Reading - January 2014

Bad Pharma by Ben Goldacre (2012)
Brilliant, and highly readable - if slightly over-long - diatribe against big pharma. Essential reading.
The Commitments by Roddy Doyle (1987)
Shorter than I remember, slightly dated, and with an unbelievable and unnecessary (imho) sub-plot involving the backing singers all sleeping with the middle-aged trumpet player - but still classic.
The Story Of Tracy Beaker by Jacqueline Wilson (1991)
K has just read this, so I was curious to know what it was about. Tracy Beaker is a very realistic and believable character, and you get a real insight into her world - which isn't an ideal or particularly nice one. Not much happens though. I tried to get K to articulate what she liked about it, with little success.
The Week (11 January 2014 / Issue 953)
Guitarist (February 2014 / Issue 377)
The Elements Of Eloquence by Mark Forsyth (2013)
A marvellous little book about the forgotten figures of rhetoric. Why isn't this taught in schools?
The Week (18 January 2013 / Issue 954)
The Men Who Stare At Goats by Jon Ronson (2004)
This starts out as a whimsical "aren't people odd" discussion but gets gradually darker and darker, until it links some easily mockable new-age thinking to the atrocities in Guantanamo Bay. Thought-provoking.
Running Like A Girl by Alexandra Heminsley (2013)
Entertaining and readable - I finished it in one day - this is a personal account of one runner's experience. Primarily aimed at women thinking of or wishing they could run, it has relevance to all beginning runners like me. Apart from the bits about sports bras.
The Week (25 January 2014 / Issue 955)
The Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison (1961)
An old friend. Sometimes it's nice to read a familiar story. In many respects, this is surprisingly undated, apart from occasional references to something called "film" (on which one takes photographs, apparently). Good fun.
On Her Majesty's Secret Service by Ian Fleming (1963)
On of my favourites of the original Bond books. Of its time rather than dated, although the casual sexism does grate, and starting to show the influence of the films (Dr No had been released the previous year); but a cracking story and my favourite Bond girl woman, Tracey, who Bond marries. Shame Fleming kills her off at the end in order to preserve the status quo.

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