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Miner Willy

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  1. 60. Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking. I found this very interesting, but I'm definitely not smart enough to understand proper physics. I'd imagine this is pretty accessible stuff, yet still makes my brain hurt. 61. The Volunteer by Jack Fairweather. This is a pretty incredible and ultimately tragic story of a Pole who deliberately got captured to be sent to Auschwitz in order to lead the resistance from within. In the end his effort essentially became a quest to get the outside world to hear, and act upon, the horrors of what was going on within. Previously:
  2. 59. Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut. I've only previously read Slaughterhouse-Five by Vonnegut, which was years ago and I can't remember anything about it. I listed to this on Audible, read by John Malkovic, and it regularly had me in stitches. There's something hilarious about the understated way Malkovic completely drily describes the drawings of anuses and so on that I gather appear in the print version. Think I need to read more Vonnegut. Previously:
  3. 57. Mockingbird by Walter Tevis. After really enjoying The Man Who Fell to Earth I picked up this, as it's supposed to be Tevis's best work. It's great, and very different, but I think I personally preferred The Man Who Fell to Earth. 58. County Lines by Jason Farrell. Written by an investigative journalist, this explores County Lines and the UK drug trade across different parts of society, and how it contributes to escalating violence and knife crime. I was aware of some, but not all, of this. The personal stories of how really young kids are pulled into this world are pretty horrible and scary. Previously:
  4. A load of good stuff there, thanks. Too many books, not enough time!
  5. Just finished tonight. I agree they finished it really well. Every season I felt sure they couldn't properly control the narrative any further, and every time they did it brilliantly. Incredibly impressive storytelling - despite the complexity they clearly had a strong vision from the outset. Sad to reach the end, but really glad it ended powerfully and so coherently.
  6. 56. The Girl With Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee. I've read several books about life in/escape from North Korea. This treads a somewhat similar path to In Order to Live (though Lee appears to have endured a less horrific journey, all things considered). I think overall Nothing to Envy and A River in Darkness are more impressive examples of this genre though. Previously:
  7. Yeah, I did the border trilogy earlier this year - loved them.
  8. 55. This is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality by Peter Pomerantsev. A fascinating book covering troll farms, fake news and the history of misinformation. Previously:
  9. 54. The Man Who Fell to Earth by Walter Tevis. I really enjoyed this. It's got a 60s sci-fi feel, but without seeming dated. Some similarities with Heinlein's The Door into Summer, though overall I probably preferred that one.
  10. 53. The Men Who Stare at Goats by Jon Ronson. Think I'm pretty much up to date with Ronson now, and I think this was my favourite. I've never read the book or seen the film so didn't know that it was about - appreciate I'm very late to the party on this one. I found the first half frequently laugh out loud hilarious - I listened to it on Audible, and Ronson reads it himself. I don't often like that, but it worked brilliantly here. I just loved the tone in his retellings of the more bizarre encounters. The second half was more serious and at times quite moving in its bleakness, but still brilliant, and with frequent moments of welcome levity. Previously:
  11. 52. The Porpoise by Mark Haddon. I found this impressive in some respects, but also disappointing as in some ways it felt a bit messy or unfinished, and I just wasn't sure all the different narrative elements hung together quite as well as I anticipated they might. It might also be that my expectations were unusually high as I really like modern retellings of the classics, and on paper this seemed to share a few similarities with Lawrence Norfolk's In the Shape of a Boar, which remains one of my favourite novels. Previously:
  12. It's so worth the effort. One of my very favourite books.
  13. 51. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. I thought the central character was really interesting and well realised, and the tale of the prejudice against her was really compelling. But I could have happily lived without the murder part of the narrative, which for me wasn't nearly as interesting or well told.
  14. 50. Wilding by Isabella Tree. I thought this was brilliant: an uplifting, inspirational story of land restored by nature. And it also offers a little hope, which feels very much needed given the state of the world these days. Previously:
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