Year in reading, 2012 (first half)

One of the few regular things I’ve done regularly on this blog is tracking books I’ve read; I started the year off  by defecting to Pinterest, but got nowhere with it. Something about that layout. For all that people make out Pinterest is a site for curating and collecting, it’s really a shop, isn’t it? ShowingContinue reading “Year in reading, 2012 (first half)”

Some thoughts on the books I read last year

Yes, yes, I’m only getting round to this now. I was going to leave it, but then I was chatting with the Canadienne about The Lighthouse, a strange, light and surprisingly strong Icelandic novel I read in 2011 and I suddenly realised I had a few things to say. Maybe I was tired at theContinue reading “Some thoughts on the books I read last year”

We all romanticize our youth

INTERVIEWER What about Joseph Conrad? MITCHELL His story “Youth” has this beautiful passage about your first landfall in Asia and how it haunts you for the rest of your life—everything is downhill afterward. There’s something of that in the end of Thousand Autumns. We all romanticize our youth, but when East Asia is intertwined withContinue reading “We all romanticize our youth”

The best book I read last year was The Odyssey

2010 was often a rotten year, both in books and out of books. Not that I am blaming the books you understand. If anything, there was comfort to be taken from the fact the pages did not misunderstand me by being full of sweetness and light. Instead the books I read were often frustrating, fullContinue reading “The best book I read last year was The Odyssey”

Added to the wishlist: How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One

[Book] Via a review that’s interesting in and of itself, in the FT: “Fish is a sentence connoisseur who describes his enthusiasm as akin to a sports fan’s love of highlights, and relishes the craft… [The book shows] the form and rhythm of sentences communicates as much meaning as their factual content, whether we’re consciousContinue reading “Added to the wishlist: How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One”

Books I’ve Read, 2011

Previously: 2005 and 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Kicking this year off with a selection from The Big Book of Dick(TM), a birthday present from a friend with an equally tawdry/literary sensibility. I’ve never never actually read any Philip K. Dick before, so looking forward to it. As before, this post will be updated throughout theContinue reading “Books I’ve Read, 2011”

Added to the wishlist: On Roads

[Book] Having moved from the North to the Home counties when I was 11, then to York for University, then Norwich, and then London, I grew up on the M1, M6 and A1. Asylum’s lovely review of On Roads meant it headed straight to the wishlist: “On Roads deals mainly with the motorway era, beginningContinue reading “Added to the wishlist: On Roads”

A Terrible Beauty

Published in 2000, A Terrible Beauty is defiantly a pre-internet book(1). In under 850 pages (under 775 if you discount the index), it gives the reader a history of the twentieth century’s defining ideas, from Marxism to Nazism, from Feminism to fusion. Not just the ideas, but the people too – Satre, Picasso, Orwell and JanetContinue reading “A Terrible Beauty”

Added to the wishlist: Lights Out For The Territory

[Book] The tiniest remarks can spark in me the biggest desire to read something. In this case, it was reading through William Gibson’s blog (he’s back at it now his new novel, Zero History, is done*). He’s taking questions: “From Mean Old Man: Q Essays. You’re really, really good at those. I read a fewContinue reading “Added to the wishlist: Lights Out For The Territory”

Added to the wishlist: The Future History of the Arctic

Speaking of the Geiger counter, here’s Tyler Cowen recommending and quoting from The Future History of the Arctic: “Svalbard is an integral part of the kingdom of Norway — there are reminders that the archipelago is both something more and something less than that. Russians and Ukrainians live here, some in Longyearbyen, though most areContinue reading “Added to the wishlist: The Future History of the Arctic”