This is entirely off-topic, but it’s my* website so I’ll do as I please. I’m browsing through Amazon looking for suitable reading material for my forthcoming holiday – has anyone read any good books lately that I should peruse?
For your Kindle: Miss or Mrs by Wilkie Collins. Not girly (almost but not a love story, but basically a period drama type thing with a bit of suspension thrown in.) And its free, so doubly good!
Also for Kindle (think this one cost me about £1) How to Live Safely in a Sceince Fictional Universe by Charles Yu. Highly enjoyable. You do need to be a bit geeky to follow it, so it might well suit you down to the ground…
@Annette – Wilkie Collins duly added to the Kindle and Chales Yu added to the pondering list. @Seasiderdave – I’ve read all Dave Gorman’s books and didn’t know he had a new one out, so that’s added to the list too!
Life of Pi by Yann Martel is good if slightly surreal, about a 16 year old boy who gets stuck in a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean with a tiger. Quite amusing and a great ending.
I’ve just finished Bill Bryson’s At Home which is basically the history of everything to do with the private life of humans, set in the context of his house. Not quite as entertaining as his travel books, but still pretty good.
Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance (R.M.Pirsig), and also by John O’Farrell, and just as good as the first: An Utterly Exasperated History of Modern Britain: or Sixty Years of Making the Same Stupid Mistakes as Always.
Agree with @Alison – Life of Pi is a great read, and At Home was mildly educational and reasonably entertaining.
I’ll condemn you to a working holiday with “How the mind works” by Steven Pinker, so you’ll know why Darwin performed on the bassoon* for his earthworms (Pinker’ll cost you, the Darwin etc. is freely available at Project Gutenberg)
*wonder if he concentrated on the notes D&E to aid their decomposing task?
@seasiderdave – I read An Utterly Impartial History of Britain a little while ago, I quite enjoyed it but found his formula of historic fact followed by ironic joke (possibly involving Thatcher) slightly tiresome after 400 pages; but aside from that good stuff.
Life of Pi sounds interesting – I’ll have a look at that. [edit: Kindle version was only £2.50 so just bought it]
@ckoei – Pinker sounds entertaining; I’ve herd of him, but I’m not sure why – possibly read about him in New Scientist or somesuch. Have you come across The Man Who Tasted Shapes by Richard Cytowic? That’s a moderately entertaining thing in a similar ilk.
If anyone’s interested, at the minute I’m reading Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year – which is somewhat copyright expired and therefore free. On the bus this morning I was reading a charming anecdote about how the driver of a cart piled high with dead plague victims himself died of the plague while driving; this caused the horses to bolt and run through the streets, scattering putrefying plague-ridden bodies throughout the centre of London. It’s a laugh-a-minute I tells ya!
If you wanted something a little more light hearted than thousands of people dying of the plague, I reread The Diary of Adrian Mole for the first time in about 10 years the other month and it still made me laugh. Plus Sue Townsend, the author, is diabetic, so you’re morally obliged to read it.
I think I know SDoAM off by heart I read it so many times when I was a nipper. I’m actually reading a Stephen King book at the minute, probably the first one since I was about 14. He does tell quite a good yarn it has to be said.
In related news check out my very own brother’s book – Bob the Bamboo Monkey here: http://goo.gl/deFrV. – Ideal for small people and at £1.71 you can hardly go wrong…
@Tim on the slender off-chance that you are actually the last person in the world not to have read them (I was the last but 3 I think) I’d suggest the three ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ novels. Massively hyped, maybe, but they really are quite good, and have a pleasingly high quota of gently nostalgic nerdy/intermaweb computer references
@Mike – I read the first in the trilogy and thought it wasn’t bad. The pacing was a bit off though; interesting start, sagging, slightly dull middle and then the denouement was slightly rushed at the end. @Katie has the other two, so I will probably read them sooner or later.
@alison: I’ve only ventured as far as @tim – it comes down to countless* cups of coffee, lighting of cigarettes, hacking (strangely, not cough) and a big bit of bondage…so if there’s massive crop failures of both beans & tobacco, you flip off the mains and burn all belts, the only memorable beacons that remain shining are mentions of Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking (& Kalle Blomkvist).
*a dedicated source says it is mentioned 90 times – don’t know if it includes the Cafés and Kafés that are frequented
@alison: Rather go for the Pippi Longstocking (if you haven’t laid eyes on her yet) – I’d love to know what the English translation of “spolk” is (she goes hunting for it in the 3rd story of the book that recounts her voyage to Kurrekurredutt Isle)
And now for something completely different: The gruesomely beautiful “Triomf” by Marlene van Niekerk, translated by Leon de Kock…please read it so you can tell me what happens to the horde of onomatopoeic words she used, especially “tjierie-tjierie-tjoeps”?