This is the third book in Spike Milligan’s war memoirs (volume 1; volume 2). Combat has now died down in Africa, and no one is ready to be shipped to a new field of combat yet. The troops are therefore getting bored. Suddenly the establishment recalls that Milligan can play the trumpet and the band reforms. Most of this book is spent being shuffled between army staging areas, and performing music. Regardless of little “happening”, still an engaging read.
At the end of the previous Spike Milligan war memoir, Spike and his comrades had just been packed up into a ship to start travelling to Africa to engage the Nazis. This book picks up straight from there are follows them from first arrival in Africa to their first experiences of combat. Spike fought in the Battle of Longstop Hill, where his artillery unit played a part in victory. Along the way Spike loses his first close friend to enemy fire.
Spike has an amazing talent for taking a tough subject and making it interesting and light hearted. Its not disrespectful, but shows that there were moments of levity in difficult times. Much like the previous book this one was very readable and I enjoyed it.
This is another book I read as a teenager and decided to re-read. Frankly, its great. Confused teenager signs up for the British Army (or is conscripted, its not totally clear) and ends up as an artillery gunner. Has hilarious adventures while managing to still be a scrawny nerd. I loved it. A light hearted look at a difficult topic.
I’ve had a bit of a thing about biographies recently, having just read the very good The Crossroad by Mark Donaldson. This book is a very different story, but I think still quite interesting. Kellie was a country girl with no real plans and an impulse control problem. While the book follows her formative years as she parties across Australia in a generally northern direction, I think the underlying story about growing up and finding your way in the world is quite interesting.
Is this great literature while will enlighten the masses? Probably not. Was it a fun read on a flight and mostly about a teenager with no direction finding her place in the world? Yes.
Written by a Victoria Cross recipient, this is the true story of a messed up kid who made something of himself. Mark’s dad died of cancer when he was young, and his mum was murdered. Mark then went through a period of being a burden on society, breaking windows for fun and generally being a pain in the butt. But then one day he decided to join the army…
This book is very well written, and super readable. I enjoyed it a lot, and I think its an important lesson about how troubled teenagers are sometimes that way because of pain in their past, and can often still end up being a valued contributor to society. I have been recommending this book to pretty much everyone I meet since I started reading it.
I read this book while on a flight a few weeks ago. Its surprisingly readable and relatively short — you can knock it over in a single long haul flight. The book covers the memoirs of an oil rig worker, from childhood right through to middle age. That’s probably the biggest weakness of the book, it just kind of stops when the writer reaches the present day. I felt there wasn’t really a conclusion, which was disappointing.
An interesting fun read however.
This is the memoir of a Jewish girl from New York who ends up working in the Harem of a Prince of Brunei. Its not so much a story about Harem life, although that’s mentioned in places. Its more about Jillian’s psychological journey, her troubled childhood, and working out who she is in the world. Worryingly, that final issue isn’t really resolved in the book, which is frustrating. The book is surprisingly readable, and you genuinely start to care about Jillian along the way, even if a few of her decisions seem pretty suboptimal to me. A good read.
I’d been looking for this book for ages, as it is quite rare, so it was exciting to find it at Gould’s the other day. This is the memoir of the dude inside the rubber mask that Kryten wears in Red Dwarf. The book is an easy read, and entertaining, although I wouldn’t call it funny. Most of the book focuses on how terribly horrible it is to be encased in rubber day after day while shooting a comedy in terrible locations. Oh, and Robert is slightly insecure which doesn’t help.
Overall I’m glad I found this book, and glad I read it again.
LibraryThing, of which I am a member runs a program where members are shipped early copies of books for free, with the preference for them writing a review when they’re done reading the book. The books are shipped by the publisher directly to the reviewers. This isn’t that uncommon in the publishing industry — both of my books have experienced a similar process, although less formal.
(In fact, any very early review of a book on a site light amazon.com should be viewed with a little bit of caution I suppose. These people probably got their review copies for free from the publisher.)
LibraryThing’s implementation is a little different though, mainly because of the scale at which they hand out books, and the fact that the publishers don’t appear to get any direct say in who gets the books. That means that there is less incentive to write a positive review, and that more people get access to early copies of new books. You can see a list of the books LibraryThing is currently handing out here.
The Spy Within is the true story of a senior CIA agent who turned out to also be a Chinese spy. Its the first book I’ve received through the early review program, so I am still learning the ropes and have sat on this book for a few weeks before actually reading it.
As I said earlier, this is the “true story” a senior Chinese spy within the CIA. However, it should be noted that large portions of the book are pure speculation — inserted simply to make the story more readable. In addition, as with all such works, the book is based on a limited number of interviews, and is subject to the biases of those who provide source material.
This kind of book isn’t really my thing, and I would read less one one non-fiction contemporary history book a year. However, I found this to be an engaging read, especially because the books manuscript flows much like a novel. However, the story simply wasn’t that gripping (so, Larry Chin was a dick, I get it). Its hard for non-fiction to compete with fantasy for story lines I suppose.