Thought I’d begin sharing with you a somewhat random selection of (mostly) books that I’d like to see under the tree for Xmas. Maybe I’ll even get a few if my better half gets around to reading my blog again..?! Some are new, some I just haven’t got around to buying/reading yet. I guess my value investing bias is showing here, I don’t think there’s a single hardback on the list – it ain’t published unless it’s in paperback!
‘The Coming Insurrection’ – The Invisible Committee: This anarchist text identifies the imminent collapse of capitalist culture, and presents a call to arms for radical anti-capitalist protest. A real primer for the OWS folk – well, once they make it an iPhone app, I guess…
‘Washington: a Life’ – Ron Chernow: Another revolutionary book, I guess, perhaps the best single volume biography of Washington. I already have well thumbed copies of ‘Titan’ and ‘The House of Morgan’, so happy to read/recommend anything by Chernow.
‘Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia’ – Michael Korda: Always been fascinated with T.E. Lawrence – one of the original Englishmen who ‘went native’ – but I still know far too little of his life story, so this is the perfect opportunity to catch up.
‘Born to Run’ – Christopher McDougall: This book apparently began with the question ‘Why does my foot hurt?’ This led to an epic adventure exploring the life and habits of the Tarahumara Indians, arguably the best long distance runners in the world. Yes, I am a (sometimes long) distance runner, but this book’s not going to persuade me to wear something like this! Btw I’m fascinated to learn that when things look the worst, we run the most!
‘The Generalissimo’ – Jay Taylor: For a little light punishment, I read biographies of both Chairman Mao and Pol Pot earlier this year. God, I need an antidote. I’m not sure whether a biography of Chiang Kai-shek fits the bill?
‘The Secret History of MI-6’ – Keith Jeffery: I’ve read enough CIA/NSA (‘Body of Secrets’ is excellent) books by now, time for one about MI6. And why read the Authorized History when this Secret History is available?!
‘The Secret Life of Bletchley Park’ – Sinclair McKay: And in a similar vein, another book about spying, but this one focuses on the more human side of life at Bletchley Park. It’s packed with fascinating anecdotes and memories. I’m sure Alan Turing has a starring role, I still fondly remember the Andrew Hodges biography ‘Alan Turing: The Enigma of Intelligence’.
‘The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2011’ – Dave Eggers: I try to buy at least one of the Best American series each year. These are marvelous compendiums to dip into, and I can recommend any of them, old or new.
and of course I have to include:
‘WordPress for Dummies (6th Edition)’ – Lisa Sabin-Wilson: Already own this text, and yes it’s pretty idiot-proof if you’d like to set up your own blog. Unfortunately, half the book will be wasted, as you’ll have to choose pretty quickly between wordpress.com and wordpress.org. Also not so sure this will prove the best book as you become more sophisticated, but it’s certainly an easy place to start.