Category Archives: books


As a teenage boy, I listened to a lot of Springsteen (it was my only nod to non-punk). I sort of stopped around the time of Born in the USA, but Nebraska remains a favourite. I bought his autobiography today which has been getting good reviews.

It’s all in your head

Current reading is this book about psychosomatic illness. It’s very interesting, the manner in which people develop very real, and debilitating symptoms such as paralysis and blindness, from their subconscious. One of the tragedies is that they often resist the diagnosis of psychosomatic as they think it means they’re making it up, and so continue to suffer.

Can you even Amazon?

I ordered a couple of physical books from Amazon the other day, rather than Kindle versions. I mistakenly ordered the LARGE PRINT version of Kingsolver’s Flight Behaviour. It’s already quite a long book, but especially bulky in large print version.

The Code

This is current bedside reading. It’s about fighting in ice hockey. It’s an odd thing, ice hockey is the only team sport where fighting is allowed, but there is a very strict code about it. The book isn’t really glorifying fighting but exploring the code and how some people view it as a positive (the argument is that knowing if you mess with someone the enforcer will get you, stops dirty play), but also lists the injuries and damage it causes.
There is a Cardiff Devil supporter, [url=]Victoria Silverwood[/url] who did a PhD in this concept of legitimised violence. She’s publishing a book on it soon, which will be an interesting accompaniment to this.

One random book

I bought a book from [url=]one random boo[/url]k. They choose a book for you – you can go general or specific genre. I got this one, which I just finished – it was an enjoyable read, and not something I would’ve come across. So in that sense the experiment was a success.
I notice that yhe website isn’t up at the moment & the book took ages to come so maybe it hasn’t taken off.

Chemistry riff

I try to read a book every week, which means I can end up going down particular routes, due to recommendations and ideas. Currently I’m read popular chemistry history books. Here is Mendeleyev’s Dream, Napoleon’s Buttons and The Madame Curie Complex.

Books wot I read

I set myself the challenge of reading a book a week this year, and have just about managed it. Here are some of the physical books I read, most were in kindle. I blogged [url=]about it today[/url].

New kindle

I lost my Kindle, an old 3rd gen one with the keyboard, on the way back form South Africa. I know Amazon are evil and all that, but I do like a Kindle and it is the best ereader. Particularly as I’m still doing my book-a-week thing.
I don’t read much sci-fi, I did a lot as a teenager (obvs) and read a lot of the classic stuff then. I think I read Androids then, but not sure, so re-reading it.

Save the social sciences

You may have heard that a ministerial decree in [url=]Japan is forcing universities to close social science and humanities departments[/url]. This is all part of a wider narrative that a degree is only about securing a job. The danger is once it is done in one country it becomes permissible in others.
We are undergoing an office move at the moment (not me), and my colleague Rob Farrow, rescued these old 70s social science texts from a retiring colleague. That would be a good pile to work through.