Friday, 23 January 2015

Top 5 Books I Read in 2014

I had a dreadful year for reading books and only managed to complete nine. This was partly deliberate as I'd intended to spend more time watching films but if I'm honest that didn't happen either so the truth is I probably frittered away the time on Twitter. I still read some good stuff and the top five are highly recommended but I will try and read more often this year, that book pile isn't getting any smaller.

1. "Mudhoney: The Sound & The Fury From Seattle" Keith Cameron - Brilliant biography of the band that were the heart and soul of SubPop records and did as much as anyone to put Seattle firmly on the musical map. Keith Cameron always writes brilliantly about music and his involvement with them both then and now mades him the perfect candidate to document a true underdog band. A fabulous read that reinvigorated my interest in the band and had me rapidly filling in the gaps in their back catalogue.

2. "God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater " Kurt Vonnegut - I'm a big Vonnegut fan but still have a long way to go to get through his canon of work. I picked this up as the kindle version was quite cheap but it's one of my favourite Vonnegut books so far. Quite short but a thoroughly absorbing read with a feelgood message.

3. "The Lowland" Jhumpa Lahiri - This was from the 2013 Booker Short List and was another very enjoyable read. Tells the story of two brothers who were born and grew up together in India but make choices that mean their futures are very different. It's a quality bit of writing that makes the most of a fairly subtle story line.

4. "Roy Hodgson - A Football Life" Richard Allen - The first (and so far only) biography of England's current manager written by Fulham author & blogger Richard Allen. I suspect it's an indication of the media's lack of enthusiasm for Hodgson as a person that means there hasn't been a flurry of books about him yet. Richard spotted this gap in the market and with a wealth of information about Roy from his time with Fulham was well placed to put this excellent book together. Initially only available on Kindle (and the catalyst for me starting to read ebooks on a regular basis) there was also a short print run and you can still get physical copies via A valuable read for anyone who wants to know more about what makes Hodgson tick and how he found his way from Maidstone to Malmo, Switzerland to Inter Milan and Fulham to England.

5. "The Great Cassette Experiment - The Joy of Cassettes!" Neil Pace - The third eBook on the list and the perfect read for my travels by public transport. A meandering journey through 130 albums on cassette. For six months the only music Neil listened to in his car was the albums he owned on the most unloved medium of music storage. A smashing collection of witty essays dissecting a real cross section of music from the Eighties & early Nineties. Neil is a particular fan of electronic music, which isn't my bag at all, but his style of writing ensured there was something of interest in every chapter, he even had me listening to albums I'd have never considered trying before.


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