Thursday, January 22, 2015

140.A History of Warfare – John Keegan

I love reading about history.  I read what I can get my hands on and the history channel is always on my tv.  I must admit that John Keenan's book (140 on my list) A History of Warfare really opened up my eyes.  Is war inherit to man?  An argument (as stated in the book) can be made that slavery was inherit to man and now this is a repulsive notion.  Can war also follow suit?  As a pacifist, I very much hope so.

 One of the things I liked most about this book is that it doesn't dwell on the Western world.  The Mongols, the Zulus and the Mamluks all get studied.  Tactics, outcomes and theories abound in this book.  The book was published in 1993 so the first gulf war is covered and discussed.  A must read for all the naval gazers out there. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Lifes little suprises

I'm walking through work and I look over at a shelf and #250 (Daphne Du Maurier) on my list is just sitting there waiting for me.  I really enjoy days like this.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The World According to Garp by John Irving

This is one of those books that I should have read years ago.  I've been meaning to read this for a long time.  I finally got to it and its a very sneaky book.  It actually reminded me (at the beginning) of the Royal Tenenbaums movie.  The characters are so funny and quirky.  So much so that for the first half of the book it was Alec Baldwin voice I could hear in my head while reading.
Once you get halfway through the book do you notice what a heavy book this actually is.  It really sneaks up on you.  Alec Baldwin slowly faded away and the undertoad started (the undertoad a vital part of the story). We meet some truly interesting characters (that will stay with me for a long time) and the story just gets darker and darker.  But on reflection the characters just experience life.  The highs and the very lows happen in equal measures.  
I would recommend this book to all.  John Irving is funny and delicate and can hit you over the head with sorrow.  If you read this book or any other book that I have reviewed let me know about it.  I would love to hear if you agree with my reviews.
Next book on my list is:

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Merry Christmas

What a great day.  I woke up early and witnessed Manchester United crush Aston Villa 3 - 0.  I'm a happy, happy man when the Red Devils win.  My day got even better when I got to work and found a gift on my desk.  My good friend K. left me (no. 273 from my list) The Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse.  I work with such thoughtful and wonderful people.

Thank you K. your kindness is very much appreciated.  As soon as I finish The world according to Garp I will read The Glass Bead Game.


Monday, December 9, 2013


I decided to check out my reading progress this year.  This year I have read 22 books and have another 2 books on the go. I am hoping to finish the 2 books by the end of the year.  If my math is correct I will have completed all 501 books in……..16 and a half years.  Yikes!  That is a lot of years.  Thankfully I had already read War and Peace.  Ulysses frightens me.  But I always knew I read that book one day.  Maybe that is a book I’ll start reading January 1st.   The difficulty will be sourcing some of the books.  I have the public library which has most of them, the Amazon store and kindle e-books will have most of the rest but there are just some that I am having trouble finding. 


For instance, number 34 on my list is Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang – by Mordecai Richler.  I am trying to find a copy of this and not buy it from Amazon.  I love Mordecai Richler (I once had the pleasure of meeting his son Daniel Richler….while my friend asked him if he had any drugs to sell) and the fact that he has written a children’s book really intrigues me.  If anyone reading this post has a copy of Jacob Two-Two and would like to give/lend me this book please leave a comment on this post.  It would really help out my quest. 


Stay tuned for the next 16.5 years.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

I think the next time I read a book like Norman Mailers The executioners song I will follow that up with a kids book like Heidi.  Such a light hearted bouncy book, set in the Swiss Alps.  I usually listen to music while I’m reading books.  I have a steady diet of Arcade Fire, U2 or David Bowie but all that music felt so alien while reading Heidi.  I had to switch to Mozart.  Once that happened I  was completely absorbed in the story.  I didn’t read any of these books when I was a kid.  My childhood reading was practically nothing but the 3Investigators.  I read those books any chance I could get.  Going back over these kids book now is quite a joy. 


Obviously this book will appeal to any younger girl that you have in the family (in fact they are being currently sent to my nieces in Canada for Christmas presents).  Christianity also plays a big part in the book but thankfully it doesn’t hit you over the head with religion.  It was written in the late 1800’s so you have to take it for granted that religion will be part of the story.  There is also a plethora of movie and animated adaptations.  The most famous was in done in 1937 starring Shirley Temple as Heidi.  As you have noticed I haven’t gone into the story at all.  I think that is something that you should discover on your own.
Next book on the list:

Thursday, December 5, 2013

2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke

It has been years since I've seen a 2001: Space Odyssey.  So long ago in fact that I had forgotten most of the story.  For that reason this book was fresh and I wasn't comparing it to the movie.  As I started to do research into the book a few things surprised me.  The book was written pretty much at the same time as the movie script.  It flushed out the story and Stanley Kubrick had a lot of input on how the book was written.  It has similar qualities to I, Robot but 2001: A Space Odyssey is much creepier and menacing.  I wouldn't want to be stuck in a space ship with HAL. 

I read this book while on holiday at the beach.  I stopped reading The Executioners Song (not a good beach book) and picked up this one instead.  A beach holiday is not the same without a good piece of fiction.  That holiday will always be entwined with this novel.

If you are into science fiction you have probably read this book, if you are just getting into science fiction this is a must.  Read this and I, Robot.  It will help a lot.

Next book on my list: