Humor Magazine

Beach Reads #2

By Davidduff

Some more recommendations to accompany you as you jet off to the Caribbean, or Mauritius, or perhaps Clacton-on-Sea for your hols!  I have just finished A Delicate Truth by John le Carré and it is quietly, discretely, carefully, utterly compelling.  I gained an impression that after the great run of classic MI6 novels he rather lost the plot, by which I mean to say that his characters raised little or no interest with me, the reader.  However, just recently, by which I mean the last decade or so, he has returned to superb form and this book is a corker. 

Le Carré has always been an idealist, a writer who loves to create what I would call 'moral heroes', that is, men and women who might be flawed but who, nevertheless, recognize good from evil and who are prepred to sacrifice themselves in their efforts to wrest good from evil.  This book epitomises that struggle.  It is a very old-fashioned concept, emphasised, I suspect, by those, like him, who lived during the war.  It went out of fashion as the 'Me, Me, Me' generation took over in the '60s and '70s.  I am quietly pleased that judging by le Carré's recent successes it might be coming back.

My other recommendation is for a book which I have not yet finished!  I took it on holiday but became so engrossed in a couple of others that I barely started it.  Since my return I have it next to my armchair and dip into it from time to time because for an unscientific dummy like me it is invaluable.  It is called A Little History of Science by Willian Bynum and, so to speak, it does what it says on the cover.  And, moreover, it does it in 'non-swot' language understood even by me.  Rather like life itself, this book describes the incredible increase not just in knowledge but in the rate at which knowledge has been learned.  In the last 200 years we must have learned a thousand times more than we learned in the previous three thousand years.  An excellent book and it will impress the little tottie in the bikini who sits opposite you at the poolside!


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