The plot against America by Philip Roth

I came across this book shortly after Trump came to power. An in-depth interview with the author was featured in the Guardian where the book (published in 2004) was described as prophetic of the current state of affairs in the US.

The book is set in the late 1930s and early 1940s and chronicles the ascent to power of Charles Lindbergh. Based on true facts and real people it explores what would have happened if a FDR lost the 1932 election and a government friendly to Hitler rose to power. Whilst the story was fascinating and thought-provoking a struggled a bit to keep up with Roth’s long sentences. I can see why Roth said of Trump that his vocabulary is about 73 words deep (which it is). The book also made me wonder about what is happening today in the world which we take for granted and what new developments are taking place which we think are ‘normal’ but might have bigger consequences.

Fascinating read but still not a huge Roth fan.

Genre: fiction
Subjects: History, hitler, trump

The Handmaid´s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Oof.  What a thorough and thought provoking book. I absolutely loved the writting, typical Atwood really and the pace at which the story unfolded. I enjoyed how it took the idea of woman as a vesel for breeding and the much argued sanctity of life from the conservative end of the spectrum and flipped it on its head.

The day I finished reading the book we watched Children of Men which explores similar themes but from a slightly different angle. Loved it

Genre: fiction
Subjects: feminism

The Sellout by Paul Beatty

An absolute delight to read. The book starts of in the hallowed halls of the US Supreme Court where our hero is on trial for re-introducing racial discrimination and taking a slave. Only our hero is a black man from LA who appears to be smoking pot in the court. What follows is a hilarious, thoughtful and tender treatise on issues of racial discrimination in the US. Thought provoking and laugh-out-loud funny.

Genre: fiction
Subjects: Racial relations

When Nietzsche wept by Irvin D. Yalom

ANDY:- A novel outlining the conversations of Dr Breuer and F. Nietzsche in 1880’s Vienna. Exploration of existenialism. (Again)

DAPHNE: This is the third or fourth time I read this book. It’s not so much about the story but the dialogue between Breuer and Nietzsche. Discussions about choosing ones life rather than letting others do the choosing and, my favourite, how a safe life is dangerous.

Genre: fiction
Subjects: philosophy

The Shah of Shahs by Ryszard Kapuściński

This was recommended to me by a dear colleague when I asked for books to read when travelling.

I did not know what to expect but they introduction outlining a journalist’s perspective in the life and times of the last Shah of Iran peaked my interest. It provides a fascinating account of Iranian politics which I was not aware of, written in a fast-paced manner. The story picks up a couple of days / weeks after the fall of the Shah and provides detailed accounts on the rise of the Shah’s family, his aspirations, plan to make Iran the Greatest Civilisation ever and the challenges he faced in the process.

Definitely on the Christmas gift list.

Genre: fiction
Subjects: History

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

Read over two flights totalling 17 hours. Very quick read, good pace and well written. J.K. Rowling knows how to manipulate the english language.

Left Daphne paranoid for a couple of days that someone’s going to attack her down a dark alley.



Genre: fiction
Subjects: Crime