Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Christmas Reading

The Christmas break is over. Shame. Still, it was a good chance for some reading. Here's an overview and some thoughts (well I did do English Literature):

Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You - Marcus Chown: Yes it bloody can. My mind was straining itself all the time (and space) trying to fathom the concepts here. However, despite this, it was a very interesting and enjoyable read and look at the world of the very small - atoms etc, and the very large - space / time / timetravel that took me back to my GCSE physics lessons.

The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger: A clever idea concerning time travel (coincidence with the above) as a disease that fell short of pulling everything together into a coherent novel. The main character was too inconsistent to care about. Prime example: he travels forward at one point and while there decides to win $8 million on the lottery to help him and his wife find their dream house. However, he does nothing to stop 9/11, despite knowing it will happen. Eh?

Coming Up For Air
- George Orwell: A classic Orwell, full of sparkling descriptions that evoke memories and feelings within yourself without ever making you conscious of it doing so. As a book it was concerned with trying to recapture the past, and specifically, youth, and covered familiar ground from many novels of a similar ilk - The Great Gatsby the best example. As it was set in 1938 there were also very interesting views (no doubt direct from Orwell) examining the build up to war, and most interestingly thoughts on the "after-war", parts of which would become eerily accurate.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen - Paul Torday: Very enjoyable, funny book following the main character through the inception, realisation and the end of the 'madcap' scheme, masterminded by a Yemeni sheikh to bring Salmon finishing to Yemen. Written entirely through the use of various forms of documentation - emails, letters, diaries, newspaper reports etc - and told with a deft hand, and a with a nice level of pastiche of labour spin (without being heavy-handed) it's definitely worth a read.

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