Inside Team Sky, by David Walsh. London; Simon and Schuster, 2014.
A much more encouraging book about cycling, this one, and one I was reading the week of the (rather unsatisfactory) CIRC report into doping. Walsh, as a famous sceptic about the use of drugs in the sport, is invited by Sir Dave Brailsford to spend a year, or chunks of it, with Team Sky; he's asked to live with the team, ask any questions he wants, wander into any room, open all the cupboards and just generally poke around for any evidence that Sky's famous commitment to clean riding isn't as it seems. Walsh comes at the task as someone who's almost afraid to believe that a team is this squeaky clean - and with the awareness that Sky have been caught out once over Geert Leinders's involvement - because his heart has been broken repeatedly by the sport he loves. He's gradually won over by the 2013 Tour de France, and living on the inside of the team; Froome's success in that race makes this book a lovely thing to read.
Thinking about it only makes it worse, by David Mitchell. Kindle edition.
I've been reading this book in bits on the Kindle - I think reading it all in one chunk would be Too Much of a Good Thing, and might also make you feel quite depressed about the state of the world, which isn't what Mitchell's intending. At least, I don't think that's what he's intending. This is a collection of Mitchell's columns collected together in themes. Some of them I remember from the original, some I don't; in any case, it makes a fascinating picture of the things we've been obsessed with as a country over the last few years, and immensely readable.
The murder stone, by Louise Penny [audiobook]. Read by Adam Sims. Oxford: Isis, 2009.
Armand Gamache and his wife Reine-Marie have gone to celebrate their 35th anniversary at the Manoir Bellechasses, a luxury hotel they first visited before they were married. All the other rooms have been booked up for a family reunion of the Finneys, a strange and disfunctional family who are present to honour the memory of Charles Moreau, Mrs Finney's ex-husband. When a murder happens, the family are most disconcerted to find that they have the chief of the Bureau d'homicide du Sûreté du Québec in their midst. As ever with these books, the plot dances along, and Sims gives his usual excellent reading.
The devil's edge, by Stephen Booth [audiobook]. Read by Mike Rodgers. Rearsby, Leics: WF Howes, 2011.
Ben Cooper starts investigating some aggravated burglaries in the Peak District, one of which has involved the murder of a whole family. Meanwhile Diane Fry is, predictably, hating her secondment to management training in a nearby force. When Ben's brother shoots a man attempting to burgle his farm, Diane returns to investigate the incident; Ben, meanwhile, is partnered with an old school friend and finding connections between the crimes and events in Sheffield. This is, as ever, extremely well-written; there's not enough Fry-Cooper interaction for my taste but the new dynamic is interesting, and this is a good reading.
One summer: America 1927, by Bill Bryson [audiobook]. Read by the author. Bolinda Audio [Audible]: [S. l.], 2013.
It may be that if you look at any year, you can see many things coming together at once, but so many things which shaped 20th century America, and indeed the world, seemed to have their confluence in the summer of 1927. Bryson looks at Charles Lindbergh's flight across the Atlantic; Babe Ruth's unbelievable summer of home runs; the executions of Sacco and Vanzetti; and the birth of the talking picture; and many more topics important at the time but since largely forgotten, like a devastating flood of the Mississippi. The characters weave in and out of each other's stories like foxtrotting couples on a dance floor, and Bryson is at his entertaining best with the incidental details and the interesting factoid. He's also a chap who reads his own work well, so this is highly recommended as an audiobook.