December 22nd, 2007


(no subject)

When I left off yesterday, I was discussing literature. I've noticed a number of you have been posting lists of books you have read this year, so I figure I shall contribute one of my own. I suspect it will be considerably different to the norm. I naturally cannot remotely recall all the books I have read this year. Here's what I can remember, alphabetised by author last name and with the four I am presently reading and yet to finish marked with asterisks:

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There is surprisingly little fiction, but there's a reason for that: looking at my bookshelves, I can't remember what I read this year and what I read last year! The railway stuff is fairly easy as I just need to check the university library's database; I didn't have access to these books prior to this year. Indeed, the reason there's so much is due to my excitement at having access to so many books I had been wanting to read for years. The academic books simply require me to check my essay bibliographies for the titles that leap out at me. Most books, I simply used for research and only read relevant pages or chapters, but some were so engrossing or intriguing (or in the case of Revolt By Leave, so short) that I read them in their entirety. Malise Ruthven's Fundamentalism: The Search for Meaning in particular was riveting; I devoured that one very quickly.

I know I am missing a fair bit. Next year, I will keep track of what I read. This year, there were also plenty of academic journal articles that I read for pleasure but trying to list them would be far too difficult. While researching, I found myself often spying articles unrelated to the topic I was working on but that sounded interesting; an hour later, I'd be kicking myself for my powers of procrastination! There's some absolutely fascinating stuff on JSTOR though.

On a completely different topic, I'm feeling rather vindicated at the moment. Remember back in July, I wrote an entry about Dr Mohamed Haneef? Dr Haneef, an Indian-born Muslim, was working at the Gold Coast Hospital when he was accused of being involved in a terrorist attack on Glasgow's airport. However, the Australian Federal Police's handling of the case seemed rather incompetent, and worse was to come; when the courts granted Dr Haneef bail, the former Howard government's Immigration Minister revoked his visa so that he could still be held in custody. It all stank of a presumption of guilt, and the case against Dr Haneef seemed so remarkably flimsy that I could not help but feel the Howard government was trying to generate a new controversy along the lines of the MV Tampa and "children overboard" in an election year in a desperate bid to hold on to power. Well, guess what happened. It has been reported that the Federal Court has found the former Immigration Minister was wrong to revoke Dr Haneef's visa, the new Immigration Minister is not going to appeal the decision, Haneef is free to return to Australia, and his former employer is willing to rehire him. The justice system may take a while, but sometimes it does work. The absence of Howard and his incompetent and fearmongering cronies helps, too. This country really does feel better now that Rudd is the Prime Minister. It's wonderful.