Category Archives: books

Chickenhawk by Robert Mason

Helicopters in Vietnam.  I’ve seen many recommendations for this book and eventually picked it up at the bookshop at Glastonbury festival where it was featured on a list of books recommended by Nick Mason of Pink Floyd.  It’s an easy read (if anything which covers how people become desensitised to brutality can be) but, it just didn’t grab me the way I’d hoped.  I’m intrigued to read the follow up though having enjoyed the ‘cocaine cowboys’ tale.

Triumphs and Turbulence – Chris Boardman

It’s an easy cycling read! Who knew! I can be endlessly fascinated by stories of how people successfully pulled projects together. The secret squirrel project and the management chaos at British Cycling stood out here.

Uncle Dynamite – PG Wodehouse

Like it. Everyone needs a little Uncle Fred in their lives.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncle_Dynamite if you want to spoil plot. Pongo innit.

The World of Cycling According to G – Geraint Thomas

Ok. It’s an easy light cycling read. It’s ok and met expectations.

Irvine Welsh – The Blade Artist

Easy to read, silly, bit dark toward the end.  A nostalgic read having first been introduced to these characters 20 years or so ago.  Not crazy about it but enjoyed it none the less, save for some of the ‘artistry’ towards the end.

The Penguin Podcast with Richard E Grant promoting this was ok.

https://www.penguin.co.uk/articles/in-conversation/podcasts/penguin-podcast/2016/irvine-welsh/

L.A. Confidential – James Ellroy

Ripping.  Two cops, one privileged, educated, the other brawn and limited brain.  Really enjoyable but you have to get on board with Ellroy’s style, his voice.  A review of another of Elroy’s books, Perfidia, picks out that Ellroy cranks everything up and leaves it there.  This is cool but can be fatiguing.  Check out this interview with him to get a flavour of this style.

http://thequietus.com/articles/16855-james-ellroy-intervoew-perfidia-crime-la-quartet

Recommended and I’m now off to start Perfidia and re-watch the LA Confidential movie to see how they sliced up the book to make a comprehensible (and classifiable) movie.

I am Zlatan – Zlatan Ibrahimovic

A struggle.  Written in a particular style which is pretty jarring and takes some getting use to.  A rags to riches tale but one that becomes a lot less interesting once the success comes.  Five out of ten.

Pro-cyling on 10$ a Day – Phil Gaimon

Phil the thrill http://philthethrill.net/ ‘s book charting his early life and primarily his early career.  Yes he was a fat kid, yes he took up cycling and was less fat.  Enjoyable but I can see how it would be less so if you weren’t a cycling fan / interested in knowing a bit more about the lower ranks of the US pro-scene.

Phil’s podcast, Real Talent, http://philthethrill.net/new-podcast-real-talent-with-phil-gaimon/ is, for me, more interesting than his book, being a number of  conversations with other athletes discussing their careers, how they got to where they are, where they are going etc.  Really interesting.

What goes around, a London Cycle Courier’s Story – Emily Chappell

The autobiography of a cycle courier and her private life in East London.  Found this pretty hard to get into.  Again should very much fall into the easy read category but found it difficult to engage with it.  A five / six out of ten from me.

Catching the Wolf of Wall Street – Jordan Belfot

Part 2.  Picks up where part 1 finished, from Belfort’s capture and finishing up with his incarceration.  This is essentially is a story of the breakdown of his marriage and his subsequent relationships.  It’s just as readable as the first book and is enjoyable on that basis alone.  Both books are of course nice easy reads that skip along.  His right hand man Danny Porush said that the film was a distant cousin to the truth with the books being a distant cousin from the film (he may not have used the word cousin).  Enjoyable no matter how unbelievable they may be.