I enjoyed reading these books, and then I enjoyed the memory of them for a long time afterwards.
• River of Doubt. Bio of Teddy Roosevelt’s boating
adventure in S. America after his presidency. He was a risk taker to the point of folly.
• Undaunted Courage, bio of Merriwether Lewis. Extraordinary, flawed young man, unimaginable adventure, suicide.
• The Map that Changed the World, by Simon Winchester. The map is about geology but the book is about in 19th century England
. You will definitely be amazed by the greatness of a common man, and the commonness of some great men
• The Age of Wonders – how the romantic generation discovered the beauty and terror of science, by Richard Holmes. Mongo Park finds Timbuktoo, but won’t enter for fear of leaving his boat unattended. Humphrey Davies’s logic works in discovery of sacrificial anodes, but not in selection of wife. Electrical
charges made dead men
• Desperate Voyage, by John Caldwell. WWII veteran buys small sailboat and tries to singlehand to Australia
to rejoin his wife.
• Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved
the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time, by Dava Sobel. True story of search (race) to solve problem of finding longitude at sea.
• The Swerve, by Stephen Greenblatt. Early Greeks came up with a theory of atoms that is not so different from modern science. They also measured the value of a person’s life by how much he enjoyed his life. Early Christianity rejected these theories. This is a wonderful account of man’s entry into, and emergence from, the dark ages. Slow reading, but well worth it.
• The Riddle of the Sands, Erskine Childers. written in 1903. Recreational sailors exploring north sea discover German plan to invade England
. Wonderful story for sailors, and an excellent mystery.
• The Desert, by Jean-Marie Gustavo Le Clezio (nobel prize for lit.) French conquest of NW Africa
. Le Clezio says the bankers beat the Moroccan Arabs, not the foreign legion. And one unconquerable Arab girl captures the hearts of the French, and possibly carries the seed of a resurgent Blue Men.
• Sharp Teeth, by Toby Barlow, (written in free verse that seems to read itself when you pick up the book. Fun fast story about sexy dogs
that might kill you, or perhaps they will help you.)
• In Other Rooms, Other Wonders, by Daniyal Mueenuddin. Why is it so easy to relate to these Pakistani people that I have nothing in common with? Best short story collection I’ve ever read.
• Wheels of Chance, HG Wells. 04. I think this was Wells’ first book, before he started writing science fiction. Innocent young woman lured on a bicycle holiday by powerful dishonorable man. Easy read, fun adventure in a different century.
• Lady of the Camelias, by A Dumas, the son. Possibly the world’s first ‘B’ romance novel, and surely one of the best. Poor woman succeeds fabulously as courtesan, forsakes success for love. Oh, the injustice!