I have started a book club. I am the only member. I realise that this is a little unusual but I prefer to choose the books myself rather than someone else (or even worse, the Daily Mail).

I held my first meeting last night which was very well attended by all members. Norman gave a fascinating review of ‘Into Thin Air’ by Jon Krakauer. This book was written by a journalist and experienced climber who took part in a commercial, guided expedition to climb Mount Everest in May 1996. After reaching the summit, bad weather struck resulting in the death of eight climbers from three different expeditions.

Interestingly, although the author achieved his goal and suceeded in reaching the summit (shortly before the storm struck), there is hardly any euphoria or pleasure only the grim realisation that he is half way there, the descent is dangerous and his physical condition is deteriorating fast with the demands of the high altitude and the lack of oxygen.

Even though I am not a climber - in fact, I don’t really like heights (I once had to be assisted from the Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver by two ten year olds) - I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was well written and compulsive reading. The story of the expedition unfolding, the ascent, the mix of characters and the personal and honest account of the ultimate series of tragic events is very sad and truly mesmerising.