Worst Book I Have Ever Read.

25 04 2012

I have just finished Assassins Creed: Renaissance by Oliver Bowden, it is without doubt the worst book that I have ever read.  I am not going to go into why.

The only reason that I picked it up was because I wanted something easy to read and to be fair it did look quite exciting.  I guess that will teach me to read a book based on a computer game


Twitter Reading

2 01 2012

It always takes me so long to pick the books that I am going to read, so I came up with a good idea (possibly) and that is for other people to tell me what to read.  The idea came from the Dice Man where I would make 6 choices and then put it up to fate (well, my followers on Twitter to decide what I read for the coming year).

Here is what happens, I take a photo of the 6 books that I can’t decide between, this way I can at least make sure that I read series in the correct order) and then put it on Twitter.  The first reply that I get telling me what to read, is what I read.  Simple.

It’s working out so far.  The 1st book that was chosen was Adventures on the High Teas by Stuart Maconie, and the 2nd is a book about odd science experiments called Elephants On Acid.

I’ll keep you informed about how this turns out. 

If you want to join in @andyspex

My Reading List Explained

21 12 2011

I think its fair to say that this year I have read a shed load of books (well, maybe not a shed, but definately a shelf of my Ikea Billy Bookcase).

By the Time Christmas arrives, I will have read 33 books this year.  This is probably a normal year for me, as I read a lot, but then again 16 of those books came from 4 authors.  This definately won’t be happening next year though.

I have now read all 7 of Stephen Kings Dark Tower series since September and as much as I liked them I am not really a fan of Stephen Kings books having read a few others in the past.

3 of them Came from Bernard Cornwells Winter King series, 3 John Carter books by Edgar Rice Burroughs and 3 Flashmans by George Mcdonald Fraser.

Next year I will attempt to finish the John Carter series (only another 5 to go) and a few more of the Flashman series, but I suspect I will read a few more of them.

Next year is the George RR Martin Year.  The Song of Ice and Fire (or Game of Thrones if you like).  These are all primed on my new bookcase and ready to go but I need a break from epic series after finishing The Dark Tower.  I definately have a few more on my list.  for starters Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovich which comes highly recommended to me, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley has been begging me to pick it up for a while now, as well as Keep the Aspidistra flying (my George Orwell phase continues as I am currently reading Burmese Days).



Down and Out in Paris and London

25 10 2011

I have just finished reading Down and Out in Paris and London, the true story of George Orwell’s time living in poverty in the capital cities of France and England.  The book provides vivid tales of working when he could in the worst hotel jobs in Paris, and surviving as a tramp in the doss houses of London.

The true story is full of great characters and humourous moments despite the poverty, but you never really get the feeling that Orwell is truely in poverty, rather that he is living on the edges of it.

I am a massive fan of Orwells 1984 and Animal Farm, and this is a good way of seeing what formed the 25 year olds ideas in later life.  I would give it a read if I were you.

Sorry its short, but my head is full of cold and if I wrote anymore it would be rubbish.

Giving up on Books

24 05 2011

I have been doing a lot of reading lately, actually, who am I kidding, I always read a lot.  My point being I read a lot, and I hate giving up on books, I would rather read them one at a time from start to finish (not in one sitting). 

I have a problem with leaving books unfinished, I just don’t like doing it.  I would rather an unsatisfactory ending than just stopping half way through, but there are just some that I have to.

I can think of 3 in particular Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis De Berniere, Moby Dick by Herman Melville and On the Road by Jack Kerouac.  Both books that appear in must read lists, but both that I have had to give up on because they have just bored me senseless.  I spent a month on “On the Road”, getting half way through where I realised that I had wasted my time, I wasn’t enjoying the book and never would.  It is full of people making strange noises, mind you, that is just one of my bug-bears with the book.

I like lots of different types of book, and have read plenty of classics in my time, so don’t think I have an aversion to them, but I do feel guilt about not finishing these books, but should I?  I guess that is the question.  Shall I stay happy with my decision to give up on these books, or shall I leave the Book marks in and go back to them?

My Life in Books

7 03 2011

As it is World Book Day, and the BBC’s year of books I have attempted to do what they are doing on BBC2’s My Life in Books (great programme, shame that it has Anne Robinson on it).  I have read classics, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Non-fiction, Biography but these are probably my favourites.  Here we go with 5 books that have shaped my reading.

Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett

I must have read this book first when I was about 12, when I was attracted by the book on the cover, the colourful cheery picture of a Skeleton in a Straw hat.  I know that I read a lot, but this is the first book that I can remember that has stuck with me.  The tale centres around the Anthropomorphic Personification of Death, going on holiday.  Death is character WHO TALKS LIKE THIS and wants to discover about being human.  It is a fantastic book about being happy with what you are.  I must have read this about 5 times, and is probably still my favourite Terry Pratchett book.

High Fidelity By Nick Hornby 

The story of Rob, the owner of a failing 2nd hand record store, the breakdown of his relationship to Laura and his searching for a reason why.  Reading this I had a strange sensation that the book was running in Parallel with my life.  I had recently broken up with somebody, whose name was L**a, I had a large record collection the same as Rob and also have a penchant for Top 5 lists.  It is a great story of a nice guy who falls on hard times and wins back his love. 

Europe on A Shoestring by Lonely Planet

Probably the most used book that I own, I bought it years ago when planning a trip around Europe in a campervan.  It is tatty and dog eared, but as usual from a Lonely Planet guide it has loads of great advice.  Since I have owned it, the book has been my first reference book for all of my trips abroad.  I love the Lonely Planet Series, and have loads of them that are all well thumbed through, and mostly used in their specific countries.  The only problem is the maps in them, which are not generally detailed enough to be of any use, but I love the book anyway.

It’s Not About The Bike by Lance Armstrong

The Cyclist Lance Armstrong is a man that polarises opinion in sporting circles, you either love him or you loathe him.  I am well established in the former actergory.  This is a man who was a young World Champion, Testicular Cancer survivor and 7 time Tour De France winner…in that order.  This book charts his early life in Texas, through his early years in the professional Peloton, cancer diagnosis and subsequent all clear and then the triumph of the first Tour De France win.  For those of you not into cycling, the Tour De France is the ultimate test of Sporting Endurance.  21 days of racing over an average of 2500km, over mountains that some cars struggle to drive over.  I have the utmost respect for this man and his story, and find the book quite inspirtational (although not inspirational enough to get out on my bike more).   

1984 by George Orwell

I love this book, it is a very dark story of a Dystopian future, controlled by Big Brother, where people are told what to think.  Winston Smith, the main character dreams of another way and finds love and release among the proles.  This was one of the books that I had to read during my GCSE year, and unlike most of the others, it is one that I will go back to and read again. 

There you go, 5 books that I love and will read over and over again.  What they say about me I wouldn’t like to say, but I like the the feelings of hope and optimism that are in them.

The Cost of Reading

16 01 2009

As I normally do on my lunch breaks, I was having a mooch around Waterstones in Portsmouth (now the only bookshop in the town centre, WH Smith is still there, but only your Nan shops there now) hoping that something would catch my eye, that was also cheap.

This was when I realised that the price of books was completely unreasonable these days.  When I first started reading the Discworld series when I was about 10, I could buy the paperbacks for £3.99, which seems fair to me.  Now the same book is £6.99.  The rate of inflation here seems much more than Petrol to me, but as I was 10 at the time, what do I know.

Anyway, I picked up a paperack that was about 250 pages long and found out that it was £12.99.   I like reading a lot, but I am going to have to start going to charity shops, because that is ridiculous.  For nearly 13 quid, that had better be the best book in the world.

Bad Nostalgia

8 12 2008

It’s happening again, I can’t sleep. Bad Nostalgia hits me everytime I try and sleep. My head gets caught up in vivid daydreams of bad jobs, ex girlfriends and mistakes I have made in the past. Sometimes a mixture of all of them.

This leaves me not only physically tired but emotionally ratty too. If I have been a pain in the arse for the last
few weeks then I apologise.

It really doesn’t help when I have dissappointment in my life everytime I try and do something good. Take last week, when I tried to book a holiday over new year. Went in one day and was told it was fine, as I had to book time off work the next day I went in again to confirm it only to be told that bookings had closed. So I spent the afternoon in a maudlin state on my own which probably didn’t help matters. Anyway, drifting off topic.

The only good thing about not being able to sleep is that I have got a lot of reading done. I have finally finished Tropic of Capricorn, I read the Gum Thief by Douglas Coupland (Far from his best), America Unchained by Dave Gorman and am getting close to the end of Everything is Illuminated (love the film, but the book is dull as hell).

There you go.