Really well reviewed, but this is the first novel in a long time I’m not sure I enjoyed very much. I found the descriptions of politics and wartime laboured and two-dimensional and the blackly humourous element of the plotline uncomfortable…
I had no idea what this book was going to be about. Written from the perspective of a five year old, I was expecting it to be along the lines of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, but it evolved into something completely different.
It was clever and hopeful though. Donoghue doesn’t dwell on the dark gratuitously, even though there’s lots of it. I’m looking forward to reading her next novel, Frog Music, after this.
The first historical novel I’ve read in a while, a fictional account combined with historical records of the last person to be executed in Iceland, Agnes Magnusdottir.
Directed by Clio Barnard, Time Out said this film was “‘Kes’ revisited in a post-Thatcher northern England.”
It was a fantastically nuanced but depressing film - with no hope from the beginning to the end. It also had one of the most shocking deaths I’ve seen depicted in a long time (I won’t describe it so as not to spoil).
The Art of Looking – a conversation with cognitive scientist Alexandra Horowitz, author of the exceptional On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes, on how to live with presence, break the tyranny of productivity, and learn to see the everyday Wonderland of life.
The fine folks of Holstee have turned my 7 life-learnings from 7 years of Brain Pickings into a gorgeous letterpress poster inspired by mid-century children’s book illustration. Get it here. Read the original article here.
Dinner at 11 on Channel 4 made me go all Rousseau on children.
It left me thinking they’re innocent beings who start off good and just get influenced by the world around them.
I was heartened by the fact that even though these kids are growing up in a far more digital world, I felt like they had all the similar worries and thoughts as me twelve years ago when I was 11, which suggests that your experience is a child is ultimately similar no matter what decade you’re living in.
It was hilarious and a bit unnerving to hear them parroting their parents views (*cough* ‘Margaret Thatcher should push up the daisies in her cold horrible grave, the old hag!)
The little guy who said that taxes should be raised so things generally get better spoke with such clarity though, like he really understood what he was saying, and it gave me hope for the bloody future. So whilst they are still impressionable, they’re old enough for their experiences to help them form a place within the world and a certain unique indentity.
But, to be honest, I was surprised at how much they knew - that she hurt the miners but she did win the Falklands for us, that Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 20 years and was really inspirational etc. I suppose that’s as a result of always having the news whirring on the TV or radio in the background?
Finally, their talk about love suggested that although we worry about children being over-sexualised (not saying it’s not a problem, it’s definitely a huge problem!) they’re still not 100% bothered by the opposite sex, at least not in a weird, corrupted way, so it was lovely to see them all interacting with each other in this androgynous, equal playing-field where gender, race, disability and everything else we’re brought up to be judgemental about or worrisome of doesn’t even come into play.
I would watch the format again and again with all different groups of children to see how things played out. I’m sure there would be combinations of kids who didn’t get on so well, and weren’t so accepting and encouraging of one another, and maybe it’s just Channel 4’s great editing, but all hail children. They could teach us a lot.