Monday, 7 August 2017
Monthly Muse – July
Managed to read 15 books in July, which was more than I thought. Was distracted by having our kitchen and dining rooms knocked together to make a big open room. Whilst I didn’t do the structural changes and fitting, still had all the decorating and numerous other jobs to do.
Quite a big change and is already making a difference; just need the flooring to finish it now
Anyway to the reading:
Yet another varied selection with science, landscape, Laurie Lee’s classic memoirs, two books on Britain, a couple of natural history volumes and a one on a lady’s fight for justice in an authoritarian state. Even managed to read four fiction too.
Best of them was probably Until We Are Free. In this Ebadi describes how she has been hounded by the authorities in Iran to the point that they forced her into exile. It is not the easiest book to read, but it is well written and is a powerful message against those states that abhor democracy and freedom.
Really enjoyed the send and third memoirs by Laurie Lee, he is such a quality writer. Linescapes by Hugh Warwick is a book looking at the lines that we have created across the British landscape and how they can be used to revitalise the wildlife of our green and pleasant land. Signal Failure looks at it from the opposite way, Tom Jeffreys’ walks the proposed path of the HS2 from London to Birmingham and talks to those it will affect and the impact it will have on the countryside and ancient woodlands. Tom Fort took a nostalgic view of the role that the village has played in our landscape and culture and Bill Bailey’s book on his favourite birds was quite charming with his delightful little sketches throughout.
I am a big fan of China Miéville, so was really looking forward to The Census Taker. Whilst it had some charm, and some frankly quite chilling elements, it didn’t have the impact of some of his others that I have read. The Essex Serpent was good too, a gothic and richly imagined book set on the Blackwater Estuary. A Month in the Country is a story of subtle nuances about a man restoring an artwork and reflecting on his experiences spent during World War I. Ken Macleod’s The Corporation Wars was something completely different, sentient robots fighting a war against human AI. Good though.
Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs by Lisa Randell is a study of dark matter and how it has influenced our galaxy and solar system since the earliest times. My physics is a bit rusty so did occasionally struggle with this. The Book Smugglers of Timbuktu thou was really good, Charlie English tells the story of how the scholars and collectors took steps to ensure that their precious manuscripts were safe from the threat of terrorism. Beyond the Fell Wall is an immersive book about Richard Skelton in the landscape of the high fell.