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Reads & Challenges Archive > PaulFozz's 2015 Reads

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message 2: by Charbel (new)

Charbel (queez) | 2673 comments How did you find the Selfish Gene?


message 3: by Paulfozz (new)

Paulfozz | 1001 comments Charbel wrote: "How did you find the Selfish Gene?"

It was interesting but Dawkins is too acerbic for my taste and his explanations were laborious and overly intricate.


message 4: by Charbel (new)

Charbel (queez) | 2673 comments Yes he takes a little getting used to.


message 5: by Bionic Jean (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) I never have liked that title ... ;)


message 7: by Bionic Jean (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) Did you enjoy them? I really enjoyed The Aye-Aye and I - but then I always do with Gerald Durrell :)


message 8: by Paulfozz (new)

Paulfozz | 1001 comments I did; I laughed out loud quite a bit in The Aye-aye and I, and felt quite sad at times too as I already knew to some extent the catastrophic destruction of the environment in Madagascar. The Wild Rover was also very interesting; it was good to read more about the history of rights-of-way and about the people who walk them.


message 9: by Bionic Jean (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) Yes - many's the time I've climbed over stiles armed with an OS map, but hoping to not encounter an irate farmer in case I've mistaken the public right of way.


message 10: by Paulfozz (new)

Paulfozz | 1001 comments I know that feeling!


message 13: by Pink (new)

Pink Paulfozz wrote: "9. A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor"

I've seen this mentioned elsewhere recently (maybe it could have been you?!) It sounds like it could be really fascinating, or maybe a bit dull, how was it?


message 14: by Paulfozz (last edited Feb 26, 2015 06:12AM) (new)

Paulfozz | 1001 comments It was really good, though having 100 objects spread over 500+ pages meant they did blend together a bit even though I read it over a reasonably long period. It gave me lots of food for thought though and added lots of things that I need to look for when I next visit the British Museum.

There's a BBC podcast of the book (it was originally a radio series) so you could look for those and see what those are like first?


message 15: by Pink (new)

Pink Oh I might do that, thanks Paul :)


message 16: by Paulfozz (new)

Paulfozz | 1001 comments No problem; there's a page on the beeb website where you can download them, as well as the usual podcast places:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/...

Too many to list but I found these ones particularly interesting:

091 Ship's chronometer from HMS Beagle
080 Pieces of Eight
076 The mechanical galleon
070 Hoa Hakananai'a Easter Island Statue
047 Sutton Hoo helmet
034 Chinese Han lacquer cup
033 Rosetta Stone
031 Coin with head of Alexander
023 Chinese Zhou ritual vessel
021 Lachish Reliefs
020 Statue of Ramesses II


message 17: by Pink (new)

Pink I'll try a couple of your suggestions, the ship's chronometer sounds interesting, I liked reading about the history of longitude and John Harrison, though I don't know whether this is the chronometer referred to. I didn't realise that the radio series was on for so long, or covered the whole 100 objects, I thought it would be just a small selection.


message 18: by Paulfozz (new)

Paulfozz | 1001 comments The Beagle chronometers (of which there were actually 22!) were later, cheaper instruments by a different clockmaker. Apparently at the end of the five year voyage 11 of the chronometers were still working and the largest discrepancy between them and Greenwich time was just 33 seconds.


message 19: by Paulfozz (new)

Paulfozz | 1001 comments 10. Redcoats and Rebels: The War for America 1770-1781 by Christopher Hibbert

The British generals and government were incompetent and fought amongst themselves and the problems in pursuing a war so far from home (messages sometimes took 5-6 months to be exchanged) were pretty much insurmountable once France and Spain declared war but the British came surprisingly close to defeating the Americans. Had France not joined with the Americans then it's difficult to tell who would have won.

An interesting book; Hibbert writes very well as his book mostly kept me gripped and reading even though I usually find purely military histories rather boring.


message 20: by Julia (new)

Julia Ce (juliace) | 715 comments Paulfozz wrote: "10. Redcoats and Rebels: The War for America 1770-1781 by Christopher Hibbert

The British generals and government were incompetent and fought amongst themselves and ..."


Thanks for the review Paul, I've added this to my shelf.


message 21: by Paulfozz (last edited Mar 01, 2015 08:11AM) (new)

Paulfozz | 1001 comments You're welcome. There were elements where I had to look back to try to separate the different protagonists during his descriptions of battles (which were thankfully kept brief and to the point) but there were parts that had me truly anxious for the outcome; it was a very good book to read for an overview of the conflict.

I decided against writing a review on the book page as so many others had written with far, far more authority on the subject than I could offer.


message 22: by Paulfozz (last edited Mar 05, 2015 10:36AM) (new)

Paulfozz | 1001 comments 11. King Solomon's Ring by Konrad Lorenz

Very interesting book indeed, though very much a work of the 1950s in attitude towards keeping wild animals.


message 24: by Paulfozz (new)

Paulfozz | 1001 comments 13. Gallows Thief by Bernard Cornwell

My first fiction read of the year. A little different to the other books I've read by Bernard Cornwell (a murder mystery) but, as ever with his work, a well-written novel that kept me gripped.


message 25: by Mary Glass (new)

Mary Glass | 54 comments I absolutely love the entire Sharp series. Cornwell is top drawer fiction.


message 26: by Bionic Jean (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) I really enjoyed that one too, Paul :) Steeped in the atmosphere of the time, I thought.


message 27: by Paulfozz (new)

Paulfozz | 1001 comments He always captures so well the atmosphere of the periods he writes about, I think.

I've read quite a number of his books Mary but I've avoided the Sharpe books, mainly because there are so many and I'm not sure I want to start on that road. I prefer the anglo-saxon/viking era books really though.


message 28: by Paulfozz (last edited Mar 14, 2015 02:44PM) (new)

Paulfozz | 1001 comments 14. Pyramids by Terry Pratchett

Started re-reading this just after I found out Terry had passed away; very sad. Fantastic book, though I think Small Gods pips it as my favourite of his books.


message 29: by LauraT (new)

LauraT (laurata) | 13217 comments Mod
Don't know this one. I'll give a look for it!


message 30: by Paulfozz (new)

Paulfozz | 1001 comments It's a wonderful satire on ancient Egypt Laura.


message 32: by Paulfozz (last edited Mar 26, 2015 06:46AM) (new)

Paulfozz | 1001 comments 16. The Snow Geese by William Fiennes

Rather disappointing really; it promised a lot but it seemed mainly to consist of self-examination and descriptions of vague meanderings around diners and people's houses, with only almost incidental mentions of geese as William travelled across America and Canada.

One of those breed of nature books that concentrates far, far more on people and slightly narcissistic self-absorption than on wildlife. There are few writers that do this in a way that doesn't feel self-indulgent - I think Simon Barnes probably is the only writer I've read that is able to pull off this style of writing.


message 33: by Charbel (new)

Charbel (queez) | 2673 comments Paulfozz wrote: "16. The Snow Geese by William Fiennes

Rather disappointing really; it promised a lot but it seemed mainly to consist of self-examination and descriptions of vague me..."


Shame! Anthropogenic details can really ruin a wildlife observation.


message 35: by Greg (new)

Greg | 7513 comments Mod
Paulfozz wrote: "14. Pyramids by Terry Pratchett

Started re-reading this just after I found out Terry had passed away; very sad. Fantastic book, though I think Small Gods pips it as my ..."


Good to know Paul! I'll try Small Gods soon. I also have a copy of The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents that a friend gave me; so I'll be reading that too.


message 36: by Paulfozz (new)

Paulfozz | 1001 comments The Amazing Maurice is one of my other favourite Pratchett books - hope you enjoy them!


message 39: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments Paulfozz wrote: "19. Revolt in the Desert by T.E. Lawrence"

Lawrence of Arabia?? I knew he had written some books - how was it?


message 40: by Paulfozz (new)

Paulfozz | 1001 comments Leslie wrote: "Paulfozz wrote: "19. Revolt in the Desert by T.E. Lawrence"

Lawrence of Arabia?? I knew he had written some books - how was it?"


He wrote quite a few I think. It was more accessible than Seven Pillars Of Wisdom (which I started but gave up on as it was rather too florid and confusing for my poor brain, though not as confusing as Mary Renault's biography of Alexander the Great!), and it's a detailed account of the Arab Revolt but I was confused by the numerous arab names and found it difficult to relate some of the descriptions of movements to the maps included so the events blurred together to some degree. I'm glad to have read it but I only really engaged with the writing in small sections.


message 43: by Paulfozz (new)

Paulfozz | 1001 comments I finally finished it!

22. The Malay Archipelago by Alfred Russel Wallace

and, quite a rarity, felt strongly enough to write a review:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 44: by dely (new)

dely | 5214 comments Paulfozz wrote: "I finally finished it!

22. The Malay Archipelago by Alfred Russel Wallace

and, quite a rarity, felt strongly enough to write a review:

https://www.goodreads.com/re..."


This seems an interesting book and I've looked for an Italian translation but there isn't one. I wanted to read something about Malaysia seen that my son will go there for one year so I hope to find something else about this country available in Italian (otherwise I read some fiction set there).


message 45: by Paulfozz (new)

Paulfozz | 1001 comments There are probably better, more recent books on the area dely; this is around 150 years old now and very colonial!


message 46: by dely (new)

dely | 5214 comments Paulfozz wrote: "There are probably better, more recent books on the area dely; this is around 150 years old now and very colonial!"

Thanks for the advice. I would like to read everything I can find about it so also if dated I think it's fascinating.


message 47: by Paulfozz (new)

Paulfozz | 1001 comments 23. At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson

He seemed to use the home as a springboard to discuss wider historical themes rather than focus on the home itself and its contents but it was a very interesting read.


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