My Reading India is not going well. I finished the Mother Teresa book, it was VERY interesting, and readable and quick, and of course brilliantly written being Hitchens. I am part-way through the Freedom at Midnight book, the non-fiction exploration of the independence movement, led by Gandhi, and I’m learning a lot, and it’s filling in my enormous gaps in knowledge. But here’s the thing: When I’m busy and tired and I fall into bed, I want to read a book that I can really get immersed in, relax into and not work too hard at. So even though I’ve set myself this confined reading year as a way to challenge those tendencies I have as a reader, to make myself read more widely and seek more diversity in the books I read, it is a struggle. So I’m cheating.
Who am I cheating with? Well, at the moment it’s these two in tandem:
The Sherborne is about ‘research’* (kind of, who am I kidding, not really) and I haven’t finished it yet but am really enjoying; and the other one, I can’t justify other than with a pathetic whine ‘I just wanted to read it.’ I avoid politics these days. Just can’t do it. I’ve stopped listening to the radio (Jon Faine: couldn’t take it anymore, just made me steamed) and I don’t read the political articles in the papers. I avoid conversations with people about politics, and am extremely ill-informed these days. But there was something about what I’d read of Niki Savva, and the commentary around this publication, that made me want to go there. I’m glad I did. It is quite balanced, and well written, and while all the hoo-ha focus is on the feeding-of-PMs-from-forks and the did-they-didn’t-they prurience and the do-we-the-public-need-to-know wonderings, there is a lot in the book about previous political workings, how staffers operate, bullying and strong-arming, how journalists and politicians work (they’re all texting each other, non-stop. It’s fascinating!) and even though I wouldn’t have thought I’d be interested, there’s also a lot in there about Tony Abbott ‘the man’ and what kind of person we had as our last PM. I don’t even think I’m half way through, and while it does seem repetitive at times, it’s quite a good read.
I’ve also read this since last posting:
But that was borrowed from a friend, and I (perhaps deliberately, unconsciously) didn’t even consider, when setting the challenge for myself, whether borrowing books was permissible. Murder Without Motive by Martin McKenzie-Murray is not just another true crime book, it also goes some way to exploring issues around masculinity and violence, and is also distinctive by the way McKenzie-Murray records his interactions with Rebecca Ryle’s parents. He is extremely sensitive and sympathetic, and if anything, this is a book about the suffering of a family, how parents manage to survive such an awful thing, and there are passages in this book that strike me as unique in that they have provoked me into contemplation of ideas I’ve never thought to have before, about suffering and emotional pain, and the effects they have on the people who have to keep living.
So. That’s my Saturday confessional done. Will check in next week, hopefully with some of my challenge books read.
(Also, interestingly, when I posted my phone food pictures the other day, my visits spiked to 79 (day before: 14; day after: 19) which is a startling and clear imperative for me to post more about food which is slightly depressing, (I love food but prefer to talk about books) but it made me think Kate at booksaremyfavouriteandbest knows what she is doing. It’s also Kate I think my above confessional is written for mostly as she is doing a self-imposed challenge of her own, and doing better than I it would seem, unless she has some confessing to do as well?
* My exemption books from my Reading India challenge are books for research for my own writing projects, but the challenge was that I not purchase any other books that aren’t within my challenge guidelines.