Rob’s Reading Roundup

As I am now officially a commuter I’ve been mixing up my reading tastes a lot more. Here’s a look at what I’ve been reading lately.

We’ll start with some non-fiction, something I’ve found myself drawn to more now that my reading time has increased. First up is Hatching Twitter by Nick Bilton. This looks at the ins and outs of the founding of the company, including what now seems to be the obligatory falling out between the original founders. Bilton appears to have had plenty of access to those that were there and it was an intriguing and interesting look at a service that has become a daily part of many people’s lives.

The Everything Store by Brad Stone looks at the twenty year (can you believe that?!) history of Amazon and founder Jeff Bezos. It charts the beginnings of the company through to its massive expansion. As an American book it does look at the company slightly differently than we do over here – it’s seen as an American success story rather than the tax-dodging conglomerate monster that some see it as. Overall, it was an interesting insight and also shows what a horrible place it can be to work at.

Moving on to fiction, and after The Explorer and The Echo I was keen to read James Smythe’s latest book.  No Harm Can Come To A Good Man (which you can also hear me discussing on a recent episode of Hear Read This) looks at the invasive role of technology into our lives, in this case on how it affects a man running for President. It’s a book with big ideas and for the most part was a page-turning read. Unfortunately it never quite knew where it was going and by the conclusion I was left feeling somewhat disappointed. It felt a tad predictable and ultimately fell flat.

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris, a Man Booker shortlist title, was another that started strongly and ended unsuccessfully. What begins as a case of stolen identity ends with a long treatise on religion, while the humour I found myself so enjoying at the start soon began to wear thin. Of all the Booker nominated titles that I read this felt the weakest, and perhaps, after starting so strongly, was possibly the most disappointing.

Finally I got round to reading a very battered paperback copy of The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum. This was my first Ludlum and having never seen the films with Matt Damon, I went in knowing only a few tidbits of the plot. It turned out to be an entertaining if average read with high points of action and suspense coupled with moments of lethargy and even boredom as the complicated plot is slowly explained. It’s a book that twists and turns, certainly keeping you on your toes, except that sadly it is now rather dated and perhaps overshadowed by the successful film series.

So there’s a quick roundup of my reading. What’s interesting to note is that the real life stories were more interesting than the fictional ones…

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