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Jonathan Kay
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A holiday reading list for sailing in Greece. Or doing anything else anywhere else.

Jonathan 

Jonathan Kay
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AdamQ
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It's interesting to see The Magus mentioned (some pages back) - IMVHO, it's a book one needs to read at least twice - true value for money as it's a completely different experience second time round - and I believe John Fowles revised it fairly markedly for the second edition.

FWIW, my desert island book would be The Mortdecai Trilogy by Kyril Bonfiglioli - wonderful marvellous silliness with insightful wisdom and some great menus ...  It only beats Three Men in a Boat and half of Wodehouse as my desert island choice because I know much of those last two by heart ...  Lord Emsworth and the Girlfriend by PGW - unbeatable!

As ever though, de gustibus non est disputandum ...

10.00 p.m., glass of wine = pretentious idiot ...

john aston
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Takes one to know one- I too had a big Fowles thing and found The Magus as compelling as it was infuriating . I re read The French  Lieutenant's Woman this year , after 30 years , and just loved it . Remember The Ebony Tower TV adaptation - with Laurence Olivier and a smoking hot Greta Scacchi and Toyah Wilcox (really ) double act? 

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My holiday reading over the last week consisted of 3 books that I thoroughly recommend. 

All That Remains - Prof Sue Black

Driven - John Aston

Vietnam - Max Hastings

 

 

Jonathan Kay
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Vietnam - Max Hastings

I'd completely missed that. Ordered. Thanks.

Mine were (all on Kindle):

  • Enlightenment Now, Pinker. Very good, but not in the same league as Better Angels....
  • The Sense of Style..., Pinker. Reread. Mandatory. ;-)
  • Munich, Harris. OK, but a bit thin. Seemed appropriate for the Rhine.
  • The Rhine..., Coates. OK, but I didn't bother finishing it.

Jonathan

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The Hastings book was superb - how one earth did the cynical , amoral , Machiavellian  Kissinger get the Nobel Prize for Peace?

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Have you seen the theory that Trump invited the Taliban leaders to the White House because Obama had one and HE WANTED ONE TOO?

Jonathan

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Ditto Le Duc Tho. For those of us threatened with the draft it was worth paying almost any price to end the slaughter including handing out gongs to murderers. Churchill, McMillan and Wilson deserve huge credit for refusing to commit British forces in fifties and sixties despite immense American pressure to do so. Australia and NZ did get involved. Conscription ended in NZ in 1973 less than a year before I became "eligible" for the ballot. Promising to end conscription was a factor in Labour winning the 1972 General Election. They'd worked out that they couldn't build enough prisons to house those of us determined to ignore the callup when we reached 18.    

Aged 10 I was bussed out to the Ohakea Air Force base with the rest of my class on a miserable wet, extremely cold day to form a "welcoming" party for LBJ when he arrived in NZ to beg for more troops. We never even saw him having been kept at least 1/4 of a mile away. We sang "We all live in a purple Maori pa" on the way back - should be able to work out the year from that. 3 years ago I met a retired State Department official who had been part of the entourage. His strongest memory was of a windy day in Wellington (most days were like that) and having to escort a local hairdresser up in the cable car to rearrange Lady Bird's hair before the press were allowed to take photos. A State Department escort was required as the hairdresser lacked security clearance. 

It was widely believed down under that the NZ artillery helped the NVA to win. The grunts allegedly had a habit of panicking when under fire and calling for artillery support - to be directed on their own positions. As one veteran told me - we reckon we killed more Yanks than we did VC. Nothing to do with the accuracy of their WWII surplus 25 pounders. 

In the words of a wag I encountered at Speakers Corner many years ago "the Yanks dropped more bombs on Vietnam than were used in the whole of WWII. At the end of the war there were more Vietnamese alive than at the start". I remember that every time I see footage of the awesome power of the USAF, including today's story of them  dropping 36 tonnes on a "Daesh infested" island in the Tigris. Unless things have changed the Pentagon will claim 1,000 dead jihadis, the real casualty count likely to be 6 goats and a 12 year old shepherd. 

      

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Fleishman is in Trouble - Taffy Brodesser -Akner .  A worthy addition to the Great  American Novel canon by a former New York Times journalist , and this book is  right up there with Philip Roth and  Richard Ford . 

Fleishman is a hospirtal consultant, married for 15 years to Rachel, a high earning showbiz agent . Divorce looms , and Fleishman discovers there's a lot of women he can date to make up for his wife's appalling behaviour . Or was it ? Because ,this book very cleverly  ends up being written from 3 different perspectives .

It is  whip crack smart , very , very funny, very Jewish and ..umm ..not for prudes . Highly recommended