I am resident of Sydney but have travelled widely including a two year stint living in the USA. My favourite literary genres are history and biography in the field of non-fiction plus any good novel. My key guide for identifying quality is literary reviews. They help to sort the wheat from the chaff.
I have been meaning to make a start on Robert Caro’s massive four volume biography of Lyndon Johnson for some time. Eventually, I had to bite the bullet. I only wish that I had taken that bite earlier!
It is easy to be intimidated by such a work as that undertaken by Robert Caro. Volume One, “The Path to Power” is some 882 pages in length. Yet, it is so well written. It is a pleasure to read. Caro has produced a masterpiece.
More fascinating that the text itself is the character that it reveals of Lyndon Baines Johnson. Here is the ultimate politician. From his time at school, through his college years and then as a junior congressman, Johnson was always playing… Read more
“Mortality” is a very slim book containing the musings on an approaching death. To the end, Christopher Hitchens remained the master polemicist.
Throughout his life, Hitchens either enraged or engaged his readers. I was in the latter camp. He had strong views on matters political and religious. He was never, repeat never, afraid to argue his point. Like or hate him, the world needs more people like Christopher Hitchens.
“Mortality” is never maudlin. It simply consists of Hitchens’ observations about his approaching death. He is stoic and does not fall to faith along the lines of there being no atheists in foxholes. Indeed, in Hitchens’ own words: “If I… Read more
“Waking Giant” is a curious book. At times, I was riveted to the narrative, while, at other times, I was almost bored. A strange mix.
David Reynolds has endeavoured to write a broad history of America from the time of the end of the War of 1812 until the nation is on the cusp of the Civil War. The reader sees the nation from the presidency of James Monroe until the imminent election of Abraham Lincoln. This was a watershed era in America’s history. The nation was truly a waking giant as it slowly shed off its reliance or dependence on Britain and struck out on its own. We are introduced to the Monroe Doctrine and the concept of Manifest Destiny. In the background, however,… Read more
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Dracula by Bram Stoker