At the risk of being labelled a boring, specky intellectual, here’s a second consecutive book-related blog. While I was away, I read two really good books, both travel stories, and thought I’d tell you about them.
The first is Lost Cosmonaut by Daniel Kalder. It’s an account of his journeys to obscure autonomous republics of Russia, and his attempts to discover something of their dying cultures. Describing himself as an “anti-tourist”, he revels in the run-down, bleak places, curious people, and general post-communist hopelessness he encounters. The book has a dark, grim wit and fascinating insights into the histories of parts of Europe that most of us have probably never heard of.
The second is Attention All Shipping by Charlie Connelly, which describes his tour of the areas of the shipping forecast. I have absolutely no interest in ships or weather studies, but thoroughly enjoyed this tour of coastal areas around northwest Europe, from France to Norway to Iceland. Although it’s packed full of local and maritime history, it’s written in an easygoing, down to earth way, and Connelly has a wonderful, self-deprecating humour that made me laugh out loud lots. “Attention All Shipping” was the first book of his I have read, and I’ll definitely read more.