Above Sugar Hill is a collection of short stories by Linda Mannheim, set in the Washington Heights area of Upper Manhattan. I picked it up from the Influx Press stall at the Manchester Indie Book Fair at the start of the month because I have a good friend who used to live near Sugar Hill, in Hamilton Heights, and I visited her twice when she lived on St Nicholas Ave. Continue reading →
This is a curious little book, written in 1968 and apparently satirising mountaineering literature. I’ve never read any mountaineering literature, so I can’t comment on that. I bought it on holiday in the Lake District, because I like to read books set in the places I visit. Continue reading →
Miranda Kaufmann’s re-examination of Tudor society in relation to the place black people occupied in it is described on the cover, in a quote from David Olusoga, as cutting edge as well as accessible and human.
I didn’t get off to a great start with it. It certainly had an edge to it that threatened to cut my willingness to engage with it, as well as an aspect of accessibility that grated. I considered abandoning it after the first chapter and again 60 pages from the end, when it sent me to sleep three times in as many paragraphs. I did finish it, but not soon enough. Continue reading →
In BRIT(ish), Afua Hirsch has written a sort of memoir, sort of political appraisal, sort of social history of race and racism in the UK. There’s a bit of travelog in there as well. I struggled to get to grips with it at first, finding it a little piecemeal in its approach, jumping from personal experience peppered with historical context to historiography peppered with personal experience to journalistic investigation of specific aspects of racism in Britain. Each piece had its merits, but for me they didn’t always hang together as a whole. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it. It’s articulate, it draws out different strands of the issue, there were lots of things that I learnt from reading it. Hirsch clearly has something she wants to say, and has struggled to understand her own existence, and there is value in what she extracts and shares from that personal struggle. Continue reading →