Reading Habits – December 2009
February 13, 2010 5 Comments
It’s time for an extremely belated edition of Reading Habits, in fact it’s so belated that it’s in entirely the wrong month. This kind of reflects my current apathy toward reading, which I hope it very temporary. Anyway, I just hope I can remember something about the bloody books from back in December. As always, my ‘to be read’ pile of books are kept in chronological order, and I alternately read the book I’ve had longest (marked B.H.L.), followed by a free choice (F.C.). For a full description of my insane book selection rules, please click here.
I was off work for the first two weeks of the month, so I expected to get really stuck into my reading. Sadly, this didn’t materialise. Part of the reason for this was me being stuck for so long on The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins (B.H.L.). I’ve read some other of Dawkins’ books, so I was looking forward to it, but, despite being interested in the subject matter (evolution), I found it really hard going. I almost gave up on it, and I skipped through most of the last chapter. This makes me feel incredibly ignorant.
My next choice was That’s Me in the Corner (F.C.) by Andrew Collins. I’m a listener to the Collings and Herrin podcast, so this is the third of his autobiographical books that I’ve read. I even bought it from a proper bookshop, because I thought it was only fair with all the free entertainment that I get from the podcast. The book documents Collins’ life in journalism and the media, but avoids becoming a bragathon by focusing on his work-life. It’s an entertaining read.
I don’t even know why I bought Chronicles Vol. 1 (B.H.L) by Bob Dylan, but I’m glad that I did. I’m not into his music and didn’t know what to expect. I really didn’t expect it to be such a great read, despite all the glowing recommendations on the cover. It’s certainly not your average ‘celebrity’ autobiography and it reads more like a novel than a memoir. He eschews the traditional ‘and then I did this’ format and concentrates on bits of his life that he found interesting, rather than on this historic moments. As a result, it’s far more revealing than it could have been. A recommended and surprising read.
After a visit to a closing down Borders, I bought the second volume of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All Star Superman, and so had to read both volumes immediately. Yes, I know that it’s breaking my own book-choosing rules, but it’s the exceptions that made life worth living. Anyway, long-running comic book characters (and Superman is certainly the longest) tend to get bogged down in years of convoluted continuity and impenetrable back story. With All Star Superman, Morrison is allowed to ditch all the baggage and simply tell the story that he wants to tell. And boy, does he ever tell a story. Anyone even vaguely familiar with Morrison’s writing will know that he has a hell of an imagination and he unleashes it here. He’s ably assisted by Quitely’s magnificent artwork – I’ll say no more, my words wouldn’t be able to do it justice. This is only Superman story that you’d ever actually need to read.
And so we come to my final book of the month with Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science. I bought this after seeing Dr Ben perform at the Darwin Birthday Spectacular, in December, and so it was another exception to my insane rules. The book takes a look at the medical industry and is equally scathing of the mistakes of alternative medicine, pharmaceutical companies and the media. It’s a funny, entertaining read and you’ll come away much better informed than before you read it.
All Star Superman Vol. 1 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely – I already owned it but it wasn’t on my TBR pile.
All Star Superman Vol. 2 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely – See above.
Bad Science by Ben Goldacre – Also see above.
Trick or Treatment by Simon Singh & Edzard Ernst – Bought for the same reason as Bad Science.
Liverpool FC – The Official Guide 2009 by Various – Christmas present.
The Life of Brian by Tim Crane – Christmas present.
Books Read 6 – Books Acquired 6, result – another draw. Ho-hum.