This year I read two books again and again. At least three times straight all the way through and probably six or seven times by the time I read and re-read individual chapters. But, despite reading them repeatedly, I can’t list them among my favourite books of the year because, well… I wrote them.
In 2016 I co-wrote a Scottish legal textbook. This year the publisher asked for an English version and a second edition of the Scottish book.
From December 2018 to July 2019 I had to update and rewrite the first book to, first, remove all Scottish references and then include all English laws and regulations. And then, after finishing the English edition, converting it all back for Scotland.
I thought it would be easier than writing the book from scratch but it turned out to be much harder. It’s easy to juggle one ball when all you have to do is throw a ball from hand to hand. Now imagine juggling the same ball while trying to put your trousers on. That’s the same as writing a second edition. You try and keep the first but at the same time you’re trying to do something entirely different without embarrassing yourself.
So, for eight months I mostly read my own book. Even on long flights I would re-read chapters. So, my list of favourite books is mostly based on what I’ve read in the last few months and, in the case of my recommended read, one I read two weeks ago: Ronan Farrow’s ‘Catch & Release’.
Catch & Release is the story behind his research and eventual article about Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, which led to the #metoo movement. It’s a gripping and disquieting story of what power and money can do to people – and how both can be used to intimidate and manipulate politics, the press and the people around you.
Or, if you want something less cheerier to read, but equally brilliant, then I reccomend A Boy In The Water which I reviewed here.
Me – Elton John
I’m not a fan. Not my generation. But this is a cracking read about what happens when you become more famous than Elvis and what do you do when you can do anything you want.
Wild & Crazy Guys – Nick de Semlyen
The story of the biggest and best 80s American comedians (and Chevy Chase).
Ultraluminous – Katharine Faw
A Chuck Palahhuik novel if written by a woman. A nameless narrator, a hooker, drugs, a gun and sentences which are almost slogans.
Whatever random Jack Reacher I read on a plane
Couldn’t tell you it’s name but any novel which has Jack go to London and be told that he can’t bring a dangerous weapon only to reply with something like “You’ll have to ban me then because I’m a dangerous weapon!” is up there with the best of not just this year, but the decade. Cheese on toast on cheesy toast fantastic! Also I gave Jack Reacher a plug in Commercial Awareness for Lawyers. Now, if Lee Child is reading this, if you could return the favour and give Commercial Awareness for Lawyers a plug in the next Jack Reacher… 🙂