Reading

Read in 2018

  1. Hawksmoor Peter Ackroyd Finished: Nov 15 Amazon

    Fascinating. Thought it was going to be more plotty, turned out not so much.

  2. How I won the Yellow Jumper Ned Boulting Finished: Oct 30 Amazon

    Easy read, pleasant enough. Sort of fast food of a book.

  3. The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot Robert Macfarlane Finished: Oct 27 Amazon

    A bit like some of the walks in the book, I found some of it tough going. A bit dense with the descriptions of landscapes and the things in it, even though it made me look things up, which is no bad thing. Enjoyed it more when it became more speculative, and was thankful of the discovery of the artist, Eric Ravilious. That bit of the book was great.

  4. How to Read a Building (Collins Need to Know?) Timothy Brittain-Catlin Finished: Jun 12 Amazon

    Good run through architectural history with plenty of suggested jump off points to other books.

  5. How Not To Be a Boy Robert Webb Finished: Jun 25 Amazon

    Funny, and at times ponder worthy memoirs.

  6. Raw Concrete: The Beauty of Brutalism Barnabus Calder Finished: Jun 10 Amazon

    Recommending to everyone I know. Such a meaty, interesting book. Nominally the author's personal tour of Brutalist arhcitecture it folds in so many interesting and intruiging things alongside his personal response to the features buildings. Placing the Brutalist examples in their own contexts makes for a great understanding of how these, and all buildings come about against cultural, economic and social backgrounds. He also manages to throw in some great insight into the personalities and processes involved in the creation of these great projects. Really rekindled my dormat interest in Architecture, and allied with great footnotes, has set me on the path to read more.

  7. Never use futura Douglas Thomas Finished: Jul 20 Amazon

    Lovely examination, exploration and eplanation of a typeface. Great journey through how it was made, why it was made, how it was and is used and a myriad of cultural touchpoints in between. All clearly and engagingly written, with good illustrations. Also worth mentioning that it comes as a nicely portable pleasure object.

  8. The Biggest Game in Town Al Alvarez Finished: Apr 13 Amazon

    Entertaining trawl through the world of Poker - which I suspect has changed quite a bit since it was written.

  9. The End of the Affair Grahame Greene Finished: Mar 23 Amazon

    Took a little while for me to get into it, and was made easier when the plot moved along a little. Looked for a while like it was going to be a simple mystery about who was doing what, but got more into the relationships and internal struggles of the protagonists. WHich was more satisfying than that sounds.

  10. Forms That Work : Designing Web Forms for Usability Caroline Jarrett Finished: Mar 8 Amazon

    Read it very quickly - loved it. Will keep dipping in and out.

  11. Moneyball Michael Lewis Finished: Feb 1 Amazon

    Great fun - loved how it related the data and stats to the real life characters.

  12. Playing to the Gallery: Helping Contemporary Art in its Struggle to Be Understood Grayson Perry Finished: Jan 26 Amazon

    Like his lecturers and interviews, great fun. Also very clear and direct - words not usually associated with contemporary art. And small enough to be a frequent re-read.

  13. Sapiens Yuval Noah Harari Finished: Jan 24 Amazon

    I keep (probably erroneously) summarising some of the key points from this book in discussions about lots of things. Probably a good sign. Really interesting, big ideas explained in a way that a dummy like me can understand.

  14. A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled Ruby Wax Finished: Jan 20

    An entertaing, no shit guide to taking care of your mind.

  15. Concrete Leonard Koren Finished: Jan 15 Amazon

    One person's collection of interesting concrete structures, couldn't see much organisation beyond that.

  16. Beware wet paint / designs by Alan Fletcher Alan Fletcher Finished: Jan 8 Amazon

    Lovely work, and a timely book to rekindle my interest in design and illustration. Feel like I've lost my mojo somewhat, and enjoying great work like this is really helpful.

Read in 2017

  1. In Defence of Food Michael Pollan Finished: Dec 27 Amazon

    Eat Food, Not too Much, Mostly Plants. Summary from the book, but also a very revealing look at the state we're in when it comes to food. As is often the case with 'ideas' books that explain how things are there's quite a bit of depressing stuff, but enough optimism to balance it out.

  2. The Undercover Economist Tim Harford Finished: Dec 23 Amazon

    Very readable and interesting. Very good on how markets can work. The chapter on how China transitioned from a command ecomnomy was fascinating. Made me look anew at markets as systems, that whilst not ideal are probably the best tool for lots of things - but with some pretty big caveats.

  3. Out of Time Miranda Sawyer Finished: Nov 22 Amazon

    As is often the case - a general feeling of having enjoyed a book without too much specific info. As we're similar ages, the references were fun but the general feel is pretty universal. Liked the style and glad I picked it up after listening to the Adam Buxton podcast about the book.

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  4. The Airs of Earth Brian Aldiss Finished: Nov 11

    Drugged up soldiers, Shapeshifting lovers, Musical Psychic Animals, Robot sheepdogs, Lightspeed planet brake and Devolving Alien Bears are the things I remember from this collection of short stories - I've surprised myself.

  5. The Establishment: And how they get away with it Owen Jones Finished: Oct 16 Amazon

    Very well put together explanation of how things run and how depressingly connected and co-opted civic life has become in this country. Even despite the rallying cry for democratic revolution at the end it was all rather dispiriting. A reaction which kind of emphasises his point. Thank God for the youngsters.

  6. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy John le Carré Finished: Sep 3 Amazon

    Satisfying thriller - quite tricky to follow at times, but as thrillers do, all came together in the end

  7. How to be a Woman Caitlin Moran Finished: Aug 18 Amazon

    Entertaining and a bit educational too.

  8. Non Stop Brian Aldiss Finished: Aug 17 Amazon

    Took a while to get going, but the second half picked up. Suberbly well thought out and explained setting and great how it all came together. Much like 'Hothouse' it struck me as pretty promising film adaption material.

  9. Rowlandson's Drawings for the English Dance of Death Robert R Wark Finished: Jul 27

    Dry. Academic. Ok pics

  10. The Stars My Destination Alfred Bester Finished: Jul 18 Amazon

    Rattled along, great central character and enjoyed the direction it went in.

  11. Grayson Perry Jacky Klein Finished: Jul 1 Amazon

    Really enjoyed this. Been such a long time since I'd read a big art book with lots of colour plates. There are tons in this one, all with cracking descriptions and explainations of the process of creating the work and the ideas behind them. The themed structure was really good too. Brilliant value for so much good art.

  12. Hothouse Brian Aldiss Finished: Jun 24 Amazon

    Loved the ideas throughout. Great descriptions of the future planet and creative imaginining about future lifeforms. Really enjoyed the language. The plot was nicely dramtic and all came together really enjoyably.

  13. Me: Moir, Vol. 1 Vic Reeves Finished: May 27 Amazon

    I like Jim Moir(Vic Reeves) - the book was likeable, but not as manically funny as the man. Had it lovely absurd moments. Suspect Vol. 2 will be more fun.

  14. The Woman who Went to Bed for a Year Sue Townsend Finished: Apr 24

    Simply written and direct style makes it easy to read, but with a subtle cutting edge to the satire. Bit of an abrubt ending.

  15. The Hyperion Omnibus: Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion Dan Simmons Finished: Apr 17 Amazon

    Epic. Got into the characters, as their stories played out, though did find some if it all a bit impenetrable, but I think that tends to be par for the course with this kind of mammoth Sci-Fi. There was poetry too, which leaves me cold. Not enough to put me off.

  16. Moranthology Caitlin Moran Finished: Feb 8 Amazon

    Fun. In digestible chunks. I liked the more serious writing more than the amusing throwaway stuff, but that was good too.

  17. The Long Race to Glory: How the British Came to Rule the Cycling World Chris Sidwells Finished: Jan 22 Amazon

    Not much more than a timeline through British Cycling history, namechecking loads of people along the way. Not a huge amount of analysis.

  18. The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch Philp K Dick Finished: Jan 17 Amazon

    As crazy as ever, and often tricky to follow the flips in and out of realities, but ultimately very inventive and enjoyable book.

Finished in 2016

  1. Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy Cathy O'Neil

    Sobering introduction to the ways that algorithms affect people's lives - especially poor people. Very good on explaining how and why the seemingly neutral models are anything but and can quickly run out of control because of a lack of oversight. Also good ideas and suggestions for ways forward since the models are only likely to become more pervasive.

  2. Alex Ferguson:My Autobiography Alex Ferguson

    Picked up it up on a whim in a charity shop, where I read a bit and it was quite interesting to get some insight and honest opinions. Read it very quickly as it's there's minimal structure and it wanders all over the place. Amazed that anyone would pay the cover price for what is in effect a transcript of some long rambling conversation.

  3. Natural Born Heroes Christopher McDougall

    Felt like there were two books in one, and found that a bit frustrating. The breathless war story telling was intruiging,but the found the some of the tracing back to ancient greek a bit tenuous. The exercise and diet stuff was more interesting, if not especially new, and better for being a bit drier. Think I would have enjoyed a shorter and more direct book.

  4. Blood Meridian or the Evening Redness in the West Cormac McCarthy

    Found it pretty hard going. If his sentences were designed to replicate the feeling of crossing barren, brutal deserts - they succeeded. There was something about the story that made me want to carry on, but I won't be tackling another of his any time soon.

  5. Back Story David Mitchell

    I like David Mitchell and picked this up cheap in a charity shop. It seems I'm developing a taste for enjoyable if undemanding memoirs. It was amusing with some interesting insights into a performer who I like.

  6. Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division Peter Hook

    Suprised myself with this one. I picked it up cheap as something to read on hols and really enjoyed it. I got inyto Joy Division after New Order, and it was Hooky's Basslines that drew me in, so it was cool to learn more about how it all happened.

  7. More Fool Me Stephen Fry

    Bought as an enjoyable holiday diversion, and as expected, enjoyed it. Fascinating insight to hard work (whcih doesn't seem like work since he loves it) and equally hard (chemically assisted) play.

  8. The Comforters Muriel Spark

    A nice book to get back into reading fiction with. An interesting collection of characters with the added literary device of one of the characters having self awareness of being in a novel.

  9. Frank Skinner on the Road: Love, Stand-up Comedy and The Queen Of The Night Frank Skinner
  10. Suaperfreakonomics
  11. Charley's War 1
  12. Aesthetics: A memoir Ivan Brunetti
  13. How to think about exercise Damon Young
  14. How to connect with nature Tristan Gooley
  15. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less Greg McKeown
  16. Voodoo Histories David Aaronovitch
  17. I can make you hate Charlie Brooker
  18. The Book of Other People Penguin
  19. The Ghost Road Pat Barker