Summer Reading

Summer reads

Summer is here. The days are long. Easier office hours and holidays are around the corner. I’m hoping to catch up on my Book A Month resolution. I’m up to number 5.

The trouble is, I’m reading three books simultaneously so I don’t get over the line easily. It’s not as mad as it sounds. The one I’m reading properly is Then We Came To The End by Joshua Ferris, which is pretty much like The Office tv series but in book format. I cringe when I spot my own dysfunctional behaviour.

The other two are books I dip in and out of.  One is 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism by the Cambridge economist Ha-Joon Chang. Yes, I know, it’s a little bit eclectic. But if you want to know why your life isn’t much enhanced in spite of rising incomes and better technologies, there is a very good discussion in here. And the chapters are short.

The other is El Monje Que Vendió Su Ferrari – The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari – by Robin Sharma. I’m learning Spanish and a self-help book is the most straightforward kind of book to read. I’ve learnt the word for leadership … although haven’t had the opportunity to use it in conversation yet !

In the pre-Kindle days, I used to be able to spot the popular books by what people were reading in the tube. Now, almost everyone has an electronic reading device and it’s impossible.  I still don’t have a Kindle and because I’m not on-trend, I tend to buy books secondhand on eBay.

Anyway, I was hunting down light summer reads and found some ideas on EssieButton’s blog, where she’s made a selection with Books and Quills. There’s an entertaining little video to go with it. I’ve plonked for The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides and Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. I’ll let you know how I get on.

~ Spotted Cow

Holiday reading

The Longest Way Home

Every year, one of my new year’s resolutions is to read a book a month. Sometimes I make it and sometimes I don’t, but unfailingly every year it’s a challenge. I read a lot for work, and if you throw in newspaper & magazine subscriptions, and several must-read blogs, it gets pretty tough to squeeze in books.

I ticked off Number Three (yeah, I’m lagging) over Easter weekend, a book called The Longest Way Home by Andrew McCarthy. It was recommended by Juliann over at Browsing the Atlas.

I didn’t quite appreciate that it was the Andrew McCarthy from Pretty in Pink and St Elmo’s Fire, until I saw the photos in the book. Oh him, I thought. He has added travel writer to his CV.

This book is his personal journey, written candidly about his coming to terms with making a commitment – specifically getting married to his now wife D – interspersed with introspective trips to the Amazon, up Kilimanjaro, down Patagonia, through Costa Rica, around Chicago, somewhere anywhere so that he can figure out what he wants home to mean to him. Although his particular need is extreme, it speaks to all of us who prize personal space and love the freedom of travelling solo … every once in awhile, that is.

~ Spotted Cow

Weekend away book

I’ve got a weekend away coming up and I like having a book, especially as my work involves reading a fair chunk of technical information.  I’m one of the few people I know who doesn’t have a Kindle. I’ll admit that it’s efficient not to have the bulk when you want to take 6 books with you, and I do like portable technology. But nothing quite replaces the physical energy of turning pages.

Chiara over at runs a project encouraging teenagers to read. She’s an avid reader herself and I like her recommendations. She also has an adult reading list, including one on books to read when you’re travelling.  I like the sound of the top choice, The Sea Sisters by Lucy Clarke – an unfathomable suicide mystery in Bali of the narrator’s sister. Intriguing. I know that they read it in her book club recently and were absorbed by it.  That’s it. I’ve clicked and when it arrives in the letter box, it’s going in my bag. And I’ll be one less book behind on my One Book A Month new year resolution. Done and done.

~ Spotted Cow


Wish List

This is what I want for Christmas – Before They Pass Away, a travel photography book by Jimmy Nelson who went around the world looking for remote indigenous tribes – in Papua New Guinea, Mongolia, Russia, Tibet, to name a few –  whose ways of life may one day disappear into our urban continuum.  His photographs are awe-inspiring – the composition, the light, the detail, the portraiture, and the lengths it took to get them.  These are the photographs I want to take.  In a world of the ubiquitous smartphone, he shows us that you have to be present and be engaged – that in these instances, you cannot simply hold up your phone and click.

The book costs £100+. It isn’t cheap, but this is an effort worth paying for.

Go onto his site. Listen to his TED talk. Marvel at the photographs. You’ll be enchanted.

Spotted Cow

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