Reading Diary: January to April 2021

The blogging holiday continues!

…but I do miss having a running record of the books I’m reading. Forcing myself to write a little about each book seems to clarify personal relevance for me — so I’m throwing together a quick list.

In no particular order:

1. Bleak House – Charles Dickens 

A substantial read this one. Some consider it Dickens’ masterpiece. For me, thoroughly unforgettable — THE best cast of characters I’ve read. There’s a reason people still read Dickens nearly 300 years later, the books are absolutely brilliant! Give yourself 50 pages to acclimate to the style of writing and then enjoy the ride.

Five Stars

2. Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens

From Bleak House, it was straight onto Oliver Twist. A better known story with a lighter touch. Great characters again with more lively action…’Please sir, I want some more…’

Four Stars

3. Endurance – Alfred Lansing 

Written in 59, Lansing’s superb account of Shackleton’s Antarctic odyssey, fell out of print soon after publishing. The space race captured the public’s imagination in the 60s and terrestrial tales lost their lustre. The book was resurrected years later to become a best seller (lansing himself did not live to see the book’s success)

Literally couldn’t put this one down after the first 100 pages or so. An incredible testament to human resilience under the most extreme conditions imaginable. Inspirational.

Five stars

4. How to fail at almost everything and still win big – Scott Adams

An unconventional guide to life and decision making from the creator of Dilbert. Adams  doesn’t always play with a full deck (he was a vocal Trump supporter) but his perspective and principles are worth reading. Lots of value (and humour) here. 

3.5 Stars

5. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I learned while editing my life – Donald Miller

A thoughtful enquiry into what it means to live a life of meaning and purpose. Miller frames life as a story and considers the ways our stories can be improved. Made quite an impact on me. Miller is religious but thankfully doesn’t lay it on too thick here.

Four Stars

6. An Irrational Ape: Why Flawed Logic Puts us all at Risk and How Critical Thinking Can Save the World – David Grimes

Another investigation into thinking biases, heuristics and mental models. Slightly heavy in parts but well chosen anecdotes and examples lead the reader through the thinking errors to which we are all prone. This is a fairly new book so many of the case studies are particularly relevant right now. 

Four Stars

7. South of the Border, West of the Sun — Haruki Murakami

One of the remaining Murakami titles that I hadn’t read. Tells the story of man’s life focusing in on relationships, destiny and the decisions that make (or break) a life. Many of Murakami’s trademark touches are here but not up there with his best. 

Three Stars

8. Sound Man — Glyn Johns

Glyn Johns is the legendary engineer / producer whose canon of work defined the 60s and 70s. He had a hand in many of my all-time favourite albums. Sound Man is a collection of stories and anecdotes written by the man himself. Johns isn’t going to win any literary awards here, but for fans of the Stones, Beatles, Faces, The Band, The Eagles, Led Zeppelin etc etc this is good stuff. 

Three Stars

9. Never Split the Difference – Chris Voss

Chris Voss takes the reader through a series of the negotiation tactics and strategies developed by the FBI. This is a practical handbook to negotiation that reveals much about the predictably irrational way we process information and make decisions. Lots to ponder here. Perfect complement to Caldini’s more academic ‘Persuasion’.

Four Stars

That’s it for now kids, best read so far? Endurance!

It has catapulted me into a fascination of polar exploration. I’m now listening to Edward Fox narrate Captain Scott’s diary on Scribd and about to begin ‘Ice Master: The Doomed 1913 Voyage of the Kurlak’….

Onward… to the North!

7 thoughts on “Reading Diary: January to April 2021

  1. Love this reading list! I also haven’t been posting my monthly wrap-ups so will have to do a quarterly summary instead 😄 enjoy your blogging holiday! Thanks for taking the time to share these.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey, Jeremy!
    I was delighted to see another post from you. Kind of miss the daily blog. Your reviews gave me some ideas for reading and for gifts to others. I hope you’re doing well. Do post another list when you have a pile. Thanks!


  3. He’s backkk!

    Speaking of Bleak House, have you seen the BBC adaptation with Gillian Anderson? So good. I’ve bookmarked your list, thanks for the recommendations. Endurance sounds right up my alley, plus I’ve gotten so many great reads from you in the past.

    Does Muky know that Netflix is releasing the Grisha universe this month??? So EXCITED.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lani! Yes still here! I remember seeing that Netflix news then promptly forgetting. That should be great.
      As a side note I bought her book six of crows and didn’t get back 80 pages. Formulaic and slightly dull. Great reviews too…strange I would thoroughly enjoy one and not the other…
      Have you been reading much? Link any must-read posts you’ve done in the last few months!

      Liked by 1 person

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