The Chairman's Second Quarterly Reading List
1. “On Silbury Hill” by Adam Thorpe.
A lovingly written exploration of the history and continuing resonance of the Wiltshire landmark.
2. “The Whites” by Richard Price writing as Harry Brandt.
Tightly written tales of redemptive murder investigated by veteran New York cops. A genre-transcending piece of work.
3. “The People” by Selena Todd.
A history of the British working class from 1910 to the present. The similarity in the attitudes to the poor then and now is chilling.
4. “Gertrude” by Herman Hesse
An exploration of love and art and the joy and pain that commitment to either or both brings.
5. “Athena” by John Banville.
More love and art but this time swirling around in a world of counterfeit and pretence.
6. “Station To Station” by James Atlee
Mr Atlee collects his laminated pass and travels the Great Western Line and manages to connect Arthur Rimbaud, Stanley Spencer, Diana Dors and Haile Selassie to name but a few.
7. “Night Walking” by Mathew Beaumont.
A literary based history of nocturnal wandering, exploration and transgression.
8. “The White Album” by Joan Didion.
Joan Didion writes in an attempt to make sense of her existence, in reading her we go some way to making sense of ours.
9. “Fatale” by Jean-Patrick Manchette
More redemptive murder but this time our protagonist is a femme fatale in the classic style. Hot blood and Gallic cool.
10. “The Nazi and The Psychiatrist” by Jack El-Hai.
Experiments in criminal psychology with those awaiting trial at Nuremberg as subjects leads one doctor to come to a frightening realisation, viewing leading nazis as victims of personality disorders is a way of ignoring a far more frightening fact that their lives reveal. The fact being that civilization is perilously fragile.