August 2020: Reading Round-up (Lockdown Edition 3)

Books I've read (or finished reading) in July and August 2020.
Books Finished in July and August 2020.

The latest one sentence summaries of the 11 books I’ve finished reading between the last round up in June 2020 and the end of August 2020.


John Maher “MoonLighting: Night Photography in the Outer Hebrides”: Not many words, but lots of fantastic night images by erstwhile Buzzcocks drummer, John Maher, all shot on his home island of Lewis/Harris. (More details about the work can be found at

Will Birch “Cruel to Be Kind: The Life & Music of Nick Lowe”: Really good biography of singer/songwriter/producer Lowe which provides a detailed portrayal of his career, particularly his peak years (around the time of Stiff Records), but running right through to the present day.

Akala “Natives: Race & Class in the Ruins of Empire”: This book was recommended by Loyle Carner, and it’s an excellent read: well-researched, and well-written; in one or two places things are a little bit more nuanced than portrayed, but this is a great place to start if you want to understand more about British (and American) history than is taught in the schools.

Carlo Petrini “Slow Food Nation: Why Our Food Should Be Good, Clean and Fair”: I went back to re-read this, and it’s probably even more pertinent today than it was when it first came out (in Italian) in 2005: much of the content ties in with climate change issues (food miles, monocultures, soil erosion etc.) as Petrini makes a compelling case for a new multidisciplinary science of gastronomy.

Mary Robinson “Climate Justice” A Man-made Problem With a Feminist Solution”: Highly readable (and relatable) collection of stories of people living on the front line of the effects of climate change, and the ingenious solutions they are developing for the problems it poses them.

Kathleen Jamie “Surfacing”: A fabulous collection of pieces about some of Jamie’s interactions with the natural world from Alaska to Tibet; the piece about Quinhagak in Alaska is particularly outstanding, and just makes you want to pack your bags and head there to see it for yourself.

Chris Frantz “Remain in Love”: If you’re a fan of Talking Heads, you’ll particularly enjoy this, as Frantz delves into the details of how the band came together, grew up in the time of punk/new wave, and subsequently split apart, together with his other work with wife Tina (Weymouth) in the Tom Tom Club and record production.


Harry Brett “Time To Win”: Dodgy goings-on in Great Yarmouth as a local businessman with fingers in many pies, not all of them legal, dies in suspicious circumstances, and his wife picks up the reins of his empire; the first in what looks like being a very good three-book series.

Geraldine Quigley “Music Love Drugs War”: A beautifully crafted exploration of the problems associated with the change from adolescence into adulthood in Derry during “The Troubles”, and how these play out among family and friends.

Daniel Defoe “A Journal of The Plague Year”: A fictional account of events in 1665 in and around London; with a strong factual base it has become highly relevant again with so many obvious parallels with 2020’s Coronavirus Pandemic.

Washington Irving “Tales of the Alhambra”: This classic book, which has been on my shelf for a long while, is partly a graphical depiction of Irving’s time in Granada, and partly a collection of fascinating stories and legends associated with the infamous Alhambra palace.