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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. Your Book Activity - July 2021

    New book time for me, this time Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell.
  2. The author works in publishing so that probably helped getting it along the process a bit quicker.
  3. I had a good day reading yesterday and finished Pine. Pine by Francine Toon (2/5) I'll put my hands up and admit that I bought this book mainly because I loved the cover and the spynopsis on the back sounded intriguing. I hadn't yet read any kind of horror book and this book spans a couple of genres including horror so that sealed the deal for me. The basic synopsis is that Niall, a single father, lives with his daughter Lauren in the highlands of Scotland. One night a woman stumbles out of the pine forest and Niall drives her to his house. In the morning she is gone and Niall acts like nothing has happened. We don't know who the woman is or what has happened to her. There is definitely something not right and some of the residents are clearly aware of this but keeping it under wraps. I found this book really difficult to get into but I suspect that could be more because of my recent lack of mojo rather than the quality of the writing. It took me a good 100 pages to settle into it and feel like it was worthwhile to carry on. There isn't a huge amount of character development and I really didn't like 90% of them. It is very atmospheric in a way that few books are. It almost felt oppressive and times and the only other book I have read that managed this for me is Snow by Orhan Pamuk. Now for the negatives. The pacing is uneven. The beginning is very slow going, the middle has jumps in pace and then the end comes so quickly that it feels far too rushed. I wasn't sure how to rate this but in the end i've gone for 2/5 because I could have easily put this on the DNF pile in the early stages. I don't think it's a bad book but I just never really got on with it in the way I hoped I would.
  4. What's the weather like?

    Same here, it's such a relief to finally not be sweating like a beast for a change.
  5. I've finished two books since my last post in this thread, both non-fiction. I'm about halfway through Pine by Francine Toon and it's starting to work for me as I struggled a bit with it initially. Anyway, back to the updates. Champagne Football by Mark Tighe & Paul Rowan (4/5) This book has been mentioned a few times on the Guardian Football Podcast by Barry Glendenning as an example of how badly football administration is often run. It covers the FAI (Football Association of Ireland) and the period in which it was run by John Delaney. It's the kind of book which would appeal to a football fan but probably won't reach many people outside this demographic. I already knew the gist of what was covered in the book as it was fairly big news at the time. What I didn't know was the size of the corruption and theft which went on. The amount of money that was mis-used under the directions of Delaney is mindblowing and how no one ended up in prison is beyond me. Sadly this sort of things isn't unique and goes on in football and sports administration (and governments for that matter) all over the world. Full Circle by Michael Palin (5/5) I'm reading Michael Palin's travel books in order and I'm now up to number 3. Having already gone around the world in 80 days and travelled pole to pole, Palin and his team travel around the Pacific pim over nine and a half months. This book is the best of the lot so far and it really helps that despite the long time spent travelling they only visit 18 countries. This allows time to feel like you are actually getting some good detail on these places and I particularly enjoyed the sections in China and South America. I really like the way that Palin always presents things are they are and how he feels about them instead of trying to project an ideal image all the time. At one point he is doing an activity which he finds painful and instead of putting a brave face on it admits that he lost his temper and started to swear at the leader of the activity. I think many writers wouldn't admit to this as it presents them in a negative light but not with Palin, what you read is what happened.
  6. New Books Out in 2021

    I'm looking forward to Peter Schmeichel's autobiograhy, One, which is out at the end of September.
  7. Your Book Activity - July 2021

    Since I’m still struggling to really get into anything I decided to have a crack at something easy to read. The book I chose is Champagne Football by Mark Tighe and Paul Roman. It is a non-fiction book detailing the corruption and mismanagement of the Irish Football Association under the stewardship of John Delaney. I’m about 100 pages into it and so far it’s a great read.
  8. No I’m not. I’ve really struggled to get into anything much for the last month. I’ve been feeling a bit out of sorts about quite a few things so it isn’t just isolated to reading.
  9. Is it a fiction or non-fiction book?
  10. My reading has really slowed down over the last month so I have only finished 3 books since my last update. SAS Ghost Patrol by Damien Lewis (3/5) This is a non-fiction book all about special forces missions run against the Nazi's and Italian forces which held Tobruk and surrounding areas. I knew nothing about these raids beforehand and was constantly left amazed at the audacity of the raids. One of the main aims was to train a group of soldiers to imitate the Afrika Korps and use this to gain access to huge camps where POW's were held. To do this, the selected group lived and trained exactly the same as the Afrika Korps, stole vehicles, and then set up road blocks checking paperwork just as the Nazi forces were doing. When this was successful they would enter transit camps, rest, eat in the canteen etc, and then move on. Eventually they used their cover to enter the camps and areas held by Nazi forces and cause chaos. The story told is amazing but the book doesn't quite live up to the content. Zero by Eric Van Lustbader (2/5) The main character in this book is Michael Doss, an American living in Japan who studied martial arts in Japan as a young man. Life is ticking along until his father dies under suspicious circumstances in Hawaii. The family gets together at the funeral and his sister is kidnapped shortly afterwards. Michael's father's 'business' partner reveals a little about what his father had been doing in Hawaii. As a result Michael goes to Hawaii to see if he can work out what happened to his father and see if it leads to his sister's location. I wanted to like this book but the forced way the Japanese culture was constantly pushed really grated on me after a while. I didn't care for any of the characters and found most of them fairly cliched. I found the Yakuza stuff interesting but on the whole it felt like a bad 80's martial arts movie that Jean-Claude Van Damme would have starred in. Silence by Erling Kagge (2/5) The blurb on the back of the book says " Behind a cacophony of traffic noise, iPhone alerts and our ever-spinning thoughts, an elusive notion - silence - lies in wait. But what really is silence? Where can it be found? And why is it more important now than ever?" This really jumped out at me from the shelves in my local Waterstones and I was really interested as it also stated that Erling Kagge had spent 50 days walking across Antarctica on his own with a broken radio. I expected an explanation of how he felt and the mental jumps that happens when faced with complete isolation for a long time. Instead I got a collection of thoughts and short passages on silence and how it can be found anywhere. It was all a bit vague and flighty and while I am sure others will love it, I didn't get on with it. Hopefully my next reads will be more suited to my tastes
  11. Euro 2020 (2021)

    I will be surprised if Italy don't win the final despite what the bookies odds might say. I'm still not convinced by the England team but I'll be delighted if they do manage to pull it off.
  12. Still going along with Zero by Eric Van Lustbader but I've not been in a reading mood much in the last week.
  13. Travel Plans

    No plans to travel abroad this year. We normally take a few trips inside the UK every year so this year we'll take a few more than usual. When restrictions are lifted worldwide we have some pretty big trips planned.
  14. Your Hobbies, Collections, and Obsessions

    I have the cheapest one on the Cult Pens website, the M5-450T.
  15. Euro 2020 (2021)

    I don’t know if it’s because I’m a grumpy git and England have let me down too often, but there is a big disconnect between what I see on the pitch and what the pundits say about England’s performances. They played better than against Scotland but it still wasn’t great and Czechia could have easily scored from one of their chances and drew the game.