A big tick for 'Old Man And The Sea'. As a misguided youth, I spent a huge amount of time fishing in and around Plymouth, and that book really fired my enthusiasm. Insurprisingly, nothing of that size ever appeared off Elphinstone pier!I have been on a police procedural kick of late and just finished book 3 in Peter Lovesey's 'Peter Diamond' series.All have been phenomenal.
As far as the book that really got me into reading and changed my outlook if you will is Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway.All his books contain deeper meanings and thought provoking prose;truly was a legendary author.
Harris’s eye for detail is astonishing (he must do vast amounts of research). Fatherland was very good… did you read Conclave, about a papal succession? The detail was superb but the ending😱….I have read a few 'alternative history'.
'Dominion' by C J Sansom was gripping, as was 'Fatherland' by Robert Harris.
I don't read much non fiction, but I recently reread 'Jupiter's travels' by Ted Simon. It is his account of a four year journey around the world on a Triumph motorbike. Brilliant.
Yes, that is one of the best non fiction books I have ever read. I saw him at a culture fest here in Belfast a few years back, shortly before he died. A brilliant and courageous man.The Great War For Civilization by Robert Fisk. Amazing book. Gives historical context to present day middle East politics.
Birdsong was great, although Faulks must have swallowed a dictionary. A passage in it received the worst sex description award. I remember reading that his, erm, member was lambent! What?Great thread ..... some of the suggestions I'd echo as enjoyable bed-time reads - especially the Shardlake series by CJ Sansom - you can almost smell the Tudor period. A bit heavier (but not too much) is 'Captain Correlli's Mandolin' which I loved too (there was a crap film made of it apparently which I've deliberately avoided) . I know some people who reckon it starts slowly but I didn't find that and just thought it was great from the start. Heavier still but very moving and a really unforgettable read is 'Birdsong' by Sebastian Faulks about miners during the first world war.
One book that didn't exactly change my life but certainly changed how I look at things and may be right up your street Mervyn if it's sciencey things you like is the classic 'Selfish Gene' by Richard Dawkins. I can hear a sharp intake of breath from some as he has since become (in)famous as being an outspoken atheist that some people find objectionable. But the book is brilliant and I promise nothing about that.
It does deal with how evolution works but completely blows out the water the old fashioned 'survival of the species' idea to become the far more nuanced 'survival of the gene'. The first chapter as I recall may appear bleak by focusing on the harsh 'selfish' aspects of nature .... BUT there is redemption (if you'll pardon the religious connotations Mr Dawkins) when he explains how altruism evolved. Better still it explains using the mathematical principles of 'game theory' (nothing too heavy) why being co-operative and well, 'nice' to your neighbours is a much better survival strategy than being selfish for social creatures like us ...... it also explains though why some selfishness will persist in populations and has never quite been wiped out by natural selection. Fascinating stuff.
Added to my - rather long - list! Thanks Simon.Where I live there is an excellent independent bookshop. They encourage customers to do occasional reviews. These are some of my quick summaries - two non fiction and two fiction. I loved all four.
Recommended by Simon: Another non fiction book in which Macfarlane travels the country exploring old paths and tracks. He gives fascinating accounts of the history of the tracks, and also very evocative descriptions of the varying landscapes he encounters along the way. Of particular interest...haslemerebookshop.co.ukRecommended by Simon: John Lacroix returns to England, having been badly injured and traumatised during The Peninsular War of the early 19th century. This well written and evocative book tells the story of his attempts to escape the repercussions of a murky incident from his time in the army in...haslemerebookshop.co.ukRecommended by Simon: In my opinion, a simply brilliant first novel by Yaa Gyasi, a American of Ghanaian heritage. It was published in 2016 when she was just twenty six. This novel tells the story of two half sisters Effia and Esi- from what is now Ghana- and the very different lives they led...haslemerebookshop.co.ukRecommended by Simon: A non fiction book which is beautifully written by Roger Deakin. It was inspired by the short story ‘The Swimmer’ by John Cheever, where a man attempts to swim home from a party using every possible waterway! Deakin writes of his love of the outdoors, and, in particular...haslemerebookshop.co.uk
Good choice. I thought Lorna Doone was gonna be all picture book swashbuckling but it is dark, gritty and moody, a super book.I’ve only just realised that my best ever read has to be Lorna Doone, which I read aged about thirteen. Our English teacher encouraged us by saying that the book was so good he read it twice a year. It had such an impact that I’ve been scared to read it again, as I don’t want to spoil that memory.
In a similar vein, about ten years ago I read William Boyd’s The Blue Afternoon, and raved about it to friends and family for months afterwards. Tried it again last year and was bored after five chapters. Weird.