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Book 30 (from 2011)

  1. Portis, Charles — True Grit (215 pages)
  2. Simpson, Joe — Touching the Void (210 pages)
  3. Bardin, John Franklin — The Last of Philip Banter (207 pages)
  4. Millar, Martin — The Good Fairies of New York (278 pages)
  5. Millar, Mark — Kick-Ass (190 pages)
  6. Sachar, Louis — Holes (225 pages)
  7. Baxter, Stephen — Moonseed (523 pages)
  8. Buchan, John — The Thirty-Nine Steps (152 pages)
  9. Bukowski, Charles — Post Office (167 pages)
  10. Palahniuk, Chuck — Fight Club (211 pages)
  11. Bemelmans, Ludwig — Madeline's Rescue (50 pages)
  12. Rennison, Nick — Bloomsbury Good Reading Guide, Eighth Edition (508 pages)
  13. Rucka, Greg & Steve Lieber — Whiteout (120 pages)
  14. Rucka, Greg & Steve Lieber — Whiteout: Melt (106 pages)
  15. Orwell, George — Homage to Catalonia (267 pages)
  16. Moore, Brian — Catholics (87 pages)
  17. Chatwin, Bruce — The Songlines (296 pages)
  18. Funke, Cornelia — Inkheart (555 pages)
  19. Eddison, E.R. — The Worm Ouroboros (521 pages)
  20. Milligan, Spike — Puckoon (152 pages)
  21. Jones, Diana Wynne — Power of Three (293 pages)
  22. Juster, Norton — The Phantom Tollbooth (264 pages)
  23. Jeffreys, Daniel — America's Back Porch (286 pages)
  24. Robinson, Marilynne — Housekeeping (217 pages)
  25. Stevenson, Robert Louis — Treasure Island (212 pages)
  26. Bissinger, Buzz — 3 Nights in August (296 pages)
  27. Rennison, Nick & Ed Wood — 100 Must-Read American Novels (185 pages)
  28. Cassar, Vincent & Nik Kalinowski — Bloomsbury Good Reading Guide: World Fiction (351 pages)
  29. Williams, Niall — Four Letters of Love (340 pages)
  30. Maxwell, Virginia & Duncan Garwood — Lonely Planet: Sicily (349 pages)

Page count: 7833.

Yes, I really am counting this as one of my books read because, yes, I really did read it cover to cover. I never planned to. Indeed, I never even planned to buy it.

I had already been in Sicily for several hours, strolling through the town of Cefalù in the evening, when I happened to spot it in a newsagent and bought it. The Mad Fisher had suggested that morning I buy the Lonely Planet guide instead of winging it through Sicily. I looked for it at Heathrow, again at the airport in Rome, and yet again at the airport in Palermo. But I'm glad I finally found it in Cefalù. The things I would have missed if I hadn't picked it up!

As I'm sure several of you have discovered, the Lonely Planet guides are packed with information about things to see, places to eat, things to avoid, etc., etc., are aimed at travellers on a modest budget, and are far more thorough than most travel guides. Most of the information in this book was spot on. I never would have thought to try seltz or pasta alla Norma in Catania, and might not have insisted on cous-cous in San Vito lo Capo. I'm sure I would have missed out on wine-flavoured gelatto in Ragusa and I wouldn't have met Maria Grammatico in Erice, who makes the best cannoli (and other pastries) in the world. I might have wasted more than an hour in Messina if the guide hadn't steered me away. I wouldn't have known to seek out the honey in the little town of Zafferana Etnea on the slopes of Mt. Etna. And so on, and so forth.

The true testament to this guide's worth, perhaps, is that I continued to read it after I left Sicily, to learn about all the wonderful places I couldn't see this time around and might target on my next visit. The authors' humour, local knowledge, and love of Sicily shone through in their writing, making this travel guide a real pleasure to read.

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