Archive for the ‘Book reviews’ Category

Book review: One Man and a Narrowboat: Slowing Down Time on England’s Waterways

Title: One Man and a Narrowboat
Author: Steve Haywood
Subject: canal boating, travel
Why: good travel reading

There are two quotes inside the book I read while narrow boating from Stratford-upon-Avon to Oxford: “Time and tide wait for no man” (Old English proverb) and “Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana” (Old English joke). Both seemed fitting. Truth be told, the book “One Man and a Narrowboat: Slowing Down Time on England’s Waterways” by Steve Haywood was a good companion.

Not only did he describe so evocatively the scenes that flashed before me — the pubs, the characters, the bridges, the towns and countryside — but he put me in touch with the national soul, as was in fact his inspiration to spend a year jollying on the canals.

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Book review: Sheer Will

Book: Sheer Will
Author: Michael Groom
Subject: Adventure, inspiration, mountaineering, travel
Why: Inspiration

The title of Sheer Will is a real spoiler alert because this book is all guts, determination and tenacity without the ego or glorification of mountaineering that often comes with it. But it’s also not a spoiler because you’re never quite sure what lies ahead in this tale of climbing the world’s highest peaks. The only thing you know for sure, before you’ve even finished chapter 1, is that this is a man not to be trifled with. Throw a big peak in front of him, remove half his feet (yes seriously!), take away the oxygen, add a snowstorm or blizzard, and you know Michael is going to give it everything he’s got.
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Book review: I am Malala

Malala Yousafzai. Pic: AFP.

Malala Yousafzai. Pic: AFP.

I haven’t finished “I am Malala” yet but a few people have already asked me what it’s like so I’ll give my review on the first part I’ve read and update this page later.

The first thing that struck me about the book (about the girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban) is that beyond the first few pages of the prologue, this actual “event” is not mentioned again until page 203 (yes I admit I looked ahead). Of a 265 page book that’s significant.

And that’s because Malala recognises that where we come from is important. The story of who we are is just as important as what happens to us and what we do about that. “Be the change you want to see in the world,” said Gandhi. I get the feeling this story is very much about our responses to our history, life and the situations we find ourselves in as much as anything. It’s also perhaps an education for some readers about the circumstances that other people in the world face that are very different to their own. Read more

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