Philippa Thomas Online

Life and leadership coaching

Books – a reckoning


In this financial year…

I have LOST time. Extra minutes stolen before running to the tube for work. Guilty pages on the broken bench outside the fitness centre. Secret hours clocked up between sofa and shutters, home alone before shift work with no-one to account to.

I have GAINED so much – from the inside of other peoples’ heads.

Note to self. Try to be more mindful, more measured, less greedy a reader. Here are words to jog memories, from the books I’ve inhaled. An audit, of sorts.

Matthew Thomas “We Are Not Ourselves”.   Losing.
“Billy Lynn’s Long Half Time Walk”.   Iraq.
Dave Eggers “The Circle”.   Google.
David Mitchell “The BoneClocks”.   Brilliant. *
“Elizabeth is Missing”.   Memory. *
“Virginia Woolf in Manhattan”.   Wit.
Kate Gross. “Late Fragments”.   Voice.
Nazila Fathi “The Lonely War”.   Iran.
Marilynne Robinson, “Gilead”, “Home”, “Lila”.   Iowa. *
Esther Freud, “Mr Mac and Me”.   Suffolk.
Celeste Ng, “Everything I Never Told You”.   Secrets.
Malcolm Gladwell, “Blink”.   Instincts.
Markus Zusak, “The Book Thief”.   Nazis.
Richard Flanagan “The Narrow Road to the Deep North”.   Prisoners.
Malcolm Gladwell “David and Goliath”.   Leverage.
John Lancaster, “How to Speak Money”.   Primer.
Karen Joy Fowler, “We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves”.   Wild.
Stephen Grosz, “The Examined Life: how we find and lose ourselves”.   Detached.
Dave Eggers, “The Circle”.   Orwell. *
Audrey Magee, “The Undertaking”.   Resonant.
Joshua Ferris, “To Rise Again at a Decent Hour”.   Dentist!
Elanor Dymott, “Every Contact leaves a Trace”.   Oxford.
Rose Tremain, “The Road Home”.   Migrant. *
Zadie Smith, “NW”, “Autograph Man”, “White Teeth”.  London.
Ian Morris, “War”.   Framework.
Neil Gaiman, “The Ocean at the End of the Lane”.   Mindbending. *

And tonight, more of “H is for Hawk.” And so many more stacked untidily by my bed.

What have I missed that’s a must? Feel free to tell me here or on Twitter @PhilippaBBC.


Author: philippathomas

I've been a BBC newswoman for 30 years: reporting from around the world. Currently to be seen anchoring BBC World News TV. Main interests - politics, psychology, reading, trekking, and all things American. I began this personal blog as a 2011 Nieman Journalism Fellow at Harvard. You can also find me talking daily news on Twitter at @PhilippaBBC, coaching @positivecoachi3, and life & travel on Instagram at @philippanews. Thanks for reading!

6 thoughts on “Books – a reckoning

  1. If you ever run short Philippa we’ve got a house full of books we keep tripping over,.mostly old but still readable,around 5000 at a conservative guess. Trish Thomas

  2. Naomi Klein, “This Changes Everything”. Exigent.

  3. You haven’t wasted a moment! All performers (and let’s face it a presenter is as much a performer as, say, a musician) need to recharge the batteries, and how better than the relaxation of reading a good book? Much more productive than looking at an iPhone, as most of the population seem now to do. Thank you for your very agreeable and informative presentations of World News!

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