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1997

The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby

Published August 31, 2021

The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby

I don’t know why it’s taken so long for me to read this, it’s an absolute classic, and for good reason. How beautiful this book is, obviously steeped in the tragedy of the author, and with that mystical aura that surrounds a book published so close to the writer’s death. But beyond that, it’s a gorgeous reminder of celebrating life while you can, seeing the light and the dark in various situations, and written so vividly you feel like you’re almost in the room. A wonderful book.

The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger

Published July 16, 2021

The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger

Reading this book was a very similar experience to watching the movie - it was a somehow riveting and tense read but at the same time just highlights how dangerous and ultimately fruitless these endeavours are. Why are so many fishermen doing this? Regardless, though, the book is great. Piecing together the events of the storm from interviews with survivors and family members, from a variety of boats and rescue crews. Unlike the film, there’s no definitive ending to the story of the Andrea Gail, no one knows what happened, so Junger pieces together his best guess given the information we do have.

Full Circle by Michael Palin

Published June 13, 2021

Full Circle by Michael Palin

I really enjoyed this book, more than the previous Palin outings, although they all stand up in their own right. There’s something about this one though, perhaps because there was no specific time pressure or stress in the normal way. I love the concept, it’s a great idea and not only visits a lot of countries that are usually missed off the travel agenda, but also shows some great variety in wealth and development. Also, at this point in Palin’s travel career, he’s returning to places he’s already been and seeing how they’ve changed which is also fascinating to learn about.

Anita and Me by Meera Syal

Published May 18, 2021

Anita and Me by Meera Syal

Syal writes with such intimate depth and expression that you get a wonderful and vivid picture of life as a youngster in the Midlands at that time. It’s a difficult book, touching upon the difficult subject of immigration which is layered on top of the already troublesome time of growing up. It feels like Meena is too young for some of the things she goes through, but life comes at you fast, and it’s a great, moving, alarming and comforting story about family, friends and everything in between.

Cash by Johnny Cash and Patrick Carr

Published October 5, 2019

Cash by Johnny Cash and Patrick Carr

It’s taken me a full year to get through this but not because it isn’t a good book, mostly because it’s the kind that you can pick up and put down, dip in and out of and just generally revel in the calm storytelling of a master. He’s got plenty to talk about and is honest about it all, looking back philosophically about the highs and lows of a life in country music.