Books I’ve recently read

We’ve had a bit of loadshedding lately (this, if you are not from South Africa, is a friendly euphemism for having no power due to our power supplier being unable to meet required capacity). There are a lot of downsides to loadshedding if you are unprepared for it (no lights, no cooked food, no hot water, no Internet), but there is a positive too: you get given a block of time (2 hours in my case) during which you really cannot do very much at all. So you might as well read, guilt free. So that is what I did!

Some of the books I have read recently, that I would recommend:

On Writing, by Stephen King. This is always on the Top 10 list of books to read if you are an aspiring writer (ahem), and I finally downloaded it onto the Kindle. It’s amazing. The first half of the book has nothing to do with the art of writing at all, it is a simple and quick autobiography of how King got to the point of being a top selling author (spoiler alert: it seemed to come quite easy to him!). The second half is where the treasure lies: he tells you how to throw out adverbs, together with at least 10% of your first draft, and repeats that if you don’t actually write you won’t ever be a writer. His work ethic, and complete devotion to the written word comes through loud and clear, and is remarkable. I haven’t actually read any of his books before this one (not much into horror) but I was still saddened by the twist at the end of the book (you might be familiar with it if you know his story), and the resultant halt of his writing. It must pain him very much. I wish there was a Part II to this book, where he tells us about the last 20 years of his life (this book was published in 2002, I think).

Where the forest meets the stars, by Glendy Vanderah. An unexpected book, and one the very few I have ever pre-ordered after reading the first chapter. The book is about a very special 9 year old girl, who seemingly visits us from another planet and can only return after she has witnessed five miracles. So it starts out as a sort of fantasy. But the world she enters is real, and soon catches up with her. I enjoyed this book, and would give it 4/5.

Boredom Slayer, by Richard Mullholand. This is written by a fellow South African who is a really good speaker. This book is about how you too can become one of those. It’s a quick, concise read. It is genuine, to the point and inspiring. Back in the old days I loved to speak in public, a love that was borne from my time on the college debate team. Life got a bit in the way recently, and it has been a while since I have been on the stage. It’s also been a while since I have had anything interesting to say (sigh). But maybe that will change soon/one day and when it does I will revisit this book, for sure. If you speak publicly (stage or boardroom) I recommend you read this book. 5/5 .

Bad Blood, by John Carreyrou. An indepth story about the Theranos scandal. If you don’t know what the Theranos scandal is then this book might not be for you, but if you are interested in how a 20 year old fooled some of the cleverest people in Silicon Valley (and beyond) by hawking a fake product/service (full blood analysis from a single drop of blood), then this is a must read. The author is the one who uncovered and broke the original scandal for the Wall Street Journal, and he has written a well researched and frankly hair raising book. By all means watch the documentaries (Netflix), but the book is a worthwhile read too. 4.5/5.


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