I did you a little playlist. These are some of the songs I am listening to at the moment. If you have any recommendations of things I might like then do please shout.
Barbara Demick: Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea
Bought this when it was a Kindle Daily Deal for 99p.
T.K.Derry: The History of Scandinavia
I have borrowed this from the library.
John Fowles: The Journals: Volume 1
Having just read Eileen Warburton's excellent biography of the man I thought I would dip into his life in his own words.
Craig Thompson: Blankets
Graphic novel about a young man, growing up in a devout Christian household, who falls in love for the first time. Quite touching and subtle. (****)
Ian Rankin: Knots And Crosses
This was a bit clunky, to be honest, and a central plot point involved Rebus being a really crap detective and not noticing a series of obvious clues. A decent enough read but not a great crime novel. (***)
Isabel Greenberg: The Encyclopedia of Early Earth
A wonderful and irreverent take on the creation myths. I loved this. (****)
Daniel Defoe: Robinson Crusoe
Certainly of interest but not really a book it is easy to love. Very little poetry or emotion in the writing. (***)
I.N.J. Culbard: Celeste
Graphic novel that plays out a Day of the Triffids/everyone vanishes type story which has its moments but doesn't entirely convince. (***)
Robert Edeson: The Weaver Fish
A bizarre but captivating zoological, mathematical, technological, grammatical, architectural, aeronautical literary thriller. (****)
Charles Baxter: There's Something I Want You to Do: Stories
One of the finest story writers in the English language gives us his greatest collection yet. Stunning. (*****)
Jon Ronson: So You've Been Publicly Shamed
Ronson interviews people who have been on the receiving end of public humilation. He is quite nice to them. (****)
Simon Armitage: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Much more fun than Heaney's Beowulf. (****)
Jon Ronson: Frank: The True Story that Inspired the Movie
I actually enjoyed it but it is a bit of a rip-off to charge full price for this as a book. It is really a magazine article bulked out with a large font and wide margins so that there was something to sell as a film tie-in. (***)
Sarah Perry: After Me Comes the Flood
An unsettling novel that doesn't feel the need to explain itself, and is all the better for it. (****)
Seamus Heaney: Beowulf: A New Translation
Of historical interest but it's not exactly Homer, is it? (***)
Charles Duhigg: The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do, and How to Change
Compelling look at how we get into habits, both good and bad, and how to break them. Popular science which could easily be applied to your everday life once you've read it. (****)
Fumio Obata: Just So Happens
Graphic novel about a young woman who returns to Japan for her father's funeral. Fine but nothing special. (***)
Jessie Burton: The Miniaturist
Entertaining historical novel. Not a classic but a decent read and a promising debut. (****)
Fabien Vehlmann & Kerascoët: Beautiful Darkness
Brilliantly bleak graphic novel. As if David Lynch retold Lord of the Flies as a fairy tale. (****)
Michael Booth: The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia
Funny and informative look at the Nordic nations and their people. (****)
Katshiro Otomo: Akira: Volume 1
A classic manga from the 1980s and one I enjoyed very much. Will definitely make my way through the rest of the series. (****)
T. R. Richmond: What She Left
Clever crime novel that uses different bits of documentary evidence to piece together what happened to a young woman drowned off the coast of Southampton. If you liked The Girl on the Train then I think you'll like this just as much, if not more. (****)
Abel Lanzac: Weapons of Mass Diplomacy
Graphic novel based on Dominique de Villepin's stance against the war in Iraq. The Thick of It meets The West Wing. In France. (****)
Euripides: The Bacchae
I read this before going to see a very good UCL production of the play. I think I am right in saying it is the most violent of the Greek tragedies. Anyway, great stuff. (****)
Ann Morgan: Reading the World: Confessions of a Literary Explorer
She read a book for every country in the world. In just one year. This is one of those books that makes you enthusiastic for reading all over again. (****)
Timur Vermes: Look Who's Back
Great concept, and very funny in places, but doesn't really develop the idea enough for me. An enjoyable read but a slightly missed opportunity. (***)
Adèle Geras: Out of the Dark
One of the new Quick Reads titles. A bittersweet tale of a soldier returning from the First World War. (***)
Hiromi Kawakami: Strange Weather in Tokyo
Slightly underwhelming May to December love story. I never really felt the author got under the skin of the characters. A bit dry. (***)
Alberto Moravia: Contempt
Bleak portrait of a marriage in freefall. Claustrophobic and tense. Very well done. (****)
Kent Haruf: Our Souls at Night
His final book and another quiet masterpiece. (*****)
Erich Maria Remarque: All Quiet on the Western Front
I fully expected this to be bleak, which it is in places, but was not prepared for the warmth and humour. Rightly a classic. (****)
Paula Hawkins: The Girl on the Train
Entertaining thriller but I saw the twist coming from a long way off which lessened the impact considerably. A decent weekend or holiday read though. (***)
Noson S. Yanofsky: The Outer Limits of Reason: What Science, Mathematics, and Logic Cannot Tell Us
Looks at the stuff right at the edge of what we can understand, compute and reason across mathematics, physics, philosophy and linguistics. I managed to comprehend about 70% of it. It stretched me but I enjoyed the stretching. (****)
Jonas Karlsson: The Room
Bloke finds unused room in his office and goes there when he needs a few minutes' break from his humdrum job, only no one else can see the office. They think he is off his trolley. Delightfully droll satire, reminded me of Magnus Mills. (****)
Irene Handl: The Gold Tip Pfitzer
Sequel to The Sioux and picks up, in both plot and tone, pretty much where the last one left off. (***)
Irene Handl: The Sioux
The Benoirs are an extremely rich French family living in New Orleans who rally round one of their number when her marriage hits the skids. Handl has created an intensely annoying but oddly compelling cast of characters. Impressive if not entirely pleasurable. (***)
Seiichi Hayashi: Gold Pollen and Other Stories
A beautifully-produced hardback highlighting some of the work of one of the acclaimed 'alternative manga' artists of the 60s and 70s. Unfortunately the stories themselves are either poorly translated or just don't travel well. A shame as it looks gorgeous. (**)
Bryan Lee O'Malley: Lost At Sea
Bought this for Ethan's birthday but gave it a sneaky read before wrapping it. Good, but not as good as his more recent books. (***)
Walter M. Miller Jr: A Canticle For Leibowitz
Cracking post-apocalyptic fiction with lots of monks. (****)
Bryan Lee O'Malley: Seconds
Lent to me by my son. A colourful, weird and wonderful graphic novel. Great fun. (****)
Han Kang: The Vegetarian: A Novel
Delightfully odd and weird start. Will certainly be reading the rest of this. (****)
Charles Duhigg: The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do, and How to Change
Popular science book looking at how our brains work when it comes to habit. I have ordered up a copy from my local library because I wanted to read on. (****)
Elizabeth Bishop: Poems: The Centenary Edition
None of these poems annoyed me, which is always a good start, but none of them moved or inspired me in any way. (***)
Daniel Allen: The Nature Magpie: A Cornucopia of Facts, Anecdotes, Folklore and Literature from the Natural World (Icon Magpie)
A most interesting miscellany and not without some humour. An ideal bedside or fireside book. (****)
Go-Betweens: G Stand for Go-Betweens: Volume 1
A remarkable box set charting their first three albums as well all the material, some extremely rare, that came before and during. For fans only, obviously, but an absolute treat. (*****)
Gazelle Twin: Unflesh
Disturbing sounds. Like a much darker Bjork. I am hooked. (*****)
T.C. Boyle: The Harder They Come
Well the cover doesn't really make me want to read this at all.
Magnus Mills: The Field of the Cloth of Gold
I always find Mills enjoyable. His books don't always stick but they are good fun while they are flying through the air.
Sandra Newman: The Country of Ice Cream Star
I was sent a proof of this when the hardback come out and found it almost unreadable. Lots of people I know really rate it, though, so I might give it another chance.
Irvine Welsh: The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins
I haven't managed to finish one of his books since Trainspotting. Has anyone else?
Michel Laub: Diary of the Fall
Cover quotes from Knausgaard and Battersby. Wasn't one of them in Coronation Street?
Lisa Moore: Caught
A quote from Anne Enright isn't a good sign for me but I'll give it a go.
Peter Ackroyd: Charlie Chaplin
He just can't stop writing biographies, can he?
Paul O'Keeffe: Waterloo: The Aftermath
As the name suggests, eschews the build up for the stuff that happened afterwards.
Jason Webster: The Spy with 29 Names: The story of the Second World War's most audacious double agent
This is the bloke who wrote that book about Flamenco quite a few years ago, Duende it was called. I still have that. Haven't read it yet.
Dave Goulson: A Buzz in the Meadow
This is the bloke who wrote that book about bees that I haven't actually read yet.
21st Century Dodos: A Collection of Endangered Objects (and Other Stuff)
Now out in paperback!
The Dodo Collection
Both my Dodos titles in one handy ebook omnibus.
Christmas Dodos: Festive Things on the Verge of Extinction
A yuletide take on my Dodos theme.
It Is Just You, Everything's Not Shit
My first book was published way back in 2007 and is an optimist's encyclopedia, of sorts.
Trevor Cox: Sonic Wonderland: A Scientific Odyssey of Sound
This chap, an acoustic expert, travelled the world to find the most interesting sounds, the aural wonders of the world. An original idea; an engaging style. I will definitely read on. (****)
Paula Lichtarowicz: Creative Truths in Provincial Policing
In Vietnam, a police chief borrows money to pay for his daughter's wedding and somehow this leads to the kidnapping of a Scunthorpe football player. I am enjoying this black comedy so far. (****)
The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya
Unlike any animation I have seen. Quite stunning. (****)
The Killer Inside Me
Odd movie. Doesn't really work. (***)
Pretty good, I thought, but not amazing. I had already read the book so perhaps the lack of surprise hindered things a bit. (***)
An absolute delight. Beautifully acted. Loved this. (****)
So much better than the book. (****)
20,000 Days on Earth
Watched this for a second time. Just as good. (****)
Brigitte Bardot, Jack Palance, Michel Piccoli and Fritz Lang star in a beautifully shot but terribly pretentious movie. Palance is awful throughout. (**)
Was this a box office flop? I think it might have been. Shame, it was very good. (****)