138. Books Bought & Read, January 2015…

07 May
138. Books Bought & Read, January 2015…

2015 saw me begin the new year back in the UK for a wonderful New Year’s party and an even more wonderful wedding on the plains near Stonehenge, (the shape of which I read recently gives us the word for ‘hanging’ someone, which explains why it’s past tense is ‘hanged’ and not ‘hung, since it comes from a different origin. Amazing what you can learn in this blog, huh?)

As such, with no tours to distract me and some long-distance travelling to do, I managed to get through twenty of the books I in my To Read pile.


Sadly, that was the exact number of books I picked up whilst I was home, but a net average of zero books added to The Pile still goes down as a minor victory.

I also got to read some fantastic books: the latest George SaundersTenth of December‘ was as wonderful as its hyperbolic blurbs made out, and I also got through one of his earlier collections.


A second-hand bookshop in Lisbon had furnished me with some gorgeous 1940’s Penguin paperbacks which were perfect for travel, and I got to read something by Aldous Huxley which wasn’t ‘Brave New World‘ and some Camus ,whom I I hadn’t even thought about since University.


I continued my Portuguese practice and my cultural immersion by reading four fantastic compilations of interviews released weekly with a Portuguese newspaper, where I learned (among other things) that dictator António Salazar had a signed photo of Mussolini on his desk, and that Alfred Hitchcock had a passionate hatred for eggs which he managed to slip, often bizarrely, into his movies.

entrevistas-2da8 Grandes entrevistas da História - capas (2014)

It was non-fiction which really stole the show this month: I learned about the history of maps, (did you know the word ‘orientation’ comes from the fact that old European maps used to have East at the top, that being the way to The Promised Land?), the psychology of possessions, and the mentality of champions, but the best read of them all was the compilation of articles by Gene Weingarten, a journalist and proto-Malcolm Gladwell who is, apparently, the only person to ever win the Pulitzer Prize twice.


The Fiddler In The Subway‘ was an incredible look at everything from a children’s entertainer in Washington DC to the importance of context in appreciating beauty in our packed daily lives, (the famous experiment of the title).

The one that will never leave me is the chilling report into how astonishingly often parents leave babies in cars and forget about them: it was simultaneously something that I wanted everyone in the world to read, and something I would never want them to have to hear about. If you have a strong stomach, you can read it here.


Books Bought, January 2015

Tenth Of December,’ George Saunders

Alice’s Adventures Underground,’ Lewis Carroll

The Sandmanking of dreams,’ Alisa Kwitney

Fortunately, The Milk…’ Neil Gaiman

The Subtle Knife,’ Philip Pullman

The Amber Spyglass,’ Philip Pullman

Barracuda,’ Christos Tsiolkas

To Rise Again At A Decent Hour,’ Joshua Ferris

‘Don’t Point That Thing At Me,’ Kyril Bonfigliolo

The Little Prince,’ Antoine de St.Exupéry

The World Of Downton Abbey,’ Jennifer Fellowes

Barrel Fever,’ David Sedaris

After Dark,’ Haruki Murakami

Tim The Tiny Horse At Large,’ Harry Hill

The Runaway Dinner,’ Allan Ahlberg & Bruce Ingman

Mensagem,’ Fernando Pessoa x2

O Conto Do Vigário,’ (‘The Tale Of The Priest‘), Fernando Pessoa

Citações E Pensamentos De Sigmund Freud,’ (‘Quotations and Thoughts Of Sigmund Freud’), Sigmund Freud

O Zen De Steve Jobs,’ (The Zen Of Steve Jobs), Caleb Melby & Jess3

O Principe Pequeno,’ (‘The Little Prince), Antoine de St.Exupéry


Books Read, January 2015

The Loneliness Of The Long-Distance Runner,’ Alan Stilltoe

The Rule Of Law,’ Tom Bingham

Tenth Of December,’ George Saunders  borges

The Original Of Laura,’ Vladimir Nabakov

The Sandmanking of dreams,’ Alisa Kwitney

Scoop: what your stuff says about you,’ Sam Gosling

High Windows,’ Philip Larkin

Tell Me The Truth About Love,’ W.H.Auden

‘Death Of A Naturalist,‘ Seamus Heaney

On The Map,’ Simon Garfield

Territorial Rights,’ Muriel Sparks

Bounce: how champions are made,‘ Matthew Syed

To Rise Again At A Decent Hour,’ Joshua Ferris

O Massacre Dos Judeus: lisboa, 19 de abril de 1506,’ (‘The Massacre Of The Jews), Susanna Bastos Mateus

The Fiddler In The Subway,’ Gene Weingarten borges

Mortal Coils,’Aldous Huxley

Grandes Entrevistas Da História, vol.1′ (‘Great Interviews Of History, Vol.1)

Grandes Entrevistas Da História, vol.2′ (‘Great Interviews Of History, Vol.2)

Grandes Entrevistas Da História, vol.4′ (‘Great Interviews Of History, Vol.4)

Grandes Entrevistas Da História, vol.5′ (‘Great Interviews Of History, Vol.5)

The Fall,’ Albert Camus

O Conto Do Vigário,’ (‘The Tale Of The Priest‘), Fernando Pessoa

O Zen De Steve Jobs,’ (The Zen Of Steve Jobs), Caleb Melby & Jess3

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Posted by on May 7, 2015 in BOOKS


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