Friday 1 May
I also like books but my reading is mainly limited to the time in bed before going to sleep. This is a rather atypical list as I normally read lightweight, disposable thrillers (Michael Connelly, Clare Mackintosh etc).
1) Humble Pi – Matt Parker
An interesting book about how maths causes glitches in real-life scenarios such as the wobbly Westminster bridge in London.
2) Unreliable Memoirs – Clive James
I purchased this after the great journalist, author and TV documentary maker's sad demise in November 2019. A beautifully written and humorous autobiography describing his early life in Australia.
3) Parsnips Buttered – Joe Lycett
My son bought me this book for Christmas. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. A modern day story of a man's quest to fight back against large corporations and the niggles and irritations in his daily life.
4) The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How It's Broken
Written by an anonymous English barrister describing the deficiencies and pitfalls of the UK legal system. I found the history of the legal system and the real-life anecdotes quite interesting but, after a while, I found the author's message and content slightly repetitive and I struggled to finish it.
A Xmas present to myself on a subject that always interested me. Turns out I was already loosely aware of most of the content. Trump's forceful, prolonged handshake is an attempt to impose himself and intimidate others – who knew ?
6) Gotta Get Theroux This – Louis Theroux
A fairly standard, uninspiring autobiography (clue was in the title) aimed at the Christmas market. I like Theroux's thought provoking TV documentaries and was particularly interested in his now infamous programs featuring Jimmy Savile. However, if you're interested in somebody, you normally have already watched TV interviews and read articles about them, so it's hard to produce new, compelling content for a book.
For example, I was already aware how Theroux has wrestled and constantly questioned himself over whether he was hoodwinked by Savile, a subject which he covers in some depth in the book.
7) Step by Step – Simon Reeve
My current night time reading matter and the most enjoyable book I've read in ages. Again, I like Simon Reeve's easy going manner, his ability to gel with strangers and his mix of interesting travel destinations coupled with other historic, political or human interest perspectives.
I was aware Simon Reeve didn't have a conventional academic background prior to becoming a TV journalist but he was born in a rough area in Acton, West London. He had a rather colourful life as a boy, bunking off school, shoplifting, gang fights and eventually setting up a small business in sourcing knives and replica weapons for his peers.
He left school with few qualifications and started out as a post-room boy at The Times newspaper. His ambition and cheerful, 'happy to help' disposition found him assisting experienced journalists on investigative stories and he eventually ended up as deputy news editor and wrote a book about Osama Bin Laden (pre 9/11) before landing his break with the BBC.
I found it an entertaining and fascinating read.
8) The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin – Masha Green
Next in line is this biography of Vladimir Putin which was a present from the wife following our trip to Russia in the summer of 2019.