Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Book recommendation: Shark by Will Self

4 May 1970. A week earlier President Nixon has ordered American ground forces into Cambodia to pursue the Vietcong. By the end of the day four students will be lying in the grounds of Kent State University, shot dead by the National Guard. On the other side of the Atlantic, it's a brilliant sunny morning after an April of heavy rain, and at the Concept House therapeutic community he has set up in the London suburb of Willesden, maverick psychiatrist Dr Zack Busner has been tricked into joining a decidedly ill-advised LSD trip with several of its disturbed residents. Five years later, sitting in a nearby cinema watching Steven Spielberg's Jaws with his young son, Busner realizes the true nature of the events that transpired on that dread-soaked day, when a survivor of the worst disaster in the US Navy's history - the sinking of the USS Indianapolis in the shark-infested south Pacific - came face-to-face with the British Royal Air Force observer on the Enola Gay's mission to Hiroshima. Set a year before the action of his Booker-shortlisted Umbrella, Will Self's new novel continues its exploration of the complex relationship between human psychopathology and human technological progress; and like Umbrella, weaves together multiple narratives across several decades of the twentieth century to produce a fiendish tapestry depicting the state we're enmeshed in. Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Book recommendation: Us by David Nicholls

Douglas Petersen understands his wife's need to 'rediscover herself' now that their son is leaving home. He just thought they'd be doing their rediscovering together. So when Connie announces that she will be leaving, too, he resolves to make their last family holiday into the trip of a lifetime: one that will draw the three of them closer, and win the respect of his son. One that will make Connie fall in love with him all over again. The hotels are booked, the tickets bought, the itinerary planned and printed. What could possibly go wrong? Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Book recommendation: Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin

You're either a Purple Cow or you're not. You're either remarkable or invisible. Make your choice. What do Apple, Starbucks, Dyson and Pret a Manger have in common? How do they achieve spectacular growth, leaving behind former tried-and-true brands to gasp their last? The old checklist of P's used by marketers - Pricing, Promotion, Publicity - aren't working anymore. The golden age of advertising is over. It's time to add a new P - the Purple Cow. Purple Cow describes something phenomenal, something counterintuitive and exciting and flat-out unbelievable. In his new bestseller, Seth Godin urges you to put a Purple Cow into everything you build, and everything you do, to create something truly noticeable. It's a manifesto for anyone who wants to help create products and services that are worth marketing in the first place. Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Book recommendation: The Common Lawyer by Mark Gimenez

Andy Prescott is the most laid-back young lawyer in Austin, Texas. Specialising in traffic law, he operates from a small room above a ramshackle tattoo parlour. He rides a trail bike and spends way too much time drinking beer in the sunshine. Ambition has never been Andy's strong point - he prefers to take it easy. That is, until one of Texas's wealthiest men walks into his office. On the spot, billionaire Russell Reeves retains Andy as his lawyer and, in exchange for some easy legal work, pays him more money than he has ever earned before. Andy's life is transformed. But nothing comes for free. Russell is a desperate man whose sole aim is to save his eight-year-old son, Zach, who is dying from leukemia. He is prepared to do anything - even if it means putting Andy's life in danger... Available from Amazon.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Book recommendation: More Uncommon - by A.P. Herbert

The second of two volumes which explore the humorous side of English law, written by a former lawyer and independent MP. Whether writing about the possibility of Brigitte Bardot becoming an MP, or whether a cheque can be written on an egg, the author describes the absurdities of the legal system. Available from Amazon.