You’ll find all the posts in the Scribbles category below.

The Orwell Prize winner 2020 goes to…

finished the last hour of Amelia Gentleman's The Windrush Betrayal this morning as I ran on the western fringes of the Howgills. I was coming off Arant Haw and down towards Seat Knott. It is not very summery at the moment. The baking hot drought...

June 2020 reading list

ell it was a much better month than May and I found my groove again. There are some real gems here that would have me enthusing in any given month. I'll try to tackle them individually with posts in the coming weeks. Here's the June list. Don't Be...

May 2020 reading list

ere it is, the May reading list. It was a little bit impacted by COVID-19 as I did, just ever so slightly, lose my focus and I was finding it harder to concentrate. Some of these are, as a result, more varied and rather less academic. Proust and...

April 2020 reading list

ere's the April reading list. I'm catching up after a busy COVID-19 period so haven't written about these individually. Criminal by Tom Gash The Last Crossing by Brian McGilloway Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni...

March 2020 reading list

etter late that never, here's the March reading list. Just in time for the end of April. It all coincided with full COVID-19 busy-ness so has had to wait a while. Here are the books for the past month: Hired by James Bloodworth° American Overdose...

The Growth Delusion by David Pilling

The Growth Delusion by David Pilling

This book is about GDP. Gross Domestic Product. It might not seem like the most auspicious of topics but Pilling pulls us along into a fascinating journey through economics, climate change, and happiness. GDP is a single number that has come to dominate our lives in a staggering way…

American Overdose: The Opioid Tragedy in Three Acts by Chris McGreal

American Overdose: The Opioid Tragedy in Three Acts by Chris McGreal

For me, there wasn’t any getting over the sheer of horror of this book. It unflinchingly portrays the drug industry in all its absolute criminal neglect. Looming large is Purdue Pharma who built their business up from the humble origins with the Sackler brothers into a billion-dollar corporation…

Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain by James Bloodworth

Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain by James Bloodworth

This book details Bloodworth’s experiences as he tours through various low paid jobs in England. He starts working in an Amazon warehouse in the Midlands where he works as a ‘picker’ with a GPS tracker and under near constant surveillance. The work seems gruelling…

Why We Get the Wrong Politicians by Isabel Hardman

Why We Get the Wrong Politicians by Isabel Hardman

This is another book that feels like it doesn’t have a name that entirely reflects the content and is just a little too click-baity but that shouldn’t stand in the way of what is a very lively and informative read. Hardman does cover a lot of ground and it’s a largely sympathetic portrayal of our politicians.

Orwell Long List 2019

out of 15 books read. have, rather belatedly, given the 2020 list will likely appear next month, embarked on a small project to read, reflect, and write about all the books on the Orwell Long List from 2019. There are 15 of them and I will add...

February 2020 reading list

quiet month here on the blog, especially notable when the last post was January's reading list... I've been busy enough reading and here are the books for the past month: Watching the Door: A Memoir 1971-78 by Kevin Myers Pills, Powder, and Smoke...

January 2020 reading list

Nothing too complicated about this. As usual there is a mix of audiobooks, ebooks, and good old fashioned hardcopy. Here are the books I’ve got through in January 2020…

Narconomics by Tom Wainwright

Narconomics by Tom Wainwright

Narconomics has been on my reading list for a long time now and I’m sorry I didn’t get to it sooner. It’s a sharp analysis, informed and informative, and I felt like it took a tremendous amount away from it. It reinforced some important points…

Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow

Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow

Harvey Weinstein is appearing on television regularly as his trial continues. He looks broken and frail, a shell of a man, but I find it easy to harden my heart and watch, with grim satisfaction, some semblance of the justice process playing out…

The Ascent of Nanda Devi by HW Tilman

The Ascent of Nanda Devi by HW Tilman

There are a few figures in the 20th century with as remarkable a story as HW Tilman.° He will be well known to anybody who has spent time working through any of the fine volumes on mountains and exploration. It won’t be long before your attention is drawn to the books…

January Debrief — The Political Doctor

My Debrief for the January 2020 is available on the BJGP website.° It was an odd one to write and it already feels like a long time ago. The lag with monthly publication always leaves me slightly disorientated when articles are published. I’m working ahead and…

On Immunity: An Innoculation by Eula Bliss

On Immunity: An Innoculation by Eula Bliss

This is a sensitive exploration of immunity and vaccines, that occasionally digresses and certainly doesn’t follow the main thoroughfares of the scientific highways. It’s more like a version that takes the scenic road, meandering through the countryside, ending up at the same destination, but offering a very different experience for the traveller…

Bad Samaritans by Ha-Joon Chang

Bad Samaritans by Ha-Joon Chang

I’ve read a number of books about economics in the past year or so. They have, undeniably, been written by economists who would self-identify as left wing and who are, on various levels, putting forward arguments to refute neoliberalism…

Strava update for 2019

Strava update for 2019

Here, apropos of not all that much, are my Strava stats for 2019. I’m fairly diligent about recording all my activity on Strava and I find it a convenient way to monitor how much exercise I’m getting…

December 2019 reading list

Here are the books I’ve got through in December 2019. There are certainly more than usual as there are several shorter volumes here. And, I had some leave as well so I hared through a few more then…

Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness by William Styron

Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness by William Styron

This is only a short book but it is a harrowing tale of one man’s plunge into the abyss of depression. I picked it up via a comment in Christopher Hitchen’s autobiography. Styron spends quite a bit of time emphasising just how utterly inexpressible depression is…

The Gentle Art of Tramping by Stephen Graham

The Gentle Art of Tramping by Stephen Graham

It may be approaching the centenary since its publication but this small hardback book from 1926 is a treat. One shouldn’t place aesthetics over content when it comes to a book but Bloomsbury have got the package just right. The woodcut style cover and the heft…

Understanding colour blindness

I was talking about colour blindness again today. As I said, it’s a topic that I’m prone to going off on. I’d been drafting some rough ideas and a few paragraphs for the book° on the train down to London and I had been thinking about how other people perceive colour blindness…

Purple skies and pink elephants

Purple skies and pink elephants

I do love talking about colour blindness. You can’t be in conversation with me too long before I’ll raise the topic and I suspect most of my work colleagues know about it. They are very generous about making accommodations when we are in presentations…

The pleasure of unexpected snow

The pleasure of unexpected snow

It was, completely unexpectedly, and rather joyfully, snowy today. I stumbled out of bed in the half-light and was surprised to see snow nestling, Dickensian style, on the skylight window. Maybe I just hadn’t really been paying attention to the forecast…

Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

This is a slim volume, made up of seven essays, by Solnit. The first, and most well known, is the 2008 titular essay that, while not using the term itself, helped inspire the recognition of ‘mansplaining’. The key passage, summing up the concern, is here…

Letters to a Young Contrarian by Christopher Hitchens

Letters to a Young Contrarian by Christopher Hitchens

I have highlighted a remarkable number of passages in this book and it still feels like it glanced off the surface, like some wayward missile with too low a trajectory and too much speed. With Hitchens as his best they rush at you with tremendous velocity and force…

Missing the Anthropocene point

Missing the Anthropocene point

The advert on the back of Private Eye this week features a watch from the company, Christopher Ward. The watch is the C65 Anthropocene and it comes in at £995 in its cheapest version.° Apparently: “Inspired by the Scottish Opera’s ‘Anthropocene’, this…

More on email – geeking out with MailMate

More on email – geeking out with MailMate

One of my basic beliefs about email is that the key to success is to be online for the minimum possible time. You treat it the same as a physical mailbox. You wouldn’t stand beside your letterbox doing the work that was received in the letters…