Reading in October 2014

October and the nights are drawing in. And my journey to work is getting longer – and longer. A few days ago my 45 minute commute became 2½ hours as the Heathrow area descended into gridlock. So now is to time to dig out the audio books, and perhaps the eReader again.

This was funny in all the right places, pleasantly anarchic and boring. Somehow I had already read something like this – in the form of Jonas Jonasson’s The Hundred Year Old Man and The Girl who Saved the King of Sweden. Underpinning these two books is a liberal and tolerant view of humanity combined with a “Horrible Histories” view of modern history. These two made the books eminently enjoyable to listen too. But I have given up on the Little Old Lady. Perhaps if I had found her before I found The Hundred year Old Man I would have persevered.
Next book to be abandoned was The Kabul Beauty Shop. Set in Kabul, this is the account of Deborah Rodriguez’s life in Afghanistan as she sets up a school to train Afghan women to be hair dressers and beauticians.

It does provide a fascinating view on a woman’s life in Kabul, the cruelty, the daily privations, and how life is lived in a burqa.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Little Coffee shop of Kabul, but this book drags. Perhaps it is the difference between a story, a narrative that pulls you along and account, which becomes a catalogue.

So what am I planning to read this October:

Booker Prize winner Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North. Audio book – I started to listen to this and decided to get the eBook version as well as it is a little difficult to follow at times in audio book format.

Short listed: We are all completely beside ourselves by Karen Fowler – audio book.

And Susan Hill’s The Small Hand as we are due to see this as a stage play in Guildford.

Lastly, the latest Robert Galbraith novel The Silkworm for light relief.

Currently reading Feb 2014

Having seen the film, I am now reading 12 years a slave (Kindle format)

Plato’s Republic (from Kobo)

Audio book: Great Minds of the Western Tradition from Audible ( ). This is a series of lectures, approximately 30mins each. Total listening time is 43 hours – sI think I will be listening for some time.


Now reading in October

This October I decided to go for a recently published novel – Sebastian Faulks “A Possible Life”. I bought this as an eBook from Books on Board. There is one advantage to not owning a kindle – I can shop around for books. I had intended to read J K Rowling’s A Casual Vacancy , but at £11.99 it is a little expensive, so I shall wait for the price to drop. I still have Hilary mantel’s Wolf Hall to read. I have already listened to this, so the excitement is not there to reread it. After all, the subject is a particularly brutal time in English history, when the king has become a tyrant seemingly hell-bent on bankrupting the country in pursuit of his vanity projects.

I have also acquired Kamin Mohammadi’s The Cypress Tree, a story about Iran. Should be interesting to compare this with Reading Lolita in Teheran.

Now reading in September

September is when we go away, this year to the New Forest. So I need something to read. After the Angel’s Game and The Shadow of the Wind, I have decided to go for something a little less thought provoking.

So this is my reading list for my holiday:

I Robot by Isaac Asimov. This was one of the offerings from Surrey County Council, so I downloaded it. It is an enjoyable read and brings back happy memories of those exam years. When I was revising for my O-levels and A-levels I read avidly, mostly Science Fiction – often several books a week.

Wolf hall by Hilary Mantel. I have listened to this as an audio book an now I shall read the book. The English Reformation is fascinating, for many of the key players, Cromwell, Wolsey, More are not from the aristocracy. More was the son of a lawyer and Cromwell and Wolsey sons of tradesmen. I will argue that England only became great when the English people shed the shackles of servitude to the monarch and took matters into their own hands. Here we see the beginning, a process that reaches its culmination when Oliver Cromwell, great nephew of Thomas Cromwell seizes power. England was never the same again, its people were at last in control.

Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian. I really enjoyed Victoria Hislop’s The Thread. This book covers the Armenian genocide (but the Turks insist that there was no genocide).

The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James