A few random pointers to the year I’ve just had and the year I want to have:
The best fiction I read in 2006
OK, so it was a major bestseller and is either loved, hated or one people love to hate, but it has to be “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown. It was long, it twisted and turned, and yes it was pretty implausible at times, but I was hooked. I have never read such a long book so quickly and I couldn’t put it down.
The best political book I read in 2006
An odd choice perhaps, but it is “Clement Davies: Liberal Leader” by Alun Wyburn-Powell. The period through which Clement Davies was leader was crucial to the survival of the party, and yet he is a leader that most people know nothing about. It was informative but also an easy read, and I also learnt a lot from it.
The most inspirational book I read in 2006
Another odd choice, but it was “NUTS! Southwest Airlines’ Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success” by Kevin & Jackie Freiberg. I had had this book for some years and finally got round to reading it. It was inspiring on the basis that it shows how much one company can enthuse people and it gave me pointers to life and work by showing that you can be successful and enjoy yourself. At a time when I wasn’t enjoying working for a particular employer, it proved to me why I was right to think they were rubbish.
The best single of 2006
This is a toss up between two songs, and yes both of them are commercial but both are very different. The first is “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol which really stirs the emotions and does what I like in a lot of songs, building and building in sound as it goes along before finishing a beautiful flourish. The other song is “LDN” by Lily Allen which is fun, catchy and is pretty strong on imagery. Just what a song should be. As an aside, one other song I should talk up is “Stronger” by Public Symphony which is a beautiful song that is just so relaxing and I haven’t been able to stop listening to it.
The best album of 2006
This album came out in 2005, but I didn’t buy it until the end of that year and have then ended up listening t0 it non-stop in 2006 and so it should be my album of 2006 – “You See Colours” by Delays. Delays have continued as a band that does brilliant songs that are catchy but serious and just absorb you completely. I also saw them live this year and they were brilliant. My favourite band and my favourite album without a doubt. The band is completely underated and have not had the commercial success they deserve, and the proof of why they deserve it so much is on this album.
The best thing I’ve done in 2006
Early in the year I went to Monaco. I am not a spur of the moment person, but one of my friends is, and so it was great to be asked to go away to somewhere I’ve never visited. It was the most relaxing break I’ve had all year and it was wonderful to go somewhere warm, sunny and so completely different just before my busiest time of the year. Alas, in 2007 I won’t get the chance to go away early on.
The worst thing I’ve done in 2006
Although I managed to stop this by the end of the year, the worst thing was working for WHSmith. A one-time great company which has managed to return to profitability. But this has only been achieved by cutting back to the bare bones and by becoming a bad employer. Reading NUTS whilst working for WHSmith, shows you how far the company has to go to be a decent employer.