Discussion in 'The Library' started by po3try, 29 Apr 2012.
this was fantastic:
not exactly a bio, but a nice twist on the genre.
I am the Secret Footballer (anonymous)
With the subtitle Lifting the Lid on the Beautiful Game this is an excellent read for anyone with a love of and interest in football (soccer). There has been much speculation on the author's identity in the British media which still remains unconfirmed after the original columns appeared in The Guardian, to much critical acclaim. I am not sure the book really does offer any new insights into life as a professional footballer, but it nevertheless is interesting, insightful and well written. Suffice to say the book has been authored by an anonymous player who made it to the top level of the game and it offers an intriguing insight into his life, including, rather bravely, his diagnosis with depression and treatment, including medication and CBT.
Do audio books count?
I have just finished 'A briefer history of time'. I think it would be much easier to follow had a read it as opposed to listen to it. Having said that, there were times that hawking over-explained some things that should be quite easy to grasp. However, it was quite easy to understand in the sense that it makes sense, even if there were a couple things I couldn't wrap my head around. Listening to it while walking, I didn't have the luxury of being able to go back and re-read a couple pages. For what it is, it is a great read (or listen)
A Feast for Crows
The fourth book in the 'A Song for Ice and Fire' series. Very disappointing. The first three books were interesting, even if I do not read much fantasy, but this one was less than, and that is being gracious.
Ive just finished Steven Frys autobiography 'Moab is my washpot'. A good read concentrating mostly on his public schooldays. A clever bloke.
sounds fantastic. i shall be looking for it in the shops.
i ended up finishing this one. got a bit dull in the middle but then ol' bill pulled out more wit in the last chapters. a really great read for any american who's ever experienced reverse culture shock.
Thanks Crew I have heard great things about Bill Bryson's writing but must confess to not having read any of his stuff. Will check it out.
if you like learning about the english language and it's evolution, i suggest either 'mother tongue' or 'at home'.
if you'd like to read travel books, 'down under' is faffing hilarious.
if you're a science geek, or general knowledge geek, 'a short history of nearly everything' is a must-read.
he's also dabbled in fiction but i've not read any of it.
i don't suggest 'a walk in the woods'.
oh dear. :
Found some Ursula K. Le Guin books in the uni library. Finished 'Lathe of heaven'. Just started on 'Dispossessed' today. Interesting reads - both of them.
I'm reading Michael Palmer's "The Society." It is a medical-thriller book, which so far is pretty good and has kept me interested!
Rupert Sheldrake's The Science Delusion is worth a look, but not if you regard science as a higher form of religion and scientists as high priests.
Mike Tyson: The Undisputed Truth
I'll never forget Tyson's remarkable explosion onto the world boxing scene when I watched him on TV destroy Trevor Birkbeck in 1986 to become, aged 20, the youngest heavy weight champion in boxing history. I am not a big fight fan as such but Tyson was different - devoid of Ali's class, this guy smashed his opponents out of the ring in shows of aggression, brutality and power never seen before. Seems as though he has rarely been out of the news since with imprisonment for rape and numerous other scrapes with the criminal justice system, the Holyfield controversy when he was suspended for biting his opponent's ear in the ring, and then his inevitable fall and fall and fall.....
This is not a particularily well written book. Like its author, at times it is all over the place. However it doesn't pull any punches ( had to get that in!) and it is an absorbing, if somewhat long read. But in the opening pages, Tysen is prepared to admit that the judge who sentenced him to imprisonment for the rape beef, might actually be responsible for him being alive today. This autobiography is not about glamourising the sex, drugs and rock'n'roll that accompanied Iron Mike......and my oh my, did these things ever follow our man! At the time of his imprisonment I thought Tysen had been victimised. He doesn't show much remorse either but the book makes it quite compellingly clear why that is so
1200 pages later in the post script to the post script, written in April this year, Tysen is writing about his latest relapse. A tragic, broken character, or rather an ordinary human being trying to get his life back on track.
I laughed when I read about him being fined $5,000 US for wearing his trade mark black shorts in the Birkbeck fight; I also laughed about him having to have a shot for venereal disease on the eve of this fight. Just seemed rather incongruous. The account of Tysen's legendary relationship with Cus D'Amato, the trainer who took him in and in effect became a father figure role model is not what I expected. Seems like Cus himself had more than his fair share of "issues" too and may well have been a significant contributor to Tysen's nemesis.
Great read and I hope Mike can sort himself out.
The Pope's Last Crusade, Peter Eisner, Harper Collins, New York 2013
This book's subtitle, How an American Jesuit helped Pope Pius XI's Campaign to Stop Hitler, tells you what the book is about. The Jesuit in question was one John LaFarge, SJ, who was a leading and early light in opposing racial discrimination in the USA; he had authored a key text, Interracial Justice, in the 1930s. This book had reached Pope Pius XI who, in 1938, when hearing that LaFarge was in Europe, summoned him to the Vatican for a private audience and asked him to author a draft encyclical condemning Nazism and Fascism. The Pope instructed LaFarge to keep his "commission" secret and gave him free rein to write it as if he was the Pope himself.
Pope Pius XI was in his early 80s and in poor health in 1938. LaFarge's draft, which he had submitted to the Jesuit Superior General, Wlodimir Ledóchowski SJ, in September 1938 only reached Pius XI in early January 1939. Ledóchowski favoured a more conciliatory approach to Hitler and Mussolini, much the same as Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, subsequently elected as Pius XII on Pius XI's death. Pius XI, we learn, was utterly opposed to Nazism and Fascism and indeed saw them as a greater evils than Communism. He had no wish to be conciliatory or indeed to appease Hitler or Mussolini.On the eve of his death in early February 1939 he had summoned the Italian bishops to whom he had planned to make an unequivocal denunciation of Nazism and Fascism and to publish his draft encyclical. He died, his death the subject of mild conspiracy theories, and his papers were sealed by Pacelli. His encyclical never saw the light of day. Three days after Pius XII's coronation in March 1939 Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia - the Vatican remained silent on the event
This book will interest students of Europe on the eve of the Second World War. It provides a glimpse of the Vatican machine at work and is very sympathetic, rightly so in my opinion, to Pius XI who comes across as very principled. It raises many questions about Pius XII and doesn't refute the strong suggestion in some quarters that he was as good as a Nazi collaborator. It portrays LaFarge well as a decent and again a principled priest. I would certainly like to know more about him. Harvard educated, after ordination LaFarge's main placement was a fifteen year stint in Maryland ministering largely to blacks which gave rise to his concerns about racial prejudice and discrimination. LaFarge's draft is now in the public domain under the title "Humanis Generis Unitas", "On the Unity of the Human Race". Moreover LaFarge seems to have meekly accepted the fate of his document and never sought to agitate or countermand his superiors.
One stand out error: Eisner refers to Pope Adrian VI, "an Englishman", as the last non-Italian pope before Karol Wojtyla, John Paul II; Adrian VI was Dutch. However Adrian IV, Nicholas Breakspear, has been the only English pope so far but he harks back to the twelfth century.
Not a bad read but I do think Eisner could have done much more with the material.
Merry CHristmas to all:)
The Snowden Files by Luke Harding
In the end I was a little disappointed by this account of the most important whistle blowing event in history - it seemed to fizzle out after a great start. As a lifelong Guardian reader and bleeding heart liberal I was familiar with the general course of events leading to Edward Snowden so famously going public about the extent of US security services intrusion and data mining but had not got involved with the minutiae of the newspaper reports. I was unsurprised by anything Snowden disclosed.
Harding provides some interesting perspectives. I was surprised to learn our Ed actually is a bit of a right wing libertarian and his motivation is defence of the US constitution. I thought he might be a bit of bleeding heart liberal like myself. Nope and no suggestion that he is fond of copious amounts of blow either. His abandoned, blogging girlfriend, Lindsey Mills, self-styled as a "world-travelling, pole-dancing superhero", with a penchant for posting scantily clad photos of herself, comes across as an absolute blast.This relationship adds to the mystery surrounding our man and why he did what he did.
A further interesting fact which emerges is that of all the major players, only Apple, during Steve Jobbs' life, rebuffed the NSA's overtures. On year after Jobbs' death, however, Apple succumbed.
The book is very bitchy about Julian Assange and his attempts to get on the band waggon: Harding refers to Assange as a "Manichaean"!
Harding is a very accomplished journalist and investigator and to a large extent tells the story well. But it seems to lose its sharpness, perhaps a consequence of being so contemporaneous. I think also the book attempts to provide a much wider analysis of the political / civil rights/privacy implications and sometimes gets confused as to whether it is a book about Snowden or privacy.
It's a gripping story and it lays bare the hubris of Uncle Sam and his Brit sidekicks.
Carly Simon : Boys in the Trees
I was a teenager when Simon's major hits You're So Vain and Nobody Does it Better were topping the charts in the 1970s. I must confess to knowing next to nothing about Carly beyond her being American and her songs. This autobiography is mildly interesting but in real terms it is fairly standard and unremarkable - I didn't realise she was the daughter of the founder of the Simon & Schuster publishing house. However two of the most interesting things I learned from reading this book were actually not about Carly. Firstly the classic Beatles' hit Something in the Way She Moves was written by Carly's former husband, James Taylor. Didn't know that. Secondly one of the original members of The Stones was a Scot, Ian Stewart, who according to Wikipedia hailed from the fishing village of Pittenween in Fife, in a part of the world I spent many a happy holiday in as a small boy in the 1960s. Poor Ian got the bullet in about 1963 but stayed on as a session player-super roadie-cum-tour manager for The Stones. As I said, mildly interesting but not much more.
Separate names with a comma.