Reading in Time of Corona (and beyond!)

Thanks for the tip - haven’t heard about this one! :+1:

You’ll get a good flavour just from these two episodes - then if they appeal look out for further repeats. You will occasionally hear characters such as DH “Dave” Lollipop, WB Yikes and Tom Jellytot, with the main location Sizzlinghurst.

Also look out for “The Wordsmiths of Gorsemere” by the same writer.


Got two books on the go that really require ‘full attention’ just now. So, apologies to both authors.
Timothy Snyder’s, ‘Blood Lands’, a masterful exposition of the devilish work, pact and aftermath of Hitler and Stalin from the 30’s and Colm Toibin’s, ‘The Magician’, a work that transports you into Thomas Mann’s family, world and thoughts. They are both IMHO outstanding, speaking to our own world experience now. They illuminate the present through the past , one in minutely researched excavation the other through the author’s psychological insight and again spades full of research.
Less than 20 quid for them both and so so worth it.


Have recently read Empires of the Dead by David Crane. It is about Fabian Ware and his work in creating the First World War memorials and the recording of the dead.

Strange how you take the war graves and memorials for granted but never realised we virtually never recognised our dead in the many wars we had engaged in the centuries before. A truly fascinating book yet I fear we need to pay more attention to the horrors of war to make more effort to avoid them in the future.

It has made me pay more attention to these memorials we have across our country and I notice in some cases we have new names being added to them for recent conflicts such as the Afghanistan war.


Two great little short books, more like extended essays, that everyone should read, from a fantastic Nigerian author.


The ‘We Should All be Feminists’ is a book my daughter ‘inherited’ from me and took to Uni. Powerful and beautifully written… These are the sort of books that should be on the curriculum, rather than another Tudor history. Agree that everyone should read it! :+1:


Apropos ‘books that everyone should read’ - I can’t recommend this book highly enough, especially if you care about what is being done to our democracy (to paraphrase the old Soviet adage ‘we pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us’… ‘we pretend to vote them in and they pretend to represent us’… :expressionless:)

I’m currently trying to read everything by Graeber - to my mind, he is one of the most lucid, erudite and yet completely accessible social theorists of our times. His death in 2020 from (probably) Covid related illness was tragic, and cut short the career of a phenomenal anthropologist and a unique human being.


Although Toibin’s ‘The Magician’ is well-researched Mrs K (for whom I bought it) admits him to be a good writer but ultimately prefers real biography to a semi-fictionalised account however insightful the novelist may be.

Ah, chacun son métier ! Personally I’m happy to take insight from any quarter. We can agree however that he is first class writer.

1 Like

Does anyone read Anthony Burgess any more? Many years ago I read most of his hugely varied novels, always fascinated by his clever use of words and language.

I’ve just finished ‘One Hand Clapping’, which I hadn’t read before. Many of its themes resonate today (although it is firmly set sixty years ago): materialism, class, celebrity, the roles of women in society, coercive control, Americanisation. And it raises lots of questions about the power of the internet, despite being written all that time ago.

Perhaps time to re-read some of those books I first picked up as a teenager.


I am reading the Atlas of AI. A recommendation from an LSE professor. It’s so interesting. A completely non-technical angle to look at the cost of AI.

1 Like

Having noted the furore at the Oxford Union about Prof. Kathleen Stock’s invitation to speak there I thought it wise to read her book which I was pleased to get on Kindle for 99p. So far - 20 pages in - she seems quite rational. But I may need vinous assistance to get to the end.


Rational debates seem passé in this day and age.