Books Bought, April 2013
‘Wolf Hall‘, Hilary Mantel
Books Read, April 2013
‘The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind’, William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer
‘The Devil In The White City’, Erik Larson
‘Look At Me’, Jennifer Egan
‘Hokkaido Highway Blues’, Will Ferguson
‘After The First Death’, Lawrence Block
‘Unbelievable: from my childhood dreams to winning olympic gold’, Jessica Ennis
‘Three Men In A Boat’, Jerome.K.Jerome
‘Warrior Politics: why leadership demands a pagan ethos’, Robert.D.Kaplan
‘The Moral Landscape: how science can determine human values’, Sam Harris
‘Sex, Drugs And Cocoa Puffs’, Chuck Klosterman
‘Crónica De Una Muerte Anunciada (Chronicle Of A Death Foretold)’, Gabriel García Márquez
‘Seriously…I‘m Kidding’, Ellen de Generes
Yes, I know it’s almost June already, and therefore I should be writing my ‘Books Bought & Read, May 2013’ blog.
But I’m not and I am basically a month behind, mainly because I have been travelling like an ancient Greek hero, and now that I’m back in the UK I’m volunteering like a…well, that’s a tough analogy to come up with: like a man in a room full of men asked who would like to volunteer to do something really fun involving alcohol, chocolate and Scarlett Johansson? No need to be sexist, I suppose, a room full of people asked to volunteer for the above-mentioned.
Anyway, I have just returned from a month swanning around Central America, visiting five countries in three weeks, and doing such ridiculous things as swimming with sharks, diving in caves, surfing down a volcano and getting into and out of the world’s most dangerous town, (four places higher than Baghdad, for cripes sake!!), in around six minutes flat.
My six months of work/holiday/fun/writing/sleeping/lounging in hammocks in Guatemala has come to an end, and I decided to explore a little more of the continent I had seen so little of, (wait, is Central America a continent? Or just part of North America? Is it a subcontinent of North America? I thought India was the subcontinent!?) I took a single book with me, hoping/presuming that tourists along the trail I was taking, (Guatemala => Belize => Honduras => Nicaragua => El Salvador => Guatemala), would leave behind some fun tomes.
I was mainly wrong.
I picked up a couple of decent reads in the amazing Zephyr Lodge party hostel in Semuc Champey, (the most beautiful place I visited in the region), and one when passing through the Mayan ruin town of Tikal, but soon had to rely on a book started years ago on the Kindle on my iPhone, (JKJ‘s classic ‘Three Men In A Boat‘), which left me with a new dilemma: which cover image to use in the blog for a book which I had read without a cover? The solution: the nicest, oldest looking one I could find, of course. (#firstworldproblems)
The only book bought this month wasn’t even technically bought, but swapped with a fellow traveller before leaving San Pedro: Hilary Mantel’s award winning historical novel, an unread and unwrapped signed copy of which I have in The Cupboard in England but which, for some reason, I thought I would find time to read before I left, yet which I soon deemed too heavy to even take on my journey with me.
The reading highlight of the month was the excellent ‘The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind,’ already commented upon and quoted from in last week’s quote blog, (click it, click it!!), and the lowlight was probably reading the rather good ‘Hokkaido Highway Blues‘ and realising that a lot of what I have to say in my forthcoming novel on life in Japan has already been at least hinted at by Will Ferguson, and around a decade ago at that. Still, mine will be more funny, and better written. Hopefully.
That, and the fact that what I thought was the latest novel from author of the amazing Pulitzer Prize (Pull It Surprise?) winning ‘A Visit From The Goon Squad,’ by Jennifer Egan, turned out to be one of her first pieces of writing from around a decade ago, repackaged in a nice cover. And not particularly good.
In the immortal words of Alan Partridge:
Finally, I achieved a lifelong goal in a way last month when I, very temporarily, became the owner of a second-hand bookshop! That is to say, a second-hand book shelf of books for sale, finally letting go of all of the books which had made the journey to Guat with me but which were not going to make it back, for reasons of luggage weight and the desire to pass some great books on to some great people. If you’re joining the blog from the business card you may have found tucked inside the copy of whatever it was you bought from me, welcome! And I hope you enjoyed your read!