My Bookshelf

I enjoy reading when I have the time, and thought that I’d share some of my more memorable and recommended reads here. Click on the images of the books to jump to the online bookstore pages, if you’re so inclined.

For a full list of books I’ve read, visit my Shelfari bookshelf.

Current Events

War, Big Oil, and the Fight for the Planet: It’s the Crude, Dude. Linda McQuaig (2004) — This book was given to me as a gift and I initially thought it would be a boring read so it sat on my shelf for a few months. When I eventually started reading it, I was pleasantly surprised.

I was drawn in to the book by how historical events around the globe were linked to form the present state of affairs–that is: the US at war with Iraq, the current price of gas, OPEC, the effect on the environment and global warming, the automotive industry, US domestic and foreign policies, and the list goes on.

As a journalist for several major Canadian newspapers and national magazines, McQuaig’s writing is chock full of well researched facts (endnotes are included). She even goes right to the source with interviews with several prominent players in the oil industry, including Saudi Arabian sheikhs and Venuzualan President Hugo Chavez.

This book will enlighten anyone who’s ever questioned why the US went to war with Iraq, or why Big Oil becomes so rich off of a necessary (in today’s world) commodity.

Fiction

The Road. Cormac McCarthy (2006) — It’s the end of the world.  The land lies barren of life, not even a blade of grass grows.  The sky is grey, the sun never shines, rain and snow come down mixed with ash.  Presumably this is the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust.

This book tells the story of a father and son who are fighting to survive in this wasteland.  There is a strong bond between father and son, which is strengthed as each passing day brings them closer to their final destination. This emotional side to the book is a nice contrast to the otherwise depressing nature of the world McCarthy has created.

McCarthy does an excellent job of depicting what the final days/weeks/months of human life on Earth would be like.  With no food to eat, and no way to grow it, people resort to unimaginable things.  While not gory or graphic, this novel does explore the details of humankind’s end-game.

This book definitely left me thinking.

Travel

In a Sunburned Country. Bill Bryson (2000) — I don’t normally read travel literature, but this book might change this fact.  As I was planning a trip to Australia, this book was given to me as an “entertaining yet informative read”.  I  have to say, this book met and exceeded all my expectations.

The book is written by the well known author Bill Bryson.  Bryson’s dry and witty humour really makes this book worth the read.  He also digs deep into the history and culture of Australia and provides lots of useful (and not useful but interesting nonetheless) information on pretty much everything that is Australia.

The writing style is basically Bryson recounting his experiences in vivid detail, but also including historical notes and facts to make the book informative as well as interesting.  Perhaps the best parts of the book are conversations he has with other tourists, or his travel companions.  Bryson’s witty humour really shines on these interactions, and at times I was even laughing out loud!

If you’re planning a trip down-under, have already been there, or are just looking for an entertaining read in general, I highly recommend this book.