Category Archives: Non Fiction

Book 10 – The Old Century by Siegfried Sassoon

16_02_2018 07_45 Office Lens

A gentle autobiography of a happy childhood. All I really know about Sassoon is his character as portrayed in Regeneration, plus his Wikipedia page. This book was most interesting for the reflective way it describes the growth of a poet.


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Filed under 2018, Non Fiction

Book 9 – How Bad Are Bananas by Mike Berners-Lee

06_02_2018 06_39 Office Lens

A useful reference book, analysing the carbon footprint of all manner of activities from sending a text to a war.

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Book 8 – 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School by Matthew Frederick

31_01_2018 07_07 Office Lens

Another offering from the Really Quite Interesting shelves of my young niece, who is indeed now an architecture student. I’ve finally learned how to draw a line.

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Book 5 – The Uses and Abuses of History by Margaret Macmillan

18_01_2018 14_13 Office Lens

I was disappointed by this book, but am not really sure why. The author is an academic historian, who wrote it on the back of a lecture series she gave in 2007. The overall premise is to illustrate how historical events and situations are continually redrawn and reinterpreted to suit the purposes of changing political interests.

She gave lots of examples, most well known, some others more obscure, but I struggled to identify any clear argument beyond “History needs to be handled with care”.

I found myself wanting to read less about how this or that politician has manipulated (or ignored) the history of Iraq, or the Cultural Revolution, or the Balkans, and more actual history.

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Book 3 – The Intellectuals and The Masses by John Carey

10_01_2018 07_33 Office Lens

This one best categorised as an extended brainy rant, and reading it gives me a rationale for why I disliked¬†this book¬†so much. Essentially, modernists were completely up themselves. And they didn’t like other people very much either.


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Book 25 – Chernobyl Prayer by Svetlana Alexievich

15_12_2017 16_41 Office Lens

Hardly know where to start to describe the terrible, sad beauty of this book. Just read it.

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Filed under 2017, Non Fiction

Book 23 – The Scarlet and the Black by J.P.Gallagher

04_12_2017 08_27 Office Lens

True story of heroism and derring-do in wartime Rome, about an Irish priest who used the peculiar diplomatic status of the Vatican to create an underground railroad for escaped Allied servicemen.

(The actual Father O’Flaherty looked nothing like Gregory Peck.)


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Filed under 2017, Christianity, Non Fiction