DMulvee 2020 reading attempt
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I surprised myself in passing 75 books last year and will try to see if this can be repeated this year
This contains a changing list of books that I will attempt to read this year. I will read lots of others (hopefully!) but these are some of the books I really want to cross off my TBR list:
History of Western Philosophy - Russell - READ
Icelandic Sagas II - Folio edition
Divine Comedy - Dante
John Evelyn Diary
Molloy / Malone Dies / The Unnamable - Beckett
Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire - Gibbon - Volume 3
A History of Rome - Mommsen
1. Easy and Not so easy pieces - Feynman
This is the first time I had read anything by Feynman though I was aware of his name. Explaining things in an unusual way (sometimes using complex ideas to explain something simple) I had came across the ideas before and so found this enjoyable. If this is a first book in physics, then it will probably appear incomprehensible.
Wow, a bit of ambitious reading, there. The Bertrand Russell is good, but loooong. 😀 When I read the Divine Comedy, I read an annotated edition - totally worth it to pick up on all the snark.
>4 drneutron: I actually started the Bertrand Russell back in Feb last year. Am enjoying it, but only a third of the way through, as I pick it up at night and am usually tired!
Another resolution is to keep up in 2020 with all my friends on LT. Happy New Year!
2. Sapiens - Hariri
This was very good! I had expected a slow start but strong finish, however found it gripping from the start. Deserving of all of the accolades it has received
3. Behind the Wall - Thubron
I didn’t know what this was about before I started it. The author visited China in 1985 and made his way across the country recounting what he saw, and the people he met. In it he tries to discover more about China’s recent history (pre-1985) and I was shocked by some of the things I didn’t know. An outstanding book
4. Traitor's Purse - Allingham
This is the second time I have read a Margery Allingham work, having previously discovered 'The Tiger in the Smoke'. Unfortunately, like that work I struggled to enjoy this. It isn't a difficult read but lacks the charm of an Agatha Christie
5. The Happy Captive - Pineda y Bascunan
This recounts the authors experience in the early 17th century of being taken hostage by the Indians (natives) in Chile when he was in the Spanish army. Surprisingly easy to read, however I learned less than I expected and it felt that this could have occurred in a different place at a different time and the story would not have been much altered
6. Bike Nation - Walker
This is by a cyclist showing how and explaining why cities should embrace bikes. Some of the arguments were less rigorous than others, but this is still a compelling book for why change needs to happen
7. Love Lies Bleeding - Crispin
I enjoyed this, though the solution was a little too intricate
8. The Wannsee Conference and the final solution - Roseman
I didn’t know anything about the conference before starting this, but assumed it must have been important. Though this is well written, I’m not sure how important the conference was and so this detracts from the book
9. Shakespeare - Burgess
I enjoyed this! A biography that worked rather well which is surprisingly given how scanty the details that have remained are
10. Tommy Volume 1 - Holmes
This is about the First World War. It’s introduction stated that the often reported lions led by donkeys metaphor about the British during this conflict was unjust, and implied poor research by other historians when they repeated this claim. This intrigued me, though there has been little in this first volume that is new to me. However it is well written, and I look forward to seeing what is in the second volume
11. Over sea, Under stone - Cooper
The first in a series of 5 works, which is a fantasy based on Arthurian legend. A book probably aimed at older children but not one I had previously heard of. Reads surprisingly well as an adult coming to it for the first time
12. Voyages to the Moon and Sun - de Bergerac
I thought that this would be an early SF adventure. Whilst there is some adventure and a little plot, it is mainly philosophical musings with some better written and expressed than others, but on the whole a muddle and heavily detracting from the work. I didn’t enjoy reading it, and would not recommend it. Avoid
13. Partners in crime - Christie
I went through my Agatha Christie books and realised that there were 16 that I didn’t own. I assume that I had borrowed these at some time, but plan on slowly filling in my collection and started with this short story collection involving Tommy and Tuppence Beresford.
This is one of my favourite Christie books and I enjoyed re-reading it though it is a very light work
14. Paris after the liberation - Beevor and Cooper
This focusses on Paris from 1944-1949. It is an excellent book covering books, art, theatre, politics and even the nightlife. Well written, comprehensively researched and highly recommended
15. In parathenesis - Jones
I now understand why this is a hard book to categorise! A soldiers view of world war 1, part poetry, part mythology it is unusual. I’m not a lover of poetry so this didn’t really work for me, except for part 7 which was excellent
16. The Little Prince - Saint-Exupery
First time I have read this, I liked it, but not enough to want to re-read it
17. Egypt Revealed - James
This describes the British artists who were working in Egypt
in the 19th and early 20th century who were involved with recording what the ancient temples and monuments looked like. Very easy to read, and enjoyable
18. History of Western Philosophy - Russell
A very enjoyable read! Split into lots of smaller chapters, with at most 15 pages on any philosophers works. The chapter start with an explanation of who they were, then what is the main reason they are known, before Russell casts judgement and explains what faults he sees.
Not a book that you can plough through in one sitting. You have to be prepared to only read a little at a time to give the ideas time to percolate, but I am pleased that I finally read this!
19. Roumeli - Leigh Fermor
A travel book, but one that isn’t as light as you might expect and harks back to a previous era (and the book was first published in 1964). Not sure on my thoughts, not as enjoyable as other books, but expect it will last longer in my mind
20. King Leopold’s Ghost - Hochschild
A fascinating read about the Congo and how King Leopold of Belgium took control, and what happened whilst he was in charge.
>27 DMulvee: That is on my list to read in the next few months.
Have a great weekend.
>28 PaulCranswick: it really is a fascinating book, I think you will enjoy it.
I have just bought a copy of Mommsen’s ‘History of Rome’. I can see that you are trying to read works by all of the Nobel laureates and Mommsen won this in 1902. Is this the work you will try to read, or is there another work you will look towards?
21. The Sonnets of Michelangelo
If this was by an author I didn’t know I would describe it as weak and uneven, though would concede there were a few I enjoyed. Unsure if this is because of the base material or the translator. However as an insight into the author it is a little more interesting, though even with this I couldn’t really recommend it
22. A short history of English Literature - Phelps
I can’t say I learned a great deal, not memorable
>29 DMulvee: To be honest, anything I can find by him will suffice!
Checking on Book Depo The History of Rome in an abridged form is pretty much the only thing available of his oeuvre.
>33 PaulCranswick: I hadn’t done any research into other works but had assumed that they must exist. However my internet sleuthing is revealing the same information that you found, he spent his whole career on different aspects of Ancient Rome.
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