The Remains of the DayKazuo IshiguroFiction
For my money, one of the best books ever written.
The story follows Mr Stevens, a butler who is recalling his best years of service for Lord Darlington, a man whose political views in the build up to the Second World War come increasingly into question as old memories are turned over and re examined.
Few books convey the profound subtext and currents that lie beneath the fearsome trivialities of life.
Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible VoyageAlfred LansingNon Fiction - Biography
Lansing's account of this incredible story is gripping from start to finish.
Drawn from the men's diaries and what appears to be first hand experience of Antarctica, the evocative detail captures the true horror and beauty of survival at the very limits of human endurance.
The PigeonPatrick SuskindFiction
This book is a masterpiece. Brilliantly written and surprisingly funny in parts, it charts a day in the unremarkable life of Jonathan Noel.
Suskind's novella, supposedly about one man is a warning to us all.
Beware of a life lived without event.
Hero: The Life & Legend of Lawrence of Arabia Michael KordaNon Fiction - Biography
The definitive study on Lawrence of Arabia and the creation of the modern Middle East.
Michael Korda captures the hardened, cruel yet wildly romantic bedouin whom Lawrence skillfully led against the Ottomans.
Despite its length, it roars along and my only complaint is that after reading, your existence feels pretty hum drum.
Steve JobsWalter IsaacsonNon Fiction - Biography
If you are an Apple or a tech fan, this unflinching biography is a masterpiece.
Steve Jobs wasn't an easy person to like. Austere, arrogant and prone to childlike tantrums he had a binary view of people and the world.
However, through this lens of uncomprising focus and relentless pursuit of "insanely great" products, he created two Titans of industry: Pixar and Apple.
“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.”
Disturbing, poignant and filled with gnawing dread, this short story is the terrifying lived experience of disfigurement and alienation.
The last scene in the tram, seemingly a fleeting moment, of a stretch in the sunlight, captures the crushing, dark truism at the heart of this book.
The MagusJohn FowlesFiction
Set on an idyllic Greek island, The Magus is the blueprint for any aspiring psychological trickster.
The real skill is keeping the reader wondering what is real and what is not, as Nicholas Urfe becomes drawn in to an increasingly dark game by a deceptive and charismatic older man.
Losing My Virginity Richard BransonNon Fiction - Autobiography
It’s in his own words so take it with a pinch of salt, but Mr Branson certainly knows how to spin a yarn.
“Expand your way out of a crisis” is his mantra and love him or loathe him, Branson has serious balls….
His breathtaking odyssey at full throttle is awe inspiring and his sense of infectious fun is well captured here.
The Rise and Fall of the Great PowersPaul KennedyNon Fiction - History
Big hitting and dense, Paul Kennedy’s incredible book covering 500 years of history, charts the ebb and flow of various empires.
Jam packed with statistics, it looks intimidating to wade through, but the scholarly sweat to provide this level of illuminating insight pays off, big time....
Essential reading for anyone who wants to get a handle on how the modern world was formed.