An exhaustive holiday reading list. | 86/100

These are the books I read on holiday (in the order I read them):

  1. The 50th Law by Robert Greene and 50 Cent. An excellent blend of historical anecdotes, actionable advice and modern day parables. Greene truly is the modern day Machiavelli (a compliment I’m sure he’d be pleased with). I’d give it a 9.5/10.
  2. The Stranger by Albert Camus. I read this in one sitting, on a beach in Ölüdeniz. To be honest, it blew me away. I didn’t really know how to think about it. It Beautifully written, haunting, and powerful. An odd story of a protagonist who refuses to play the game of life. Again, a 9/10.
  3. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. I’m massively into meditation. I’ve written about the powers of detachment and mindfulness at length before. The Power of Now is supposed to be one of the key texts of this relatively new movement. I enjoyed it, but think it’s somewhat overhyped. There was a lot of what I’d describe as ‘woo-woo’ stuff in there, that doesn’t actually help the message. Being able to accept that the present moment is all we have doesn’t require needlessly complex language and mysticism. Still, there is definitely some useful stuff in there, and perhaps it just wasn’t to my taste. A good alternative to this is Headspace, the book by Andy Puddicombe. 5/10
  4. Love is a Dog From Hell by Charles Bukowski. How can someone write like Bukowski? Brutal. Honest. Real. He captures the dirt and filth of what it feels like to be a human at times – it takes real courage to be that honest about who and what you are. I’m not a huge fan of poetry, and this was one of my first attempts to get into it. I wasn’t disappointed, and I don’t think you will be either. 8/10
  5. Jingo by Terry Pratchett. After four pretty heavy reads, I treated myself. Terry Pratchett was one of the first authors I really got into – and one of the people who first made me want to write. He was a masterful storyteller: funny, clever, and infinitely creative. All three of the books I read on holiday were fantastic, although Night Watch is probably my favourite. Jingo gets a solid 8/10.
  6. The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett. 7/10
  7. Night Watch by Terry Pratchett. 9/10

There were a couple of books I started reading but haven’t finished yet too – I’ll let you know my thoughts once they’re done.

  1. Einstein by Walter Isaacson
  2. Hitler’s Willing Executioners by Daniel Goldhagen

The notes for this post:

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5 Comments

  1. There is something about absorbing a new book in a new place. Superb choices and synopsis. I haven’t read all of these, but the reminder about Camus put me in mind of a visit to Paris and in 1990 when this was a really significant book for me. The content of such texts (and how we absorb them), are particularly resonant in these times of screen addiction.

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  2. The Camus and Tolle would be well up on my list. When I read it, the Camus book was titled ‘The Outsider’, the same title as Colin Wilson’s book that was also very popular in the 1960s! Two of my favourite books had the same title!

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    1. What a coincidence! I’ve seen it as ‘The Outsider’ too, but I think this edition was ‘The Stranger’ for whatever reason. Any other Camus you’d recommend? I’ll have to check out Colin Wilson, never come across him before. Thanks for the comment Barry.

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      1. I remember Camus’ The Plague as being another good one.
        Re Colin Wilson, you could try the original ‘The Outsider’, probably written around the age you are, or the much later ‘Super Consciousness’. Gary Lachman’s Beyond the Robot: The Life and Work of Colin Wilson gives and excellent picture of Wilson’s contribution.

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