I’ve struggled to read this year. I’m not entirely sure why this is the case but it seems to have been a trend for the last couple of years. I love reading and would class myself (as those fond of labels tend to do) as “a reader”, which I know sounds a bit elitist and pretentious, but it’s a moniker I wear proudly. I’m also one of those frustrating people who frequently says, “the book is better” when talking about the film (however the exception to this would be ‘Fight Club’ and at a push ‘Moneyball’, and even those books are still excellent).
I read somewhere recently, probably on Reddit, that the pandemic has affected some peoples ability to concentrate and thus has impacted many readers. I don’t know how true this is, and if I’m honest I wouldn’t blame the worlds current situation as the reason for my not reading so much. I think social media and sites like YouTube – where information is ever changing and given to you in bite sized portions – are more to blame for my decline in devoured books.
There was also a time when I didn’t have a TV in my room and I would read before bed, which was a routine I had for years, but now it just seems so much easier to switch on Netflix and watch some dross to help me drop off to sleep. I’m going to try and break this habit, because it really is a massive waste of time.
Anyway, the books above are well worth a read. Emergency (Neil Strauss) and Spillover (David Quammen) were read as a response to the whole Covid fiasco. Spillover, a non-fiction book about zoonotic infections and “The next human pandemic”, was written in 2012 and is scarily prophetic. Emergency, another non-fiction, is about Strauss’s journey to become ready for “when shit hits the fan” and chronicles Strauss learning everything from escaping and evading capture in an urban environment to extreme wilderness survival and earthquake response.
Patrick Ness and Joe Abercrombie are, well, doing Patrick Ness and Joe Abercrombie things. ‘Nuff said.
Paper Lion is about journalist George Plimpton experiencing a preseason training camp as a “last-string quarterback” for the Detroit Lions in the 1960’s – this is before the game became really serious and could afford such frivolities, and even then it was only the Lions that would allow it.
Into Thin Air details Krakauer’s experience in the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, in which eight climbers were killed and several others were stranded by a storm. It also goes on to give the history of the mountain and it’s subsequent overuse.
This Is How You Lose The Time War by Amal el-Mohtar and Max Gladstone was my most recent read and is unlike any science-fiction book I’ve ever read. More like a romance novel, where the two main protagonists (both deep cover secret agents of opposing sides) move backward and forward through the strands of time, leaving covert letters for one another while evading detection from their respective factions. The writing is amazing and almost poetic at times and actually poetic at others.
That was a rare long blog post, wasn’t it?