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Books NON wine related


I used to be a BIG reader, of actual books and not kindle versions. However, since little ones came along I find it increasingly difficult to sit and read a good novel. Maybe that tie is spent on here, who knows. The majority of books I’ve read in the past couple years are predominantly wine based . That’s not a bad thing but I used to be quite the fan of a good autobiography. Mainly sports personality autobiographies. Oh and cookbooks, I’d read through them and half the time never in fact get around to making anything from them. I’m a bit better at that now and sift through them when I have an idea or thought about what I’d like to cook, so generally use as a form of reference.

As for novels, I used to read Wilbur Smith and had a brief fling with Jodie Picoult but really not had much opportunity to read anything good of late. Does anyone have any good book recommendations? Or good authors to check out?? I’d be interested to hear .
[Also, I will totally take this opportunity to advertise my brothers book which can be purchased through Amazon, its fantasy (Think Terry Pratchett type but with a female lead). Anyway, its supposed to be really good, I’ll let you know once I read it.]


The best book I have read in years is I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes. I couldn’t put it down on holiday last year. Think Bourne/Bond but with more twists and turns. My wife (who rarely likes the same books as me) loved it too. The author’s next book - The Year of the Locust - is due out in 2019.


I’m a big fantasy reader, 2 or 3 a month probably, so I’ll bear that one in mind.
Currently reading a novel called " The Universe versus Alex Woods" and enjoying it. For brevity I’ll describe it as a sort of slightly grown up version of Adrian Mole, perhaps with more serious themes underlying the humour.
One of my all time favourites, non-fantasy, is “Plainsong” by Kent Haruf. A short, simple, brilliantly observed novel of life in a small town in mid-west America. Absolutely recommended!


Did anyone mention books?!! I LOVE books. I LIVE for books.
I spent the first 30 years of my life reading fiction and poetry. But somehow, as I’m growing older, I find myself reading more non-fiction (and this includes wine books).

Two years ago I went through a History phase and read 7 big history tomes, most of which were brilliant. My two favourites were Vanished Kingdoms: The History of Half-Forgotten Europe by Norman Davis and Germany: Memories of a Nation by Neil MacGregor.
Have just finished another great history book - Viking Britain, by Thomas

If you like a minimalist, sparse, wise and extremely life-affirming sort of fiction, I recommend Tove Jansson’s books for adults. All of them are absolutely fantastic. She is mostly known for her Moomin books, but her fiction for adults is something I keep coming back to. I particularly recommend The Summer Book.

Incidentally, I have a rather big collection of Scandinavian children literature, with which I became obsessed at the age of 12… I occasionally read them out loud to both the girl and the other half. Although supposedly written for children, their wisdom and depth is most astounding. The one I probably love the most, and which my daughter’s middle name comes from- is Astrid Lindgren’s Ronja the Robber’s Daughter. The most fantastic children’s book to read aloud.

I’ll stop now, as I can be here all night and bore you to death!.. :wink:


Inbar you just live, and a lot more than the majority of us…


Explain…? :slight_smile:


I’ve read so many good books lately and I’m so pleased there are now more people I can tell as my friend’s are bored of hearing about them…
My recent top picks are:

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman
The Power - Naomi Alderman
Swing Time - Zadie Smith
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves - Karen Joy Fowler

Parsnips, Buttered - Joe Lycett
Everything I Know About Love - Dolly Alderton
First Bite: How We Learn To Eat - Bee Wilson

And finally, This Is Going To Hurt - Adam Kay. Everybody needs to read this. A hilariously emotional account of a junior doctor, absolutely :star2::star2::star2::star2::star2:


Ah! what a fabulous book! Especially if you don’t know the twist! :grimacing:


Yes! I physically sat up when I twigged it!


It’s self explanatory from your posts, there is little in your life you don’t enjoy and you love to tell about it, you never stop, it is not your nature to not enjoy, your posts say it all rarely any dissent, you are obviously happy with your lot in life and long may it continue, unlike many of us on here who are always having a moan about something justified or not.
Mind you that wont change either !


Well, if I were of a suspicious or an unkind mind I would say that this sounds like you’re damning me with faint praise… Especially the part about ‘no dissent’. I am no stranger to dissent, I can assure you - the occasion on this forum just hasn’t arisen… yet.


@Inbar I do believe it was meant with the best intentions - you are a force of positive energy around the community, and we appreciate it

Great topic by the way. I’ve got so many books to recommend I have to go away and make a list :slight_smile:


Yes, it’s a lovely book - a simple story, told well. I will be interested to try the other Scandinavian literature you mention.

One of my favourite authors is Bohumil Hrabal, a great Czech writer of stories that are funny, sad, gentle, surreal and human. Try ‘I served the king of England’ or ‘Closely watched trains’.


I really enjoyed Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear. Interesting variation on the private detective, who done it genre. And the good news if you enjoy it is that this is book one of a whole series.


Just a simple observation of your posts, no damning with faint praise etc, nothing untoward, but if you are unhappy with that I withdraw the comment…


I mainly read science fiction (I have a science and computer background) and I used to read Fantasy but have pretty much completely dropped out of that in the last decade. Over that same decade I have been getting into historical fiction from the likes of C S Forester, Patrick O’Brian, Bernard Cornwell, Ken Follett, etc. I also read some ‘world’ literature, mostly but not entirely along the magical realism style, with Roberto Bolano, Bruno Schulz, Gabriel García Márquez, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Witold Gombrowicz. I don’t read much of what might be termed mainstream fiction other than, maybe, Iain Banks’s non science fiction work which is frequently still very weird!

My non fiction reading tends to be all science oriented.

I rarely watch TV instead reading quite a lot - around one and a half books a week generally - and I’m pretty active on a Forum called the SFF Chronicles where there is much well moderated and friendly discussion on all things science fiction and fantasy.


God yes, I too am a real book lover. There’s nothing better for me though than a beautiful physical book and so over the past 5 years have started collecting books from another society, The Folio Society (however they aren’t a co-op). I love their books, they are little works of art and have re-ignited my reading craze after slow years through uni.

I have just finally finished 20,000 Leagues under the Sea after a long weekend break in Cornwall, but that was a real battle that I don’t think I’ll ever attempt again. Some parts were great, but I found there to be an excruciating amount of description of minutiae (I suppose understandable in describing diving and submarines in the 1800s) that I cannot suffer ever again.

Need to select something else from the to be read pile now. Perhaps continue with my delve into the O’Brian’s Aubrey and Maturin series, up to book 16 of 21 and absolutely loving them.


Let’s forget it, @cerberus… Clearly a misunderstanding (or over sensitivity) on my part.


I’m not nearly as far along the Aubrey and Maturin books, just about to read book 7 at the moment, but intermingled amongst everything else I read I probably only manage about 3 or 4 of his a year. I did have the pleasure of spending two weeks sailing a square rigged barque from the Canaries to Cape Verde last January whilst reading book 5, Desolation Isalnd. Nothing like a like atmospheric enhancement!

I found 20,000 Leagues under the Sea a good but difficult book. I suppose we have to remember that in those days books like his were the equivalent of a blend of our modern day Attenborough Life on Earth style
documentaries and Horizon documentaries and I understand people lapped up all those details in the same way we might lap up details about, say, exploring Mars. But, yes, like you, I too had to end up skipping much of that detail particularly the detailed description of the sea life they encountered. You get a similar level of geological detail (sadly much of it long since shown scientifically incorrect) in Journey to the Centre of the Earth.


Ah, someone else doing “the long read”!

I’m currently working my way through Anthony Powell’s “Dance to the Music of Time” series, and am curently on volume 5. I have to say its sly sense of humour does creep up on you, and I’m rather enjoying being immersed in a semi-fictional other age.