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Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
Wild Swans may well be the most depressing book I've ever read. Don't let that keep you from giving it a try, though, for by some strange mechanism, i ...more
Oct 1993
Jul 25, 2008
Down Under
I developed a taste for Bill Bryson last year when I read his Short History of Nearly Everything, an ambitious attempt to trace the history of life, t ...more
May 2008
May 26, 2008
A Short Walk In The Hindu Kush
Page 166 of the Picador edition of A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush ranks among the funniest things I've ever read. On it, Newby quotes from a phraseboo ...more
Jan 2008
Jan 07, 2008
A Short History of Nearly Everything
I know virtually nothing about science, so it was with some trepidation that I began reading this introduction to life, the universe and everything, w ...more
May 2007
Sep 15, 2007
Red China Blues: My Long March From Mao To Now
Memoirs about life in twentieth-century China tend to be profoundly depressing. I remember reading Wild Swans as a student and being so utterly depres ...more
Jan 1997
Feb 10, 2008
Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?: A Swashbuckling Tale of High Adventures, Questionable Ethics, and Professional Hedonism
Every once in a while when I return from a holiday, I fantasise about becoming a travel writer-cum-photographer. At the risk of sounding like an insuf ...more
Oct 2009
Oct 04, 2009
In Cold Blood
I don't know why I waited so long after seeing and liking Capote to read the book on which the film was partly based, but I'm glad I finally got aroun ...more
Jan 2008
Jan 14, 2008
Putin's Russia
I have to admit I don't care overly much for Anna Politkovskaya's writing style. An objective reporter she is not (or rather was not -- she was murder ...more
Feb 2008
Jan 26, 2008
Travels With Herodotus
I love travelogues. I love classical antiquity. So I really expected to enjoy Ryszard Kapuscinski's Travels with Herodotus, an attempt to mix modern l ...more
Feb 2009
Jan 04, 2010
Travels with a Tangerine: A Journey in the Footnotes of Ibn Battutah
The first thing many people ask me when they hear I'm writing a fantasy novel is whether I, with all my travelling experience, shouldn't be writing a ...more
Oct 2006
Dec 16, 2007
St. Kilda: Island on the Edge of the World
I've always had a thing for remote places. I love deserts, I love mountains and I love islands -- the more remote, the better. So when I visited Dunve ...more
Jan 2008
Jan 19, 2008
The Making Of Victorian Sexual Attitudes
The Victorian attitude towards sex ought to be a good topic for an interesting book. After all, we all know the clichés and stereotypes, and they're s ...more
Apr 2008
Feb 16, 2008
J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century
Tom Shippey is a Professor of Philology at Oxford, specialising in Old English and Old Norse. So he was well placed to explain what made J.R.R. Tolkie ...more
Jan 2006
Dec 13, 2007
Shakespeare: The World as a Stage
I love Bill Bryson. The man can take any subject and make it interesting, simply because he has this unfailing flair for adding details which make you ...more
Apr 2009
Apr 13, 2009
All The Wrong Places (Classics Of Reportage)
The title of this book is a bit facetious. Far from always being in the wrong places, James Fenton (a South East Asia correspondent for several major ...more
Feb 2009
Apr 15, 2009
Kitchen Confidential
Anthony Bourdain's memoirs of his life as a New York chef are something of a legend among foodies, and it's easy to see why. A spectacular story full ...more
Jan 2008
Jan 06, 2008
Beauty Junkies: Inside Our $15 Billion Obsession With Cosmetic Surgery
Women who get foot facelifts to be able to wear their $500 Jimmy Choo shoes. Men who lie to several doctors in order to make sure they get Botox shots ...more
Apr 2007
Mar 23, 2008
An End to Suffering: The Buddha in the World
An End to Suffering is an ambitious book -- a valiant attempt to introduce the reader to Buddhism, examine Buddhism's relevance in today's world and c ...more
Jan 2004
Jan 10, 2008
Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour
A nice companion piece to Jeremy Paxman's exhaustive The English, Kate Fox's Watching the English is an anthropologist's look at her own people, the E ...more
Jan 2006
Dec 13, 2007
The Secret Power of Beauty: First Edition
Like Alain de Botton, John Armstrong writes accessible philosophy books which are enjoyable even for those who are not of a philosophical, logical or ...more
not set
Dec 11, 2007
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