December 2019: Reading Round-up

Books I've read (or finished reading) in November and December 2019.
The books I’ve been reading in the last two months.

The latest one sentence summaries of the books I’ve read between the last round up in October and the end of December 2019.


bauhaus-archive berlin & magdalene droste “bauhuas”: An excellent updated comprehensive insight into the workings of the Bauhaus from its opening in 1919 to its closure in 1933, that is jam-packed with photographs of the people and their creations.

Fiona MacCarthy “Walter Gropius: Visionary Founder of the Bauhaus”: MacCarthy, one of Britain’s best biographers, explores the fascinating life and times of Gropius before, during and after the Bauhaus, at great length.

Bernard Cribbins “Bernard Who?”: Written in an easy to read, conversational style, this is a hugely enjoyable compilation of anecdotes, rather than a “conventional” autobiography, and has lots of “Well, I never knew that!” moments.

Steve Brusatte “The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs”: The dinosaurs never really died out–birds are the ancestors of dinosaurs–and Brusatte presents an insightful exploration of how the dinosaurs came and ultimately went, based on the most recent scientific evidence.

John Blashford-Snell “Something Lost Behind the Ranges”: Brilliant autobiographical book covering the life and times of intrepid explorer Colonel John Blashford-Snell, the founder of Operation Drake, Operation Raleigh, and the Scientific Exploration Society; strap in for a rollercoaster ride that is way more exciting than anything Indiana Jones ever did!

Ron Ferguson “Black Diamonds and the Blue Brazil”: Acknowledged by many as a classic (a recently updated edition is available), Ferguson offers something like a social history of Cowdenbeath, the (former) mining town, and the football club, with all the inherent highs and lows.

Jeff Connor “A Season with Britain’s Worst Football Team”: Connor presents an outsider’s view of a season with East Stirlingshire FC, although many of the episodes could be applied to several clubs in the lower leagues in Scottish football.


D.H. Lawrence “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”: Yes, the infamous one, revisited before embarking on the historical novel about the real Lady Chatterley (see below).

Annabel Abbs “Frieda: The Original Lady Chatterley”: Very well-researched piece of historical fiction that offers lots of interesting observations into the life and times of the woman who provided the character for the real Lady Chatterley.

Halldor Laxness “Independent People”: Classic tale of life as a rural Icelander–translated from the Icelandic by J.A. Thompson from Berwick-on-Tweed–as the main protagonist (Bjartur of Summerhouses) struggles to make his own way through life and all the trials and tribulations it hurls at him.

Andrea Camilleri “The Overnight Kidnapper”: Another fantastic tale of Inspector Salvo Montalbano (and his band of merry men) this time battling to solve the case of a series of short term kidnappings in which there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme of reason to connect the crimes… or is there?


Simon Armitage “The Unaccompanied”: 2017s brilliant collection by the inimitable new Poet Laureate, dealing with the issues of a world that is probably in even more turmoil now than it was just a couple of years ago.