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Brian.

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About Brian.

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    This too shall pass
  • Birthday 11/24/1980

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    SE England

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  1. Anyone who has ever seen my dwindling book collection will tell you that they look as good as new. However, today I bought a copy of Crime and Punishment with the sole intention of highlighting and writing notes in it. I’m feeling uneasy about this as I’ve always treated my books with great care but I want to try and engage a bit deeper with this book. In my defence, I do have a lovely Folio Society edition of it which will remain pristine but it still feels a bit off. Do any of you mark your books, fold the corners etc?
  2. Not today but I’m planning on popping into a few tomorrow. Did you? Buy anything ?
  3. Update time. Nightmare in Berlin by Hans Fallada (3/5) For years my favourite book was Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada and although I had a copy of Nightmare on my bookshelf I kept putting it off. I think I did this because I was worried that my expectations for it were too high and it would be a disappointment when I read it. Recently I finally decided that I would put all expectations aside and read it. The book tells us the story of a couple trying to find their way in Germany immediately at the end of World War 2. Dr Doll is immensely annoyed by those citizens he see as changing their allegiances on a whim. He is also very down on what Germany and it's people have become, so much so that he welcomes the Russia soliders that come to liberate their towns and cities. His much younger wife, Alma, has a much more laissez faire outlook on life which is pushed to it's limits by her (and their) addiction to drugs. I knew some of Fallada's history coming into this book and the story is clearly a very autobiographical one tinged throughout with sadness. It's not a patch on Alone in Berlin but it was a decent read nonetheless. Pep Confidential by Martí Perarnau (2/5) This was an audiobook book 'read'. This book covers Pep Guardiola's first season at Bayern Munich in which the writer was given complete access for the book. This is the kind of sports book which does not transcend it's genre and will only appeal to those already interested in the subject at hand. It's not a bad book but it is largely a puff piece in which Perarnau gushes constantly about Pep, who can do no wrong in his eyes. We get the odd tactical insight but never more than that and although we do learn about Pep are a person it is always framed by his job. Wicked Beyond Belief by Michael Bilton (4/5) I ordered this book online as I fancied learning about the hunt for Peter Sutcliffe and I was shocked when it arrived to find out that it was over 800 pages long. I expected it to take me a long time to read it but it is so well written that I finished it over the course of the 4 day Easter bank holiday weekend. Bilton has left no stone unturned in his research for this book which looks at all aspects to do with the Yorkshire Ripper. He digs into the investigation, the crime itself, the political and social landscape, and the long lasting effect Sutcliffe has had on the way crimes are investigated in the present day. There is extensive use of interviews and eye-witness testimony which adds real depth to the documentary evidence and gives everything a human touch. I particularly liked the fact that Bilton doesn't just go after the police due to mistakes made during the hunt for the killer. He looks into why these errors were made and then presents the facts without trying to sway the reader's opinion. This is without doubt the book about the Yorkshire Ripper and the only one you need to read on the subject. 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism by Ha-Joon Chang (3/5) Another audiobook. This book sets out to expel 23 myths about capitalism and goes after 'free market' capitalism in the context of the economic crash of 2008. While I found the book interesting and agreed with may of the 'things' I found it hard to engage with it. Economics of the financial/politcal kind are an inexact science and too often I felt as if the author was leaning too heavily on one side without presenting a counter-point. On one hand I can see why. He wanted to state his beliefs and persuade the reader that a free market economy is not a good economic model for the world. While this arguement is well presented, there have undoubtedly been benefits of the free market model and none of these are looked at in any depth. At the end of the day I would say that this is such a huge subject that its not possible to do it justice in the format Ha-Joon Chang adopted and that's why it just didn't work for me.
  4. Read-a-thons 2021

    Well I managed to surprise myself by reading the 800ish pages of Wicked Beyond Belief. I expected it to take me a few weeks but it filled my 4 day read-a-thon. Not the happiest of subjects to read about but utterly fascinating.
  5. Read-a-thons 2021

    Over the first 2 days of the read-a-thon I read 400 pages of Wicked Beyond Belief.
  6. I've got 3 books on the go at the moment. The one I should finish today is Pep Confidential by Marti Perarnau Grau which is all about Pep Guardiola's first season at Bayern Munich. I'm about 60 pages into Wicked Beyond Belief by Michael Bilton which is about the man hunt for the Yorkshire ripper. This one is going to take a long time to read as it is 800 pages long. Finally, although I haven't actually started it yet is Still Life by Val Mcdermid. This is the latest book in the Karen Pirie series and I've really enjoyed all the earlier books.
  7. Don't apologise, like you I find it to be a fascinating subject. I've been interested in Audax for a few years but I'm yet to do one. I don't tend to ride for more than 2-3 hours at a time but I like to push for the whole time but as I'm getting older I'm starting to realise that I need to slow down and ride at an easier pace. I've also got a niggly bike fit issue that has cropped up this year which I need to sort out before I can attempt to ride more than 100km at a time. You are right about some elite athletes being 'fat adapted' and I know quite a few ultra runners have made the move in recent years.
  8. Read-a-thons 2021

    A 4 day read-a-thon sounds good to me.
  9. When I was a lot heavier than I am now, I tried Paleo which is fairly close to Keto and found that worked well for me to shift a decent chunk of weight. I wouldn't say that it stopped working its just that I slipped back into my old habits slowly over the course of a few years. There is a lot of research to suggest that Keto type diets work wonders for those who are diabetic and more and more doctors are suggesting the approach to patients. The one major thing in common for me with the various things I've done over the years is that I have the best success with diets which require adherence to unprocessed foods. It is fairly obvious when you think about it, but take a walk through a supermarket paying attention to what is actually unprocessed and you soon find that onlw a few of the aisles are available to you. I do a lot of cycling, especially in the summer months, and although I can do it using fat as the main source of fuel I definitely perform better when consuming carbs. Its all just a matter of finding out what works for you and I'm glad you have found what yours is.
  10. Update time. The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg (2/5) After the funeral of her parents, Erica Falck returns to her home town to tie up some loose ends and attempt to finish writing her recent book. On arrival she finds out that her childhood friend Alex has been found dead. Initially a suicide is suspected but things are rarely as them seem. I've had this on my wishlist for a while and I do love some good Scandi crime so I was looking forward to getting into this. Sadly I found the whole thing a bit slow going and quite a plod. I didn't really care for the characters and found the mysteries that were uncovered rather cliched. A Monk's Guide to a Clean House and Mind by Shoukei Matsumoto (3/5) In Japan, cleanliness is next to enlightenment. In this book a Zen Buddhist monk draws on ancient traditions and experience to show you how to your daily habits. These range from cleaning to preparing food and everything else inbetween. I picked this up on a whim as I liked the cover and the fact that its quite a small book. I read through it in an evening and although I wouldn't say that it inspired me to change any of my habits I did enjoy it. The explanations behind the monk's methodologies were interesting and the book is well written. Colonel Sun by Kingsley Amis (2/5) James Bond expanded series number 15. M is kidnapped from his home and spirited out of the country by a mysterious group. Bond is dispatched to find out why even though it seems like he is also a target for the group. After enjoying Forever and Day, written by Anthony Horowitz I was looking forward to this. Ultimately I found this book very disappointing when I reached the end. The bad guys are very stereotyped, especially Colonel Sun. The interplay between the bad guy groups are over convoluted and easy to get lost in. I hope the next in the series is better. Amistad by David Pesci (4/5) This book tells a dramatised version of the story of fifty-three African slaves staged a bloody mutiny on board the Amistad, a Spanish slave ship from Cuba. I had never heard of this story before reading the book which is a shame as it's utterly fascinating. The story is really well told and I felt like I got to know the people behind the characters the further I read. The blend of history is mixed perfectly with the drama and when I finished the book I felt satisfied that I had enjoyed the experience and learned something new at the same time. This is highly recommended. Better than Life by Grant Naylor (3/5) I love the Red Dwarf audiobooks and have listened to them numerous times. Or at least I thought I had. I recently found out that there are two versions of Better Than Life, one abridged and one not. Somehow this fact had slipped by me and as a result I had never listened to the unabridged version. Expectedly the story remains the same but with extended scenes and set peices. The extra information was welcome but I can see why there were trimmed for the abridged version. The shorter version feels much tighter and the comedy works better but I'm glad I listened to this nonetheless. As ever, Chris Barrie is superb in the role of narrator. Churchill's Secret Warriors by Damien Lewis (4/5) In late 1939, following some bad outcomes in Europe, Winston Churchill wanted the creation of small lightning quick attack troops which would pave the way for modern special forces. The people recruited for these missions were not your usual military soldiers, often being unsuitable for normal regiments. This book focuses in particular on the activities of Anders Lassen and his men who operated in secret, often attacking much larger forces while pretending to be fisherman or farmers. This enraged Hitler so much that he created a rule than any special commando captured was to be considered a spy and executed. This book was really interesting and while I knew about David Sterling and the LRDG I had never heard of Ander Lassen. It focuses on areas of Europe often missed in other books, areas such as the Greek and Italian islands. Lewis writes in an engaing manner than kept me interested throughout. The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel (2.5/5) I find religion fascinating and being from England I had assumed that my school lessons about Christianity had given me a solid foundation of knowledge on the subject. As a result I have read about many of the other major religions in the world but had neglected to read further on Christianity. The synopsis for this book had me intrigued as it promised to present an evidence based exploration on the existence of Jesus. Strobel starts off by explaining he was a crime reporter and had attended many court cases over the years as part of his job. He stated that he wanted to investigate Jesus by looking and the evidence on both sides just as they do in court. This is the first failure on his part as he only speaks to experts who support the existence of Jesus. At no point does he interview sceptics and this hurts the book in a big way in my opinion. It's not all bad though. I found the evidence presented well thought out and has inspired me to read deeper on the subject. The writing is simple enough for a layman like me to understand what is going on without it feeling too dumbed down. After finishing the book I read a rebuttal online and it revealed to me that there is a lot more to scholarly Christan knowledge than I had ever imagined. Someone with little knowledge of the minutiae (like me) could be easily swayed by many of the arguements in the book without realising there is a strong counterpoint to be made by others. I really wish this had been a more balanced book as it would have improved it greatly in my opinion.
  11. Which online bookstores do you use?

    I'm the same. The staff at my local Waterstones are great and they have recommended many good books to me over the years so I buy there more often than not, even thought it is a bit more expensive. I like scouring the second hand bookshops in my towns but they are quiet small and the selection is fairly limited. Finally, if I want something specific which is a little harder to find I use Amazon. As annoying as they are, they are undoubtedly easy to use and often the cheapest option.
  12. Your Hobbies, Collections, and Obsessions

    I’m loving all the posts in here, it’s great to see such a variety of hobbies etc.
  13. This is a bit of a wild guess but could it be Deception Point by Dan Brown?
  14. Independent Bookshop Offers

    I’m not sure how I missed this thread previously but I’d like to give a shout out to a local book shop who specialises in rare books and secondhand books. https://eaglebookshop.co.uk/site/
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