August 22, 2016
The Memory Code
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…)
August 6, 2016
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…)
July 31, 2016
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…)
July 26, 2016
[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…)
July 25, 2016
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…)
July 2, 2016
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…)
June 19, 2016
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…)
May 21, 2016
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…)
May 16, 2016
Year of Wonders
Harper Collins 4th Estate 2001
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…)
Text Publishing 2015
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…)