More Book Recommendations from the Apex Team
Posted by Carmin Arnot
in Of Interest
The great writer, traveler, and ambassador James Russell Lowell wrote: “It is curious how tyrannical the habit of reading is, and what shifts we make to escape thinking.” Right now many of us are probably doing a lot of reading, partially to escape thinking too much about the current situation. With this in mind, we asked our field leaders what they were reading, and what their greatest reads ever were. Here are Jonathan’s and Richard’s recommendations, but be careful: some of this reading might cause you to do even more thinking, and the habit can be tyrannical.
Jonathan Rossouw’s recommendations
“Life is too short for bad books…” and this has never rung more true than in the maelstrom of this pandemic! Between entertaining an ever more energetic and mobile Nicolas, poring through the fascinating avalanche of medical literature describing every aspect of COVID-19, and whipping an acre of garden approaching autumn into shape, I’ve been forced to be even more focused and intentional in my reading. I’ve turned back to books that I love and that inspire me.
Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker
Enlightenment Now is the book that I gifted more than any other this past Christmas, and I believe that its core message is more relevant now than ever.What I’ve particularly enjoyed is to have the time, and access to decent internet comms(!), to read it for the third time, this time cross referencing with brilliant websites like Gapminder.org and ourworldindata.org.
Africa: A Biography of a Continent by John Reader
This book is another classic to which I’ve turned many times since its publication two decades ago. It’s such a rich and lucid synopsis of the continent that I know and love so well, and every chapter reveals something fresh and extraordinary, seemingly every time I read it!
Extinction & Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds by Davis Steadman
This magnificently comprehensive work forever changed my understanding of life on our planet. While it may seem a bit daunting at first, I consider it to be essential reading to anyone seeking to better appreciate the complexity of the natural world. Apex would just have ended our epic Chile to Tahiti voyage through many of the remote archipelagos Steadman describes, so I’m dipping into it wistfully, and it’s making me feel less disappointed about missing out on some new remote islands… sort of!
Richard Visser’s recommendation
West with the Night by Beryl Markham
This 1942 memoir by Beryl Markham chronicles her experiences growing up in Kenya in the early 1900s. I was told about this book by a guest who I guided quite a while ago. I always write down the names of suggested books, otherwise I tend to forget them. What drew me to this book was the fact that she was a female pilot. My sister is a pilot, so I’m always intrigued by other woman who are pilots and their journey to get there. Also, she was very involved with horses from a very young age. I rode competitively for 17 years, and so this is always something that will draw me to a particular book.
Ernest Hemingway said: “Written so well, and marvelously well, that I was completely ashamed of myself as a writer… she can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves as writers… It is really a bloody wonderful book.”