I asked a similar question last year as to what PPruners thought that their favorite (sorry...favourite...) aviation books were.
Now I pose this question in a different light as to what PPruners in general are reading? Any reasonable topic is game.
The reason for this question? Well, througout my life I seem to have found a reading was pretty much a 1/3 proposition. 1/3 were books that one needed/had to read. 1/3 were the sheer pleasure of finding them whilst browsing, and the other 1/3 (perhaps actually more) were found through good reviews and recommendations. Some piqued the interest, others did not and often it was how it was recommended that played a part. Someone pushing you with "you have to read this" was often not my cup of tea.
Ok, so why all that? Well, Amazon and others do a pretty decent job of "if you have read or are ordering this book, then you should consider this one..."
Thats a great idea sometimes, but I think everyone knows the pleasure of getting a tip that sets you off on a completely different branch of reading. Such software algorithms are great if you wish to stay "on the farm" but if you wish to hike over the next hill it, imho, can actually be a diservice.
Thus, what is everyone reading?
I will start off with my most recent One on One by Craig Brown. Cool daisy-chain on meetings in the 20th century. 101 meetings of 1001 words that starts off with Der Fuehrer getting knocked off his pins by an automible driven by an Old Etonian...
Currently on a compilation of stories by ex-servicemen of the South African Forces called "We were there" that is quite informative and even presents commentary from the other side in the form of a Russian adviser's memoirs.
I was really prejudiced actually, also it's not a very recent thing, but I kind of had to because of a task - and I haven't laughed so heartily for a long time (also got more relaxed about some sanguine traits of my own - not a sign of slowly developing madness, she suggests, like when you forget where you parked your car or if you had your own or that of your daughter's etc. And it's easier to deal with some other characters ). The thing I liked most is that she says quite harsh things that inevitably belong to human nature, but it's still warm and caring somehow.
Oliver Twist. I've never got round to reading any Dickens, so now seems as good a time as any. Very enjoyable as you'd expect, the style puts me in mind of a certain comrade ppruner, but I'm no hurry to flatter an ego, so let's leave it there.
Just finished 'McCarthy's Bar', an Anglo-Irish writer's travelogue around SW Ireland, stopping at every bar with 'McCarthy' in the name and plenty more that haven't, whilst trying to connect with his Irishness. Very funny, and I may get the follow-up, 'Road to McCarthy'.
Also reading 'The Man Who Ate His Boots', by Anthony Brandt, about Sir John Franklin and the North West Passage.
For light entertainment currently reading Gerald Seymour's "The Dealer and the Dead".
Also preparing to take a group to the Somme Battlefields in the spring so I am ploughing through Martin Middlebrook's "First Day of the Somme" and Richard Holme's "Tommy" in an effort to refresh my mind.
Just finished "Narrow Dog to Carcassonne" by Terry Darlington.
Nice gentle read recounting a trip from Stone, Staffordshire to Carcassonne, France in a narrow boat which includes crossing the English Channel. Delightful use of language and a dry sense of humour. Recommended.
Just started re-reading Pat Barker's war trilogy which starts with Regeneration. I am endlessly interested in reading about the First World War, although I must admit Sebastian Faulkes' much vaunted Birdsong didn't impress me, so I didnt bother to watch the TV version.
I saw Richard Holmes giving a talk on Tommy when it first came out, C130. Very interesting.
Like you I never tire of reading about the First World War and there is no shortage of excellent material out there whether its about the Somme, War Horses or the work of the CWGC. It seems every time I read a book it refers to another and I end up buying it.
Not necessarily one to read from cover to cover but I have a copy of thr 'Wipers Times' which is great to flip through periodically. I always seem to find something new each time I do.
Just read 'Pillars of the Earth' by Ken Follet - a historical novel set in the 11th century and based around the building of a cathedral. Somehow he manages to incorporate the killing of Thomas Beckett at Canterbury. A tome but I enjoyed every page. Will definitely read another by him.
Now halfway through 'Voices of the Old Sea' by Nornan Lewis - a true account of life in a remote fishing fillage in Catalonia, Spain, in the 1950's. Well-written and informative and, for us, having lived in Spain for five years with an attempt to get under the skin of the Spanish people, a revelation.
Last edited by Sunnyjohn; 11th Feb 2012 at 13:19.