To follow my Top 5 of 2005 I present my Top 6 of 2006…
My reading has been dramatically affected by my no longer working in London. Where I would easily read a book a week commuting in I have read about three books since leaving my job in London in July. Not good…
1. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – when I left my last employer this was a leaving present from one of my closest friends. It’s a book that was important to her and so it’s lovely for that to be shared with me. I loved the book; it’s a marvelous story and lesson for life.
2. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway – this was another leaving present from another good friend at my last employer. I was blown away by this book; it had me in tears on the train home. I now get what the fuss about Hemigway is all about.
3. Cobweb by Neal Stephenson – a superb book by my favourite author. As with Interface he teams up with his Uncle Frederick George for a great tale of political intrigue and wrestling
4. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote – buying this book in Phoenix Arizona seemed to somehow amplify it’s American classic status. Truman’s desire for a conclusive end to his book in the execution of the killers comes across loud and clear in this book but the writing is sublime in places. In one passage Truman describes the farm in the early morning and it is breathtaking in it’s ability to put you there.
5. The Cluetrain Manifesto – yes I know it’s been out ages but I finally got round to reading it. I wish I’d read it when it was fresh but in some respects reading it know shows just how visionary the authors were. They outline the sociological aspects of Web 2.0 well before the term was coined and blogging became the norm.
Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell – OK so I haven’t actually finished it yet but I’m almost there. A fascinating book.
My listening has changed also as a result of no longer commuting by train. When I was commuting my iPod kept me sane but because I was always reading I tended to listen to more mellow ‘background’ type music. Now that I commute by car, car which has a fantastic stereo I’m pleased to say, my listening has changed. I now listen to a much wider selection of musical types although that isn’t really borne out in the list below.
Also, whilst I have bought a lot of music this year most has actually been older music; I haven’t bought many of 2006’s releases so the list below took a little thinking about.
1. Breaking and Entering Soundtrack by Underworld and Gabriel Yared – my favourite band working with a classical composer on the soundtrack to a film was always going to be interesting and the results are even better that I hoped. It’s obviously quite unlike any previous Underworld album but if you know Underworld you’ll hear clear echoes and themes from their earlier work. A fantastic album which I urge you to buy now.
2. Mushaboom Postal Service Remix by Feist – a single track that I found via Jon Hicks’ blog and love. This is my most played track in iTunes by far. The original track is good but the work of Postal Service makes this song unique.
3. St. Elsewhere by Gnarls Barkley – what can I say that hasn’t been said… great songs, great grooves… great.
4. Sole Inhabitant by Thomas Dolby – I was fortunate to see Thomas Dolby live this year at Scala in London. This CD is a recording from the American leg of the tour and is an excellent recording of the gig. Thomas plays classic tracks but updated and tweaked sometimes in front of your very eyes!
5. Love by The Beatles – see my earlier review.
6. Back in Black by Amy Winehouse – I only discovered Amy Winehouse this year through the Rehab single and love her.