The History of the Twentieth Century

This door stopper took me a while but was a real pleasure to read. I have not read a Martin Gilbert one before and was impressed with the way he writes. Very easy to read. More to the point, the content was really useful. Although I have covered much of the content before, it gave great context to stuff I have heard or read about in isolation before. It was a bit like fitting the puzzle blocks into the correctly shaped holes in some cases. 

What struck me most was how full of conflict the twentieth century was (the two world wars aside) and how similar the issues we face now are to a hundred years ago. We really do learn nothing do we. As interesting as it was depressing.  

Kings of the Yukon

This is a beautifully descriptive account of one man’s journey from source to mouth of the Yukon river. Aside from being an inspiring adventure travel book, it is also gives a good account of the salmon industry, giving wider perspective on the environmental issues as well. 

Would recommend. 

Middle England

This was another that I bought on a whim. The first third reads a bit like a cheesey Radio 4 afternoon play (not that I listen to those but it’s how I imagine them to be). 

However, as it goes on, it actually becomes a genuinely thought provoking and therapeutic piece of writing. It is nothing we haven’t already heard but putting brexit and its build-up into the context of people’s lives gives the whole sorry state of affairs a bit of flesh. 

It doesn’t hold any answers necessarily but it is certainly an interesting read. Like many similar documentations however, the people that really need to read this sort of thing probably won’t. 

A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived

I really enjoyed this one. Not too long and pitched just right for a light but informative read. It has certainly given me a better overview of our genetic makeup and also tempted me, despite the shortcomings mentioned, to get my own genome tested!

I’m Travelling Alone

I have a huge to read list at the moment. Every time I walk into Waterstones, there is very real danger of further purchases. Despite that, and having just read another Scandinavian thriller, I had a taste for it and didn’t feel like launching into anything I would have to think about too much.

This one got the nod. My verdict… average. It did the job and bridged that gap. The story was ok, the characters alright. I almost certainly will not be reading any more of the series though. There are far better books out there.

Red Snow

I really enjoyed the previous one in this series and so sought this one out to read again. The snowy setting meant I targeted it for the festive season. I liked this book but didn’t love it. Didn’t quite match the first one for me. The setting was a bit dreary and the actual story was quite limited and shallow when looking back on it. 

Still, a decent read and I certainly didn’t hate it. I’ll read the next one. 

The Earth is Weeping

This was a long book. I have read other books on this subject that were a bit more focused and honestly, I think the author took on more than he could chew. It covers the entire depressing saga and it lost something for doing so. The writing was a bit dry and formal. It jumped around a bit and overall could have been half as long and wouldn’t have lost anything. The subject, as ever, displays the deep flaws within humanity perfectly.