A trip to Oxfam Books in Dorking

Half way to the station my bus came up against a dickhead of a van driver who must have decided that the bus driver had overstepped the mark by not giving way when there was only room for one vehicle to proceed. So the van driver proceeded to block the road for over 5 minutes, nonchalantly making himself appear unconcerned by doing some paperwork. Meanwhile behind him the cars queued up, as presumably they also did behind the bus. It was an easy manoeuvre for the van driver to reverse into the adjacent side street, whereas reversing the bus was not an option. There was stalemate in the street until the van driver inevitably took action and drove onto the pavement allowing the bus through. Interestingly neither the bus driver nor the van driver demonstrated in any way, not even a horn toot! Road rage without the rage.

Continue reading “A trip to Oxfam Books in Dorking”

Airhead – Emily Maitlis

Subtitled “The Imperfect Art of Making News”, this is a fascinating look at the Newsnight presenter’s best interviews, showing how the news gets to our screens.

It’s an easy read and highly recommended.

The Reflection – Hugo Wilcken

90 pages in and I’m thinking this sounds familiar. A quick search of this blog confirmed this to be the case and that I’d felt somewhat disappointed by it on the first reading. So should I abandon this second reading or continue and try to get a better handle on the story? I decided to continue.

As on the first reading I raced through it over two days. And I’m still confused! It’s actually quite intriguing, but ultimately it’s a ‘what was that all about?’ book.

It’s disappointing that yet again I’ve bought a book that I’ve bought and read before – I’ve a shocking memory.

Here is the blog post from the first reading.

Dangerous Hero – Tom Bower

There’s not much chance of me ever rejoining the Labour Party after reading Tom Bower’s controversial hatchet job on Jeremy Corbyn and his Labour Party.

The prospect of another Tory government led by the vacuous Boris Johnson doesn’t seem so end-of-the-world when the alternative is the horrible bunch in the Labour Party.

Shut Up and Deal – Jesse May

Shut Up and Deal, by Jesse May, is a gritty, relentless exploration of what it’s like to be an addicted, professional, poker player. Sometimes it got a bit wearing but I kept on being drawn back into this fascinating tale of hopelessness and addiction.

Recommended, for some.

Restocking

A successful restocking of pre-loved books from the Dorking Oxfam bookshop, though I suspect that one of the books (The Sense of an Ending – Julian Barnes) was one I had previously donated – I have certainly read it!

A first visit to the Cake Rider Cafe was interesting and certainly deserves another visit. The owner was delightful as was the presentation of the drip coffee.

Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy – Serhii Plokhy

Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy by Serhii Plokhy is a magnificent examination of the World’s worst nuclear accident, covering the technicalities, the people involved and the politics of the old Soviet Union.

A history book that reads as easily as a good novel – I read it in a couple of days. Highly recommended.

The Tiger – John Vaillant

What a magnificent read The Tiger by John Vaillant is.

A long, detailed examination of everything to do with tigers in their natural habitat. But more than that it’s an investigation of tiger killings, the communities affected, life in the Soviet Union and animal conservation.

There’s so much in this book. I’ll probably read it again in future years. A great read.

Affliction – Russell Banks

What a great read this is! A violent, childhood-brutalised man, fumes in an American, snow-covered, rural town. Superb.

At the end of last year I read another of Russell Banks’s novels, Lost Memory of Skin, which I described as a fantastic novel about a young sex offender in America.

Clearly a writer I should read more of.

Face-Time – Erik Tarloff

What a terrific novel this is – I raced through it in a couple of days.
A first novel, written 20 years ago, it’s the story of a US president’s extra-marital affair involving a young couple working in the White House. It’s about power rather than politics and is an easy, well-written tale. Fabulous.
I’m on the lookout for his two later novels – I think I’ve tracked down one of them.

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