Archive for the 'Books' Category


Layers of whiteness

Was very surprised to wake up to a new layer of whiteness this morning.  I have been enjoying it; the snow makes me smile.  Wish though I had the right footwear, my already disintegrating ’80’s moon boots are barely holding together, although they are still much better than wellies, which are absolutely freezing no matter how many pairs of socks you have on.  Haven’t been writing the blog that much, possibly because the stuff I really want to write about is too complicated and might be stuff I’d regret at some point.  About people being in denial, pretending, disillusionment, disappointment, bullies – just a bit of lightweight stuff then.  It’s interesting the effect of a bully on those around, what power perfectly normal and strong people allow them.  I have just gone back to reading My Dearest Enemy, My Dangerous Friend: Making and Breaking Sibling Bonds, a fascinating look at family dynamics.  I highly recommend it.  So… Back to the snow then…

15 Books

A tag doing the rounds:

Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you’ve read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.

(These are roughly in the order in which I read them).

Are You There, God? It’s Me Margaret
The Portrait of a Lady
A View from a Bridge
The Great Gatsby
The Handmaid’s Tale
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit
Mrs. Dalloway
Vanity Fair
Crime and Punishment
Wild Swans
Generation X
Fugitive Pieces
The War After
Lost in Translation
Elizabeth Costello

Warmth

Just had a lovely day.

Saw Agnes Varda’s Plages d’Agnes – a very eccentric, poetic and funny documentary about her life (if a little too long).  The only film I’ve seen at the festival this year.

Then this evening went to hear Toni Morrison talk about her new book A Mercy and American politics – how could she not.  She was warm, generous and funny.

I’m feeling privileged to have access to the thoughts and views of two wonderful, inspiring women.

Jewish Book Week

This years Jewish Book Week sessions that I’m looking forward to and some, especially The Lost and In Search of Happiness I’ve been waiting for…

Spinoza and Secular Jewish Culture
The Lost: A Search for Six out of Six Million
The Clothes on Their Backs
Great Writers of the 20th Century: Isaiah Berlin
In Search of Happiness
In Praise of Diasporas
Mad, Bad and Sad: Women and the Mind Doctors

And I’m expecting friends to point out the ones I’ve missed.

The End

No, not the end of the blog, but of Harry Potter. I read the last three books back to back and was all magic potions, jinxes and polyjuice.

That was a few weeks ago and since then I’ve ‘rediscovered’ books. I’ve read Marish Pessl’s Special Topics in Calamity Physics – fun, but not quite The Secret History promised on the back cover. Went back to Suite Francaise which was stunning and then reading all the info at the back sad and tragic. There seem to be lots of books I’ve started this year and not finished, so now I’ve started The Inheritance of Loss (I so love that title) again and whereas before I thought it was dense and hard to understand, now its beautiful and clever and witty and wise.

It’s a book thing

I just discovered The Book Depository, hadn’t heard of them before, but I found them through Amazon’s marketplace, so they must be OK, right? They are offering free delivery on any orders.

Follow the arrows

A website for Miranda July’s, forthcoming book of short stories No One Belongs Here More Than You – I like her sense of humour. July is an artist and filmmaker – she directed Me & You and Everyone We Know, which is a lovely indie film I’d recommend if you haven’t seen it yet. [via]

Behind the scenes

I’ve just discovered Dina Rabinovitch’s has written a post about chairing the Neuberger/Segal/Heschel discussion at Jewish Book Week, amusing behind the scenes take and she really did seem incredibly at ease, very Jonathan Freedlandish. Which led me to discover her blog Take Off Your Running Shoes, where she’s documenting life with breast cancer and the in’s and out’s of getting a book published and raising money for cancer research.

Inspiring

Sunday at Jewish Book Week.

A really wonderful session with Julia Neuberger, Lynne Segal and Susannah Heschel discussing the women’s movement and Judaism and so much more. I’d love to be in a classroom with Susannah Heschel even though it would be a challenge and she could (and did) go off into a language that I didn’t understand, a language of tradition that I have never learnt, but it would be expanding.

I was back for the evening sessions. The first was Judith Butler and Udi Aloni – Judith Butler, who D has been raving about since she saw the session was on, lived up to my subsequent high expectations. She’s a theorist and philosopher with a cult following – Bianca Jagger, Helena Kennedy and Lynne Segal were there amongst others.  Her new book Precarious Life deals with US policy since 9/11:

…And though for some, mourning can only be resolved through violence, it seems clear that violence only brings on more loss, and the failure to heed the claim of precarious life only leads, again and again, to the dry grief of an endless political rage…

I missed the beginning of Howard Jacobson and to be honest I found it hard to concentrate with my head still in the previous session, but Peter Florence did a great job and at any other time it would have been fascinating to hear about Jacobson’s childhood and the themes in his new book. And he has that ability to make an audience of 600 feel as if they are part of a small intimate group, a warm and cosy way to end the festival.

Thinking

Thanks to D and M I have discovered Judith Butler and I’m reading Precarious Life: The Power of Mourning and Violence.

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