Posts in books
Racing Through the Dark

David Millar’s autobiography was one of the first to give amn in depth account of doping in cycling. Millar doesn’t spare himself one bit, providing great insight into not only how doping works, but how it feels to compete and win, yet feel like a fraud.

Should Read

Undisputed Truth

I was unconvinced that Mike Tyson’s autobiography would be worth reading until I saw a review, saying that if ‘even 10% is true’ it’s the most sensational sports book of the year.

It’s a harrowing read and makes you understand how violence became him. It’s not celebratory in tone, you feel sympathy for Tyson, even as you find him repellent.

Must Read

I Am Zlatan

Footballer’s autobiographies are often awful - this is a riot. A refreshingly honest, revealing and amusing run through Ibrahimovic’s life, from poor immigrant family to global superstar.

Should Read

Sevens Heaven

An amazing insight into one of world sport’s hotspots, the Pacific Islands make up a huge part of rugby’s playing population but the casual fan knows little about them.

Ben Ryan coached Fiji to Olympic Gold, becoming a national legend by harnessing the ability of some of rugby’s best players and athletes. There are hilarious and poignant stories woven throughout.

Must Read

The Secret Race

A now well known but at the time revelatory, self-lacerating expose of cycling’s doping culture which lead to the dethroning of Lance Armstrong, Tyler Hamilton lays into the sport, his former teammate and himself, describing exactly how drugs aid and abet the world’s best cyclists.

Fascinating stuff - the bit where he describes receiving a transfusion will make your own blood run cold.

Must Read

Barbarian Days

Pulitzer Prize winning memoir, following the author around the world in pursuit of waves, surfing provides the backdrop to William Finnegan’s life, even as he moves from a carefree world tour to covering conflicts for the New Yorker.

Thoughtful, enlightening and meditative, this is pretty technical during the surfing passages but the writing is so good that you’ll love it.

Must Read.

Less

Chucklesome and touching retelling of the Odyssey, as the middle-aged author circles the globe to avoid his ex’s wedding.

Should Read

booksBen Mercerfiction
This is Going to Hurt

The bestselling Diaries of a Junior Doctor. Funny and emotional, it’s enjoyable but not a great surprise for anyone who has any knowledge of the health service. Very readable.

Could Read

American Kingpin

Phenomenal telling of the true story behind the Silk Road - the dark web drug marketplace - set up by Ross Ulbricht. Follows both his journey and the authorities as they try to make sense of a new business that they don’t understand or initially even respect.

Ulbricht essentially manages everything that society claims to value; innovation, riches, a cult following; but can’t tell anyone about it. Pacy, compulsive and thought provoking.

Must Read

The Third Door

Engaging and amusing tale of a college student who gains access to some of the world’s most famous thought leaders and celebrities. Sadly he fails to elicit any great insights from them.

Don’t Read

Be More Pirate

Manifesto for our lives, living in a more piratical fashion to achieve greater freedom and innovation. A philosophy backed up by centuries of examples.

Should Read

Feral

Argument for the rewilding of our countryside, backed by statistics, research and illustrated by the author’s personal adventures. I was largely convinced.

Could Read

Lullaby

A ‘why dunnit’ touching on race, power and gender through the tale of a nanny working for a Parisian family with young children.

Should Read

booksBen Mercerfiction
Adele

Harrowing story about a French women addicted to extramarital sex. Short and very well written but bleak stuff. Preferred Lullaby.

Could Read

booksBen Mercerfiction
An American Marriage

A husband is wrongfully imprisoned - the narrative deals with the fallout of this event from 3 perspectives. Really well written, engrossing and believable.

Should Read

booksBen Mercerfiction
Skin

A virus has left the world in a post-apocalyptic state, the narrator is a mother who lives in the same house but divided from her family. One day she goes on her neighbourhood watch patrol and sees someone roaming without protection from the airborne virus.

A good premise, let down by a complete lack of resolution as well as some heavy-handed sermonising about social media and living online.

Don’t read

booksBen Mercerfiction
My Absolute Darling

Beautifully written but harrowing tale of a girl simultaneously brought up to be both self-sufficient and horribly dependent on her abusive father.

Must Read

booksBen Mercerfiction