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My New Year reading resolution


This may sound slightly dull but I’m going to reveal what I’m reading and what I will read in the coming weeks. Christmas is my time for stockpiling a selection of books that will last me until late spring.

Right now, I’m reading The Ghost Runner by Bill Jones – a biography of British athlete John Tarrant, who was banned from running in any races because he had earned £17 as a youthful boxer. Tarrant, who had plenty of talent as a long distance runner, ignored the ban and turned up at races in disguise, before jumping into the action moments after the start. It’s rather a sad story about an athlete I’d never heard of – this was a single-minded man who graduated from marathons (because they were too short) to ultra-distance running of anywhere from 40 to 100 miles. I’m tired after driving 50 miles.

The pile for further investigation features Moby Duck by Donovan Hohn, The Art of Camping by Matthew De Abaitua and We are the Damned United: The Real Story of Brian Clough at Leeds United by Phil Rostron.

The full title of Moby-Duck is Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea And of The Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, And Fools, Including The Author, Who Went in Search of Them but that’s a bit of a mouthful. I love combing beaches so a book about thousands of bath toys washed overboard from a cargo ship sounds fascinating. Few things in life are more interesting than flotsam and jetsam.

The Art of Camping book will add fuel to the debate in my mind where I love camping and I hate camping. I love being in the outdoors and sitting around the campfire, but it’s such hard work, especially with two children in tow.

Damned United will be the second book that I’ll read about Brian Clough. I enjoyed Duncan Hamilton’s Provided You Don’t Kiss Me around a year ago and it’s a sports book of epic greatness. I’m drawn to books about people who are brilliant but insane.

As you can see there is little fiction on my horizon. The bedtime reading with the kids is fiction-based. The five-year-old is listening to me read Charlotte’s Web. The nine-year-old is listening to me read Rosemary Sutcliff’s The Silver Branch, which might actually be better than The Eagle of the Ninth.

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Richard Davies

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