The SMB Book thread

mikemanc

Winger
How to Build a Car - 8/10

Adrian Newey autobio in sorts - a potted history of the history of motor racing from his prospective. the Senna stuff is brief, as was their working relationship - but he makes the hidden bits of F1 and why they did what they did really interesting. gets a bit overly technical in parts but newey explains most of it and why they did what they did. warmed to the fella by the end, he's obviously a rather driven fella mind...
Have you read this:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Total-Comp...&qid=1547502082&sr=8-17&keywords=adrian+newey

I read this before Newey's book and found it really interesting if you have an interest in F1 but aren't a petrolhead. Basically a series of conversations between Brawn and Newey discussing a period of time in F1
 

errant

Striker
Have you read this:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Total-Comp...&qid=1547502082&sr=8-17&keywords=adrian+newey

I read this before Newey's book and found it really interesting if you have an interest in F1 but aren't a petrolhead. Basically a series of conversations between Brawn and Newey discussing a period of time in F1
Will check it out, seems like a decent read & the reviews seem in general favourable on Amazon (have added it to my wish list!)... looks like it’s Adam Parr & not Newey that Brawn is in conversation with... thanks for the heads up!
 


Fascinating look at the history of the Mafia and how it intersected with the American lot. Covers a lot of key events, well worth reading, 7/10



Written by a fellow SMBer, the worldwide adventures of a globetrotting consultant in the oil industry. Blunt, believable and often hilarious. 8/10
 

mikemanc

Winger
Will check it out, seems like a decent read & the reviews seem in general favourable on Amazon (have added it to my wish list!)... looks like it’s Adam Parr & not Newey that Brawn is in conversation with... thanks for the heads up!
I remembered it being someone at Williams, probably just in my mind because of the Newey book

Iggy Pop: Open Up And Bleed by Paul Trynka. 6/10.
Standard issue heritage rock biography. It’s best on The Stooges era. Not enuff on the Bowie/Berlin phase and flies through the solo stuff........most of which has nowt remarkable to comment on anyway. Finishes about ten years ago so no mention of last years Post Pop Depression album which would surely be in anyone’s Iggy top ten albums.
Anyway he doesn’t come across as the nicest bloke, using all n sundry then casting em aside but that may be the only way to last in his occupation of choice.
Have you seen American Valhalla, documentary about the making of Post Pop Depression? It's all a bit of a suck up to Iggy so nothing earth shattering but an easy enough watch. During that he admits to being a selfish person and seems to recognise that things might have been a bit better/easier if he hadn't.
 
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Monty Pigeon

Striker
Omon Ra by Victor Pelevin 9/10
A satire about the Soviet space program. Two young idealists sign up as cosmonauts, and discover that the space program is not as advanced as it claims to be (one of them will be required to ride a modified bike). There was one chapter in the middle that almost lost me, but then it got back on track and sustained the tragicomedy through to the end.



Zinky Boys by Svetlana Alexievich 10/10
A totally different take on the USSR; one of the books that earned Alexievich the Nobel Prize for Literature. The Soviet-Afghan War told in the words of the Soviets who fought in it, and the bereaved they left behind. Full of incredible detail. (The nickname 'Zinky' derives from the Zinc coffins the dead soldiers were sent home in.)

 

Lexingtongue

Striker
Omon Ra by Victor Pelevin 9/10
A satire about the Soviet space program. Two young idealists sign up as cosmonauts, and discover that the space program is not as advanced as it claims to be (one of them will be required to ride a modified bike). There was one chapter in the middle that almost lost me, but then it got back on track and sustained the tragicomedy through to the end.



Zinky Boys by Svetlana Alexievich 10/10
A totally different take on the USSR; one of the books that earned Alexievich the Nobel Prize for Literature. The Soviet-Afghan War told in the words of the Soviets who fought in it, and the bereaved they left behind. Full of incredible detail. (The nickname 'Zinky' derives from the Zinc coffins the dead soldiers were sent home in.)

I love anything Soviet. Will look in to these. You read Big Green Tent? I have it in my pile to read.
 

jacko100

Striker
Luna New Moon - Ian McDonald 8/10



Really good read, anyone who like the expanse books would be into this I would think. Halfway through the second book and will definitely be buying the third on release day. Filled in the time a bit waiting for expanse book 8
 

Monty Pigeon

Striker
I love anything Soviet. Will look in to these. You read Big Green Tent? I have it in my pile to read.
I haven't. Looks interesting, and is now on my list. I'm preparing to do some travelling in the former USSR, having not been back since two trips I made in my teens in the 1980s (hence my avatar, which is a photo I took of a banner in Alma-Ata back then). I've read quite a bit of Russian literature, but am now catching up on a few Soviet and post-Soviet authors.

Luna New Moon - Ian McDonald 8/10



Really good read, anyone who like the expanse books would be into this I would think. Halfway through the second book and will definitely be buying the third on release day. Filled in the time a bit waiting for expanse book 8
I've read the first, thought it was excellent. It's being developed as a potential TV series - Game of Thrones in space.
 

jacko100

Striker
I've read the first, thought it was excellent. It's being developed as a potential TV series - Game of Thrones in space.
Interesting, hadnt heard that, would be good. Though not sure what they'll do with the copious amount of casual sex going on!

edit: is this still happening? Just googled it there, seems all the articles about it are from 2015 and the screenwriter attached to it is now doing the expendables tv series
 
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Monty Pigeon

Striker
Interesting, hadnt heard that, would be good. Though not sure what they'll do with the copious amount of casual sex going on!

edit: is this still happening? Just googled it there, seems all the articles about it are from 2015 and the screenwriter attached to it is now doing the expendables tv series
These things can take an age. They might wait until the third book's out before giving the green light.

I love anything Soviet. Will look in to these. You read Big Green Tent? I have it in my pile to read.
I see from my Twitter timeline that this is going to be shown as a round-the-clock installation in Paris, starting next week.

 
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Been a while since I posted on here, so I've read a shitload since last time.



The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power, Daniel Yergin - 8/10
The history and politics of Oil from the 1800's to now. If you want to understand how the world works, then this is a pretty good book to help you find out. It's fucking long like, and can be hard going at times, but it was definitely worth it. The US and the UK are not well liked by much of the world, and you'll find a lot of reasons for that in this book.

The New Russia, Mikhail Gorbachev - 6/10
I'd read a lot about Russia, but always from the perspective of a westerner, or somebody who had an axe to grind. So I decided to see what old Gorby had to say and find some balance. Some of it might have been lost in the translation from Russian, but I would say that he isn't a natural writer. I was looking for an insight into modern Russia and the failing Russian-West relations, but most of it was a defence of his policies. Lots of "I told you so".

Women and Power, Mary Beard - 5/10

In truth this isn't really a book. It's a couple of essays/lectures and it's very short. The historical context is pretty interesting, but she never gets into enough depth. I like Mary Beard, and I'll get round to reading her book on ancient Rome, but this one was clearly rushed out to catch the #metoo movement. I hope she goes back to the topic and does it properly.

How Democracies Die, Steven Levitzky - 8.5/10
I thought this was pretty good. It takes a look back at examples from history of democracies falling apart, and how it happened. The main takeaway is that it usually happens slowly, piece by piece, rather than errupting out of a violent coup, and there are certain characteristics which tend to keep reappearing - rejecting established rules of democracy, attacking laws, denying legitimacy of political opponents, tolerating or even encourage violence, curtailing civil liberties. Well written and well researched, and some pretty interesting theories. Obviously a book like this ins't going to let the Trump administration pass by, so he takes the lessons learnt and applies them to what we are seeing in the US.


Asian Waters, The struggle over the South China Sea and the Strategy of Chinese Expansion, H Hawksley - 7/10
The next major world conflict is probably going to happen as a result of something in the South China Sea. The Chinese consider it their back yard, and they're aggresively taking control and trying to push the USA and its allies out. This is a pretty good analysis of the situation.

The New Arab Wars, Marc Lynch - 8/10
In simple terms, this book analyses why the Arab Spring ultimately failed, and almost all of the countries ended up worse off than before. The main argument proposed here is that while the US has usually been the most guilty of interfering in other countries' affairs, and fucking shit up, on this occasion it has taken a back seat in fucking shit up, and left it to the Saudis, Qatar, Turkey and Iran to do it - basically each country backing different groups in each civil war.

Saudi Inc. Ellen Ward, 9/10
The history Saudi Arabia, which is basically the history of Oil in Saudi Arabia. If you want to know why most 3rd world oil producers got fucked over (Iraq, Nigeria, Bolivia, Venezuela, Iran etc), but the Saudi's didn't then this book will tell you. Smart fuckers, the Saudis. The Saudis planned, right from the start, to take control of their oil at some point. And they did.

The Establishment. And How they Got Away With It, Owen Jones 9/10

A surprisingly high rating from me since I find Owen Jones pretty annoying. But he wrote a good book here. Obviously it has Owen's leftwing slant on, well, absolutely everything, but nevertheless he makes a lot of good arguments. Whether you are left or right, I think it's impossible not to get angry at some of the things he covers. I'm compelled to read his other book about Chavs at some point.

That took my 2018 tally to 39 books. This year, I've managed to get 3 done already.

Red Notice, Bill Browder - 7/10
The author is a US/British businessman who made his money in Russia. He upset a lot of people over there, and to this day Russia keep requesting that Interpol apprehend him at border crossings. It's part autobiography, part exposé of the shit that goes on in Russia. Browder is most famous for lobbying the US government into passing the Magnitsky Act - named after his Russian lawyer who was beaten to death by prison guards. It's a good read, and some of the details (if true) are pretty shocking.

Tiger Woods, Jeff Benedict - 6/10
Probably the most exhausting biography of the man. Starting from the beginning and pretty much a "how to" manual for creating a sporting god (and a pretty shitty human being at the same time). The first half of the book is good, it's pretty interesting to see the lengths Earl Woods went to to turn his son into a champion. The second half is a rehashing of tabloid sizzle stories about his sex addiction, and wasn't really what I was after. Sports biographies definitely don't need to be 500+ pages long.

Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom - 6/10
So this is apparently quite a well known book written by a journalist who goes back to see his old uni professor - Morrie - who is dying of ALS. The author meets with Morrie every Tuesday, and turns "the wisdom of the dying" into this book. I suppose you could say it's Morrie's idea of what the meaning of life is. The subject, Morrie, comes across well and there's no doubt that there are good life lessons to be learnt here, but it did feel a bit overly sentimental and schmaltzy. Maybe I'm just cynical, or maybe the author didn't do a great job turning Morrie's story into a book. It's one of those books that you feel guilty about not giving a good rating, but oh well.
 
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A Man With One of Those Faces - Caimh McDonnell 8/10
Think I've probably mentioned this book on the thread previously but as it's free on the Kindle and has been optioned for TV, thought I'd mention it again.
Free Bunny

Similar to early Brookmyre (or any of my books;)), a good mix of action and humour. A cracking tale with interesting characters, including Bunny McGarry who becomes the feature of the trilogy.
Looking forward to seeing it on TV.
 
A Man With One of Those Faces - Caimh McDonnell 8/10
Think I've probably mentioned this book on the thread previously but as it's free on the Kindle and has been optioned for TV, thought I'd mention it again.
Free Bunny

Similar to early Brookmyre (or any of my books;)), a good mix of action and humour. A cracking tale with interesting characters, including Bunny McGarry who becomes the feature of the trilogy.
Looking forward to seeing it on TV.
That's on my 'to read' list as it's downloaded to the Kindle. I can't help but chuckle at Book 4 of the Dublin Trilogy.
 

Monty Pigeon

Striker
Normal People by Sally Rooney 9/10
This book's had a lot of hype, with a lot of commentators making it out to be something new under the sun. It isn't really. It's just a 21st Century variation of the marriage plot - a will-they-won't-they account of a relationship between two students in Dublin.

 
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War of the Wolf by Bernard Cornwell 8/10
The eleventh in Cornwell's Saxon Stories series (basis for The Last Kingdom on TV). Uhtred is getting old but, as ever, there are rumblings throughout the land - rebellions in Mercia, a battle for succession to the throne of Wessex (and thus East Anglia and Mercia) and Norsemen sitting things up in Cumbria (Cumbraland as it's known in the books). The series is getting a touch formulaic but is still a good read.
 

CPK1979

Midfield
Just finished “Mr Pikes” about the guy who runs the famous hotel in Ibiza.

6 - 10 some interesting stories for all you Queen fans out there.
 

Biscuitz

Midfield
Normal People by Sally Rooney 9/10
This book's had a lot of hype, with a lot of commentators making it out to be something new under the sun. It isn't really. It's just a 21st Century variation of the marriage plot - a will-they-won't-they account of a relationship between two students in Dublin.

Got that lined up next. Reading The Last right now
 


An excellent book. Honest, moving in places and very warts and all - hilarious in parts too. Probably the most thorough and realistic portrait of Big 'Ed I've come across. Highly recommended.



Utterly, utterly ridiculous book. Falls into a couple of cliche traps, but it is entertaining enough all the same. Some of the decisions he makes will give you the urge to leap into the pages and give him a slap, but his personality and the ridiculous situations reminded me of a dear friend of mine who is now deceased, so I found myself enjoying it all the same.
 

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