Read in 2017
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.More Info
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- How to be a Woman Caitlin Moran Finished: Aug 18 Amazon
Entertaining and a bit educational too.
- 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.
- Rowlandson's Drawings for the English Dance of Death Robert R Wark Finished: Jul 27
Dry. Academic. Ok pics
- The Stars My Destination Alfred Bester Finished: Jul 18 Amazon
Rattled along, great central character and enjoyed the direction it went in.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Frank Skinner on the Road: Love, Stand-up Comedy and The Queen Of The Night Frank Skinner
- Superfreakonomics Stephen J. DubnerSteven D. Levitt
- Charley's War 1 Pat MillsJoe Colquhoun
- Aesthetics: A memoir Ivan Brunetti
- How to think about exercise Damon Young
- How to connect with nature Tristan Gooley
- Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less Greg McKeown
- Voodoo Histories David Aaronovitch
- I can make you hate Charlie Brooker
- The Book of Other People Penguin
- The Ghost Road Pat Barker