I have always been a reader. I devour books which is not necessarily a good thing although, due to insomnia, I am happy to re-read a book if necessarily. One of the few disadvantages of living in France is not being able to wander into a bookshop whenever I am in need of a good book (an English bookshop, obviously!).
Fortunately, friends coming to stay nearly always bring out a book or two for their holiday reading and are kind enough to leave them behind when they leave - we are not too proud to accept second, or even third, hand books! And of course Amazon, that wonder of on-line bookshops, is another source - I sometimes wonder if it's our custom that keeps Amazon going! As a result of the postal charges we tend to buy several books at a time so we go from famine to plenty and back to famine again where reading matter is concerned.
At the moment I am reading John Simpson's "Not Quite the World's End: A Traveller's Tale". It's strange to think that Simpson was reading the news when I was too young to watch it but there we are! Unlike Richard Baker (remember him?) who retired a number of years ago, Simpson is a name that I have grown up with. This book is a wonderful series of sound bites - except of course they are chapters - on the places he has been sent to by the BBC. I don't know if he's always been outspoken but it seems as though he's got to a point where it no longer matters. He doesn't hesitate to voice his opinion regardless of what his employer (the BBC) or the government think. He has found a new lease of life, quite literally, in the birth of his son Rafe and is straightforward and honest about this changing his view on the things he reports on - most notably the war in Iraq. The Traveller's Tales are not written in chronological order; rather they are are chapters on different countries or parts of the world. War zones are his stamping ground and he certainly makes you realise that reporting from Baghdad is not a cushy number.
By chance my husband is reading a book by a good friend of John Simpson and another traveller: Ranulph Fiennes' "Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know". I've read about some of his earlier adventures and this one is next on my list. Frankly, the sort of places Fiennes goes to are lacking in one of my must-haves: warmth - not heat necessarily but above zero generally! However, I also have a sense of adventure and this is what appeals to me.
There is one more book that I want to mention here: Aran Ralson is not a natural writer and never intended to write "Between a Rock and a Hard Place"; but then again he never intended to have to cut off his own arm. He is a climber and a rock fell on his arm trapping him. After several days and suffering badly from de-hydration and hunger he knew that he had just one chance to survive: cut off his wrist. He explains it all...in detail. This is the story of how it happened, why it happened, how he survived plus an amusing conversation with the nurse in the hospital who wanted to give him an injection. If you haven't read it already I highly recommend it. It must come with a warning: if you are squeamish (and perhaps even if you are not!) you will squirm!
All of these books are available (from Amazon) in the Grand Gennetay Bookshop or you can click on the image(s) below and be taken direct to Amazon.