Sunday, October 09, 2011

september-october books

Latest books:
Not Dead Yet (Julia Neuberger): This is essentially a manifesto for old age. I bought it (cheap!) to coincide with my retirement. Initially, it made me feel guilty about retiring “early”, but it also contains some important insights into old age and the need to challenge political thinking on the subject. Thought-provoking and challenging (perhaps I’ll become a political campaigner?!).
Over The Top (Martin Marix Evans): The book provides some interesting background to key battles of the First World War. I was particularly keen to learn more about some of the early battles in 1914-16 that involved my grandfather (eg. La Bassee, Aisne, Le Cateau, Ypres and the Somme). Predictably dry, but informative.
Return To Paris (Colette Rossant): I bought this, together with a batch of other cheap books, on the basis that we were ourselves were just about to “return to Paris”. It’s a coming-of-age biography about the author’s life in post-WW2 Paris. Despite being littered with food recipes (don’t read if you’re hungry!), I found it a surprisingly good read and an ideal holiday book.
AA Gill Is Away (AA Gill): Somewhat pathetically, perhaps, I hadn’t really read any of Gill’s articles/books (amongst other things, he’s the restaurant reviewer/television critic for the Sunday Times). This is essentially a travel book - again bought to coincide with our time in France. His writing was a revelation for me. He has a brilliant writing style – punchy, humorous and intelligent (and, on occasions, somewhat maddening!). I really enjoyed this book and will definitely tracking down other stuff by him from now on.
Leviathan (Paul Auster): I think Auster is a fascinating writer. This is a strange and complicated book about two writers who become close friends and it employs typical Auster themes: the connection between freedom and chaos, isolation and the complexity of interpersonal relationships. Ultimately, this novel seems to be about the desire to discard an identity and begin anew. Although I felt it was ridiculously contrived at times, I found it a compelling read.

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