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Brian's Book Log - Ongoing

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On 10/03/2021 at 11:31 AM, Brian. said:

The Plant-Based Diet Revolution by Dr Alan Desmond (4/5)

This book has been a game changer for me and made the attempt both successful and easy. Over the course of February when I followed the meal plans I lost 5 kilos and it completely changed my old belief than I need to eat a form of animal based protein with almost every meal. I always feared that I would be hungry and feel tired on a plant based diet but these fears were wrong. At the start of March I decided to stick with eating mainly plant based foods and only consume eggs, meat, fish, or dairy 2-3 times a week. I've done this and the weight is still coming off so all in all for me it has been a great experience. I don't believe that certain diets work for everyone. I think we should all experiment and see what works best for each of us personally and this just happens to be mine.

 

That's really interesting because, if anything, I've gone the opposite way.  Having been a vegetarian in the past, and even more recently strongly plant centred with my diet, I found I was pre-diabetic.  In an effort to lose and keep weight off and keep my blood sugar levels low, I've gone over to a low carb, high fat diet, although not full on keto diet. Like you, weight sloughed off, losing 20kg in around 4 months, and keeping it off for the past 2 years. I've pretty much abandoned bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, cereals and other higher carb foods (including some pulses, fruit, root veg etc), which obviously included anything with added sugar, and eat a lot more fat and protein. In addition to weight loss, blood pressure down, cholesterol levels down, long term blood sugar levels down to normal levels. I'm very careful where i source meat from- but it (including fish) is a fair proportion of my diet, and I eat a fair whack of dairy and eggs (the latter particularly so!).

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12 hours ago, willoyd said:

 

That's really interesting because, if anything, I've gone the opposite way.  Having been a vegetarian in the past, and even more recently strongly plant centred with my diet, I found I was pre-diabetic.  In an effort to lose and keep weight off and keep my blood sugar levels low, I've gone over to a low carb, high fat diet, although not full on keto diet. Like you, weight sloughed off, losing 20kg in around 4 months, and keeping it off for the past 2 years. I've pretty much abandoned bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, cereals and other higher carb foods (including some pulses, fruit, root veg etc), which obviously included anything with added sugar, and eat a lot more fat and protein. In addition to weight loss, blood pressure down, cholesterol levels down, long term blood sugar levels down to normal levels. I'm very careful where i source meat from- but it (including fish) is a fair proportion of my diet, and I eat a fair whack of dairy and eggs (the latter particularly so!).

 

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.

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18 hours ago, willoyd said:

 

  In an effort to lose and keep weight off and keep my blood sugar levels low, I've gone over to a low carb, high fat diet, although not full on keto diet. Like you, weight sloughed off, losing 20kg in around 4 months, and keeping it off for the past 2 years. I've pretty much abandoned bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, cereals and other higher carb foods (including some pulses, fruit, root veg etc), which obviously included anything with added sugar, and eat a lot more fat and protein. In addition to weight loss, blood pressure down, cholesterol levels down, long term blood sugar levels down to normal levels. I'm very careful where i source meat from- but it (including fish) is a fair proportion of my diet, and I eat a fair whack of dairy and eggs (the latter particularly so!).

Sounds very like the low GI diet which was aimed purely at weight loss but was based on the basic diet recommendations for diabetics and pre-diabetics. I lost 12kg in about 2 1/2 months (I wasn't overweight to start with but with my height and broad shoulders I go from slim to looking heavy rapidly without pausng at medium) and have never put most of it back on again in 16 years.

 

I think we get to know what suits our body type, I can't tolerate those high protein, minimal carb diets that mean paractically no fruit, they make me feel sick, so I loosely follow the GI diet, have masses of fruit and if I need to get rid of a couple of kilos cut out bread entirely. Funnily enough cutting out wine makes no difference to my weight at all though it does have other health benefits!

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13 hours ago, Brian. said:

 

 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.

 

I think you hit the nail pretty much on the head with that point about unprocessed food. I recently read Tim Spector's Spoon Fed, (I think you would enjoy it), where he takes aim at a whole load of dietary 'myths'. At the end he reckons that the only rule really is that - eat food as unprocessed as you can. He classifies different degrees of processed food, and what I find interesting is how much of our western carb based diet comes under the more highly processed categories (including bread, pasta, pizza). And if you're going to eat carbs, make sure it's minimally processed carbs.... 

I also agree about slipping back into older habits - but I've not found myself doing that this time round, it's been very much a lifestyle change (much to OH's surprise!).  TBH, I find myself preferring this diet to my old one for all sorts of reasons. It's also easier to stick to because I know I need to - I can't afford to let blood sugar levels kick in, although I do, very occasionally, transgress - almost always for something home made!

On the cycling front: I do a lot too.  However, most of mine is audax orientated, ie low intensity endurance. I find a low carb diet perfect for that - I just don't get anything like as hungry as I used to. Nuts tend to be my main on the go fuel. I think if you up the intensity, it becomes a bit of a different game. My high intensity sport is orienteering, but as I don't race for more than 50-55 mins, a low carb diet is fine.  However, I do know of some high level athlets who still swear by low carb diets.

 

6 hours ago, France said:

Sounds very like the low GI diet which was aimed purely at weight loss but was based on the basic diet recommendations for diabetics and pre-diabetics.

It is, and it isn't.  Low carb food by its nature is low GI, but there's a lot of low GI food I don't eat. A lot of peole I know on low GI diets also cut back on their fats - I've done rather the opposite!

 

Quote

I think we get to know what suits our body type, I can't tolerate those high protein, minimal carb diets that mean paractically no fruit, they make me feel sick, so I loosely follow the GI diet, have masses of fruit and if I need to get rid of a couple of kilos cut out bread entirely. Funnily enough cutting out wine makes no difference to my weight at all though it does have other health benefits!

Agree with you about body type!  However, what you describe is a keto diet, and I've avoided going on that (some diabetics I know swear by it). Because I was pre-diabetic (last time, my blood sugar average had dropped below this) I could afford to be slighly less ferocious, so for instance I always allowed myself berries (every day) and worked to keep below 50g per day (keto is below 20g). Nowadays, I occasionally have lower carb pulses, and am less rigorous on some fruit (although haven't eaten a banana or mango for 2 years). I was a bread addict, but find that I now just enjoy the occasional slice of a special bread (usually as toast!), and haven't eaten potato, pasta, rice or pizza for the same 2 years (I actually prefer cauliflower rice and mash!). My taste buds have completely changed: sweet foods are generally horribly oversweet tasting now - I just don't like cakes etc now - too sickly sweet; I used to love 'ordinary' milk or dark chocolate, and disliked 70%+ cocoa - now I only eat 90%, and vastly prefer it. 

Sorry if post is overlong - I find this a fascinating subject - but I think as you both suggest, it's finding what works for you - andit appars the science is starting to support that individualisation.

Edited by willoyd

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On 31/03/2021 at 10:23 PM, willoyd said:

On the cycling front: I do a lot too.  However, most of mine is audax orientated, ie low intensity endurance. I find a low carb diet perfect for that - I just don't get anything like as hungry as I used to. Nuts tend to be my main on the go fuel. I think if you up the intensity, it becomes a bit of a different game. My high intensity sport is orienteering, but as I don't race for more than 50-55 mins, a low carb diet is fine.  However, I do know of some high level athlets who still swear by low carb diets.

 

Agree with you about body type!  However, what you describe is a keto diet, and I've avoided going on that (some diabetics I know swear by it). Because I was pre-diabetic (last time, my blood sugar average had dropped below this) I could afford to be slighly less ferocious, so for instance I always allowed myself berries (every day) and worked to keep below 50g per day (keto is below 20g). Nowadays, I occasionally have lower carb pulses, and am less rigorous on some fruit (although haven't eaten a banana or mango for 2 years). I was a bread addict, but find that I now just enjoy the occasional slice of a special bread (usually as toast!), and haven't eaten potato, pasta, rice or pizza for the same 2 years (I actually prefer cauliflower rice and mash!). My taste buds have completely changed: sweet foods are generally horribly oversweet tasting now - I just don't like cakes etc now - too sickly sweet; I used to love 'ordinary' milk or dark chocolate, and disliked 70%+ cocoa - now I only eat 90%, and vastly prefer it. 

Sorry if post is overlong - I find this a fascinating subject - but I think as you both suggest, it's finding what works for you - andit appars the science is starting to support that individualisation.

 

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.

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On 02/04/2021 at 9:36 AM, Brian. said:

 

. I've been interested in Audax for a few years but I'm yet to do one.

 

Got back into this a couple of years ago, and done a few populaires of 100-150, and a couple of 200s. Would like to go further, but have been very lazy this winter so need some time this spring/summer to build up again.  I love the relaxed nature - I really enjoying watching cycle sport, but haven't a competitive cycling fibre in my own body (save that for orienteering!) - very much from a touring background which is OH's and my favourite form of holiday. I find even sportives too competitive! The one thing I'm looking forward to beyond lockdown is being able to get back to continent for a good 2-3 weeks touring.

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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.

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Update time.

 

Still Life by Val McDermid (4/5)

Book number 6 and he most recent in the Karen Pirie series from Val McDermid. This was published late last year and it was interesting to see a few mentions of an unusual virus affecting people in China. Virus aside this was another strong book in the series and introduces us to another character, Daisy who joins the Historic Crime Unit. There are two crimes to solve for Karen this time. The first involves a body found in a campervan which is discovered after the owner of the property dies. The other case involves a body which is washed up. This is not something that Karen would usually have to get involved with but the body is of a man who went missing 10 years before with no trace.There isn't much more I can say about this series. All the books are well written and involving without being too hard to follow. This perhaps doesn't quite live up to a few of the earlier books but is a great read nonetheless.

 

Everest 1953 by Mick Conefrey (4/5)

This book covers not only the first acent of Everest but also those in the preceeding years which were unsuccessful. It is packed full of detail and contains a lot of information that I was totally unaware of. Its clear that a lot of research went into this as no stone is left uncovered. This is highly recommended.

 

Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer (5/5)

In 1992 a young drifter called Chris McCandless decided that he wanted to live off the land in total isolation in Alaska for a period of time. Just over 3 months later he was found dead of starvation in an old bus left in the wilderness which served as a shelter for hunters. In this book Krakauer looks into the story behind Chris McCandless and what made him decide to head 'into the wild'. I really loved this book as it feels like a genuine attempt to explain why some people feel the need to drift into the wilderness despite the risks that this entails. I have read a lot of reviews since finishing this book in which people have given it 1 star because they thought Chris was a foolish idiot. I feel these people miss the point. The value in the book is not what you think of Chris and his decisions but how well these decisions are explored and the attempt made to understand them. I knew the basics of the story having seen the movie many years ago but this book is so much better than the movie.

 

The Rage Against God by Peter Hitchens (1/5)

Having recently read The Case For Christ by Lee Strobel I fancied reading something that was a bit of a counter viewpoint and thought that Christopher Hitchens would suit the bill. Unfortunately I wasn't paying attention when choosing an audiobook to fill this role and downloaded a book by Peter, not Christopher Hitchens. Silly me.

Right at the start of the book Peter explains that he was once an avid atheist and that in this book he would explain how he came back to god and the reasons why Christianity is true. Ok, the complete opposite of what I was looking for but I decided to carry on with it. By the time I had finished I was of the opinion that this is THE worst book I have read for a long time and perhaps ever. The first chunk of the book is a biography about the life of the author which jumps about a bit and contains some links to religion but not many. It is frankly quite dull and his Atheism at a young age comes across as being an act of youngful rebellion instead of a genuinely held belief either way. In this section it become clear that Peter Hitchens is pining for the days of empire and that he thinks that the world is in a huge moral decline. I would agree that there seems to be a moral decline but the days of empire were hardly bastions of fairness and equality. He makes comments about homosexuals which state that he thought they were fine when he was an atheist but now not at all. He makes very strange comments about women and would appear to believe that women should know their place and stay in the background.

 

The second part of the book is about the Christian/Atheist agruement. He claims that there is a war being waged by the left against Christianity which has been going on since the end of the second world war but provides no evidence of this. The left isn't political but anti-christian in his eyes and everything they say is wrong. Anyone with a viewpoint that blinkered is on sticky ground because in my opinion, one must accept certain aspects of both the left and right political outlook have value and it is not wholly wrong on either side. He leans heavily on the Soviet Union as evidence that Atheists are wrong and that atheist = communists. This is blatently untrue and left me wondering if his main issue is with Atheists or Communists. All this is bad, but the worst part of the book is that his arguements are flawed and fall down when held up against his own standards. He often contradicts hiself, sometimes in the very same paragraph. As an example he claims that Atheists only have a problem with Christians and accept Muslim beliefs. The evidence for this, he says, is the fact that Atheists, especially prominent ones only get involved in debates which Christians. In the very next sentence however, he says that Muslims are wrong in their beliefs but it is useless trying to debate with them because they have already decided what is right and will not debate with other. If Muslims refuse to debate with people (which is a wrong assumption in the first place) then how can Atheists not debating with Muslims be proof of them only disagreeing with Christians. There is also a section in which wars are never fought and have never been on religious grounds. He claims that any person going to war on religious grounds has willfully mis-interpreted their religion because god can never be wrong. However, any Atheist who goes to war doesn't do it because of something they may feel is a just cause but because they are non-believers in god.

 

There are so many contradictions in this book is really does amaze me it was published. This kind of rhetoric does no favours to the Christianity it proclaims to represent in my opinion. I am not an Atheist but neither am I a religious person. I'm probably best described as a curious agnostic with a slight Buddhist leaning but I am keen to learn about religions because I do find them fascinating. One thing I ask of those books I read is to make coherent and logical arguement whichever side of the fence they come from. I believe that the only reason this book gets so many good reviews on site such as Goodreads is that the reviewers agree with his religious beliefs and base their score on that alone. That would be like me instantly giving a book written by an ex-liverpool player 5 stars despite it being a terrible book. It is a daft way to look at things and pushing ourselves outside our own echo chambers and at least trying to be objective is so important these days. Oh, as a final note, Peter Hitchens narrates his own book and while he isn't terrible at it, he isn't very good either. His voice isnt always clear and he often speaks to quickly.

 

Sorry, that sounds a bit ranty but it really pushed my buttons.

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Weekly update.

 

It's been a slower reading week for me this week but I have still finished (sort of) three books.

 

Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome (4/5)

I had a vague knowledge of the plot for this book from the BBC series of the same name featuring Dara O'Briain, Rory McGrath, and Griff Ryhs Jones. The book tells the story of three friends and a dog called Montmorency who take a trip along the river Thames in a boat. Along the way we learn a little more about the characters and enjoy the mishaps that befall them. This book is really funny and it's heartening to see that the comedy carries over to modern life perfectly despite being written in 1889. I don't often laugh out loud when reading but this book had me doing so on numerous occasions. I also really love the insults that are dished out, they are far more creative and cutting than modern ones.

 

The Secret Runners of New York by Matthew Reilly (1/5)

I started to listen to the audiobook of this because the synopsis sounded pretty interesting. I should have done a little more research because it soon came apparent that it is a YA book. I don't mind reading YA but this particular strand of the genre just isn't for me. The characters are all terribly cliched and I hated every one of them. I stuck with it for about 30% of the book before deciding that life is too short and that this one is written for a different audience.

 

The Terminal Spy by Alan S. Cowell (3/5)

This is a non-fiction book about the murder of Alexander Litvinenko. I knew a lot about the case anyway as I remember it well from when it happened in 2006. This book covers the case but also the background to all the major players in the drama including Vladimir Putin. Although this is incredibly well researched it felt disjointed in places as it jumps around a bit. The background for every person involved is a bit over the top in places so I did struggle with it at times as a result of this. Despite these reservations, this is a good account of the death of Litvinenko and it was good to see the author digging into some of the shadier background areas of Litvinenko's history. It would have been nice if the book contained some photographs of the people and places involved but sadly it does not.

 

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6 hours ago, Brian. said:

Weekly update.

 

It's been a slower reading week for me this week but I have still finished (sort of) three books.

 

Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome (4/5)

I had a vague knowledge of the plot for this book from the BBC series of the same name featuring Dara O'Briain, Rory McGrath, and Griff Ryhs Jones. The book tells the story of three friends and a dog called Montmorency who take a trip along the river Thames in a boat. Along the way we learn a little more about the characters and enjoy the mishaps that befall them. This book is really funny and it's heartening to see that the comedy carries over to modern life perfectly despite being written in 1889. I don't often laugh out loud when reading but this book had me doing so on numerous occasions. I also really love the insults that are dished out, they are far more creative and cutting than modern ones.

 

 

Connie Willis's To say Nothing of the Dog is a time shift novel that pays homage to Three Men in a Boat who make a fleeting  appearance. It's about three historians from the twentyfirst century sent back to Victorian times to find out what the Bishop's Bord Stump, supposedly destroyed in the bombing of Coventry Cathedral looked like. It's very funny.

 

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15 hours ago, France said:

Connie Willis's To say Nothing of the Dog is a time shift novel that pays homage to Three Men in a Boat who make a fleeting  appearance. It's about three historians from the twentyfirst century sent back to Victorian times to find out what the Bishop's Bord Stump, supposedly destroyed in the bombing of Coventry Cathedral looked like. It's very funny.

 

 

Loved Three Men in a Boat and also the sequel Three Men on the Bummel, so this sounds like another good read!

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It has been a very slow month for me reading wise and I'll be honest I don't have a huge amount to say about the books I have read but here goes anyway.

 

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (2/5)

I'm pretty sure this is on the 1001 books list so that is why I decided to buy a copy on a recent trip to Waterstones now that we are allowed to shop again. The story is set in a war damaged Italian villa at the end of the second world war and we follow a nurse who is looking after an unknown burned man. A few other characters come along as well and we slowly find out about their histories. I really didn't get on with this but I did finish it so it gets 2 stars from me.

 

The Adventures of the Yorkshire Shepherdess by Amanda Owen (4/5)

I love the TV show Our Yorkshire farm which follows the Owen family and their farming life on a remote farm in Yorkshire. This book is the third (I think) Amanda has written about  life on the farm and the struggles that involves. It's not an amazing book but I did really enjoy it and I think anyone who likes the show will like the book as well.

 

Red Dragon by Thomas Harris (4/5)

This was an audiobook read for me. I found the narration a little grating in places because the narrator has such a strong accent it is distracting from the story at hand. Fortunately the story really stands up and although I have seen the movie it kept me gripped throughout.

 

Around the World in 80 Days by Michael Palin (4/5)

Another audiobook. I really enjoyed the travel shows that Palin did when I was a kid so decided to go through the books that accompany them. Luckily for me, Audible recently had a special offer and I managed to buy all but the most recent one for a snip. This is the first of his travel adventures were he tries to follow in the footsteps of Phileas Fogg and travel around the world in 80 days or less. Obviously this is easily done these days with the use of aircraft so Palin avoids this method of transport. As I expected I found this absorbing and the fact that it is narrated by Palin himself is the cherry on the cake.

 

Nomad by James Swallow (3/5)

I've had this on my bookcase for a few years now and it finally came time to read it. Our protagonist is Marc Dane who is a tech specialist for MI6. A mission goes badly wrong and Dane tries to unravel why, leading him into a web of double-crossing and terrorism. I really thought I'd love this but I found it a bit of chore to get through. Marc Dane is meant to be a techie who is not trained to a high level with firearms or physically strong. Despite this he always seems to get the upper hand on highly trained and fit special forces operatives and mercenaries. Reality is stretched too far too often for my liking.

 

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6 minutes ago, Brian. said:

 

Around the World in 80 Days by Michael Palin (4/5)

Another audiobook. I really enjoyed the travel shows that Palin did when I was a kid so decided to go through the books that accompany them. Luckily for me, Audible recently had a special offer and I managed to buy all but the most recent one for a snip. This is the first of his travel adventures were he tries to follow in the footsteps of Phileas Fogg and travel around the world in 80 days or less. Obviously this is easily done these days with the use of aircraft so Palin avoids this method of transport. As I expected I found this absorbing and the fact that it is narrated by Palin himself is the cherry on the cake.

 

 

His recent(ish) program on North Korea was very good, if you can track it down (might be on Amazon or Britbox; I'm sure I've seen it somewhere recently...).

 

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1 hour ago, Raven said:

 

His recent(ish) program on North Korea was very good, if you can track it down (might be on Amazon or Britbox; I'm sure I've seen it somewhere recently...).

 


Yeah it is really good, I watched it when it came out and as far as I’m aware there wasn’t a book to go with it (although I could be wrong, I haven’t checked). 

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1 hour ago, Brian. said:


Yeah it is really good, I watched it when it came out and as far as I’m aware there wasn’t a book to go with it (although I could be wrong, I haven’t checked). 

 

 

There is (North Korea Journal).

 

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8 hours ago, Raven said:

 

There is (North Korea Journal).

 

 

Superb, I shall hunt out a copy. Thanks.

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Another quick update.

 

Football Manager Stole My Life by Iain Macintosh (2/5)

This is a book all about the history of the computer game Football Manager, previously known as Championship Manager. In it Macintosh interviews those behind making the game and also some of the people who have spent literally tens of thousands of hours playing it over the years. I am a fan of the game but certainly not to the levels of those featured in the book so this interested me when I heard it mentioned on a podcast. Sadly the book didn't live up to my expectations. Parts of it are interesting but there is loads of padding which consists of profiles of real life football players who never lived up to the promise they showed in the game. In the end I felt it was OK but really should have been better.

 

Pole to Pole by Michael Palin (4/5)

The next in my audiobook feast of Palin travel books. In this one the team travel from north to south across the biggest land mass possible. Along the way they hit various issues and enjoy some once in a lifetime experiences. Again, I really liked the book. Palin always manages to capture the human side of travel and in this book he speaks against the commercialization of travel and the well trodded tourist path in places like safari parks. I dread to think what he must make of modern day travel habits and sites like Tripadvisor. One thing I always like about him and his writing is that he is very open about feeling awkward or uncomfortable in situations when he doesn't know how to act or what to do. A lot of travel writers skirt around this issue and only focus on the obvious things.

 

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (3/5)

I've struggled a bit with fiction for the last month or so for some reason and after starting this a week ago I had only managed about 20 pages. Yesterday I decided that I would sit down and read it for at least an hour regardless of how I felt. In the end I got into it enough to finish it in the evening. The book focuses around the life of Nora Seed, a single woman in her 30's who has had enough of life. She decides to end her life and then enters a space between life and death which is the midnight library. In this library she can try out all the different lives she may have lead if she had taken a different decision earlier in her life. This premise is fascinating and I thought Haig handles it really well. Using a library works so well at presenting something which may not have worked in other ways. The writing is engaging enough that I kept reading it all day and the characters were formed well enough. What I liked less however was the way the messages about depression and life are delivered. The book morphed into almost a self help book where we a spoon fed things like "It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see".

I feel a bit mean writing this as I know Haig writes from a position of knowledge on the subject having had his own mental health struggles over the years. I nonestly believe he writes to try and help people using his own life to steer the path and that takes a lot of bravery. I can see the appeal of the book and why it gets five stars but it was a little too 'tell instead of show' for my own tastes.

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I saw some of Michael Palin's travel shows, when I was in the UK my boyfriend's mother had a DVD of it. I just looked it up and it was called Around the World in 80 Days with Michael Palin. I liked it. Good to know his travel books are nice too!

 

I loved The Midnight Library. I don't mind 'tell instead of show' much though.

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On 08/06/2021 at 10:45 AM, Brian. said:

Pole to Pole by Michael Palin (4/5)

The next in my audiobook feast of Palin travel books. In this one the team travel from north to south across the biggest land mass possible. Along the way they hit various issues and enjoy some once in a lifetime experiences. Again, I really liked the book. Palin always manages to capture the human side of travel and in this book he speaks against the commercialization of travel and the well trodded tourist path in places like safari parks. I dread to think what he must make of modern day travel habits and sites like Tripadvisor. One thing I always like about him and his writing is that he is very open about feeling awkward or uncomfortable in situations when he doesn't know how to act or what to do. A lot of travel writers skirt around this issue and only focus on the obvious things.

 

 

This was the first of Michael Palin's books I listened to on Audible and now I seize them every time they come up on a two for one (I'm really mean about my credits). He reads his own books and he's a wonderful narrator: warm, funny, self deprecating.

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I did a bit of book shopping yesterday and got a little carried away as usual.

 

 

DE953B30-066A-4DAC-9D53-1AC5253103FB.jpeg

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16 hours ago, Brian. said:

did a bit of book shopping yesterday and got a little carried away as usual.

I would call that a successful shopping trip :lol:
 

 

Pine looks really good, I was tempted to buy that too. I also love the cover!

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25 minutes ago, Hayley said:

I would call that a successful shopping trip :lol:
 

 

Pine looks really good, I was tempted to buy that too. I also love the cover!

 

I confess that I bought it purely because the cover jumped out at me.

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20 hours ago, Brian. said:

 

I did a bit of book shopping yesterday and got a little carried away as usual.

 

DE953B30-066A-4DAC-9D53-1AC5253103FB.jpeg

 

 

There are worse ways to go!

 

I've put the buying of Penguin Classics on hold for the moment, as they are once again updating the range (subtle this time, just a change of fonts, but I'm planning to buy some and I want them all to match!).

 

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Just now, Raven said:

 

There are worse ways to go!

 

I've put the buying of Penguin Classics on hold for the moment, as they are once again updating the range (subtle this time, just a change of fonts, but I'm planning to buy some and I want them all to match!).

 

 

I hate it when publishers do but I tend to pick up a Penguin Classic every time I buy books from Waterstones. My collection so far isn't huge but it's slowly going. I had intended to collect some classics by buying Everyman editions but they aren't always easily available and they seem to change the dust jacket designs all the time.

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My reading mojo has come back with force and as a result I have quite a few updates to catch up with.

 

The Barcelona Legacy by Jonathan Wilson (4/5)

This ties in to both Brilliant Orange (more later) and Pep Confidential which I read early on this year. In this book Wilson looks into the coaching lineage of two of the biggest names in football management, Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho. Over the course of the book we learn about their core tactical beliefs and how, despite both coming from the same football education source, they have diverted and landed on two opposing tactic viewpoints. I really liked this book even if it is a little dry at times. Wilson is really good at picking part both their approaches to football and the weakness which emerge from that.

 

Brilliant Orange by David Winner (3/5)

I've had my eye on this book for a while as it tells the tale of Dutch football and why they produce brilliant players but often fall short on the international stage. Winner ties this into the Dutch way of life and also links it to things like art and architecture. I enjoyed the football stuff, especially the players and tactics around the 70' and 80's. The art and architecture stuff not so much.

 

Atomic Habits by James Clear (3/5)

This is a re-read for me. An admirable attempt to bring all the science behind habits together in one book. All the stuff in it is really good but it does get repetitive towards the end. I also think it could do with a conclusion at the end which brings all the advice together in one guide to improving good habits and/or breaking bad habits.

 

The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter by Anonymous (3/5)

Not a book, more of a very short story which I read purely because it is number 2 in the '1001 books' list. The tale is pretty strange but it occupied me well enough for 45 minutes.

 

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty (3/5)

What would you do if you found a letter in the attic, addressed to you, from your husband - to be opened in the event of his death?

This isn't the kind of book I would normally buy but I do like to pick up something completely different from time to time. Every time I logged onto Amazon, popped into Tesco, or browsed Waterstones I would see this book on the shelves. I knew nothing about the author but I had vague recollection of hearing good things about one of her other books, Big Little Lies. So I decided to take a punt as I was struggling to decide what work of fiction to pick up next. Initially I found the book tricky to get into because a lot of characters are introduced in the opening chapters. I kept forgetting who was who and what their particular life issue was. Although this did get a little better, I found myself having to stop a few times later in the book and thinking hard to remind myself. I didn't really care for the characters but there was enough intrigue to keep me engaged throughout. I saw the big event towards the end of the book coming and I was left feeling a bit disappointed by the ending as it all came to a conclusion very quickly. Nevertheless it was good enough that I picked it up every time I had a bit of time to read this week.

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