Nomad

Those who know me will realise that this book was never going to get a bad review. But I challenge anyone to read this and not laugh out loud. It is billed on the cover as ‘the funniest book ever written’ and that is no exaggeration, perhaps rivalled only by the previous book I Partridge. 

It’s essentially like reading a feature length episode of classic Partridge except all of that unique Partridge-ness gets to showcase itself even further through the extra machinery of the written word (and through pictures, diagrams, tables etc..). 

I needed this book right now. 

White Teeth

This was a great read. Not the sort of book I would usually pick out but it was bought for me and I am glad. First novel apparently which makes you feel a bit sick. The writing is immense. My favourite bit amongst many – commenting on a character who is high on morphine… “his head opened up like a deck chair.” Great stuff. 

This is a long read, perhaps a bit too long being my only criticism, but it is one of great wisdom and it is well thought out enough that it is all leading towards something which is not something I necessarily anticipated. I was fully prepared for it to peter out a bit but the ending was surprisingly satisfying. A thorough exploration of race and the intertwined attitudes of all parties. 

The Road

This was a bleak book. It’s not long by any means and has no chapters – relentless then. Just one continuous ream of bleakness. That does not make it a bad read though. Quite the contrary, it is almost poetic in its literary credentials. The prose is descriptive and wraps you up in this post apocalyptic world, engrossing you in the father son relationship at its core and making you think on the merits of survival itself and of the impacts we have on the world and each other. I’ve not seen the film. I don’t really want to. But the book is great. If not a bit depressing for the current times!

Dubliners

I’ve been dabbling in short story writing recently so this was a perfect book to have a shufty at. A bit like a concept album, these short stories are all set in turn of the Century Dublin and there is a thread running throughout making the order important. These aren’t necessarily just stand alone but either way, they provide a masterclass in the short story field. Considered to be one of the best collections, I really enjoyed reading this. My favourite was probably ‘A Little Cloud’.

Chernobyl

I have had this book on my shelf for well over a year I think and there never seemed a good time to pick it up and read it. It looks potentially a bit boring. It is, however, not so. Extremely readable and, though very detailed, it is written in such a way that is does not become a trial to plough through. I had specifically avoided watching the tv series, which I feel like everyone in the world has watched, until I read this. I suspect the tv series will be even better now I have a bit of background to it. 

Mudlarking

Much like some of the finds that the author writes of, this book is a rare gem (I don’t think she actually ever finds a ‘gem’ as such but you know what I mean). An interesting topic brilliantly transformed into a varied and digestible history of London and the Thames itself. The title may sound boring but the book is genuinely interesting!

Deep sea and Foreign Going

An interesting peek into a world about which I know little. Not sure it is truly as revealing as it might be and it certainly isn’t the best book I have ever read. It reads a bit like a newspaper article or magazine feature. Not bad but not amazing. And what a random mouthful of a title. 

Endeavour

This is a superb historical account covering one of my favourite subjects – exploration of an unknown world. It is a brilliantly written book although it does jump around a bit. Broader in scope than I thought it was going to be as it deals with a lot of social philosophy of the time rather than just a blow by blow account of one voyage. I preferred Erebus I think, but this is still great.