Howdy, I'm Luke.
The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes
Progress: Page 129 of 184
Blurb: In 1936, Shostakovitch, just thirty, fears for his livelihood and his life. Stalin, hitherto a distant figure, has taken a sudden interest in his work and denounced his latest opera. Now, certain he will be exiled to Siberia (or, more likely, executed on the spot), Shostakovitch reflects on his predicament, his personal history, his parents, various women and wives, his children—and all who are still alive themselves hang in the balance of his fate. And though a stroke of luck prevents him from becoming yet another casualty of the Great Terror, for decades to come he will be held fast under the thumb of despotism: made to represent Soviet values at a cultural conference in New York City, forced into joining the Party and compelled, constantly, to weigh appeasing those in power against the integrity of his music.
Notes: Curious book. Am enjoying it but unsure how it will pan out.
17 - Nov - 2020
My Name Is Why by Lemn Sissay
What a good book. Think I read it in 36 hours as I couldn't put it down.
Suppose it does help that it isn't a huge book.
Whilst some part of my brain would know or could guess most of how kids in care were treated to see it written down in official reports which are then juxtaposed with Lemn talking about the same incidents is really powerful. Ended up feeling really sorry for him and also happy he came through it all.
04 - Nov - 2020
Last night I went to see the film Shirley (a fictionalised depiction of author Shirley Jackson) at the Depot cinema in Lewes. This wasn't a last minute rush to get out before the new Covid lockdown comes into force as it was booked a while before BoJo's announcement on Saturday evening.
As a household we've been very cautious about going out and socialising or going into situations that might be risky Covid-wise. If 3 months ago you'd suggested going to the cinema we'd probably reply asking if you were trying to kill us! However I think just a certain weariness and boredom has overcome my wife and I so we were both keen to go to this. For me I really enjoy Shirley Jackson's books (if you've not read them you should, she is criminally underrated) and also had wanted to go to the Depot for a while. It's a fairly new independent cinema and creative space in the next town over from us that people had said good things about. Now I've visited I can see why. Lovely comfy seats, not too big or small, great food beforehand. There were 12 people in our showing and everyone was spaced well apart from each other and we had to keep our masks on the entire time. Which as far as I could tell everyone did. Felt safe enough.
The film itself was great and managed to somehow capture the sense of unease her books usually hold for me. It was only very loosely based on Jackson's life; in the film she is shown as childless and mean alcoholic but at that time in her actual life she had 3 kids. Definitely not one to watch to learn historical facts! However superb performances from Elisabeth Moss and Odessa Young make this a compelling if slightly unsettling film. Not sure how unusual this is but I did notice that both the director and screenwriter were women. Not sure why I'm sharing that but it seemed significant to me at the time.
29 - Oct - 2020
Read: The Farther Corner by Mark Pearson
Blurb: Using travels to and from matches in the 2018-19 season, The Farther Corner will explore the changes in north-east football and society over the past twenty-five years. Visiting new places and some familiar ones, catching the stories, the sentiment and the sound of the supporters, locating where football now sits in the life of a region that was once proud to be what John Arlott suggested was ‘The Hotbed of Soccer’, it will be about love and loss and the happiness to be found eating KitKats and joking about Bobby Mimms on cold February days in coal-scented northern air. The region may have been left behind in the Champions League stakes, but few would doubt the power of its beating heart.
Notes: Ostensibly a book about football it is actually about people and that is why it is so funny and interesting. Keenly observed by the author.
25 - Sept - 2020
Have been poorly for a few days with a cough/cold and feeling sorry for myself. Have also been away from a computer for that time. Got lots of reading done.
18 - Sept - 2020
Here we go!
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