Hero And Deity - Pham Quynh Phuong Fascinating, but I put it down to go read more VN history.
  96. *Lempriere's Dictionary - Lawrence Norfolk It's good, I don't know why I put it down.
  97. *Middlemarch - George Eliot It's nearly a thousand pages, but I already know I'm going to love it.
  98. *Outwitting the Gestapo - Lucie Aubrac Fascinating.
  99. *Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - James Joyce
  100. *Prometheus Rising - Robert Anton Wilson Not sure I want to read this.
  101. *The Canterbury Tales - Chaucer It's always good to reread things you once enjoyed.
  102. *The Last Emperor - Edward Behr Re-reading this now that I'm filling in gaps in Chinese history
  103. *The Rise & Fall of the Knights Templar - Gordon Napier Much more interesting than Dan Brown.