These Hardbacks Give Knowledge, Back Pain
I do love to read and naturally brought some books with me. My reading list of the past few years has flitted from genre to genre, but history and philosophy are my biggest pleasures. Satire has always been a favourite of mine, but I couldn’t find anything I was really interested in to read that I had not devoured already. Recently, I have tried to dive into modern fiction with contemporary Americans like Pynchon and Cormac McCarthy to mixed success; The Road was stunning, but Vineland was an incomprehensible mess of Americana. Thus, my book list is as follows:
- Robert Harris – Lustrum: A novel biography of my favourite historical character Cicero. About half way through and enjoying it immensely. Part two of a trilogy documenting his most wonderful life.
- Tom Holland – Millenium: History of Europe at the turn of the 10th Century. Written with a very brisk style, the tedium of history is thankfully entirely absent.
- Richard Dawkins – The Greatest Show on Earth: A book on evolutionary biology. Been meaning to read this since I saw him lecture in Dublin a few weeks ago.
- AC Grayling – Ideas That Matter: More of a collection of topical essays than anything else, but a superb, concise and insightful book on philosophical issues that I aim to use as a reference more than anything else. From democracy to eugenics and from vegetarianism to game theory and absolutism, it is an easy read and a valuable book to have around. The rain-ridged edges make it look old and authentic after I accidentally fell asleep with it during the Irish summer and was promptly showered on, rousing too late to save it from damage.
I will also pick up a copy of the Booker Winner Wolf Hall by I can’t remember who. I read an historical biography of Thomas Cromwell – the pro-/antagonist of both books – by Thomas Hutchinson about two years ago. Wolf Hall is more of an historical novel so I’m curious to see how different it will be as I’ve never read two books on the same person written in such distinct styles. The new Discworld by Terry Pratchett, probably my favourite contemporary British author, looks worth a read as ever, but I lack space for it. Soon I will have my joy!
**Update: Wolf Hall is by Hilary Mantel, apparently.