Book of 2008

Tomorrow is World Book Day. So, what type of book does the average David Gilmour fan go for, and which were your favourite new titles from last year?

‘The Selfish Capitalist: Origins of Affluenza’ by Oliver James stands out for me.

I also discovered much from ‘Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America’ by Rick Perlstein, Simon Sebag Montefiore’s ‘Young Stalin’ and ’43 Years with the Same Bird: A Liverpudlian Love Affair’ by Brian Reade.

I was disappointed to discover that Jennet Conan’s ‘The Irregulars’ was about Roald Dahl and British spies in war-time Washington, though.

I’m sure we all appreciate that sometimes there simply isn’t enough time in the day to sit down with a good book, so consider this: next week is Read an e-Book Week (I know, one of the better ones, that). If you can suggest anything that can be read online when you’re supposed to be working, please do. Paper-free…

The chatroom will be open within the hour. Drop in and we’ll talk about books.

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour’s official blog, The Blog (‘Features’ previously being its rather naff title), affectionately – or lazily – shortened to ‘FEd’.

49 thoughts on “Book of 2008”

  1. Difficult to pick the best book of the year (I’ve spent most of it writing one rather than reading one)… either “Atmospheric Disturbances” by Rivka Galchen or “Predictably Irrational”.

  2. E-book suggestion?

    How about going back and reading this blog from day one? There is a story line there. No??

    Its got all you could want from a good read, anticipation, suspense, sorrow, drama, it will make you laugh, it will make you cry. And you’ll learn a thing or two also.



  3. E BOOK!! The Blog of course.

    I tend to go to charity shops & grab books off the shelf (paying for them of course) then returning them, so I tend to read books which are not recently published, unless it’s Wilbur Smith then I will buy as soon as it’s released.

  4. I tend not to read the new releases, I’ll browse through a bookshop and see what catches my eye… although for some obscure reason any book I buy must be a hardback!

    Books I read last year include:

    1. Puppet Master – The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover
    2. LBJ – Architect of American Ambition
    3. Running The World – The Inside Story of the National Security Council

    I also read several book by Knight & Lomas who delve into the history of the Knights Templar, The Holy Shroud of Turin and Solomon’s Temple…

    And of course I’ve read a couple of “Bathroom Readers” which have lots of excellent facts…

  5. More Information Than You Require
    – John Hodgman

    A very funny book full of fake trivia. Check it out!

  6. The Black Angel by John Connolly. Private Detective series set in Maine with strong hints of the supernatural! Spooky stuff!

  7. I surely like computers but I love holding a book in my hand. Since now I did not read one e-book, but I could imagine to buy a reader when the sell the first waterproof one (yep, I’m reading in the tub). 😀

    My book of the year? I really can’t tell but it was surely not a newly released one… I loved reading the complete works of Douglas Adams, but also all Ian Fleming’s James Bond in English. Translated in German by Andrea Camillieri gave me a lot of joy, too.

    Best regards,

  8. Well, I don’t always go for new books, but these are the books I read:

    American Lion- Biography of Andrew Jackson.

    Meltdown- One of the few books about the economic crisis, its causes and how to solve it. HIGHLY recommended.

    Who Killed The Constitution- It’s a bipartisan Examination of Constitutional abuse by presidents from Washington to Bush.

    Currently I am reading The Millionaire Next Door. Probably the best book I have ever read. So far I have come to the realization that every preconception that we have about the Rich/Affluent/Wealthy is wrong, and it’s quite easy to be a millionaire (it takes work though). HIGHLY recommended!

  9. It tends to be cookery books with me. My current favourite is ‘The Silver Spoon’, an Italian cook book.

    I enjoy looking through really old cookery books too. I’ve got one (that’s falling to bits) that belonged to my mother’s aunt published around 1890 with a nice recipe for ‘Cough Lozenges’ in it, the ingredients include: icing sugar, ipecahuanaha & morphia.

    1. I’ve got the (Fairtrade) icing sugar but Sainsbury’s don’t seem to stock the last ingredient. 😐

      I’ll maybe try Waitrose.

  10. Books, what an interesting topic.

    Personally, I do not buy new books. I usually buy books from charity shops or eBay and I always try to get hardbacks. I add these to my ever increasing library. Books are my education, so I never part with them.

    So all I can comment on is:

    1. I have read all George Orwell’s novels and my favourites are ‘Coming Up For Air’ and ‘A Clergyman’s Daughter’.

    2. The most moving book I ever read was John Steinbeck’s ‘The Grapes of Wrath’. By the time I got to the part in the book where Rose of Sharon breastfed a starving man after losing her baby, it just got to me. I could not stop the tears.

    3. The book that caused me to argue with it was the little red book entitled ‘Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse Tung’

    4. I love ‘The Iliad’ by Homer, which is a very graphic war story.

    5. Frederick Forsyth’s ‘Odessa File’ is excellent too.

    I also love educational books and seem to have an awful lot of C G Jung and Gnostic and Taoist books in my collection too.

    As for eBooks, well, I am not a fan of this at all as I feel the meaning gets lost on screen. I usually print off things of the net and then read them. With eBooks I foresee a Fahrenheit 451 situation happening. Books are sacred.

  11. Hey FEd and friends, 🙂

    I’ve been feeling like a cave-dweller of late, but I’m going to attempt to extract myself from said cave and start Coming Back To Life!

    The only books I’ve been reading these days consist of the tales of Winnie the Pooh and Curious George ~ not exactly current, but my grandson enjoys them. Today, March 4, is his birthday ~ he’s now two years old! I do believe that he’s an Irregular at heart and he does a grand vocal impression of David’s swooping guitar work on The Blue! 😛

    Happy Birthday to Stephen today, too. All the best to you, mate!

    Peace and Love to all!

  12. I like to read sci-fi and I find that my 2 favorite authors in that catagory are Elizabeth Moon, in particular the Vatta’s War series, and Margaret Weis who is more known for her Drangon Lance books but also wrote some very good sci-fi novels like the Mag Force series written with her ex-husband Don Perrin.

    As far as going paperless, I was seriously thinking of giving the Kindle 2 from Amazon a try. Download an $8 USD novel onto it a read whenever, wherever you have the time. And it holds 1500 books!

    Of course you have to invest in the Kindle, which would buy alot of discount novels at the local bookstore or library sale! 🙂

  13. A 2008 book that I loved to read was “Musicophilia: Tales of music and the brain” by Oliver Sacks.

    I can’t remember now which of the books I read last year were published in 2008. I’ll look for them. 🙂

  14. My favorite book titles I’ve or am reading this year are:

    1) A Universe of Consciouness by Gerald Edelman
    2) America Beyond Capitalism by Gar Alperovitz
    3) Psychedelic Renegades by Mick Rock
    4) From the Hip by John ‘Hoppy’ Hopkins
    5) White Bicycles by Joe Boyd

    The only thing that I could think of reading online when you’re supposed to be working is the DG Blog.

  15. Anyone fancy a book, that’ll keep you up all night? Stieg Larssons “millennium”-trilogy is a real page turner. He was a Swedish writer, died from a heart attack a couple of years ago. I believe the English titles are “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl who Played with Fire”, and the last title I can’t find in English.

    The recent book I read, was Ken Follet’s “World Without End”. Very well worth reading, too.

    I simply love a great story!

    1. Sounds like they’d make great movies, Lene. Which probably wouldn’t do the books justice, of course.

      Has there ever been a film that’s better than the novel on which it’s based?

      A case in point: ‘Fatherland’ by Robert Harris. Amazing book, God-awful film. (Sorry, Rutger. Loved you in ‘The Hitcher’.)

    2. Actually, the first one of them, Girl With Dragon Tattoo, has just be filmatized, the movie had premiere last Friday.

      I agree that films rarely – almost never – are better than the novels in which it’s based… this one, I think, was not worse. And that says a lot, doesn’t it?

  16. E-book we use at home: ‘Encyclopédie Universalis’, but you have to pay.

    And, oh, yes, Andrew, Graham, ‘The Blog’, a great source of information and pleasure… and it’s free. 😉


  17. Thank you for the recommendation of The Selfish Capitalist. It looks excellent.

    I discovered John Kenneth Galbraith last year, first his Affluent Society, then his The New Industrial State. Both offer a similar political bent as The Selfish Capitalist, but with a bit more systemic analysis–and both are a delight to read.

    I’d go as far as to say that Galbraith was to writing about economics what David Gilmour is to playing the guitar. I can’t think of higher praise than that!

    1. :)) High praise indeed.

      If it helps, I preferred the one before ‘The Selfish Capitalist’, called ‘Affluenza’. I think that would make a better starting point, as ‘The Selfish Capitalist’ feels like a continuation. It’s the same thing, only in more depth and was largely made up of interviews and case studies with all sorts of people around the world, making it a very readable book.

    2. Actually, isn’t that – “very readable” – one of the most stupid things you’ve ever heard? How can a book be anything other than ‘readable’?

      Don’t mind me, just thinking out loud. Er, through my fingers.

    3. How can a book be anything other than ‘readable’?

      Do you consider a Math book (very) readable, FEd? 😛

    4. F’Ed, don’t knock the phrase “very readable.” My students are third graders (ages 8 and 9) and they should be reading chapter books by now. Most of them are. But some are struggling with picture books. One of my students is reading “Curious George.” For him, that is “very readable.”

      In other words, we’re not all in the same place. What’s an easy read to one person is a struggle for another.

    5. Point taken, Dan.

      I meant that it’s silly in the same way that one might describe a song as ‘listenable’ or a film as ‘watchable’; if you have functioning ears and eyes, of course they’re ‘listenable’ and ‘watchable’.

      Whether you enjoy or understand is another thing.

    6. I enjoyed The Selfish Capitalist and The Affluent Society.

      Galbraith wrote The Affluent Society in the 1950s; if he thought we were wasting our affluence then, what would he make of us now!

      I liked how James showed the psychological results of living under what he calls ‘Selfish Capitalism’. It made me reassess my goals and now I believe we really would be happier having less.

    7. I agree, Bobby.

      By interviewing so many people from all sections of society, and presenting their cases as he did (particularly in ‘Affluenza’), he quite clearly showed just how emotionally damaging it is living our lives selfishly and focusing on Having rather than Being, allowing our needs to be conveniently replaced by confected wants (to keep us consuming constantly, to make the rich – who, if anything, seem more affected by this epidemic than the poor – richer).

      What a sorry state of affairs.

  18. The only books I’ve been reading these days consist of the tales of Winnie the Pooh and Curious George ~ not exactly current, but my grandson enjoys them.

    I’m with you there Gabrielle… my grandson really enjoys reading the same books with OAI or some Floyd on in the background.

    As for Rudders’ reading material… surely there’s a movie.



  19. I haven’t read a book in a very long time. Not a book for grown-ups, at any rate. Been reading lots of things that are meant for children, to increase my knowledge of children’s literature. It’s a teacher thing. And there is a lot of great stuff out there.

    Anyhow, in the past year I read “The Tale of Desperaux” by Kate DiCamillo. Fantastic children’s fantasy book, recently made into an equally fantastic movie. I also enjoyed “Small Steps” by Louis Sachar, the sequel to his novel “Holes.” Two of the same characters, a year or two later having taken very different paths in life.

    Another one that I liked a lot was “Saffy’s Angel” by Hilary McKay. Actually made me laugh out loud. This is the first in a series of five novels about a very strange family of artists.

  20. I had the distinct displeasure to read Twilight this year… the girls I work with all talk about it so much that my lack of knowledge when it came to one Edward Cullen was starting to interfere with our interactions.

    Don’t read it, if you can help it.

    Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-Shirt was very informative and creative… I’m trying to develop a program for recycling clothes – if anyone’s interested in Sew-Ops (short for Sew-Oppertunity) this book is a great springboard for ideas.

    Generations – The History of America’s Future 1584-2069 was one of my favorites this year. It’s by William Strauss and Neil Howe.

    Inside Out by Nick Mason was a delight, again and again, and I also hit on Searching For God Knows What and Blue Like Jazz (both by Donald Miller) and two or three Kurt Vonnegut novels.

    Honestly, I am of the age group that was gripped very tightly by Harry Potter, so once the series ended, it became very difficult to become passionate about other novels… Ruined for all other works of fiction… 😉

  21. “Mark Blake – Pigs Might Fly” and “The Black Strat”, both are great.

    By the way I just bought “For The Love of Vinyl : The Album Art of Hipgnosis”, it is a great book with lot of interesting stories about album covers.

    There is also Nick Mason’s essay about the artwork for WYWH, and how it was presented to them at Abbey Road, then expands those thoughts to Storm’s contribution to the band on a wider basis.

  22. Hi FEd and everyone!

    Hmm, some of the books I have read so far :

    2)CLAPTON The Autobiography
    3)The World’s Wealthiest Losers
    4)The World’s Greatest Trials
    5)The World’s Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Scandals
    6)The World’s Greatest Hollywood Scandals
    7)A Prisoner Of Birth by Jeffrey Archer
    8)Secrets Of Mind Power by Harry Lorayne

    I must say that I’m a huge fan of fiction. I like true events and history more than made up stories. Oh, but Jeffrey Archer and John Grisham are different. I like most of their books.

    I hope it is not too early to wish Happy Birthday to David! May he has wonderful years to come!

    I’m afraid I can’t wish at the appropriate time because I’m going for a vacation tomorrow. Hope to be back in the chatroom soon!!

    Have a great day everyone! Oh I hate the fact that I’ll miss the party in the chatroom! Take care all and FEd!

    1. There’s no party in the chatroom on Friday, so don’t worry about missing out. The next chat will be sometime next week.

      Enjoy your vacation.

  23. Historicus – Elizabeth Kostova

    Mind over Matter – Storm Thorgerson
    Pink Floyd in de polder – a Dutch book about the visits of this band to the Netherlands

  24. Another 2008 book that I liked: “Love Marriage”, by V.V. Ganeshananthan. She’s from Sri Lanka and that was her first book. I liked the way she mixed her life with the history of her country.

    That’s the original title, but our Italian translation is really different and, in my opinion, not so suitable.

    I don’t know why, but it happens very often, especially with movies. It’s something I don’t understand.

  25. Far, far too many to mention. I reckon I bought over 100 books last year, mostly crime.

    Can’t see me investing in an eBook, I like the feel of a book in my hand and as I spend most of my working day looking at a computer screen, looking at paper makes a nice change.

    Stand out books – The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilerri, The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly and In The Dark by Mark Billingham.

  26. I love reading but fall asleep most of the time.

    There are a few books I read and kept me awake all night, last year enjoyed Eric Clapton’s biography.

    Try this site for free ebooks, you wont have enough time to read them all. 🙂

  27. My favourite book this year was Odyssey by Jack McDevitt. On the first look a science fiction adventure on the second only a thinly veiled comment of the here and now. Many of the events that filled in the last couple of year’s headlines can be found in slightly fictionalized form on the pages of this book.

    There are some not very friendly reviews of Odyseey on the web but this had to be expected because McDevitt mocks more or less everybody: politicians and bureaucrats, religious fanatics as much fanatical scientists and so on. Almost nobody gets away unmocked. Extremely amusing.


  28. “Why do I have to keep reading these technical manuals!?!”

    I’m sorry, I know I’m go to hell for that one… It’s not like I won’t know anybody when I get there…

    Truly though, working as a tech geek, I do have to read a lot of tech manuals. Some can be quite entertaining, though, particularly those written in Chinglish, i.e. Chinese translated into English – “Place depressed connector in happy saddle for lucky good, then join family for bright.”

    After my mind has been turned to mush by work reading, I need comedy and/or simplicity in my personal reading. My favorites in 2008 were “Dave Barry’s Complete Guide to Guys” (all women should read this book) and the entire collection of “Pearls Before Swine.”

    Wish joy to all for happy lucky family!

  29. I learned when I was young that books can take over your life, if you let your guard down. And they look so innocent. I read strictly for entertainment. If I learn something in the process, I try not to let it upset me.

    A few favorites are: The Five-Minute Iliad by Greg Nagan (very funny), Hobbery Dick by Katherine Briggs (great hobgoblin story), Other Worlds by James Trefil (mind-boggling), Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds (just fun)…

    I could go on for quite a while, but I will spare you. 8|

  30. Just finished ‘Hornet Flight’ by Ken Follett, in his notes at the end he thanks his ‘flying buddy’ David Gilmour, I also remember reading that Ken bought the artwork to Meddle at a charity auction as well. Does David read his books as well? Great stories.

    I find it interesting that there are other mentions of Ken Follett here (David’s blog), must be something in each of their art that finds appreciation among a similar fan base?

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