“The Kindness of Sisters: Annabella Milbanke and the Destruction of the Byrons” by by David Crane
If you were planning to read this book, it would be very important that you had an intimate knowledge of Byron and his love life. And no, reading a biography several years ago does not at all cut the mustard. This is for people who have Augusta’s middle name tattooed on their upper arms.
“Skippy Dies” by Paul Murray
This is terrific. It’s a school story set in a very recogniseable Dublin. It is hilariously funny at times, it has plot and it has character. I liked it a lot and I think that this is the first time ever that Eileen Battersby (literary editor of the Irish Times) and I have both enjoyed the same book. I liked the nod to the Dublin readership – the two spinsters in the staff room were Miss Birchall and Miss McSorley – named after two well known pubs across the road from each other in a Dublin suburb. If you want more analysis, try my esteemed sister-in-law.
“Carter Beats the Devil” by Glen David Gold
About a magician and a little too clever for its own good but quite entertaining in parts.
“Half The Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity For Women Worldwide” by Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas Kristof
Very readable book about the oppression of women. The authors describe the kind of oppression that everyone can sign up to (women sold into slavery for sex) and deliberately doesn’t address the kind of oppression that might be arguably less clear cut (women driven to prostitution for economic reasons). The authors also suggest that there is merit in making the citizens of Western democracies intimately aware of issues in third world countries as that then has a huge multiplier effect even if it may lead to larger overheads on some occasions. They also ask what we thought Chinese workers were doing before they worked in sweatshops? This is, of course, not to justify appalling labour conditions but to point out that these workers, particularly women, weren’t having a terrific time back on the farm. Again and again they point to examples of the benefits of investing in women’s and how that money goes back into the family and, in particular, education. So, anyhow, in our bookclub, we decided to go off to one of the recommended websites and fund a female entrepreneur. We haven’t actually organised ourselves to do so yet so this is something of a mental bookmark.
“Skulduggery Pleasant Book 5 Mortal Coil” by Derek Landy
Skeleton dectective and sidekick. Book for teenagers set in Dublin. Very good. Yes, your point?
“The Hunger Games” (All three volumes) by Suzanne Collins
Tightly plotted and competently, if not brilliantly, written. Very moreish. Did you know that I had a weakness for teenage science fiction? Well, you do now.
“Unseen Academicals” by Terry Pratchett
Not a classic perhaps but a perfectly acceptable volume of adventures in Ankh-Morpork. Makes soccer palatable.