How do nations cope with crisis and change? In this brilliant book, the author, historian and geographer Jared Diamond examines how six modern countries have dealt with a crisis, and looks at the crises currently unfolding in contemporary Japan, his home country the USA, and the world at large. Read more
After reading this book I can safely say that I’m not cut out for a life without technology, but regardless, this memoir of a year lived without the basic modern conveniences and ubiquitous technological connections was a fascinating and thought-provoking read.
I put off reading this book forever, mostly because I was intimidated by its sheer doorstop size. In the end, this requiem for the Soviet era proved to be both an easy and hard read. While perhaps not the pick if you’re looking to lift your spirits in the time of a global pandemic, it’s a book that fully deserves the term “masterpiece”.
I initially read this engaging and erudite book about the world’s predominant faiths many years ago, but I felt like a refresher, and, just like the first time around, I found myself humbled by the realisation of how much I didn’t know. In truth, it would probably take me a few more readings to fully absorb the dense layers of information presented here, but you’re still left with a decent understanding of the world’s main religions even if you can’t hold on to all the points.
I really enjoyed the film adaptation of this best-selling memoir with Reese Witherspoon in the lead role from five years back. Now I finally found the time for the original book, the entertaining, emotional and at times harrowing account of a young woman who hiked 1,100 miles alone along the Pacific Crest Trail in the USA.
This offering from the screen legend Michael Caine is not a straightforward autobiography, but rather a mix of memoir, practical advice for the aspiring actors and general life lessons, drawn from Caine’s 60-something years in the acting business. It’s an entertaining and breezy read, with Caine emerging as an unpretentious, charming and likeable person.
An eclectic and often engrossing collection of essays from David Byrne, best known as the principal songwriter and lead singer of the iconic American band Talking Heads. In this book, Byrne offers his perspective on the subject he’s been involved with for his entire life, music, blending social and technological history, autobiography, business strategies, technical knowledge and personal philosophy.
I finally got around to reading this excellent biography of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, which I picked up, appropriately enough, during my trip to Mexico almost three years ago.
I’ll read (almost) anything by Neil Gaiman, so I’m the perfect audience for this non-fiction collection of random bits and bobs Gaiman produced over the years: essays, introductions for other writers’ books, album liner notes, speeches given at professional events, autobiographical pieces and many more. I’ve enjoyed Gaiman’s writing over the years, but in addition to being a wonderful writer Gaiman is an interesting character with a distinctive voice and many things to say, which he does, passionately, in his trademark articulate, thoughtful and often humorous way. Many of his books I’ve read came with introductions that give you an insight into the man behind the words, so this is basically 500 pages of similar.