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 Reflections on my life....havenplace.co.uk

My recent book reads and reviews

My specialist eBook/eReaders site is at www.ezeebooks.co.uk 

 

Sum - Forty Tales of the Afterlife 

by David Eagleman

Forty bite-size speculations on the afterlife. No, it's not religious, but parts of it utilise some religious stereotypes. Certainly thought-provoking - which is something I do like. It made me smile and ponder over several of his conceptions. He is a neuroscientist, though the book is by no means scientific. Not a heavy read.

 

 

 

The Last Ealing Commedy 

by Mathew Baylis

In the 'Notting Hill' mould, though a bit seedier, set in a school. Very descriptive of Ealing (if you like that sort of place). It raised quite a few laughs from me, and I'll certainly look out for his work again. Very much a man's view of relationships. Would make a good film - maybe they did and I missed it...

 

 

Palace Council

by Stephen L. Carter

Weaving historical fact mainly during the Nixon and Kennedy years, it explores life in the high class New York society of the 'Darker Nation'. If you are a child of the sixties, you will find it evocative, if you are not it's still an illuminating and informative read. I thoroughly enjoyed it, a good mystery and it's not a short book.   

 

 

Outliers - the Story of Success

by Malcolm Gladwell

An interesting exploration of the the reasons for personal success (measuring it on the money/fame scale), spanning for example the US industrial barons of the 1800's, the New York Jewish legal fraternity, the Beatles, and Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft. The basic premise is 10,000 hrs of practice and historical serendipity. A thought provoking and well-researched book, but then, I enjoy this sort of thing!

 

 

 

The Story of O

by Pauline Reage

An adult book based on a true story of letters written by a French lady to her lover early in the 20th century. The letters were bluntly descriptive of her fantasies, and the book caused a scandal in France. I found it somewhat tedious, depsite its obviously interesting aspects!

 

The Consolations of Philosophy

by Alain de Botton

This is a book which helped me put my view life into a more objective framework. It would help those of us who look deeply inward to take a step backward to see the wood from the trees. He's a skilled writer, with a good reference list, though occasionally I feel his books are somewhat padded. For me though, that does not detract from the content. I think that one of his other books, "Status Anxiety", partners it quite well. See below. 

 

  

 Neuromancer

by William Gibson

This is the book that widened his use of the term 'cyberspace', which he invented in his earlier short story 'Burning Chrome'. Almost singelhandedly, he defined the 'cyberpunk' sub-genre of SciFi. A great read from the author who foresaw the advent of Reality TV.

 

 

 Status Anxiety

by Alain de Botton

This book puts our modern Western view of success, as measured by wealth and fame into a context of other scales of measure which have applied historically - for example the warrior culture of Sparta. It made me re-assess my views of some of the people I've known, and has, I hope, re-set my perspective so that I am less judgemental of new people I meet now.

 

 

 Autobiogrpahy of a Supertramp

by W H Davies

I was introduced to this by my English teacher 40 yeras ago. A classic tale of an educated Welshman who went to the US and became a hobo, losing a leg in the process. The life of the hobo was captured in the songs of Woody Guthrie, but W H Davies has more stories and more time to relate them.

Recently, I read it again. Capture the essence of riding the trains across the US! 

 

 Beyond the Blossoming Fields

By Junichi Watanabe

Based on the true story of the first Japanese woman doctor; how she stuggled to overcome disease, rigic societal structure and misogyny to become a beacon for Japanese women's suffrage.

Absolutely fascinating - no thrills and spills but I couldn't put it down.

 

 The White Tiger

By Aravind Adiga

Winner of the MAN Booker Prize 2008, up to date, that's me! Well, a great read, good story and a real indictment of modern society in India. A fascinating tale of life in the lowest strata. Another one I couldn't put down.

 

Reviews to come:

Restless by William Boyd

The Other Hand by Chris Cleave

Enduring Love by Ian McEwan

 

 

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