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Pagemaster Brian
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About Brian.

  • Rank
    This too shall pass
  • Birthday 11/24/1980

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  • Reading now?
    A book
  • Location:
    SE England

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  1. I have just finished number 59 for the year so far.
  2. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain (3/5) It would seem that unlike the vast majority of people I was relatively unmoved by the recent suicide of Anthony Bourdain. I don't say this to be contrary or to some across as heartless, any suicide is a sad affair. I had this emotion simply because I had never encountered his work despite him being a celebrity of sorts. I knew he had a TV show but never watched it and I was also aware he had written this book which was widely regarded as a good look into what goes on behind the scenes in restaurants, especially in New York. I found the book to be an interesting and entertaining read with some revealing facts about the business which I did not know. I also learned that Bourdain was another one of these people who think that being good at his job makes it fine to be a bit of an asshole. This is really exposed towards the end of the book when he describes the working practices of a chef he really likes who is pretty much his polar opposite. He also leans towards justifying his substance abuse as a necessity of the industry instead of admitting that he ultimately had a problem. I don't think he was a bad person and this is a decent book but he is the exact sort of person I would not like to have to work with.
  3. I've just finished Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. I got a few books for my birthday so I've got plenty to choose from but I'm still undecided as to what to read next.
  4. Christmas planning and chat

    Same here, I really should be more organised.
  5. 2 reviews to catch up with. Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham (5/5) Like many people, I loved the recent HBO mini-series Chernobyl and also listened to the podcast that went along with it. In the podcast the producer and main writer were keen to point out where they changed history to make it work as a TV show and the reasons why they did this. I find everything nuclear fascinating and wanted to know more about the facts behind Chernobyl so bought Midnight in Chernobyl. This book is an exhaustive account of what happen before, during, and after the accident at Chernobyl. The author is a journalist and it really shows as the list of sources stretches across about 40 pages at the end of the book. It is very well written and despite the heft of the subject it is very readable and I managed to do extensive sessions without having to put it down.This is probably the best non-fiction book I have read this year. The Falcon of Sparta by Conn Iggulden (3/5) I've not read anything by Conn Iggulden prior to this and I thought a stand alone would be a good place to start instead of diving into one of the series he has written. The blurb on the back sounded quite promising and deal with a part of history I don't know well. I found the book pretty good and wasn't aware when I picked it up that it was based on actual events. My only major gripes with it are connected to each other. Firstly, a major plot point is revealed in the blurb and I don't think this should have been done as it spoiled what could have been a great end to the first act. Also an event at the end of act 2 is settled in a very unsatisfactory (in my opinion) way at the start of act 3. Given what we know about the characters up to this point I just don't believe they would have acted this way and I think this should have been handled differently. Apart from those points it was an enjoyable read and I will read some more of Iggulden's work.
  6. Almost finished with The Falcon of Sparta by Conn Iggulden. I’ve enjoyed it a lot but with work being busy this week I’ve not managed to read it as fast as I would have liked.
  7. Thanks for all the advice, I’ll start with LOTR when I get round to Tolkien.
  8. What's the weather like?

    I agree with the fireworks comment. We’ve had fireworks going off pretty much every night for the last 2 weeks. I have no problem with fireworks on Diwali or Bonfire night, or even a day or so either side but it’s getting very tiresome now.
  9. I’m yet to read any Tolkien so perhaps one of the more popular books would be a better starting point. I’ve finished Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham, fantastic book which gets 5/5 from me. Something very different next, The Falcon of Sparta by Conn Iggulden.
  10. Online Book Subcription Clubs

    I got my first book from the Willoughby Book Club today after signing up for the contemporary 3 month option. During the sign up process they ask you to tell them your favourite books and authors so they can do a better job of selecting books for you. The book came very well packaged and further wrapped in an attractive tissue paper with a bonus sticker which will probably live on laptop. When unwrapped this is the book I received. I have never heard of it before but the synopsis looks pretty interesting and I'm looking forward to reading it soon.
  11. I have quite a few mini reviews to catch up with. Chickenhawk by Robert Mason (4/5) It's funny how we remember certain quite small and seemingly unimportant things from our childhood days. For me one of these is seeing a copy of this book on my parent's bookcase. Like many people on this forum I read a lot as a child but I never really ventured to read many books that belonged to my parents. Despite this, the cover of Chickenhawk has always remained a strong memory, a memory which was awakened while browsing for new books to buy online. This book is written by a Vietnam war veteran detailing his time spent as a Huey pilot both in training and in country. I don't know why I never read this when I was younger as I now know I would have really enjoyed it. As the book progresses Mason goes from being an ambitous young man to someone who is left broken by what we now know as PTSD. This is a really good account for the realities of war and the damage it does to everyone involved in some way or another. Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier (4/5) I grabbed my Kindle on the way out the door without checking what I had on it the other day. As I needed a new book to read I had a quick flick through the contents of my Kindle and decided that I would read this book. I knew nothing about the book although I was aware that a movie had been made and I also knew it was named after a painting. The story revolves around the life of a young women (16) called Griet in Delft in the 1660's. After an illness her father is unable to work and the family is struggling financially so she takes work as a maid for a local family including a painter, Johannes Vermeer. During the course of her years with the family her relationship with Vermeer develops and starts to cause issues, eventually coming to a head. This is quite a short book but one I really enjoyed reading. All of the intimacy is implied rather than direclty detailed and fits perfectly with the time when the book is set. Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata (2/5) I bought this completely on a whim because the cover caught my eye and it sounded a bit quirky. The book tells the story of Kieko, a convenience store worker who has always felt out of place. She finds an odd peace with the routine of working in the store and has no plans to change anything about her life. Others see the store as a stepping stone in her life and eventually she notices that everyone thinks its time she 'grew up' and moved on with her life. I thought that being quirky and based in Japan would be right down my street but the book never really did it for me. It seems to get really positive reviews online and although I found it a quick easy read I was left feeling disappointed by it. I guess I'm not the right reader for this book. 12 Rules for Life by Jordan B. Peterson (2/5) I have been trying to read more audiobooks and this was my free trial download on Audible. I became aware of Jordan Peterson a few years ago because of his appearances on the Joe Rogan podcast. At the time he was rallying against what he saw as politicial correctness in universities and he raised a few points which I found interesting. Fast forward a bit and for many he has become a beacon for the far right and angry young men. When I have heard him talk in the past I have always thought he has argued his case well even if I haven't agreed with his points. I had hoped this book would be more of the same as I think it's important to explore ideas contary to my own. I wouldn't go as far to say I hated this book but if it had been a physical book I don't think I would have finished it. Far too often he brings up bible archetype stories as evidence of his claims and after a while it gets very tiresome. I think the book is meant to be for 'everyday normal people' but seems to be a way for Peterson to prove how clever he is. I found it tedious and doesn't warrant the praise it gets in my opinion.
  12. Where do you read?

    Generally spread between 4 places. The majority of my reading is done at home on the sofa either with the TV on or off depending if my wife is watching anything. I also read in bed before going to sleep most nights and occasionally in the morning as long as I don't have to go to work. I've recently started reading in my local library as it means I am away from distraction at home such as the internet. Finally, I also read a fair bit at my desk at work. I am lucky in that I am effectively 'on-call' for large chunks of time at work and as long as I remain on site I can entertain myself in anyway that I like, and for me that means reading.
  13. Read-a-thon 2019

    Yeah I finished 3 books, it was quite a productive readathon for me.
  14. Read-a-thon 2019

    Finished another short book today, 160 pages, Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata. It didn’t really do it for me but it was good to get 3 days off good reading done.
  15. Hello - just joined

    Hi, welcome to the forum, it's always nice to see new members on here.