What a brilliant, thrilling read this is! Non-fiction that reads as fiction. It’s a fascinating story and an illuminating insight into the world of spying and spy networks. Highly recommended.
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.
I refuse to buy books from Amazon, so I’ve added menu links to three alternatives. In particular, Blackwell’s appear to be price comparable with the big A.
You may be lucky to have a local bookshop.
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.
This astonishing documentary about life in an Indian textile factory is available once again on the BBC iPlayer, but only until Tuesday (now expired): https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b09g8cc9/machines
At the very least, these workers deserve 65 minutes of your time.
“A mesmerising and unflinching look behind the doors of a textile factory in India, as director Rahul Jain observes the life of the workers and the oppressive environment they seldom escape from. Machines tells a story of the human cost of mass production in a globalised world, showing the gulf between rich and poor from both perspectives.”
Read this wonderful book if you want to know and understand how our legal system works / doesn’t work. Highly readable and absolutely brilliant.
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.
God sends his son, Jesus, down for a second go.
A fabulous, funny read. Highly recommended.
What a delightful film Visages Villages is. It’s a documentary by, and starring film director and photographer Agnès Varda and photographer JR, who travel through France visiting villages, taking photos of the people and then plastering large images of them on walls and buildings. The two artists form a warm bond whilst engaging with the villagers. The film looks terrific, from the opening credits to the very end. We watched it on Netflix and is highly recommended.
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.
The Dawn Wall is a wonderful and astonishing documentary following the attempt to climb the Dawn Wall, a 3,000 foot rock face in Yosemite National Park.
Informative, exciting and emotional – don’t miss it. You can watch it on Netflix. Continue reading “The Dawn Wall”
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.
Calibre is an extremely taut and tense film set in a remote village in the Scottish Highlands. At the first major scene I wondered whether I would be up to dealing with the shocking development, but my motto is “it’s only dots on a screen”, so I stuck with it and I’m glad I did. A terrific, tense thriller, though not suitable for all.
I viewed this on Netflix using my free, 1-month, introductory offer. Thank you Netflix.
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.
What a terrific book this is!
Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff is a gob-smacking account of the shambles in the White House during the first year of the Trump presidency and of the unsuitability of Trump for the position of president. What a monster!
Highly recommended for anyone interested in American politics.
What a terrific film Beast is, with a tremendous performance from Jessie Buckley in the leading role as a troubled young woman rebelling against a stifling home and mother. A thriller, with surprises right up until the end – go see it!
No sunshine is expected here until Tuesday, so one might as well be in the cinema. Three cheers to the Wimbledon Curzon for not dimming the lights during the adverts and trailers, which meant that I could read my novel!
In Extremis by Tim Parks is a wonderful novel. Centred around a dying mother and a son’s angst, it’s very, very funny.
My mum died just 3 months ago and the son’s indecision, his relationships with his mother and family, and dealing with death and funerals clearly resonated with me.
Religion and anal massage are also covered! A book to be read again.
It may be an acquired taste but I’m a huge fan of BBC2’s Mum, and tonight’s episode was one of the best, being both funny and heartbreaking. Poor old Michael!
Available on BBC iPlayer until 10th April at https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b09w8mq0/mum-series-2-4-july
The Prophet, by Michael Koryta, is a terrific thriller / crime novel. Although centred around American football, (I know nothing of this strange sport), it’s a gripping tale of brotherly guilt which also made me want to try to understand the game. It’s a well written and plotted story and highly recommended. Some might find the football details a bit annoying – I didn’t. I’ve noted Michael Koryta as an author worth seeking out for his other novels.
Alongside Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen, this has been a promising start to March’s reading.
An astonishing documentary about life in an Indian textile factory, available on the BBC iPlayer until the end of February: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b09g8cc9/machines
I wanted to see this film after watching a trailer at my previous cinema visit. It has also received 5-star recommendations from just about everyone.
It’s quirky, and generally I like quirky. For me, it was OK.
I thought it was too long for a quirky film.
There were just over 20 people in the Wimbledon Curzon, lunchtime audience watching Molly’s Game. Usually at that time there’s less than a handful.
It’s a terrific, dialog-heavy film, superbly acted by the main actors, Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba and Kevin Costner. Maybe not to everyone’s taste – American, fast dialogue, a story based around the game of poker, but I would heartily recommend it.
During 2017 I read 70 books, of which I gave my ‘highly recommended’ award to 12 fiction and 4 non-fiction books.
It’s difficult to choose the best from amongst the ‘magnificent’, ‘fantastic’, ‘brilliant’, ‘fabulous’, ‘wonderful’, so instead I’ll go for the author who had two entries, namely Dave Eggers for
What is the What and The Circle Continue reading “My favourite reads of 2017”