Books Read

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After a poor year of reading last year, I set myself the challenge to get back into it. I have the time here inbetween courses, applications, the gym, languages and making travel plans so I need to make the most of it.

Outer Dark by Cormac McCarthy

Wooooo this is dark. McCarthy, the writer of No Country for Old Men really pulls you along here in a tale of death, guilt and no redemption. It’s very dark.

Conversation in the Cathedral by Mario Vargas Llosa

I’ve looked for this Nobel Prize winning book for years and finally got hold of it. A lot of South American literature from this era involves magical realism but unlike Garcia Marquez finds enough parody, corruption and sadness using Peru’s real experiences to weave a story. Unlike most books, it start out confusingly, it gets starker, funnier and more exciting as it goes along.

Journey to the End of the Night by Celine

I remember Linden was reading this while we were in Israel and Egypt and so after seeing it mentioned in a review of Bulkowski and Henry Miller, I decided to dive in. This book is funny, dirty, written with a tongue-firmly-lodged-in-cheek.

Dancing in the Glory of Monsters by Jason K Stearns

Stearns is one of the primary researchers on the modern Congo. Here he dissects the complex web of politicking and rivalries that’s fuelled the longest an most savage war since World War Two. Its brutal but sadly riveting.

L’Etranger by Albert Camus (in French)

As an attempt to get my mind working academically again, I’ve started picking up texts to get my mind moving in deeper ways. I have the time here. I’ve read it twice before yet it remains funny and pertinent.

Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond

Best book I have read in a while. Diamond, a biologist and geographer, explains how civilisations develop and why some have come to dominate the world over others. The answers seem so obvious but you just never thought it.

The Lost Honour of Katherine Blum by Heinrich Boll

A brilliant, taunt critic of the print media and its ruthless and careless methods told through the humiliation of Katherine Blum, an ordinary secretary caught up in a police investigation.

The Sea by John Banville

I had high hopes for this and ultimately couldn’t wait to finish it. Very nice prose but the story meanders along and the reveal itself at the end is a bit disappointing.

The Last Man in Russia by Oliver Bullough

I expected this to be an interesting sociological investigation of Russia and its diminishing population but while it had its moments, vast traces of the book was the telling of the story of a renegade Orthodox priest in Soviet Russia. It told me far too little of the problems of the present society.

The History of England in the Nineteenth Century

I do like my history.

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