The Book of Fate

The Book of Fate by Brad MeltzerA shooting, an assassin, an ex-president, an intriguing conspiracy. Half way through so far…

No wonder Brad Meltzer thanks George Dubya Bush in the beginning, he clearly has more knowledge of the secret service and US presidential aides than pretty much anyone on the planet. This story turned out be rather interesting and exciting one with well described and sympathetic characters and a good ending (for once), a most enjoyable read.

The Book of Fate by Brad Melzer

Mark Beaumont – The Man Who Cylced The World

Mark Beaumont - The Man Who Cylced The WorldThe Man Who Cylced The World
by Mark Beaumont

Great read, what an adventure, cyclng around the world by bike and with a world record deadline. That translates to pedaling 100miles a day on average over 18,000 miles, yes, crazy stuff. Really enjoyed Mark's descriptions of the places he went and people he met plus the scrapes/crashes he got into. The format of the book is also rather unique – it becomes nearly a blog style account by the end, which made a nice difference. Cycling through the Ukraine, Iran, Pakistan, India, Asia, Australia etc on his lonesome included staying in a random petrol station Mosque, sleeping under a road tunnel, waking up face to face with a huge spider, being kept in jails by the Pakistan police for his own protection whilst villagers peered in through a small window at him for hours on end  (my fave was when he whacked one of them so they'd go away, lol) and meeting the girl of his dreams and having to weigh up whether to travel with her or stay on target for the record. Guess it hepled that I'd been to quite a few of the countries he bikes through, brought back some great memories, but I think most people would enjoy this book. Mark Beaumont is a super adventurer, super athlete and this book a wicked read. Only wish I'd thought to attempt this record when I was 24! 😉

Andre Agassi – Open

Andre Agassi - Open

Open – By Andre Agassi

The autobiography of tennis legend and genius Andre Agassi, the only man in history to have won every slam (Australian, French, Wimbledon and US Open) plus the Olympic Gold medal plus year end number 1. A well written, highly interesting and entertaining read about the great man. A general and somewhat contraversial theme of the book is how he actually hates tennis, BUT cannot stay away from it, he always goes back for one last shot. My fave bit is probably the description of and continual references to The Dragon, the ball machine his fanatical dad made for the tennis court he built in their back garden to fire balls at 100mph at a 7 year old Andre, every day after school, ordering him to Hit Out In Front until the entire court was full of balls – this kinda explains Agassi's staggering hand-eye co-ordination (probably the best ever). That followed by the story of how his first match loss was to a cheating Jeff Tarrango as an 8 year old and how he never really forgot that, hehe. Agassi also mentions how he realised he was different from arch-rival Pete Sampras and goes on about some issues he has with the guy, which is a shame cos sadly he brought this to the court at Indian Wells at the Hit For Haiti exhibition. You woulda thought he would've gotten over this by publishing it for the world, but there you go. His wooing and eventual marriage to Steffi Graf is also described in detail and there are many other pleasant reading moments, his car .

I'd rate this as the best tennis autobiography there is, it's not my favourite, but it is the best.

The Lost Symbol

The Lost Symbol By Dan Brown

The third in the series of Dan Brown's ultra best sellers starring the mystery solving symbologist Robert Langdon. This one starts with Langdon being called to Washington DC and the severed hand of his friend Peter Solomon being discovered. A pursuit of who/what/how happened around the US captial city, largely concerning the masons <gasp> and the symbology involving them.

I did enjoy this book, it's quite page turner, like the previous books, it also gives an incredible insight to the masons and their esoteric order. The bad guy Malakh is also pretty cool at times, as some kind of tattooed maniac, intent on bringing down the masonic order. The book is quite a bit longer than the other two and doesn't quite match them in my view – it is very enjoyable, but does go on a bit. Mind you, Angels and Demons was cracking and The Da Vinci Code, well, maybe you pretend you're some special kind of literary critic who didn't like it, but that thing was staggeringly good and one tough act to follow.

No Identifiable Remains

No Identifiable Remains By John Tagholm

The story starts with a Channel Tunnel train crash! the Eurostar ploughs into a petrol tanker and half the coaches get destroyed in the explosion. Oliver Dreyfuss is on-board – a young, good looking expert chef with a hot career woman wife and promising restaurant owner, BUT all is not quite so rosey in the real world of Dreyfuss. Through (fate and) luck alone, Dreyfuss survives and wanders to the nearest town in a daze before the emergency services arrive. He has to make a decision to wander into the French sunset and start a new life or go back to his old one – he decides on option numero uno! From there we meet the new woman in his life, the real side of his insanely jealous career wife and other colourful characters.

This book was written by the brother of Wilton legend Roger Tagholm and hence why I ended up reading it. It is an entertaining and thrilling story, mixing emotions of past and present marvellously well, throwing the reader into vivid scenes of rural France and visiting the alpine region for a  terrible tragedy amongst other things. There are some rather graphic and shocking descriptions of Dreyfuss' 'ex'-wife's affair in there too! The end is also rather brilliant, despite me shouting OH NOOO very loudly during reading.

Books I’ve Read

These are the various books I’ve read whilst on my travels during 2004 and 2005. I’ve listed them in the order I read them or at least the order I think I read them in and also where I got them and my thoughts about them, as best my memory can recall.

Considering I got most of them second hand, they were surprisingly good.

If you are somewhat puzzled by my selection it may help to know that as a kid I never read any fiction books(it was a hard life), in fact I was told off at school because I hadn’t read anything in an entire term once! This meant I missed just about all the classics. So a few years ago I decided I really should start reading some of them and hence some of the choices below.