Thinking Allowed - Including musings by Daan Spijer.

Book Reviews

August 22, 2016

Walking the Memory Lane

The_Memory_Code-200pxThe Memory Code
Lynne Kelly
ISBN: 9781760291327
$32.99
318 pp, including index, chapter notes and photos/illustrations
Allen & Unwin 2016

There are books that have the potential to change lives and this is one such. It is more than that: it starts to return dignity to non-literate peoples; and it puts into fresh perspective the orality of societies that were and still are frequently denigrated.

Lynne Kelly set out to write something quite different for her PhD dissertation: about animal behaviour and indigenous stories. At Stonehenge, she had an epiphany that led to an in-depth examination of non-literate societies. (more…)

From the Kitchen

August 6, 2016

From the Kitchen #188

188-corridor_of_power-450pxUncharted Waters

I have read the Magna Carta (well, a translation), and the Bible (ditto) and parts of the Quran (again, ditto) and, likewise, translations of numerous other texts: the Baghavad Gita, the Tao Te Ching, the Book of the Dead and The Divine Pymander.  Interesting reading.  Inspirational. Thought-provoking. (more…)

From the Kitchen

July 31, 2016

From the Kitchen #187

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They’ve moved everything again. I mean, how could they, without warning me? I came in this morning and my normal cubicle was gone. Cubicle 8.1. Why 8.1? Don’t know. I used to be in 7, but they ‘upgraded’ me. (more…)

From the Kitchen

July 26, 2016

From the Kitchen #186

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[Photo of dead Sunnis in Rada’a after US bombing of Yemeni Sunnis.
Posted on Twitter by #White (#البيضاء), 26 October 2014.]

This is what war looks like. These Yemeni women and their children were, I assume, non-combatants. They were not soldiers. They were presumably not insurgents or terrorists. They were unlikely to have been a threat to anyone. (more…)

From the Kitchen

July 25, 2016

From the Kitchen #185

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July is a month for snoutings. There are three major birthdays – including mine – two anniversaries and a ‘Christmas in July’ dinner. All of them involve snoutings.

snouting, /snaʊtɪŋ/ noun a social gathering at which too much is eaten and/or drunk.
Etymology: an outing, combined with the image of a porcine or bovine gathering at a trough. (more…)

Book Reviews

July 2, 2016

Holy Bible

Holy_Bible_cover-200pxHoly Bible
Vanessa Russell
ISBN: 9781742706269
$15
335 pp
Sleepers Publishing 2013

This is Vanessa Russell’s first novel and it is beautifully and thoughtfully crafted. It delves into the underbelly of a Christian religious cult that, like many such groups in real life, has internal frictions that threaten to tear it open; and they eventually do. (more…)

From the Kitchen

June 19, 2016

From the Kitchen #184

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What should we, as a society, as taxpayers, be paying for? What should we be subsidising? Who should we bail out?

It is possible to divide our society into three major sectors: private individuals, corporations, and government. Society is the creature of its individuals and arguable should exist to serve those individuals. The individuals also constitute the corporations and elect the governments. (more…)

From the Kitchen

May 21, 2016

From the Kitchen #183

183-emerging_cicada-450px

Grub’s up.

What are you eating and what’s eating you? Survival of any individual, and of any species on this planet, is a matter of balance. While you are alive, you eat to stay alive and, hopefully, thrive and pass on your set of winning genes to the next generation of critters. (more…)

Book Reviews

May 16, 2016

Year of Wonders

Year_of_Wonder_cover_200pxYear of Wonders
Hannie Rayson
Harper Collins 4th Estate 2001
ISBN: 9781841154589
$19.99
320 pp

A novel set in the years of the Great Plague in England (1665-66) would not seem, at first blush, to be a ‘good read’. However, Geraldine Brooks surprises the reader.

Year of Wonders is set in the village of Eyam, in the Peak District of Derbyshire. In 1666, the village voluntarily quarantines itself – no-one to leave, no-one to enter – when plague (Yersinia pestis) arrives and starts felling the villagers. This is historically correct and some of the characters in the story are based on historical people. (more…)

Book Reviews

Hello, Beautiful!

Hello_Beautiful_cover_200pxHello, Beautiful!
Hannie Rayson
Text Publishing 2015
ISBN: 9781922182128
$29.99
320 pp

Autobiographies are stories – they contain truth, but they are still stories. How much truth they convey depends on the author – subject to accuracy of memory and to the courage to reveal personal matters. There is also the question of how much the autobiographer is prepared to include family, friends and enemies in the revelations. (more…)