During the vacation I've read quite a lot of books, at almost twice my normal rate. There's just more free time on a vacation (and the nightlife in New Zealand isn't too great ;-))

Anyway, here is the list of the books I read, in very rough chronological order (a couple of them were finished in 2006, but I'll attribute them to 2007 anyway). I won't be writing the usual full fledged reviews because there's too many of them, but I do include a short description.

  1. "Gideon's spies" by Gordon Thomas

    Telling some of the known facts about Mossad's (Israeli equivalent of CIA or MI6) operations, including many interviews with some of Mossad's past agents.
  2. "Being Here, Shaping a preferred future" by Christine Loh

    She is a member of Hong Kong's government and past activist and committee member. Tells about Hong Kong's politics, somewhat autobiographic in nature.
  3. "Baghdad without a map" by Tony Horwitz

    The traveling reporter's adventures in the Middle East in the late 80s.
  4. "Spy catcher" by Peter Wright

    The former assistant director of MI5 tells about his years in the agency. I heard it was quite a controversial book at its time.
  5. "Adventure Capitalist" by Jim Rogers

    This rich dude packed himself and his young wife into a special built Mercedes and has done a mighty road trip across the world (152,000 miles), telling about his impressions of the countries' economies along the way.
  6. "The journey of man - A genetic odyssey" by Spencer Wells

    Trying to follow the early history of man's journey from Africa colonizing other parts of the world. Interesting but doesn't add much information over other books.
  7. "A history of the middle east" by Peter Mansfield

    A careful and expansive account of the history of the Middle East from early times to the second half of the 20th century.
  8. "From Beirut to Jerusalem" by Thomas Friedman

    He was a reporter in Lebanon for a few years, and then moved to Israel. This book is his story of the turbulent events in the history of these countries. This is one of the better books I've read on the middle east.
  9. "The Time Traveler's Wife" by Audrey Niffenegger

    An unusual science fiction - like story of man who keeps jumping in time and his wife. Very readable.
  10. "World war 1939-1945" by Peter Young

    A brief but detailed history of WWII, told by a Brittish brigadier turned historian.
  11. "The bride stripped bare" by Anonymous

    A confession of an adulterous, sex-addicted woman in London. I found it bizarre and couldn't wait to finish.
  12. "Following the equator" by Mark Twain

    A humorous travel log in various countries of the British Commonwealth in the beginning of the 20th century. Entertaining, but its age shows well as some stories deal with completely unfamiliar events.
  13. "Electric Universe" by David Bodanis

    A brief history of electricity and its major applications. Although this book definitely lacks in depth, it is very well written and fun to read.
  14. "Longtitude" by Dava Sobel

    A small book telling the story of how an English engineer devised a clock accurate enough to measure longitude and solved the great problem of marine navigation.
  15. "The six day war" by Randolph S. and Winston S. Churchill

    A small book telling the story of the Israeli-Arab war in 1967.
  16. "The prince and the pauper" by Mark Twain

    A short entertaining fairy tale about a prince and a pauper in London who switched places. More a children's book than anything else.
  17. "Terra incognita" by Sara Wheeler

    This lady spent a few months in Antarctica, harassing people on various research bases on the continent. Pretty good account of what it's like down there.
  18. "Once while traveling" by Tony and Maureen Wheeler

    An autobiographic account of the couple who created the Lonely Planet publication.
  19. "Exodus" by Leon Uris

    Fiction story of the years leading to the creation of the state of Israel and a few years after that. A very good book.
  20. "1421" by Gavin Menzies

    A very curious and well researched account of China's explorations in the 15th century. The author makes some bold claims about Chinese colonization of the Americas and outposts in Australia and New Zealand, and backs them with lots of seemingly solid evidence. Whether what he says is true or not, it's a good, well-written history book
  21. "The island of lost maps" by Miles Harvey

    The main theme of this book is following the story of an ancient-map thief who stole precious maps from libraries and universities. On the way the author tells a little about the world of cartography and engages on a quest of self-discovery.
  22. "One L" by Scott Turow

    An account of the first year in the prestigious Harvard Law School. The book is well written and is an interesting insight into the world of elite education.
  23. "Questioning the Millennium" by Stephen J. Gould

    A mini-book in which Gould tries to explain the true meaning of the year 2000 in Christianity, exploring its roots and discusses when it is really appropriate to celebrate. A cute, quick, not too deep read.
  24. "Why in the world" by John Demko

    Displays the topic of geography, emphasizing on what geographers do and how knowing geography is important. The first half of the book is interesting, but the second is completely useless - a "state of affairs" summary for each country in the world. The book being written in 1992, this is hardly interesting now. Wikipedia is a better source of information.