On reading

I did originally plan to hold off my blogging until I had finished my thesis in mid-January, but today, after the horrendous terror attacks on Paris yesterday, I feel that my mind is not exactly set on studying. 

Ever since I started reading, aged 3, in 1987, I have been a very avid reader, and I tend to accumulate books at an alarming rate. I made a start on cataloguing all my books in LibraryThing(click the link to get to my library!) when I lived in London, but I still have all my books currently in storage (approx. 10-13 big cardboard boxes) in Stockholm left to catalogue, which will be done when I move back to Stockholm in February!

Most of my fiction reading today is done on my Kindle, as it is easy to slip into whatever bag/backpack/tote I’m using at the time, the battery lasts me a life time and it’s fairly light. The only time I buy “hard copies” of fiction is when it is by an author I collect the books of (there are a few, mainly Swedish authors). However, when it comes to all non-fiction (including biographies & memoirs), I tend to buy the paper book, often hardback over paperback, as it looks nicer 🙂

I have done a lot of reading since I returned from London, and so thought that I should share some of my favourites:

*Binge by Tyler Oakley: I honestly did not expect much from this book, written as it is by one of the more famous “YouTubers”, but I found Binge to be a book “written from the heart”, and Tyler discusses issues around coming out, growing up with divorced parents and domestic violence. A very pleasant surprise!

*Shōgun by James Clavell: This is one of the first books I can ever remember reading, aged approximately 6. In the year 1600, Pilot-Major John Blackthorne lands on the coast of Japan. Initially being viewed with suspicion by the leading samurais, Blackthorn ends up being made samurai and hatamoto himself, and plays a leading role in the civil war.

*Body Counts by Sean Strub: As a gay man who never had to live through time when being diagnosed HIV-positive was a death sentence, it is hard to realise the impact it had on the gay community. Sean Strub has lived to tell the tale, and was among those who fought for affordable medication and non-discrimination. Sometimes this book is a very hard read, but for anyone who wants to hear a first hand account from the period, it is a very interesting read.

*London Under by Peter Ackroyd: Mr Ackroyd has also written “London: A biography” and “Thames: Sacred river” (and many more) , but I find this book the easiest read of them all, and also the most interesting. Maybe due to the subject – what’s actually happening underneath the streets of London. Most guide books will tell you about the life “on street level”, but very few venture into the deep, dark tunnels.


About Petter

Demi-Norwegian Swede in Oxford. Rather churchy type.
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