“Started Early, Took my Dog” by Kate Atkinson
Another Jackson Brodie adventure. I love Kate Atkinson. I think that she is one of the best living authors. Great plots, beautifully written – a rare and wonderful combination.
“Yeah, Right Get a Life” by Helen Simpson
A series of short stories that, in some cases, capture more accurately than anything else I have ever read, the relentlessness of caring for small children. Very good.
“Ship of Fools” by Fintan O’Toole
This is a very depressing read. It’s by an Irish Times journalist who is pretty annoyed about the particular way Ireland chose to blow the boom. It reminds readers of old scandals and weaves a pretty convincing thesis that these are linked to the Irish psyche and the kind of mess we got ourselves into. On the minus side, the book doesn’t have any kind of bibliography or sources which is, I think, pretty poor for this kind of book. He excuses this at the beginning by saying: “Since this book is intended as a polemical, rather than a historical or academic work, it does not have an apparatus of references and footnotes. All of the facts and statistics used here, are, however, easily available online…” Frankly, this is a bit of a cop out, isn’t it? Nevertheless, it’s very readable. It’s main conclusion is that Ireland’s jump from pre-industrial to post-modern which we all thought was terrific was actually a big part of the problem. He argues that we fitted globalisation on 19th century structures and ideas and they just couldn’t bear the weight of the 21st century world. There are certainly plenty of holes to pick but he maks a good argument which, is, I suppose, the point of a polemic.