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  1. #1751
    Kowalski's Avatar
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    Paul Newman c.1968
    Like!

  2. #1752
    WOM's Avatar
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    Last time we were in North Carolina, I picked up a book called My Folks Don't Want Me To Talk About Slavery, edited by Belinda Hurmence. This time I picked up Before Freedom: When I Can Just Remember by the same author/editor.

    These are fascinating volumes, comprised of first person interviews with elderly African Americans who'd grown up slaves and been freed, usually around ten or twelve years of age. The interviews were conducted mainly in North and South Carolina, sometime around 1935 as part of a WPA scheme to employ writers/authors. Most subjects were in their late '80s and early '90, and had generally fond memories of their life as slaves and of their owners. As the editor points out in the preface, this was common. Childhood was idyllic, and the later struggles they faced as freemen were far greater than the abstract concept of being 'owned' as a child.

    Also, the subjects universally remember 'the Yankees' as savages who looted, burned and pillaged as they spread the message of freedom to the slaves.

    The language is raw, beautiful and in many ways, foreign in both time and dialect. I'll eventually have the whole set of these, I find them so fascinating.

  3. #1753

    Gate, gate...
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    Something chocolatey. And nutty.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobW View Post
    Reading Alex von Tunzelmann's 'Blood and Sand', about the Suez crisis and the Hungarian revolution of 1956. Enjoying it immensely.
    Did it stand up to the end? If so, I'll give it a go. I really enjoyed her Indian Summer but I wondered if she'd paced it right. About to re-read it to check.

  4. #1754

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    Just finished "A Short History of the Boxer Rebellion" by Diana Preston. I had no idea in the 21st century that you could write a book about a major event in Chinese history without reference to any chinese sources whatsoever. Impressive, in a really non-impressive kind of way.

    Also reading Yuri Slezkine's "House of Government" which is - don't be fooled by the packaging and the book flap - essentially a 1000-page social history of the Old Bolsheviks who became big shots under NEP and Stalin. It is not without interest - the stuff on architecture and urban planning is fascinating (how do we build houses and neighbourhoods if we don't know if parents or the state will have the primary responsibility for raising children?) - but the insistence on viewing everything through the lens of "communism-as-religious-sect" is really annoying and the 100-page meander through Axial-age religions and early-modern millennial sects was unnecessary and painful.

  5. #1755
    caja-dglh's Avatar
    Got 15 different iPhones but so ain't phoney
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    Got to make a choice between books to start. Meet Me in the Bathroom or 2023 - A Trilogy. Having been reading all the craziness about the Toxteth Day of the Dead I am not sure I am ready for the latter.

  6. #1756
    Incandenza's Avatar
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    Finished The Girls, by Emma Cline. A coming of age novel told in flashback by a woman who was a teenager in the late 1960s in the Bay Area and fell in with a group that is a thinly veiled version of the Manson family. The similarities are extremely obvious and unsubtle, but the plot is not as important as her writing style, which I really enjoyed. She has some great sentences and turns of phrase, and the book is more about the relationship of women of different ages among each other and what it is like to be a woman and seen by others. I really enjoyed it.

  7. #1757

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    Yan Lianke's Serve The People is OK. Not in anything like the league of the Explosion Chronicles or Lenin's Kisses though. Actual sex scenes, though, which is pretty rare in Chinese lit (the stuff that gets translated anyway)

    Ian McEwan's The Children Act is fantastic. Now that Iain Banks is gone he may be my favourite British writer. You know every story is going to have a horrible ending but the suspense he builds in exactly how horrible it is going to end is fantastic. And the pacing: characterdrivencharacterdrivencharacterdrivenchara cterdrivencharacterdrivencharacterdrivenHOLYFUCKIN GPLOTcharacterdriven is unique.

    Still chugging through House of Government. It gets better, but Christ it could have used a tougher editor.

  8. #1758
    Patrick Thistle's Avatar
    Try to be kind. Even when you don't want to.
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    Just finished reading Bob Wilson's autobiography (see football books thread). I've overlapped and am a couple of chapters in to Jackie Robinson's autobiography that had two "fucking hell!" moments before I got to him being court martialed for talking to a white woman on a bus.

  9. #1759
    Patrick Thistle's Avatar
    Try to be kind. Even when you don't want to.
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    150 pages into the Jackie Robinson autobiography. I was surprised to learn he campaigned for Nixon against Kennedy in 1960.

  10. #1760
    Sam's Avatar
    You never can tell with bees.
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    Finished Golden Apples of the Sun - lovely stuff. I have now started Swing Time by Zadie Smith, which so far I'm very much enjoying, having not read anything by her before (apart from probably the odd article).

  11. #1761
    Patrick Thistle's Avatar
    Try to be kind. Even when you don't want to.
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    Finished the Jackie Robinson book. Very sad reading about his son.

    This was published in 1972 and although some of the scenery has changed evidently not much has improved in American attitudes to race in the past 45 years.

  12. #1762

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    Started reading India Conquered; Britain's Raj and the Chaos of Empire by Jon Wilson this morning.

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