Thursday, 6 July 2017

Books for the Summer III

The summer holidays are the perfect time to catch up on some reading. Here, Dr Richmond and Mrs Kirby reveal what books they are looking forward to this July and August. 

Dr Richmond

Blond Ambition: The Rise and Fall of Boris Johnson by Nigel Crawthorne:  this is not meant to rival the definitive, and highly researched, biography of Johnson by Andrew Grimson, but this is a more tongue in cheek look at the life of Boris Johnson, albeit in 384 pages. It takes us through all the obvious milestones – his privileged upbringing, his time at Eton, his persistent failure in remaining faithful to his long-suffering wife Marina, his rise through the Conservative Party, and his anti-EU sentiments. I find Boris very entertaining even though he is a bit of a twit. Therefore, I suspect that the book’s objective will be to show how despite Boris’ obvious talents and intelligence, his fall has come about by his appalling Brexit campaign in which he failed to explain what the negative results of GB leaving the EU could result in. But I will love reading about his life again….it always makes me smile and I dream about what could have been (i.e., Prime Minister Boris Johnson).

Happy by Derren Brown: a friend recommended this book to me and I was slightly dubious about picking up another self-help book, particularly as it was written by a Channel 4 illusionist! But I have read the first chapter and I love it! Basically, this book is the Buddhist philosophy about contentment for a non-religious audience. To be happy it to accept that nothing in life is permanent, that things come and go, but that you ought to be happy with you make of your life. Brown repeats that all of life’s facticity’s can be transformed into something positive and constructive, even if you are born into difficult circumstances. To be happy is not to attach yourself to people and things, but to the fact that you are alive, breathing, and can shape your own future. Read it!

 Violated by Sarah Brown: after watching the BBC drama ‘Three Girls’ recently, which documents the sexual abuse of children in Rochdale and Rotherham by Pakistani men, I was recommended to read this first-hand account of the abuse by Sarah Brown who was a teenager in Rotherham in the early 2000s. The accounts of what she and others went through is heartbreaking but the book also attempts to highlight how the authorities, who were meant to protect poor white girls in these deprived northern towns, failed them at every level. It is a damning account of how these men, and others in society, viewed these girls as trash.

Mrs Kirby

Cloud Street by Tim Winton. several people have recommended Winton as a twenty-first century Steinbeck. I'm intrigued.

His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet. I've just started this. It masquerades as a historical crime document but is actually fictionalised. It's clever, gripping and creates a compelling unreliable narrative voice.

Fundamentals by Natasha Devon and Lynn Crilly. It comes recommended for teachers and parents. I can read it wth both hats on. 

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