Weekly Monday Round-up (September 26, 2016)

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at the Book Dat and is "a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week."

Visit the Book Date to see what various other book bloggers have been up to in the past week.

Non challenge books I finished last week:

  • It's All About Treo: Life, Love and War with the World's Bravest Dog by Dave Heyhoe and Damien Lewis. Non-fiction, memoir.

Mini review: The true story of the 6 months explosives search dog Treo and his handler, Dave, spent in Helmand Province in Afghanistan in 2008. Treo sniffed out some very dangerous IEDs, saving the lives of soldiers and civilians, and was awarded the Dickin Medal for his efforts in 2010.
The book is at times heart-warming, but there are also gruesome scenes of death and destruction.

Heyhoe (or his collaborator (ghostwriter?), Damien Lewis), has an annoying fondness for the word "whilst" that manages to make everyday sentences sound pretentious.

  • The Darwin Awards 2: More True Stories of How Dumb Humans Have Met Their Maker by Wendy Northcutt. Mixture of fiction and non-fiction. Tales of people who removed themselves prematurely from the gene pool, some fictitious, others unfortunately true.
Mini review: There was a time when I was an avid follower of the Darwin Awards website. I used to read the nominations, chuckle and shake my head, thinking "Is there no end to human stupidity?" or occasionally "No way this is true!" Then I think I overdosed on these stories and I began to find them gruesome and tasteless, so I'm not really sure why I picked this up, except maybe because it was second-hand and on sale, and I was looking for a book to read in the loo, something with short, complete pieces that could be finished in a short sitting.

Anyway, I ended up reading it in bed, a chapter at a sitting, and the first 9 chapters I just found depressing because of all the stupidity and bad luck (I still couldn't stop reading), but then I hit the final chapter which contains Darwin Award winners from past years, some of which have been confirmed as fiction/urban legends, and  found myself having a laughing fit such as I haven't had in years, the kind where you laugh so hard you think you're going to burst something, it's hard to breathe because your diaphragm is spasming and tears run down your face. I don't even remember which story it was that set me off, but reading about a horrible but funny death was suddenly okay because it was an urban legend, i.e. no-one had died for real.
Only recommended for that final chapter and/or if you have a high-level of schadenfreude.

  • Hickory Dickory Dock by Agatha Christie. Murder mystery.

Not much to say about this, except that I knew who the killer was about halfway into the book, but couldn't see what the motive was until nearer to the end.

  • Les Liaisons Culinaires by Andreas Staikos. Culinary love story and recipe book.
Wikipedia tells me there is a movie and I intend to find out more about that, because I love food movies.
Micro review: Delicious-sounding recipes, but the story couldn't hold me for some reason.

 Reading challenge progress: I am reading the last book  for What's in a Name and have 2 to go in the Nonfiction challenge. 

 Last week's book haul: (click to enlarge)

I will elaborate on this stack later in the week.

Other activities last week:
I stayed at a health spa for the whole of July and managed to get into better shape than I have been in for years. Since coming home I have been taking walks for my health, trying to get in a minimum of 5 kilometres a day. I don't always go somewhere I can walk a new route and in order to not become bored with walking in the same area day after day, I have been loading my phone with music to listen to.

Lately, I have been downloading podcasts and on my last walk I listened to two and a half episodes of Thinking Allowed from the BBC. This is a program that I have enjoyed on and off at home for several years and it suddenly occurred to me to listen to it during my walks. Not only is the subject matter (sociology and related subjects) interesting and varied, but each episode is around 28 minutes long. It takes me around 10 minutes to walk one kilometre, so I know it's time to start heading homewards when the second episode ends.
I decided to listen systematically to this show, and I'm up to January 2013, so I have many, many episodes left to listen to.  

DVDs I watched this week:
I picked up the first season of Supernatural second hand some time ago and finally sat down to watch the pilot and first few episodes.

As I expected, it's formulaic but still entertaining (and the leads are hot, which is always a bonus).

It's sort of like watching early paranormal episodes of The X-Files, only with freelance investigators and no romantic "will they or won't they" question hanging in the air. Instead it's "will they find dear old dad?" and "when will they find the killer?"

I have deliberately not read up on the show, so I don't know if they ever do find their father, but I'm inclined to think they will, and the second question will become the main quest, or perhaps they will find an entirely new MacGuffin.


Your stack of books looks quite intriguing. Illustration Now! Curious about that one, especially.

Have a great week!

Greg said…
Nice book haul! And I'm sorry but your mini review of the Darwin Awards book cracked me up. I think I would feel the same way.

I'm trying to get into podcasts more. Maybe listening while walking would be a good way.
Bibliophile said…
Deb, I'll have more to say about Illustration Now! when I write up the details of my book haul later in the week.

Greg, podcasts make for a nice change from music and radio. I've been considering making up a playlist of different podcasts interspersed by music to listen to during my walks.
Di Hewlett said…
The stay in the health spa sounds fantastic and I'm glad you've found some good podcasts to pass the time of your walks.

Your book haul looks like a big one this week! Hope you enjoy your reading!

Here's my Weekly Roundup
HA I used to love the Darwin Awards collections - they're perfect because you can just pick them up, read an entry or two, laugh a bit, and forget about the book until the next time you need a laugh. :)
Kathryn T said…
Explosives dogs and their handlers are so amazing. Aren't podcasts great, I sometimes listen while I am sewing, when walking I listen to audiobooks which are a great way to go too.
I really want to read more of Agatha Christie's writing - I've only read one of two. Your book haul stack looks interesting. I hope you have a great week, and enjoy all your upcoming reads!
Christina T said…
Walking is a great way to stay healthy. I need to get back to it. Good luck with your health and fitness goals.

I haven't watched Supernatural though I am familiar a little bit with the story as a coworker is a huge fan. Glad you are enjoying it so far.

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