Thursday, July 25, 2013

Summer reading tips - a few books to get through

I love the summer holidays for catching up on topical reading, it’s a good time to open your mind to fresh ideas, escape with a story or just learn something new about our wonderful world. Apart from Lake Coniston, here’s what I’ll be diving into.

‘The Cotton Harvest’ by AK Nawaz I love urban crime noir. My favourite of this genre is James Crumley who set his grimy tales in Missoula, Montana. Having never been there I can’t properly say whether he’s done a good portrayal or not. Anyway, I know who AK Nawaz is (this isn’t his real name) but he should be able to get a decent grip on Manchester crime.

‘The Killing Pool’ by Kevin Sampson, set in Liverpool, Sampson has a good ear and a ready feel for all walks of life. His Awaydays was superb and this looks the business as well.

'The Atmospheric Railway and other stories' by Shena Mackay - I first read a collection by this quite brilliant English writer when I backpacked around Turkey in 1986. I'm looking forward to this collection after picking it up at a church sale last month. 

Welcome to Entrepreneur Country by Julie Meyer So far this has been an easy to read, but hard to swallow business book for a holiday. I like the crazy utopianism of Julie’s world view, which she advanced so elegantly at a Downtown and TechHub event earlier this month.

The Last Days of Detroit by Mark Binelli – Anyone involved in city politics and urban development looks at Detroit with horror. In fact, everyone looks at Detroit with horror, except the tourists who come to photograph urban decay and say they’ve come to see what the end of the world will look like. The former Motor City has recently gone bankrupt. Now I’ve had this for a while and have been dipping into it, but it’s a well argued, well researched examination of what went wrong and how it can bounce back.

‘The Quarry’ by Iain Banks – the last book by the recently departed Scottish author. I have really enjoyed The Crow Road and The Business and love the premise of this one, a group of university friends gathering together years later. Also touches on themes like parental mortality and autism, personal interests of mine.

‘Northern Monkeys’ by William Routledge – OK, I have a vested interest in this compelling anthology of quality musings on fashion, football and frolics through the years, but it’s still a great book to discover new insights and nuances. A wonderful reference and a work of beauty.

Five Days in May by Andrew Adonis - Having spent a bit of time with Andrew Adonis this year I have been impressed at his determination to get economic policy right for Labour, but also to work across party lines to articulate projects in the national interest – like HS2, Academies, promotion of LEPs and apprenticeships. This is his insider’s account of the birth of the Coalition government.

That should get me through the first week, any other suggestions gratefully received.

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