Author: Colin Marks

  • Vladimir by Julia May Jonas

    Vladimir is a book of three parts. The first, introduces John and his unnamed wife, literary academics, and the writing is gorgeous. The wife’s wit and intelligence shine – she discusses the #MeToo movement, her husbands need for sexual attention from the younger students, and what it means to grow old and how that shapes […]

  • Review: On Opium: Pain, Pleasure, and Other Matters of Substance by Carlyn Zwarenstein

    On Opium is an interesting series of essays discussing the use of opium and other hard drugs, both for recreational and medical/pain relieving purposes. Some sections were eye-opening, such as how the decriminalisation of these drugs, as with the alcohol prohibition in 1920s America, causes unwanted consequences and forces otherwise good people into crime and […]

  • Review: Who by Geoff Smart and Randy Street

    Excellent book, covering all aspects of recruitment. Very American (UK here) and very boardroom focused, but valuable observations that would work for all positions across an organisation. The fourth chapter, Select, discusses how to structure interviews, and that would be worth reading for candidates and recruiters alike. See review on Goodreads.

  • Review: The Importance of Being Interested: Adventures in Scientific Curiosity by Robin Ince

    I’ll start by saying I like Robin Ince, he’s a great co-host on Infinite Monkey Cage, and his intelligence and humour are normally engaging. Unfortunately, his book on being interested, just wasn’t, well, interesting. The book is about science and curiosity, but it’s incredibly rambling. Ideas aren’t pursued before he spins off. He just gets […]

  • Review: The Quiet Whispers Never Stop by Olivia Fitzsimons

    On the face of it, The Quiet Whispers Never Stop has a very simple story, but the plotting and execution make this a stunning literary debut by Olivia Fitzsimons. Set amidst the anger and distrust at the peak of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, relationships within a dysfunctional family are explored over several timelines and […]

  • Review: This One Sky Day by Leone Ross

    Magical realism pulled me in my late 20s. Being a huge fan of Neil Gaiman’s writing, it wasn’t a big leap to those South American writers who developed the genre – Márquez, Borges, Rulfo, etc. The One Sky Day by Leone Ross is a welcome returned to a style that I’ve missed! The book is […]

  • Review: The End of Bias by Jessica Nordell

    Bias is a interesting subject. While some people try to remove bias from their lives, which is the main topic of Jessica Nordell’s End of Bias, others are embracing it. Fox News, social media, etc, polarise society by reinforcing bias and prejudice. So while it’s great that many of the case studies in the book […]

  • Review: Chief of Staff: Notes from Downing Street

    Gavin Barwell, the author and narrator, was a Conservative MP and housing minister who after losing his seat in Theresa May’s snap election, was brought deeper into the government by being appointed her Chief of Staff. My political views aren’t entirely aligned with his – I’ve never voted Conservative and am very unlikely ever to […]

  • Review: Somersett: Benjamin Franklin and the Masterminding of American Independence by Phillip Goodrich

    This is a beast of an audiobook – 14 hours of dense facts, made easier to digest with some well acted dramatisation. The book follows the schemes of Benjamin Franklin, how he manipulated the North and the South, the British, the French, and the Dutch, all because of his dislike of the Penn family and […]

  • Review: The High House by Jessie Greengras

    The High House is another climate change fictionalisation – better than most, but still with its flaws. Better because the writing is gorgeous. Sparsely written bite-sized sections, the prose exudes urgency and desperation. That stylisation worked well, the characters racing towards the impending doom, but it worked only up to a point. With writing that […]

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