Rating 5 stars
This Searing Light, the Sun and Everything Else is a history of the Manchester band Joy Division, drawn from oral history interviews compiled by Jon Savage and from music press reviews and interviews, and fanzines. It made me nostalgic for a moment in my childhood where I could only ever have been an observer. Continue reading
I’m late to the March Six Degrees of Separation party because I’ve been struggling to get a jump from the first book in the chain. I haven’t read The Arsonist, only meme-coordinator Kate’s review of it.
Rating 3 stars
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
Rating 4 stars
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
Rating 5 stars
Oh, my heart! Rosamund Young expresses everything that I have ever thought about the intensive farming practice in the UK. She has more knowledge than I possess, because Rosamund is a farmer and has chosen a very particular way of raising livestock. The Secret Life of Cows is a chronicle of the adventures of her bovine livestock and their interactions with the other animals who live on the farm, including the humans. Continue reading
I’ve read a couple of things about the need to protect and fund libraries properly this morning. The first thing was Nikesh Shukla’s column in The Observer. The second was a Twitter thread by Stephen McGann, brought to my attention by Cathy of Cathy Reads Books. Continue reading
Rating: 5 stars
I don’t recall who brought Amy Bloom’s White Houses to my attention, but I’m grateful. Since my first degree I have had a history crush on FDR. It was later that I developed a separate history crush on Eleanor.
Bloom’s book is an imagining of Lorena Hickok’s relationship with Eleanor Roosevelt. The prologue got me thinking about being in thrall to love. Or maybe the feeling of falling in love. Continue reading