September 9, 2013

Holiday Reading Part One

I have read a lot of books over the summer, mostly while lying in a shady corner of the garden in France, but also while sheltering from the rain in Derbyshire. Here they all are:

Bad Pharma, by Ben Goldacre

This has been on my shelf for a long time, looking fat and slightly unwelcoming. I read it during the first couple of weeks of the holiday, before we went away anywhere; Bernard was probably playing Minecraft at the time. It was an alarming book to read, and made me feel deeply disillusioned with the state of evidence for anything, ever. Simce my induction to books about whitewash, with Naomi Klein’s No Logo, and going on to read Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science and Simon Singh’s Trick or Treatment, tales of consumerist corporate corruption should no longer surprise me, but this was the most chilling and large scale so far. The book concludes that drug companies are evil, the media are stupid, and change is so little-by-little that it’s barely noticeable.

Swimming Home by Deborah Levy

I picked this up because it was either recommended by someone (Lisa?) or reviewed somewhere, and zipped through it. It’s a dark tale in the style of light summer reading, but so not light: madness, nudity and poetry under french provincial skies.

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson

I picked this up from the bookshelf in our cottage in Derbyshire, replacing it with Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Stories (Wordsworth Special Editions). Everything else on the shelf was trash so I thought I’d try Ronson, not having read anything of his before. I was most entertained by his style, and disturbed by his content, and found it to be a good follow-up to Bad Pharma and a novel about nuttiness. The Psychopath Test asks whether it is okay, either on a clinical level or in the media, to define or describe people by their maddest characteristics. I’ll definitely be reading some more of his work.


17 thoughts on “Holiday Reading Part One

  1. Weirdly, the cover images don’t show up in Firefox or Chrome (or at least my versions thereof)

    They do work in IE though, which is even more surprising…

  2. [Fixed – added in some text links for those with FF and Chrome – no other changes made. 🙂 ]

  3. They worked fine in my Firefox, but I was hoping you’d get the text to sit along side the boxes!

  4. Not me, though it has been unread on my kindle for a long time now

  5. Sadly no, on that one I’m a bit stumped.
    It’s to do with it all being done in an iFrame, which makes things a bit more twattish, to be fair.

  6. How much better is that? Brilliant. I am going to try and use it as a template for Part Two, if I ever get around to writing it. Only 11 more books…

  7. They have now disappeared for me (chrome). They were there before. Is that the clever fix?

  8. They’re working for me in Chrome.

    Although I did find the initial issue was (for me) related to AdBlock Plus, which was hiding/blocking the images in Chrome and FF.

  9. It’s fine, I can imagine them. It’s just weird that they were there before.

  10. Well, you can do. It’s the fact they’re in weird iFrame things that is causing the issue (it triggers all kinds of adblockers etc.) so you could save the cover image and then have a link instead.

    Or, you know, send the list to your favourite happy (and bored) hacker, and he could get the images/links…

  11. The iFrames come from Amazon’s “link this product” html code. We can do without them.

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