Monday 1 January 2018

My Books of 2017 (Part 1)

As we are now in 2018, I thought that it was high time to tell you about my favourite reads from 2017. These are the books that I have given 4.5 or 5 stars to. These are in the order that I read them in last year, starting with the 4.5 star books:

If you haven't come across Levison Wood then you really need to read his books and watch his documentaries. He is a modern-day adventurer who undertakes the most awesome of physical challenges. In this, he walks the length of the Himalayas and has a brush with death.

I have several Paul Theroux books at home, including a signed one, but this is the first of his that I read last year. He is a keen observer of the places that he visits and this is the first time he has turned his gaze on his home country. Enlightening and occasionally shocking it is a book that looks at the people and places of the deep south that are rarely seen and often forgotten

The border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic is a place that has seen a lot of tension and blood over the years. With the peace process having had a significant positive effect on the region, Carr decides to walk and paddle the length of it to take a gauge to the state of the nation. It is entertaining and informative and he rightly poses questions as to the impact that Brexit will have on the area.

Pete Brown is better known for his books on beer drinking and pubs, but this book came out of the book he was researching on cider when he realised that he had more notes about the places that the fruit for cider grew. If you want to know when is the correct time to wassail, and the long history of the orchard, this is a great book.

This is the second Levison wood book to make the list. As I said above he is the adventurer to watch and read. In this book, he walks 1800 miles through eight countries and can safely be considered to be one of the wildest places on the planet.

The third by Levison Wood is his first book. In this, he follows the source of the Nile right up to where it enters the Med. On foot. Great stuff

Iran is a country that has been under the grip of a fundamentalist Islamic regime for a number of years now and the oppression of people in the country is quite horrific. This is Dr Shirin Ebadi's story of her fight for justice against a state that saw her as a trouble maker and sought to make her life very difficult. Moving and heart wrenching.

John Lewis-Stempel is one of our top nature writers at the moment and has won the Wainwright prize twice now. This short but sweet book is dedicated to that elusive and nocturnal creature the owl. Beautifully written, as I have come to expect, but way too short

If you haven't yet read the Rivers of London series then you are missing out on a great urban fantasy series. This novella is a set on the Metropolitan Line where there has been an unusual spate of ghostly sightings. Thoroughly enjoyable escapsim.

Kapka Kassabova visits a place she left twenty-five years to see what has changed on the borderland between Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece. The writing is beautiful and she has a knack for drawing out the stories that people want to tell.

Partick Leigh Fermor was one of the greatest travel writers every, but very little was known about his wife Joan. In the book, Simon Fenwick sets about revealing some of her character and just what she meant to Paddy. Fascinating book about an enigmatic person

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