September already and time for another Six Degrees of Separation, hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best.
This year’s Booker Prize shortlist is announced in a couple of weeks. Kate’s choice of starting book, Second Place by Rachel Cusk, is on the longlist. I wonder if it will go the distance.
Hello June, here so soon. I’m a day late for this month’s Six Degrees of Separation because summer arrived in Manchester this week and yesterday was too glorious to pass up the chance to read in the garden. Kate, who hosts the meme at Books Are My Favourite and Best, has chosen the Stella Prize winning book The Bass Rock for the first book in the chain.
Yesterday was the first Saturday of March and I really couldn’t think of how to get my Six Degrees of Separation chain started. This month, meme host Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best has chosen Phosphorescence by Julia Baird as our starting book.
February is six days old, and here’s the first Saturday of the month and Six Degrees of Separation. Check out the meme hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best if you want to join in. This month, in a return to normal things, we’re starting with a book I haven’t read, Anne Tyler’s Redhead by the Side of the Road.
Rating 4 stars
James Clavell’s Shōgun was published in 1975. Five years later, it was adapted into a television mini-series starring Richard Chamberlain, which I was allowed to stay up past bedtime to watch. Ten years after that, the novel reached 15 million sales worldwide. It’s a true blockbuster novel. I hadn’t read the book until my friend Lisa lent me her copy, a well-read 1982 edition she picked up on the pound shelf at the local superstore. When I started reading it, it felt like pure escapism. There came a point, though, during my reading, when real world events made me reflect on the way human nature doesn’t change, our political systems behind their veneers of democracy are still feudal at heart, and to live through interesting times makes you fodder for future historical fiction. Shōgun is still a cracking yarn, though. Continue reading
Rating 5 stars
Stasiland has the subtitle Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall. In it, Anna Funder shares the experiences of a number of East Germans to build a picture of life under an oppressive regime. Her interviewees range from people who tried to escape, people separated arbitrarily from family overnight, and people who worked for the Stasi. There are amazing people between these pages who survived unimaginable horrors, and there are also the people who supported the use of those horrors. I found it a very moving book. Continue reading
Rating 5 stars
I chose Hannah Kent’s The Good People for my next read because it seemed like the direct opposite of The Book of Strange New Things. Set in rural Ireland in the heart of Munster, it’s the story of a small community of farmers. The year is 1825. Life is hard. For Nóra Leahy it gets harder still. Continue reading
Rating 3 stars
Michel Faber’s sixth novel inhabits a future that feels close enough to now for daily life to be the same but far enough away for interstellar travel to be possible. It’s a place where the endgames of capitalism and climate change are playing out. Continue reading
It’s time for March’s Six Degrees of Separation. I’m a day late. I chose booking a holiday and spending the afternoon with multiple Anthony Gormleys at Crosby Beach over building a book chain yesterday. Head over to Books Are My Favourite And Best to find out more about this monthly challenge.
Wolfe Island by Lucy Treloar is the starting book this month. Continue reading
Rating 4 stars
A Fearsome Heritage: Diverse legacies of the Cold War is a collection of academic essays on the material culture of the Cold War and a multidisciplinary approach to its history. It makes a case for the influence that the Cold War has had on the world, from the domestic lives of those living under its psychological shadow in Europe and the USA, to those living alongside nuclear power stations (also sites of manufacture of weapons grade nuclear material) and nuclear test sites. It takes in archaeology, history, art, architecture and cultural studies in its examination of material culture and what that material culture can tell us about something that has been hidden behind military classification for so long. Continue reading