Thursday, 6 March 2008

World Book Day. Don't be shy!

The frontispiece of BBC Northern Ireland’s website informs me it is World Book Day. Rather than inspiring in me a burning desire to pick up a paper-back immediately, this fact instead alerts me to the possibility that there are those in the world (and even indeed in this country) who would not find it strange if they weren’t to pick up a book on a given day.

I am confident that readers of Three Thousand Versts do not number amongst such philistines. Therefore I wish to know exactly what it is that you are currently reading or what you have recently read that you would recommend. My current book is Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart.


CW said...

I've got into the habit of reading a number of books at the same time. Don't have as much time to read as I used to since I changed jobs almost a year ago and moved out of the city and into the sticks, so I drive to work now rather than spending the best part of 2 hours every day commuting in on an overcrowded underground train. A welcome change overall, but I do miss the loss of reading time!

OK, at the moment I'm finishing off Oisin McConville's The Gambler (an impulsive purchase at Belfast City airport when visiting over the weekend) - a good read if you're into GAA, but the gambling addiction-induced self-pity, and subsequent religious-conversion and constant anti-Tyrone bile don't exactly endear you to the guy.
Started reading Richard Dawkins' God Delusion over the summmer and still chipping away at it. Heavy-going in parts and he comes across as too much of a smart-arsed cynic for his own good.

Also I'm about three quarters of the way through Craig Murray's Murder in Samarkand - a fascinating exposé of the Uzbek government's human rights abuses and the blind eye turned by the US and UK for the sake of convenient military alliances in face of the war on terror. Murray himself comes across as a bit of a womanising hard-drinking playboy character though, so you do tend to doubt the reliability of the book, but I suppose that's what sells.

If I may ask an off-topic question, Chekov, do you have any experience of travelling in Albania/Montengro/Macedonia? I'm hoping to visit the region during the summer, so would welcome any tips you might have.

Kloot said...

Started reading Richard Dawkins' God Delusion over the summmer and still chipping away at it. Heavy-going in parts and he comes across as too much of a smart-arsed cynic for his own good.


Im working my way through the "Patrick O'Brian" series of books. I get through about 2/3 of em a year.

Currently reading Paisley by Ed Maloney. A fascinating read.

A book that Ive read over the last year that I thought was excellent for the insight it provided was "British Voices: From the Irish War of Independence 1918-1921"

Generally dont read much fiction. Mostly biographies or books on historic topics. Currently looking for something decent on Cromwell.. Hard to find much out there.

Finished Charles Townsends "Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion" late last year. Again another fascinating read.

I do most of my reading on the move. I take the bus home instead of the DART so that I can get an extra bit of reading in.

beano said...

Oi - easy on the Philistine shit.

I should get into that Dawkins one at some stage, but I have to say I find it very difficult to make my way through a book. In fact since leaving high school I've only ever read a handful of books (excepting those related to my degree).

Maybe I've been put off by being so disappointed with Catch 22, although prior to that I did enjoy reading 1984 whilst on a previous holiday a few years ago and I found it difficult to put down Faith and Duty.

I have just ordered a copy of Nietzsche's Thus Spake Zarathustra off eBay but I get the feeling I'll struggle a lot with that.

Kloot said...

Maybe I've been put off by being so disappointed with Catch 22

Now thats a frustrating read, but in the end I came to like it. At the start you just dont know what to make of it.

One of my favourites of Orwell is "Coming up for air". It was published before the war, but in it he predicts the war (not in some nostradmus way or anything like that). Its largely a nostalgic look back at a working mans childhood, the times when he was most happy.

Hernandez said...

Aye, your man Craig Murray does sound like a bit of a loose cannon in Murder in Samarkand, and his Uzbekistani girlfriend is stunning..yet he looks like a complete nerd!

I've just started Another Bloody Love Letter by Anthony Loyd. Was tempted to start Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene. Is it any good anyone? Also interested in A Summer in Glenravel: Confessions of a Spy

O'Neill said...

Just finished "City of Oranges, Arabs and Jews in Jaffa" by Adam Le Bor. It's a very good read because it looks beyond the politics of the creation of Israel and concentrates instead on how six certain familys'lives in Jaffa changed over the 20th Century. The same author's "Milosevic" is also worth having a look at.

Fiction-wise I've just finished a "Oh play that thing" by Roddy Doyle, his follow-up to a "star called Henry" and really enjoyed both. The missus also rates his "Paula Spencer", I lasted about ten pages I'm afraid!

Chekov said...

Some interesting comments. CW - the only former Yugoslav republic I've been to is Slovenia to be honest, so I can't help. The trip I'm planning this summer is to Russia itself. Craig Murray's book is one I intend to read. I've been tempted by the God Delusion, but I've got a suspicion it might be a bit scientific for me.

Kloot - the only biography of Cromwell I've read is by Antonia Fraser. It hasn't really lived long in the memory. I hope to get to Ed Moloney's book at some point. The Secret History of the IRA was interesting, although as I've said below I tend to favour Richard English's book on the same subject.

It's a while since I've attempted any Nietzsche to be honest Beano. Catch 22 is a book I've always meant to get to, but never quite made it.

Hernandez there is a wide range of travel literatire concerning Glenravel so you're entering a tricky wicket there. My War Gone By I miss It So has a review somewhere on this site and I liked it a lot. I get the impression Another Bloody Love Letter is maybe more of the same. He's obviously decided that bloody dispatches from warzones are his thing.

O'Neill I've read Le Bor's Milosevic and I found it enlightening. Tim Judah is also excellent on Serbia.

Chekov said...

Has anyone read Lapsed Protestant by Glenn Patterson? I'd be interested to know whether it's worth getting. I did enjoy The International, but haven't read anything else by Patterson.

Dinamo said...

I read an interview with Gemma Atkinson in December edition of Maxim which was complemented by excellent photography.