Bad Blood
Author: Jeremy Whittle
Recounts the author's transition from the ultimate cycling fan in awe of Lance Armstrong & co to a cynical hack, let down by seeing all his heroes doping their way to success. Following Tour after Tour, he initially railed against the attacks from David Walsh and Paul Kimmage, both Armstrong enemies, but eventually he too gave up the dream. The story also centres on David Millar, who was busted (whilst with David Brailsford), confessed and was banned for two years, and who Whittle obviously likes and admires. This friendship makes the doping dilemma faced by every rider of that era more human - realising that even the best people succumbed to the pressure to use EPO in the 90's and thereafter. Loaned from Overdrive
The Godfather
Author: Mario Puzo
Another excellent loan from Overdrive. Had seen the film of course and remembered so many classic scenes - from the wedding to Sonny being gunned down at the tollbooth. In the book, as always, some minor characters are much more vividly portrayed - like Jonny Fontane. There is one fascinating chapter about the initial relationship between Lucy Mancini and her Vegas doctor boyfriend - totally unexpected and not in the film. The transformation of Micheal towards his ultimate destiny as the future Don is story's exhillirating but saddening finale.
When It Grows Dark
Author: Jorn Lier Horst
Prequel style book covering early career of detective William Wisting, investigating the inter-related story of neglected vintage car discovered with bullet holes, and a ram raid on a cash machine in his town. Enjoyed it - and related to - the balancing act Wisting plays juggling his family life with newborn twins and being excited about the career he is trying to map. Norwegian author and translated to English - very readable.
The Cabaret of Plants
Author: Richard Mabey
Wide-reaching and ever interesting exploration of plant life. Challenging the modern assumption of their passive role compared to the more active animals they share the planet with. Incredible stories of plant colonies that are 10,000 of years old - the same organism. And date seeds germinating after 2000 years. History of botany through Victorian times is incredible, they were obsessed with the weird and wonderful plants returned to Blighty (and mostly then dying) from all over their colonies.
The Urban Monk
Author: Pedram Shojai
A self-help book. Combining common sense (but ignored in modern life) advice about looking after you diet, sleep and wellbeing. Interesting stuff about caffeine and sugar which has already changed my habits. Incorporates some mumbo jumbo about Qui and nature's energy that I found a little hard to appreciate. Really glad I read it though.
Adventures of Being Human
Author: Gavin Francis
Third Gavin Francis book I've read, always good. His writing has changed from being adventure based to focussing more on the real life stories from his work as a doctor in Edinburgh. Shines a light on the miracle of our bodies. The details of how a newborn baby's organs 'boot up' and cease their dependency on the umbilical is truly incredible.
39 Steps
Author: John Buchan
Interesting reading a book written over a hundred years ago on my new Kobo. Only the language cues the date written. Good spy, thriller story written in a way that now seems dated (re: class references etc) but still very enjoyable.
SAS: Rogue Heroes – the Authorized Wartime History
Author: Ben MacIntyre
Fascinating insight into societal misfits and army rejects that coalesced to form the SAS first in Africa and then ranging through Europe in WWII. Behind enemy lines with no backup, these guys exemplify the courage and strength of our elite unit.
North Waters
Author: Ian McGuire
Cracking book about Sumner, an Irish doctor and ex-soldier who takes a job on a whaler heading north to hunt whales, seals and anything else that moves. Totally engrossing as all the plots unfold and characters unhinge.