Summer books and summer heat

January 21, 2019 at 2:21 am | Posted in capitalism, Common Good, Democracy, libraries, social capital | Leave a comment
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The cover of ‘Mistakes Were Made, But Not by Me!’

After finishing the rewrites of my novel just before Christmas it’s been an orgy of reading. Among recent books that have impressed me are Democracy in Chains by Nancy MacLean; Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson; and D.B.C. Pierre’s Release the Bats. There’s also beautiful, strong writing in another of Elizabeth Harrower’s trenchant, insightful and bleak novels about relationships, In Certain Circles. But I’ll focus on the three non-fiction books here.

Democracy in Chains

Democracy in Chains: The deep history of the radical right’s stealth plan for America (Viking, 2018) tells the story behind the subversion of democracy in the United States, a story of dark money and radical right-wing politics, and how ‘liberty’ came to mean liberty for the rich few to concentrate vast wealth and deny basic fairness and rights to the majority. And it all started with racism, back in the 1950s. I can’t hope to summarise it adequately in such a short space but it’s a mesmerising book, understated in tone and jaw-dropping in its implications.

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Tenderly caressing sentences

June 13, 2018 at 8:22 am | Posted in Common Good, david gillespie, John Clanchy, K.a. Nelson, Poetry books, psychopaths, Short stories | 1 Comment
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Three favourite books

I’m always driven by curiosity and apart from work these past few weeks I’ve been spreading my brain too thinly across a vast variety of stimulating books. In the time it takes to write a blog I could have read another book or two. With so many fascinating books piled up – and some jumping up and down, clamouring ‘Pick me! Pick me!’ because they’d be due back at the library soon – I just continued to read my way through the pile in my spare time instead of writing blog posts.

But no regrets and I’m in the Slow Blogging camp (after being one for some time, I discovered that there is actually a formal association for Slow Bloggers – see https://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/23/fashion/23slowblog ). So I make no apologies and below I reflect on the three best of my recently read books, each of which deserves its own post: K. A. Nelson’s Inlandia (Recent Work Press, 2018); John Clanchy’s Six (Finlay Lloyd, 2014, and a La Muse Books E-book); and David Gillespie’s Taming Toxic People (Macmillan, 2017).

Inlandia by K. A. Nelson

‘Caress your sentence tenderly: it will end by smiling at you.’

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