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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. Very slowly I have been managing to read more as the year progresses. Most of it has been non-fiction as for some reason I find it easier to get into a non-fiction book when my reading mojo is out of whack. Here is a brief summary of some of what I have read since my last update. There are a few other books which I will write more about when I have a little more time. Beginners by Tom Vanderbilt (2/5) This book has been generally marketed as explaining why we should all be life long beginners and be searching out new things to learn. I had hoped that it would look at ways to tackle new skills and the different approaches required for learning mental and physical tasks. Instead the author spends the entire book talking about his personal experiences when learning how to play chess or learning to surf. These were relatively entertaining to read but not really what I why I picked up this book in the first place. The Barbell Prescription by Jonathon Sullivan (4/5) Probably not the kind of book that many if anyone else on the forum would read. This book explains what strength training approach is best suited to those over 40. I found this to be a really well written book with loads of good information. Although not the most scholarly book ever written it also benefitted from the author dipping into studies at times to back up his ideas. So Much Things to Say by Roger Steffens (4/5) Last month I went to watch the musical Get Up Stand Up! which is all about the life of Bob Marley. The show was really good and I would recommend anyone with even a passing interest in Bob Marley to go and see it. After the show I wanted to know more about Bob Marley but there are a lot of books to try and choose from. In the end I went for this one as it is described as an 'oral history' and based on interviews with those who were around him during his life. One thing I really liked about this is that you get conflicting views on certain events from those who were there. It is left up to the reader to make a judgement (or not) on what they think the truth is. At points Steffens does note as to why he believes there may be differing opinions and why some may be more valid than others but I always felt that he did this in a fair and balanced way.
  2. I've read all of the Fleming Bond books and I'm slowly working my way through the extended series by other writers. Although there are a few less than stellar books in Fleming Bonds there I did enjoy all of them for a variety of different reasons. In my opinion there are two things you need to bear in mind while reading Fleming's work. Firstly, it is of it's time. Exercise wasn't a big thing back then but it is mentioned a few times throughout the series albeit pretty much limited to calisthenics. There is some casual sexism and racist language, again, very reflective of the period. The second thing to consider is that the books are quite different to the movies and although they are closely related they shouldn't be compared. Reading the original series I noticed that some of the movies only borrowed the title from a book and ignored the plot entirely. I also noticed that different bits from different books are combined in some movies which can be a little jaring if you are very familiar with the movies.
  3. What are you drinking just now?

    I've tried the Apple Jack and the Honey Jack and I wasn't really a fan of either. The Honey Jack was nicer than the Apple but I just don't see the point apart from them trying to increase sales.
  4. What are you drinking just now?

    When I say cabinet it's actually a shelf on my bookcase. No trolley but it's not a terrible idea.
  5. What are you drinking just now?

    Nothing wrong with No 7, especially with a mixer. I’ve normally got a bottle in my drinks cabinet at home at all times.
  6. What are you drinking just now?

    Gentleman Jack is definitely a step above the standard No 7 and worth the extra cost in my opinon.
  7. Your Book Activity - June 2022

    I was unexpectedly struck by the need to read today and as a result I’m halfway through So Much Things to Say by Roger Steffens. It’s an ‘oral history of Bob Marley’ and although I think I would have preferred a more conventional biography I am enjoying it a lot. I’m also almost finished with my latest James Bond book, Scorpius by John Gardner.
  8. The Big Jubilee Read

    I wasn't aware of it. It would have been good if the BBC had put it on a prominent place on their website. Having said that, the only book related thing I've seen on their website main page recently are plugs for their god-awful books programme Between the Covers.
  9. I Miss...

    Forums as a whole struggle these days so we are not unique in this issue. I have been a member/moderator/admin of a number of really big forums since they became a thing and they have all eventually closed their doors. Social media has definitely had a negative effect over the longer form of discourse that is the bread and butter of web forums.
  10. Your bookish Christmas Gifts 2021

    Sorry for the slow reply, I some how managed to miss seeing this. It's not a book I would read cover to cover but I have dipped into it a fair bit since I got it and I really like it. It covers a lot of the things that professionals know that aren't always covered in the more 'normal' style cook books.
  11. I seem to be on a bit of a non-fiction run at the moment which often happens when I'm struggling to get into anything. I picked up A Storm of Swords for the first time in ages today so that will be my focus for a while.
  12. Raven's Reads

    I've read a lot of Harris's work and while I rate him quite highly, I do feel like his most recent output is his weakest. For me his best work is the Cicero trilogy which feels like a lot of time and effort went into writing.
  13. I absolutely adored this when I read it for many of the same reasons as you. I went into knowing nothing about it which is just as well because the synopsis would have put me off even picking it up.
  14. J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings

    Rather late I will admit but these are my thoughts on book III, chapters 10 & 11, and book IV, chapters 1 & 2. - The reappearance of Wormtongue caught me by surprise a bit, especially given that he seems to be in a position of some authority/power given his close proximity to Saruman. This further cements my opinion that he is portrayed this way to draw comparisons to politicians and lobbyist who manoeuvre in the background without having to take on any of the front facing responsibilities. However, Wormtongue may think he is clever but in losing his temper and throwing the palantir out of the window he demonstrates that he lets his temper get the better of him. - I really like the fact that once again Tolkien uses an opportunity to show that although Saruman might be on the side of evil now, that wasn't always the case. It shows that everyone, or almost everyone, is corruptible in some way. - The scenes with Pippin using the palantir are really well written because we know Pippin shouldn't be doing what he is doing but we still feel sympathy for him when Gandalf catches him. - Jumping back to Frodo and Sam helps balance out the menace experienced by the Gandalf/Pippin group as it is very different in feeling. Even though I thought I knew the trilogy pretty well from watching the movies when they came out I clearly don't as I'm constantly surprised by how much of the story revolves around those other than Frodo. - Gollum is definitely the most intriguing character as I never know if I dislike him or if he is just a victim of evil himself. My feelings towards him have swung between the two emotions with pity just about winning. If no one has any issues with it I will post my thoughts about the next 4 chapters tomorrow. Although I have struggled a little to sit down and read in recent months I have managed to keep up with the trilogy and I'm quite far ahead at the moment. I should have posted my thoughts earlier but life kind of got in the way a bit.
  15. It's been quite a while since my last update. Moving house has really thrown my reading off and I've only read one book in the last month or so. The who John Gardner books I finished some time in March. Nobody Lives Forever - John Gardner (4/5) No Deals, Mr Bond - John Gardner (3/5) Tunnel 29 - Helena Merriman (4/5) A non-fiction book based around a BBC Podcast about one of the escape tunnels dug between East and West Berlin during the Cold War. Before reading this book I knew there were a number of tunnels dug but I never knew that the construction and susequent escape was all captured on film. Merriman has done a great job in finding and interviewing the people involved. The tale is told in sequential time order and the tension really builds as we reach the climax. Since reading the book I have watched the NBC documentary from 1962 and I am working my way through the podcasts. Highly recommended.