You can tell a lot about a person by quickly scanning their bookshelves, almost as much as you can by listing their friends, their musical or artistic tastes or their leisure pursuits.
In all cases though, more recently, you must take a closer look, search a little deeper. So much today is a layer of tinsel and packaging, and if you dig deeper, you will find only more tinsel. But enough of the cynicism!
Take books. Very many people own a copy of Steven Hawking’s Brief History of Time. Few have finished it. To check, examine for signs of usage. I finished it twice but am still unsure of the message in the latter half.
The greater part of my reading material (apart from Journal research – which happens to constitute the greater part of my reading material) is non-fiction. In recent years, a few revelational tomes have greatly impressed me and I have reread them several times. I think especially of Bryson’s A Brief History of Nearly Everything and Charles Mann’s 1491. There are others, but these two I have recently digested for the third time. I am currently searching for updates on both subjects.
Every Christmas I receive many books and book tokens, but always a copy of the latest Michael Connolly. He is an excellent thriller writer comparable to, say John Grisham. He has written 23 police investigation thrillers starring either the lawyer Mickey Haller or (more usually) the cop Harry Bosch.
Last year’s Nine Dragons was fast-moving, accurate, exciting and thrilling, as always, but ultimately it disappointed in its denouement. This year’s – The Reversal – likewise. I fear, like Grisham, Connolly has told all his best tales but continues to ride the wave.
Unless you are a devoted fan (like me) I suggest you wait until this novel becomes available in the charity shops or the Pound Stores. You will certainly get your money’s worth when the price is