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What books did you read in 2020?


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26. Be Careful What You Wish For by Simon Jordan Autobiography of the perma-tanned ex-chairman of Crystal Palace FC. I quite like his unflinching honesty when he's in the media and his utter disdain for football agents, huge salaries and the ridiculousness of the football business. This is pretty much exactly what you'd expect it to be. He's arrogant, waffles on about his various girlfriends, name drops throughout and is open about his hatred towards certain people. But it's a fairly illuminating insight into how he made his millions in the mobile phone business, was lured into spending a huge amount of his wealth on his boyhood club and his fall from grace. He comes across as unlikeable in a lot of respects but a fairly principled guy. He boasts about the amounts of money he has spent on his own birthday parties, cars, holidays, women etc. It's entertaining throughout; I probably got more from it than most as we were brought up in a similar part of the world. 

 

27. The Affirmation by Christopher Priest Priest (of The Prestige fame) is a great British sci-fi writer. Although I'd say there's very soft sci-fi and fantasy elements to his novels and that its better to classify him as a great British writer. This is a novel about a man who has relationship issues and in coming to terms with these, begins to create and reside in an alternative world, the Dream Archipelago. He begins to slip between the two worlds and it becomes unclear what it is real and what is fiction. The first person narration is questionable, in that the main protagonist is a wholly unreliable writer - you're not sure what is real and what is a lie. The Dream Archipelago parts reminded me of one of the Clive Barker books I read when I was in my teens - Imajica possibly? There's no real fantastical part to these sections, but they do seem ethereal, otherworldly and dream-like. It's really well written throughout, though totally accessible. It serves as a parable on relationship breakdowns. 

Spoiler

 

1. Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh

2. Recursion by Blake Crouch

3. The Descent of Man by Grayson Perry

4. The Future Starts Here by John Higgs

5. Man's Search For Reason by Victor Frankl

6. Nomad by Alan Partridge

7. Infinite Detail by Tim Maughan

8. Animal Farm by George Orwell

9. Foundation by Isaac Asimov

10. Ayoade on Ayoade by Richard Ayoade

11. Dispel Illusion by Mark Lawrence

12. Zed by Joanna Kavenna

13. What I Talk About, When I Talk About Running by Haruka Murikami

14. The End Is Always Near by Dan Carlin.

15. Perfect Sound Whatever by James Acaster

16. Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney

17. On The Beach by Nevil Shute

18. Stranger Than We Can Imagine by John Higgs

19. Cold Storage by David Koepp

20. Gotta Get Theroux This by Louis Theroux

21. A Boy And His Dog At The End Of The World by C. A. Fletcher

22. Jonathan Pie: Off The Record by Jonathan Pie

23. The Builders by Daniel Polansky

24. Ask A Footballer by James Milner

25. Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton

26. Be Careful What You Wish For by Simon Jordan

27. The Affirmation by Christopher Priest

 

 

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53. The Men Who Stare at Goats by Jon Ronson. Think I'm pretty much up to date with Ronson now, and I think this was my favourite. I've never read the book or seen the film so didn't know that it was about - appreciate I'm very late to the party on this one. 

 

I found the first half frequently laugh out loud hilarious - I listened to it on Audible, and Ronson reads it himself. I don't often like that, but it worked brilliantly here. I just loved the tone in his retellings of the more bizarre encounters.

 

The second half was more serious and at times quite moving in its bleakness, but still brilliant, and with frequent moments of welcome levity. 

 

Previously:

 

Spoiler

1. This is How You Lose the Time War

2. The Uninhabitable Earth

3. Grief is the Thing With Feathers

4. Room

5. Flowers for Algernon

6. The Emperor of all Maladies

7. The old man and the sea

8. American War

9. The Hod King

10. The Picture of Dorian Gray

11. Everything I Never Told You

12. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

13. The Testaments

14. The Great Gatsby

15. Wolf of the Plains

16. The Stars' Tennis Balls

17. A Boy and his dog at the end of the world

18. Twelve Years a Slave

19. No Country for Old Men

20. 2001: A Space Odyssey

21. Child of God

22. Mythos

23. Cities of the Plain

24. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

25. The City and the City

26. The Nickel Boys

27. Mother Ship

28. Master and Commander

29. The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

30. We

31. The Impossible Climb

32. The Three Body Problem

33. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

34. Smile of the Wolf

35. Killers of the Flower Moon

36. So You've Been Publicly Shamed

37. Laurus

38. The North Water

39. Saving Missy

40. The Light Between Oceans

41. The Elephant in the Room

42. Annihilation

43. The Psychopath Test

44. The End is Always Near

45. The Black Dahlia

46. Galatea

47. The 8th Emotion

48. The Bottle Imp

49. The Dog Stars

50. Wilding

51. Where the Crawdads Sing

52. The Porpoise

53. The Men Who Stare at Goats

 

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54. The Man Who Fell to Earth by Walter Tevis. I really enjoyed this. It's got a 60s sci-fi feel, but without seeming dated. Some similarities with Heinlein's The Door into Summer, though overall I probably preferred that one. 

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55. This is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality by Peter Pomerantsev. A fascinating book covering troll farms, fake news and the history of misinformation.

 

Previously:

 

Spoiler

1. This is How You Lose the Time War

2. The Uninhabitable Earth

3. Grief is the Thing With Feathers

4. Room

5. Flowers for Algernon

6. The Emperor of all Maladies

7. The old man and the sea

8. American War

9. The Hod King

10. The Picture of Dorian Gray

11. Everything I Never Told You

12. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

13. The Testaments

14. The Great Gatsby

15. Wolf of the Plains

16. The Stars' Tennis Balls

17. A Boy and his dog at the end of the world

18. Twelve Years a Slave

19. No Country for Old Men

20. 2001: A Space Odyssey

21. Child of God

22. Mythos

23. Cities of the Plain

24. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

25. The City and the City

26. The Nickel Boys

27. Mother Ship

28. Master and Commander

29. The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

30. We

31. The Impossible Climb

32. The Three Body Problem

33. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

34. Smile of the Wolf

35. Killers of the Flower Moon

36. So You've Been Publicly Shamed

37. Laurus

38. The North Water

39. Saving Missy

40. The Light Between Oceans

41. The Elephant in the Room

42. Annihilation

43. The Psychopath Test

44. The End is Always Near

45. The Black Dahlia

46. Galatea

47. The 8th Emotion

48. The Bottle Imp

49. The Dog Stars

50. Wilding

51. Where the Crawdads Sing

52. The Porpoise

53. The Men Who Stare at Goats

54. The Man Who Fell to Earth

55. This is Not Propaganda

 

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6. The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

 

Recommended by a friend and she knows me well. Think I read it in two days. It’s about group of long-term friends, mainly in couples that go up to a remote Hunting Lodge in Scotland and one of them gets murdered. It’s not the most original whodunnit but the setting (they get snowed in) makes in feel claustrophobic and the characters are well written. I’ll certainly get some of her other books.

 

7. Die Alone by Simon Kernick.

 

I think I have read most of the books by “Britain’s Harlan Coben” and this is the conclusion to a trilogy featuring two of his main recurring characters - a male and female ex Cop searching for “The Bone Field Killers” after some remains of a long missing girl turn up. You have to suspend disbelief a little bit with his books as there is no way these two characters wouldn’t be in prison by now after their respective journeys in previous books but the characters are very well written and I like the gritty feel as he explores the darker side of the UK.

 

I’ve also read Theory Test for Motorcycles, Riding: The Essential Skills and refreshed myself on the Highway Code as part of my motorbike license but not sure I can count those.

 

Previously

 

 


1. Creative Calling by Chase Jarvis

2. The Art of War by Sun Tzu

3. Armada by Ernest Cline

4. Blue Moon by Lee Child

5. The Boy from the Woods by Harlan Coben
 

 

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56. The Girl With Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee. I've read several books about life in/escape from North Korea. This treads a somewhat similar path to In Order to Live (though Lee appears to have endured a less horrific journey, all things considered). I think overall Nothing to Envy and A River in Darkness are more impressive examples of this genre though. 

 

Previously:

 

Spoiler

1. This is How You Lose the Time War

2. The Uninhabitable Earth

3. Grief is the Thing With Feathers

4. Room

5. Flowers for Algernon

6. The Emperor of all Maladies

7. The old man and the sea

8. American War

9. The Hod King

10. The Picture of Dorian Gray

11. Everything I Never Told You

12. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

13. The Testaments

14. The Great Gatsby

15. Wolf of the Plains

16. The Stars' Tennis Balls

17. A Boy and his dog at the end of the world

18. Twelve Years a Slave

19. No Country for Old Men

20. 2001: A Space Odyssey

21. Child of God

22. Mythos

23. Cities of the Plain

24. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

25. The City and the City

26. The Nickel Boys

27. Mother Ship

28. Master and Commander

29. The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

30. We

31. The Impossible Climb

32. The Three Body Problem

33. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

34. Smile of the Wolf

35. Killers of the Flower Moon

36. So You've Been Publicly Shamed

37. Laurus

38. The North Water

39. Saving Missy

40. The Light Between Oceans

41. The Elephant in the Room

42. Annihilation

43. The Psychopath Test

44. The End is Always Near

45. The Black Dahlia

46. Galatea

47. The 8th Emotion

48. The Bottle Imp

49. The Dog Stars

50. Wilding

51. Where the Crawdads Sing

52. The Porpoise

53. The Men Who Stare at Goats

54. The Man Who Fell to Earth

55. This is Not Propaganda

57. The Girl With Seven Names

 

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28. Excelsior: The Amazing Life of Stan Lee by Stan Lee WYSIWYG. A graphic novel autobiography of Lee's part in creating some of the most iconic superheroes, his part in the birth of Marvel and his seeming love for the life he's lived, his beloved wife and the relationships he's had with famous comic book writers and artists. It's surprisingly sad in a couple of places and he comes across as puppy dogish in his enthusiasm, positivity and appreciation for how his life went. It's a fairly quick read and is a decent enough read for anyone interesting in superheroes and their creation.

 

29. The Trial by Franz Kafka I enjoyed it but there were sections that seemed a bit meandering and in need of some editing - probably down to the fact that the book was unfinished and unpublished before his death. What's great about it is, that in parts it's really chilling, in others darkly humorous; it has moments of intrigue, delight, frustration etc. The last few pages were powerful and the closing lines are a superb ending.

Spoiler

 

1. Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh

2. Recursion by Blake Crouch

3. The Descent of Man by Grayson Perry

4. The Future Starts Here by John Higgs

5. Man's Search For Reason by Victor Frankl

6. Nomad by Alan Partridge

7. Infinite Detail by Tim Maughan

8. Animal Farm by George Orwell

9. Foundation by Isaac Asimov

10. Ayoade on Ayoade by Richard Ayoade

11. Dispel Illusion by Mark Lawrence

12. Zed by Joanna Kavenna

13. What I Talk About, When I Talk About Running by Haruka Murikami

14. The End Is Always Near by Dan Carlin.

15. Perfect Sound Whatever by James Acaster

16. Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney

17. On The Beach by Nevil Shute

18. Stranger Than We Can Imagine by John Higgs

19. Cold Storage by David Koepp

20. Gotta Get Theroux This by Louis Theroux

21. A Boy And His Dog At The End Of The World by C. A. Fletcher

22. Jonathan Pie: Off The Record by Jonathan Pie

23. The Builders by Daniel Polansky

24. Ask A Footballer by James Milner

25. Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton

26. Be Careful What You Wish For by Simon Jordan

27. The Affirmation by Christopher Priest

28. Excelsior: The Amazing Life of Stan Lee by Stan Lee

29. The Trial by Franz Kafka

 

 

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8. The Ruins by Mat Osman

 

Brother of Richard and Bass Player in Suede, I picked this up after hearing Mat interviewed about it on the radio. It’s about two brothers, one extrovert, former rock star who has moved to California and one introvert who has stayed in London and likes building models. I can’t say much more about the plot without giving too much away. I found it a little slow to get in to but glad I persevered. I noticed a reviewer mentioned similarities with David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive and I can see that - a journey in to the dark side of fame and desire.

 

Previously:

 

 


1. Creative Calling by Chase Jarvis

2. The Art of War by Sun Tzu

3. Armada by Ernest Cline

4. Blue Moon by Lee Child

5. The Boy from the Woods by Harlan Coben

6. The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

7. Die Alone by Simon Kernick

 
 

 

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27. The Girl with All the Gifts - M.R. Carey

 

I'm not much of a fan of this particular genre but I saw the film version a while ago (prompted by everyone raving about it here) and really enjoyed it. So when the book cropped up in one of the Kindle 99p sales I snapped it up, and now I've eventually got round to reading it. And it's great. I love the

 

Spoiler

"intelligent zombies"

 

premise, and the way this allows the title character to develop real and different relationships with the small group of people she finds herself with. And like the best sci-fi-horror, it asks some pretty deep questions of what it means to be human, and who qualifies for that description. Who is more inhuman - the person fighting their own innate and instinctive biological imperatives in order to protect the people around them, or the person coolly and deliberately sacrificing individual lives in an attempt to save many more? All of which is wrapped up in a fantastic page turner full of suspense, action and humour. I won't be waiting as long to read the prequel, The Boy on the Bridge.

 

Spoiler

1. The Right Stuff - Tom Wolfe

2. Star Wars: Doctor Aphra: Unspeakable Rebel Superweapon - Simon Spurrier & various artists (graphic novel)

3. Immortal Hulk: Breaker of Worlds - Al Ewing & Joe Bennett (graphic novel)

4. Star Wars: Master and Apprentice - Claudia Gray

5. The Colour of Magic - Terry Pratchett

6. What Does This Button Do? - Bruce Dickinson

7. The Spirit of the Dragon - William Andrews

8. Different Seasons - Stephen King

9. Star Wars: Doctor Aphra: A Rogue's End - Simon Spurrier & Caspar WijnGaard (graphic novel)

10. Nasher Says Relax - Brian Nash

11. Star Wars: Target Vader - Robbie Thompson & Marc Laming (graphic novel)

12: Star Wars: Alphabet Squadron  - Alexander Freed

13: Christine - Stephen King

14: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - Rae Carson

15: Star Wars: Rogues and Rebels - Greg Pak & Phil Noto (graphic novel)

16. Immortal Hulk: We Believe in Bruce Banner - Al Ewing & Joe Bennett (graphic novel)

17. Dancing With Myself - Billy Idol

18. Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk

19. Third World War: Book 1 - Pat Mills & Carlos Ezquerra (graphic novel)

20. Pet Sematary - Stephen King

21. Wool - Hugh Howey

22. Shift - Hugh Howey

23. Dust - Hugh Howey

24. Star Wars: Thrawn Treason - Timothy Zahn

25. Heretics of Dune - Frank Herbert

26. Half of a Yellow Sun - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

27. The Girl with All the Gifts - M.R. Carey

 

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57 minutes ago, Darren said:

27. The Girl with All the Gifts - M.R. Carey

 

I'm not much of a fan of this particular genre but I saw the film version a while ago (prompted by everyone raving about it here) and really enjoyed it. So when the book cropped up in one of the Kindle 99p sales I snapped it up, and now I've eventually got round to reading it. And it's great. I love the

 

  Hide contents

"intelligent zombies"

 

premise, and the way this allows the title character to develop real and different relationships with the small group of people she finds herself with. And like the best sci-fi-horror, it asks some pretty deep questions of what it means to be human, and who qualifies for that description. Who is more inhuman - the person fighting their own innate and instinctive biological imperatives in order to protect the people around them, or the person coolly and deliberately sacrificing individual lives in an attempt to save many more? All of which is wrapped up in a fantastic page turner full of suspense, action and humour. I won't be waiting as long to read the prequel, The Boy on the Bridge.

 

  Reveal hidden contents

1. The Right Stuff - Tom Wolfe

2. Star Wars: Doctor Aphra: Unspeakable Rebel Superweapon - Simon Spurrier & various artists (graphic novel)

3. Immortal Hulk: Breaker of Worlds - Al Ewing & Joe Bennett (graphic novel)

4. Star Wars: Master and Apprentice - Claudia Gray

5. The Colour of Magic - Terry Pratchett

6. What Does This Button Do? - Bruce Dickinson

7. The Spirit of the Dragon - William Andrews

8. Different Seasons - Stephen King

9. Star Wars: Doctor Aphra: A Rogue's End - Simon Spurrier & Caspar WijnGaard (graphic novel)

10. Nasher Says Relax - Brian Nash

11. Star Wars: Target Vader - Robbie Thompson & Marc Laming (graphic novel)

12: Star Wars: Alphabet Squadron  - Alexander Freed

13: Christine - Stephen King

14: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - Rae Carson

15: Star Wars: Rogues and Rebels - Greg Pak & Phil Noto (graphic novel)

16. Immortal Hulk: We Believe in Bruce Banner - Al Ewing & Joe Bennett (graphic novel)

17. Dancing With Myself - Billy Idol

18. Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk

19. Third World War: Book 1 - Pat Mills & Carlos Ezquerra (graphic novel)

20. Pet Sematary - Stephen King

21. Wool - Hugh Howey

22. Shift - Hugh Howey

23. Dust - Hugh Howey

24. Star Wars: Thrawn Treason - Timothy Zahn

25. Heretics of Dune - Frank Herbert

26. Half of a Yellow Sun - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

27. The Girl with All the Gifts - M.R. Carey

 

 

I really enjoyed that book, but thought it absolutely shit the bed towards the end. I've read the sequel and be interested to see what you think of it. I won't say any more until you've read it. You might also be interested in their newest book, as it's 99p until tomorrow. Here

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30. Ramble Book by Adam Buxton Listened to the audiobook version as the actual book isn't out until September. This is probably the way to go as it contains lost of Buckle's jingles and each chapter comes with its own theme tune. When you finish the audiobook there is an exclusive podcast with Joe Cornish as well. And there are various audiobook interludes. If you like Buxton then you'll enjoy this; it's much of the same. However, the reason his podcast is so great is down to the relationships and conversations he builds up with his guests. Additionally, I felt that he focused too much on certain elements of his life and largely ignored other parts, that's his prerogative but it left me a bit disappointed. I could have done with less talk about his school life and sustained focus on his father and done more on the Adam and Joe Show, Bug and the podcast. Funnily enough, I had the same issue with Louis Theroux's autobiography.  

Spoiler

 

1. Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh

2. Recursion by Blake Crouch

3. The Descent of Man by Grayson Perry

4. The Future Starts Here by John Higgs

5. Man's Search For Reason by Victor Frankl

6. Nomad by Alan Partridge

7. Infinite Detail by Tim Maughan

8. Animal Farm by George Orwell

9. Foundation by Isaac Asimov

10. Ayoade on Ayoade by Richard Ayoade

11. Dispel Illusion by Mark Lawrence

12. Zed by Joanna Kavenna

13. What I Talk About, When I Talk About Running by Haruka Murikami

14. The End Is Always Near by Dan Carlin.

15. Perfect Sound Whatever by James Acaster

16. Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney

17. On The Beach by Nevil Shute

18. Stranger Than We Can Imagine by John Higgs

19. Cold Storage by David Koepp

20. Gotta Get Theroux This by Louis Theroux

21. A Boy And His Dog At The End Of The World by C. A. Fletcher

22. Jonathan Pie: Off The Record by Jonathan Pie

23. The Builders by Daniel Polansky

24. Ask A Footballer by James Milner

25. Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton

26. Be Careful What You Wish For by Simon Jordan

27. The Affirmation by Christopher Priest

28. Excelsior: The Amazing Life of Stan Lee by Stan Lee

29. The Trial by Franz Kafka

30. Ramblebook by Adam Buxton

 

 

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57. Mockingbird by Walter Tevis. After really enjoying The Man Who Fell to Earth I picked up this, as it's supposed to be Tevis's best work. It's great, and very different, but I think I personally preferred The Man Who Fell to Earth.

 

58. County Lines by Jason Farrell. Written by an investigative journalist, this explores County Lines and the UK drug trade across different parts of society, and how it contributes to escalating violence and knife crime. I was aware of some, but not all, of this. The personal stories of how really young kids are pulled into this world are pretty horrible and scary.

 

Previously:

 

Spoiler

1. This is How You Lose the Time War

2. The Uninhabitable Earth

3. Grief is the Thing With Feathers

4. Room

5. Flowers for Algernon

6. The Emperor of all Maladies

7. The old man and the sea

8. American War

9. The Hod King

10. The Picture of Dorian Gray

11. Everything I Never Told You

12. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

13. The Testaments

14. The Great Gatsby

15. Wolf of the Plains

16. The Stars' Tennis Balls

17. A Boy and his dog at the end of the world

18. Twelve Years a Slave

19. No Country for Old Men

20. 2001: A Space Odyssey

21. Child of God

22. Mythos

23. Cities of the Plain

24. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

25. The City and the City

26. The Nickel Boys

27. Mother Ship

28. Master and Commander

29. The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

30. We

31. The Impossible Climb

32. The Three Body Problem

33. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

34. Smile of the Wolf

35. Killers of the Flower Moon

36. So You've Been Publicly Shamed

37. Laurus

38. The North Water

39. Saving Missy

40. The Light Between Oceans

41. The Elephant in the Room

42. Annihilation

43. The Psychopath Test

44. The End is Always Near

45. The Black Dahlia

46. Galatea

47. The 8th Emotion

48. The Bottle Imp

49. The Dog Stars

50. Wilding

51. Where the Crawdads Sing

52. The Porpoise

53. The Men Who Stare at Goats

54. The Man Who Fell to Earth

55. This is Not Propaganda

56. The Girl With Seven Names

57. Mockingbird

58. County Lines

 

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28. White Line Fever - Lemmy

 

I was never a big Motörhead fan but I do like a good music autobiography and this got good reviews. Unfortunately I think I probably needed to be more of a Motör-head (geddit) to really appreciate this run through the trials and tribulations of recording albums, most of which I've never heard. Lemmy comes across as a decent bloke regarding most of the other men in his story, seeming to stick to the adage "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" except when talking about record company executives who he clearly felt were the bane of his professional life. However the same can't be said about women. He wrote this around the year 2000 (this edition has an extra chapter written by a journalist covering the period from then to his death at the end of 2015) so it might be unfair to judge him by today's standards, but he comes across as utterly, unrelentingly sexist, even complaining at one point about repeatedly being called out for his sexism in a "how can I be sexist - I love birds, especially the ones with big tits" kind of way. I'm sure he meant that as a joke with a twinkle in his eye but reading it today it's just grim. So while this was an interesting insight into a rock legend's life, and it's made me want to hear some of those albums, it hasn't warmed me to the man behind them.

 

Spoiler

1. The Right Stuff - Tom Wolfe

2. Star Wars: Doctor Aphra: Unspeakable Rebel Superweapon - Simon Spurrier & various artists (graphic novel)

3. Immortal Hulk: Breaker of Worlds - Al Ewing & Joe Bennett (graphic novel)

4. Star Wars: Master and Apprentice - Claudia Gray

5. The Colour of Magic - Terry Pratchett

6. What Does This Button Do? - Bruce Dickinson

7. The Spirit of the Dragon - William Andrews

8. Different Seasons - Stephen King

9. Star Wars: Doctor Aphra: A Rogue's End - Simon Spurrier & Caspar WijnGaard (graphic novel)

10. Nasher Says Relax - Brian Nash

11. Star Wars: Target Vader - Robbie Thompson & Marc Laming (graphic novel)

12: Star Wars: Alphabet Squadron  - Alexander Freed

13: Christine - Stephen King

14: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - Rae Carson

15: Star Wars: Rogues and Rebels - Greg Pak & Phil Noto (graphic novel)

16. Immortal Hulk: We Believe in Bruce Banner - Al Ewing & Joe Bennett (graphic novel)

17. Dancing With Myself - Billy Idol

18. Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk

19. Third World War: Book 1 - Pat Mills & Carlos Ezquerra (graphic novel)

20. Pet Sematary - Stephen King

21. Wool - Hugh Howey

22. Shift - Hugh Howey

23. Dust - Hugh Howey

24. Star Wars: Thrawn Treason - Timothy Zahn

25. Heretics of Dune - Frank Herbert

26. Half of a Yellow Sun - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

27. The Girl with All the Gifts - M.R. Carey

28. White Line Fever - Lemmy

 

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Spoiler

 

1.Chernobyl Prayer by Svetlana Alexievich

2. How to be Champion by Sarah Millican

3. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J K Rowling

4. Leviathan Wakes by James S A Corey

5. Sober by Tony Adams

6. Caliban's War by James S A Corey

7. The Volunteer: The True Story of the Resistance Hero who Infiltrated Auschwitz by Jack Fairweather

8. Vespasian - The Furies of Rome by Robert Fabbri

9. Star Wars: Queen's Shadow by E K Johnston

10. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

11. How Not to Be a Football Millionaire by Keith Gillespie

12. Yes Please by Amy Poehler

13. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J K Rowling

 

 

14. Vespasian - Rome's Sacred Flame by Robert Fabbri

 

An excellent penultimate chapter of a series I've grown to love over the past 12 months or so. I thought this was amongst the best and I'm actually sad that I've only got one final installment left! Has anyone got any other Roman based drama series they could recommend? 

 

4.5/5

 

15. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchet.

 

Hmm, I just could not get into this at all. I wanted to like it, but it's nowhere near as funny as it thinks it is, and i just thought it was incredibly boring. 

 

I just don't think Terry Pratchet is for me. Sorry, forum. 

 

I didn't make it to the end. 

 

N/A

 

16. I Love the Bones of You by Christopher Eccleston

 

Just.... wow. Totally bowled over by this beautifully written autobiography. I admit that I bought this as a Dr Who fan wanting a bit of inside gossip about why the 9th Doctor only lasted 1 series.

 

But by the end of this, I really didn't care as I was captivated by Eccleston's writing, his love for his father and the heartbreaking account of his father's dementia and subsequent passing. 

 

Added to that, I had no idea just how poorly the author himself has been, suffering with anorexia and clinical depression. 

 

He talks candidly about his career but it takes a firm backseat to the tribute he pays to his father, whilst simultaneously trying to understand what has happened to himself. 

 

I have (fortunately) never had a close friend or family member succumb to dementia. This memoir from someone who has had to see the awful effect of it first hand really got to me and it's easily one of the best, most honest, frank and hard hitting autobiographies I've ever read. I'd urge anyone to give this a go. 

 

5/5

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31. Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing: Life, Death and the Thrill of the Catch by Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse. First up, I've never had any interest in fishing but really enjoyed the TV programme of the same name so thought I'd give this a go. I love the relationship that the pair have and so went for the audiobook version. So glad I did. This is just a lovely book written by two guys who clearly have an awful lot of love for each other. Their rapport comes across as really natural and unscripted, as such it's a real delight. It's not hugely tasking at around 6 hours but it's a book to wallow in. They talk about their health woes and how this brought them to embrace fishing as a couple and it's a great insight into two people addressing their own mortality. If you're vaguely contemplative about ageing, dying, living life to the full (yet responsibly), then do give it a whirl. 

 

32. Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi Read this as part of a book club. It's about a cafe where one seat allows you to travel back in time. It's a gentle, philosophical read with a great deal of heart. The rules to time travel are quite intriguing and there's some great relationship dynamics at play throughout. It's not a huge book but a rewarding one.

Spoiler

 

1. Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh

2. Recursion by Blake Crouch

3. The Descent of Man by Grayson Perry

4. The Future Starts Here by John Higgs

5. Man's Search For Reason by Victor Frankl

6. Nomad by Alan Partridge

7. Infinite Detail by Tim Maughan

8. Animal Farm by George Orwell

9. Foundation by Isaac Asimov

10. Ayoade on Ayoade by Richard Ayoade

11. Dispel Illusion by Mark Lawrence

12. Zed by Joanna Kavenna

13. What I Talk About, When I Talk About Running by Haruka Murikami

14. The End Is Always Near by Dan Carlin.

15. Perfect Sound Whatever by James Acaster

16. Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney

17. On The Beach by Nevil Shute

18. Stranger Than We Can Imagine by John Higgs

19. Cold Storage by David Koepp

20. Gotta Get Theroux This by Louis Theroux

21. A Boy And His Dog At The End Of The World by C. A. Fletcher

22. Jonathan Pie: Off The Record by Jonathan Pie

23. The Builders by Daniel Polansky

24. Ask A Footballer by James Milner

25. Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton

26. Be Careful What You Wish For by Simon Jordan

27. The Affirmation by Christopher Priest

28. Excelsior: The Amazing Life of Stan Lee by Stan Lee

29. The Trial by Franz Kafka

30. Ramblebook by Adam Buxton

31. Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing: Life, Death and the Thrill of the Catch - Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse

32. Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kaawaguchi

 

 

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On 06/08/2020 at 06:01, Boothjan said:
  Reveal hidden contents

 

1.Chernobyl Prayer by Svetlana Alexievich

2. How to be Champion by Sarah Millican

3. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J K Rowling

4. Leviathan Wakes by James S A Corey

5. Sober by Tony Adams

6. Caliban's War by James S A Corey

7. The Volunteer: The True Story of the Resistance Hero who Infiltrated Auschwitz by Jack Fairweather

8. Vespasian - The Furies of Rome by Robert Fabbri

9. Star Wars: Queen's Shadow by E K Johnston

10. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

11. How Not to Be a Football Millionaire by Keith Gillespie

12. Yes Please by Amy Poehler

13. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J K Rowling

 

 

14. Vespasian - Rome's Sacred Flame by Robert Fabbri

 

An excellent penultimate chapter of a series I've grown to love over the past 12 months or so. I thought this was amongst the best and I'm actually sad that I've only got one final installment left! Has anyone got any other Roman based drama series they could recommend? 

 

I assume you’ve read the Conn Iggulden Rome series?  If not, you’re in for a treat!

 

An alternative suggestion, which is more Roman Britain, is Manda Scott’s Boudicca series.  It’s been years since I read these but I remember enjoying them at the time.  

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59. Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut.

 

I've only previously read Slaughterhouse-Five by Vonnegut, which was years ago and I can't remember anything about it. I listed to this on Audible, read by John Malkovic, and it regularly had me in stitches. There's something hilarious about the understated way Malkovic completely drily describes the drawings of anuses and so on that I gather appear in the print version. Think I need to read more Vonnegut.

 

Previously:

 

Spoiler

1. This is How You Lose the Time War

2. The Uninhabitable Earth

3. Grief is the Thing With Feathers

4. Room

5. Flowers for Algernon

6. The Emperor of all Maladies

7. The old man and the sea

8. American War

9. The Hod King

10. The Picture of Dorian Gray

11. Everything I Never Told You

12. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

13. The Testaments

14. The Great Gatsby

15. Wolf of the Plains

16. The Stars' Tennis Balls

17. A Boy and his dog at the end of the world

18. Twelve Years a Slave

19. No Country for Old Men

20. 2001: A Space Odyssey

21. Child of God

22. Mythos

23. Cities of the Plain

24. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

25. The City and the City

26. The Nickel Boys

27. Mother Ship

28. Master and Commander

29. The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

30. We

31. The Impossible Climb

32. The Three Body Problem

33. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

34. Smile of the Wolf

35. Killers of the Flower Moon

36. So You've Been Publicly Shamed

37. Laurus

38. The North Water

39. Saving Missy

40. The Light Between Oceans

41. The Elephant in the Room

42. Annihilation

43. The Psychopath Test

44. The End is Always Near

45. The Black Dahlia

46. Galatea

47. The 8th Emotion

48. The Bottle Imp

49. The Dog Stars

50. Wilding

51. Where the Crawdads Sing

52. The Porpoise

53. The Men Who Stare at Goats

54. The Man Who Fell to Earth

55. This is Not Propaganda

56. The Girl With Seven Names

57. Mockingbird

58. County Lines

59. Breakfast of Champions

 

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Everyone needs to read more Vonnegut. If he was on the national curriculum rather than Shakespeare there’s a chance we wouldn’t be a nation of morons.

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On 07/08/2020 at 08:55, Bushtopher said:

 

I assume you’ve read the Conn Iggulden Rome series?  If not, you’re in for a treat!

 

An alternative suggestion, which is more Roman Britain, is Manda Scott’s Boudicca series.  It’s been years since I read these but I remember enjoying them at the time.  

 

Ah cool, I'll give the Conn Iggulden series a try. I've heard good things about that so it's a logical series to start next!

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8. Dark Blood by Stuart McBride - DS Logan McRae book 6, usual high quality, good to spend time with the crew again etc etc.

 

9. Timelike Infinity by Stephen Baxter - excellent combination of space opera and hard SF that made my head spin in parts, talking about the observable universe and black holes and all that, but is a thrilling adventure too with time-travel. Will be checking the other books in this series.

 

10. Surprisingly Down To Earth, And Very Funny by Limmy - it's okay, it did feel like he was struggling to fill the pages towards the end, waffling on about the mechanics of making Limmy's Show, not particularly interesting. Much preferred the early chapters where he's going on about growing up in Glasgow, dealing with alcoholism, and his rise to relative fame as an early example of a comedian who came from the internet. I listened to the audiobook of this, Limmy reads it himself and does a good job.

 

11. Why We Get The Wrong Politicians by Isabel Hardman - Eye-opening look at the workings of Parliament, from how MPs get selected, what they do when they get in, or get booted out, and how the system makes it impossible to fully scrutinise legislation leading to crap like the Bedroom Tax. I'm amazed anything workable gets past the career politicians, the yes-men and all the other nonsense.


 

Spoiler

 

1. Moneyland by Oliver Bullough

2. Austerity: The History Of A Dangerous Idea by Mark Blyth

3. The Innocent by David Baldacci

4. Poverty Safari by Darren McGarvey

5.  Flat Earth News by Nick Davies

6. The Wall by John Lanchester

7. Hey Listen! by Steve McNeil

8. Dark Blood by Stuart McBride

9. Timelike Infinity by Stephen Baxter

10. Surprisingly Down To Earth, And Very Funny by Limmy

11. Why We Get The Wrong Politicians by Isabel Hardman

 

 

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33. The Porpoise by Mark Haddon. I was pretty excited when this came up on offer on the Kindle as it had been on my Wishlist for a while, especially after a number of fawning reviews from other writers and a couple of friends. Weaves together 3 stories, one set in the modern world involving a young girl who has a concerning relationship with her wealthy father, framed by tragedy. She seeks escape from her real life woes in the story of Pericles and there is also another strand involving Shakespeare and one of his collaborators. I didn't get on with this at all, characters disappear never to be referenced again, the interweaving of the stories didn't really work for me and it all became pretty laboured and dull. 

Spoiler

 

1. Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh

2. Recursion by Blake Crouch

3. The Descent of Man by Grayson Perry

4. The Future Starts Here by John Higgs

5. Man's Search For Reason by Victor Frankl

6. Nomad by Alan Partridge

7. Infinite Detail by Tim Maughan

8. Animal Farm by George Orwell

9. Foundation by Isaac Asimov

10. Ayoade on Ayoade by Richard Ayoade

11. Dispel Illusion by Mark Lawrence

12. Zed by Joanna Kavenna

13. What I Talk About, When I Talk About Running by Haruka Murikami

14. The End Is Always Near by Dan Carlin.

15. Perfect Sound Whatever by James Acaster

16. Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney

17. On The Beach by Nevil Shute

18. Stranger Than We Can Imagine by John Higgs

19. Cold Storage by David Koepp

20. Gotta Get Theroux This by Louis Theroux

21. A Boy And His Dog At The End Of The World by C. A. Fletcher

22. Jonathan Pie: Off The Record by Jonathan Pie

23. The Builders by Daniel Polansky

24. Ask A Footballer by James Milner

25. Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton

26. Be Careful What You Wish For by Simon Jordan

27. The Affirmation by Christopher Priest

28. Excelsior: The Amazing Life of Stan Lee by Stan Lee

29. The Trial by Franz Kafka

30. Ramblebook by Adam Buxton

31. Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing: Life, Death and the Thrill of the Catch - Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse

32. Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kaawaguchi

33. The Porpoise by Mark Haddon

 

 

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9. We Can See You by Simon Kernick

 

Will the real Simon Kernick please stand up. This is a strange book. I read it in two sittings so I guess from one perspective it’s a page-turner. However, it feels like the very definition of “phoning it in”. For the first time, the setting has moved to the US and focuses on a kidnapped girl. I won’t spoil anything but to say you have to suspend disbelief is an understatement. Every single character introduced ends up having some major part in the story. I don’t know if this was some kind of contractual obligation to his publisher, an attempt to sell more books in the US or just something he knocked out quickly during a break in The Bone Field trilogy but please bring back the real Simon Kernick.

 

Next up, “How to be Famous” by Caitlin Moran.

 

Previously:



1. Creative Calling by Chase Jarvis

2. The Art of War by Sun Tzu

3. Armada by Ernest Cline

4. Blue Moon by Lee Child

5. The Boy from the Woods by Harlan Coben

6. The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

7. Die Alone by Simon Kernick

 

8. The Ruins by Mat Osman

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It’s been a while since I did a big update, but I’ve just this minute finished....

 

37. Gone with the Wind. 
 

I absolutely loved this. Such a great novel, highly recommended. I’ve never seen the film, but fully intend to - not sure it could possibly live up to the book though. As with many periods of history, it’s easy to take in the broad sweeps without considering the lives of those experiencing change and upheaval, as we see here through the American Civil War (a period I admit I don’t know a lot about, but now want to learn more). Slavery features heavily, of course, and made for uncomfortable reading but it did make me reflect on some of the deep rooted issues that we’re clearly still experiencing the impact of today. 
 

Definitely would recommend. 
 

Not sure what to read next after this...

 

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60. Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking. I found this very interesting, but I'm definitely not smart enough to understand proper physics. I'd imagine this is pretty accessible stuff, yet still makes my brain hurt.

 

61. The Volunteer by Jack Fairweather. This is a pretty incredible and ultimately tragic story of a Pole who deliberately got captured to be sent to Auschwitz in order to lead the resistance from within. In the end his effort essentially became a quest to get the outside world to hear, and act upon, the horrors of what was going on within.

 

Previously:

 

Spoiler

1. This is How You Lose the Time War

2. The Uninhabitable Earth

3. Grief is the Thing With Feathers

4. Room

5. Flowers for Algernon

6. The Emperor of all Maladies

7. The old man and the sea

8. American War

9. The Hod King

10. The Picture of Dorian Gray

11. Everything I Never Told You

12. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

13. The Testaments

14. The Great Gatsby

15. Wolf of the Plains

16. The Stars' Tennis Balls

17. A Boy and his dog at the end of the world

18. Twelve Years a Slave

19. No Country for Old Men

20. 2001: A Space Odyssey

21. Child of God

22. Mythos

23. Cities of the Plain

24. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

25. The City and the City

26. The Nickel Boys

27. Mother Ship

28. Master and Commander

29. The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

30. We

31. The Impossible Climb

32. The Three Body Problem

33. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

34. Smile of the Wolf

35. Killers of the Flower Moon

36. So You've Been Publicly Shamed

37. Laurus

38. The North Water

39. Saving Missy

40. The Light Between Oceans

41. The Elephant in the Room

42. Annihilation

43. The Psychopath Test

44. The End is Always Near

45. The Black Dahlia

46. Galatea

47. The 8th Emotion

48. The Bottle Imp

49. The Dog Stars

50. Wilding

51. Where the Crawdads Sing

52. The Porpoise

53. The Men Who Stare at Goats

54. The Man Who Fell to Earth

55. This is Not Propaganda

56. The Girl With Seven Names

57. Mockingbird

58. County Lines

59. Breakfast of Champions

60. Brief Answers to the Big Questions

61. The Volunteer

 

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4. (:facepalm:) You Died: The Dark Souls Companion, Keza MacDonald and Jason Killingsworth

 

image.png.376c94c678305100b365e68cc7888868.png

 

While seemingly everyone else used lockdown as an excuse to read a lot more, this is the first book I've read since fucking March, which is terrible going, seeing as I'm supposed to be an English teacher. I tend to do most of my reading before bed, and not having to get up early for work in the morning has meant that I've spent the last four months staying up late playing games and then going straight to sleep instead of getting a couple of chapters in as part of my bedtime routine.

 

Anyway, if you're a Souls fan then this is a great book. Essentially, it's a series of interviews with various people who have a deep interest in the game - speedrunners, loresters, podcasters , etc. - explaining how they came to it and why it's so special to them. These interviews are interleaved with briefer chapters where the writers (both games journalists - MacDonald for the Guardian, but previously for Kotaku; Killingsworth formerly for Edge) give an overview of each of the game's different areas, and there's a concise but well-written lore index at the end. If you've never played the first Dark Souls game then you probably won't appreciate this very much, but if you enjoyed the game then this is an easy recommendation.

 

---

 

5. Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro

 

image.png.976384b0d0897a312d1aa30c693cbe23.png

 

The non-linear way in which this is told meant that it took me a while to get into it, but once I got to about the half-way point and figured out what was going on, I enjoyed it a lot more. It was quite similar in tone to The Remains of the Day, which I love, so I'll have to check out some of Ishiguro's other novels. I want to watch the film version, too.

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Finished the Aeronaught's Winldess by Jim Butcher.

 

Meh. It was OK. Wouldn't recommend it over almost any other steampunk novel. I don't think I'll be carrying on with the series.

 

Now I'm onto M John Harrison's The Sunken Lands Rise Again.

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62. Into the Wild by John Krakauer. I really enjoyed Krakauer's Into Thin Air. This isn't nearly as gripping, but is nevertheless a diverting tale and interesting exploration of youthful quest for adventure/sense of invincibility.

 

63. Shockwave: Countdown to Hiroshima by Stephen Walker. This is a pretty incredible book, which recounts the lead up to, and immediate aftermath of, the first atomic bomb. What makes it so fascinating is the way it covers different groups involved, from the scientists to the politicians, bombers and some of the Japanese who suffered. Even having listened to some Dan Carlin accounts, some of the latter are, unsurprisingly, really quite difficult to take.

 

Previously:

 

Spoiler

1. This is How You Lose the Time War

2. The Uninhabitable Earth

3. Grief is the Thing With Feathers

4. Room

5. Flowers for Algernon

6. The Emperor of all Maladies

7. The old man and the sea

8. American War

9. The Hod King

10. The Picture of Dorian Gray

11. Everything I Never Told You

12. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

13. The Testaments

14. The Great Gatsby

15. Wolf of the Plains

16. The Stars' Tennis Balls

17. A Boy and his dog at the end of the world

18. Twelve Years a Slave

19. No Country for Old Men

20. 2001: A Space Odyssey

21. Child of God

22. Mythos

23. Cities of the Plain

24. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

25. The City and the City

26. The Nickel Boys

27. Mother Ship

28. Master and Commander

29. The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

30. We

31. The Impossible Climb

32. The Three Body Problem

33. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

34. Smile of the Wolf

35. Killers of the Flower Moon

36. So You've Been Publicly Shamed

37. Laurus

38. The North Water

39. Saving Missy

40. The Light Between Oceans

41. The Elephant in the Room

42. Annihilation

43. The Psychopath Test

44. The End is Always Near

45. The Black Dahlia

46. Galatea

47. The 8th Emotion

48. The Bottle Imp

49. The Dog Stars

50. Wilding

51. Where the Crawdads Sing

52. The Porpoise

53. The Men Who Stare at Goats

54. The Man Who Fell to Earth

55. This is Not Propaganda

56. The Girl With Seven Names

57. Mockingbird

58. County Lines

59. Breakfast of Champions

60. Brief Answers to the Big Questions

61. The Volunteer

62. Into the Wild

63. Shockwave: Countdown to Hiroshima

 

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On 06/08/2020 at 08:01, Boothjan said:

Has anyone got any other Roman based drama series they could recommend? 

 

The Cicero trilogy by Robert Harris, starting with Imperium, is one of the best series I've read regardless of genre.

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7 hours ago, Mikes said:

 

The Cicero trilogy by Robert Harris, starting with Imperium, is one of the best series I've read regardless of genre.

 

Cheers, made a note of that! Coincidentally, I've just borrowed Pompeii as also I've yet to read that.

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10. How To Be Famous by Caitlin Moran

 

I picked this up on a whim in Waterstones ages ago and finally got around to reading it on holiday. Absolutely loved it. I was slightly older than the main character Johanna is during Britpop but it brought back lots of memories and reminded me of Louise Wener’s (Sleeper) autobiographical “Different for Girls (Adventures in Britpop)”. I read it in a day and hadn’t realised it was a sequel so immediately ordered “How To Build a Girl” which was waiting for me when I got back from holiday.

 

Next up “Lone Rider” by Elspeth Beard

 

Previously:

1. Creative Calling by Chase Jarvis

2. The Art of War by Sun Tzu

3. Armada by Ernest Cline

4. Blue Moon by Lee Child

5. The Boy from the Woods by Harlan Coben

6. The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

7. Die Alone by Simon Kernick 

 

8. The Ruins by Mat Osman

 

9. We Can See You by Simon Kernick

[/spolier]

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