A ten-book-binge

On my second visit to the Kirkdale Bookshop in Sydenham, South London, and for a mere £21, I now have an additional 10 novels queued up for reading. The shop has a great variety of pre-loved novels, something I just don’t see in my local library, my local Waterstones, or my nearest Oxfam Bookshop. A bookshop to be revisited.

The Saturday Times

Well it’s taken six days but last Saturday’s Times’ crossword has finally been completed. Google was not required, just additional effort in the mornings when the brain is definitely more alert.

Really?

Someone thought it necessary to report this to the council…..

“Leaves, twigs and now some rubbish in middle of pavement all week”

The New Silk Roads – Peter Frankopan

The New Silk Roads, by Peter Frankopan, is a terrific look at the economic and political forces shaping the World. I’ve come away stunned at the complexity of these forces, something one just doesn’t get from ‘the news’.

A great eye-opener that I will hopefully re-read in a year or two. Trump and the US don’t come out of it well.

Highly recommended.

Inspector Montalbano

Fazio, Montalbano, Mimi & Catarella

Yay, a new series of Inspector Montalbano (or is it a repeat?) to enjoy on Saturday nights! It’s an acquired taste – one really needs to be a regular in order to enjoy it – but so much to enjoy if you’re in on it.

The inspector is a serious man who takes his time to weigh-up and consider events and people. He does a wonderful ‘hmm’ whilst he’s considering.

Fazio is the inspector’s right-hand man who is methodical and precise when explaining something to the inspector. He jumps to conclusions – hence the need for Montalbano to be more cautious.

Mimi is the inspector’s deputy and in the early series was always carrying on with different women.

Catarella is an office-based policeman. He’s the fool who provides the element of over-the-top farce in the episodes. He gets over-excited, he trips over a lot, and makes considerable noise when he storms into the inspector’s office. Amazingly, he appears to be the computer whiz!

Continue reading “Inspector Montalbano”

When I was younger I read…

In my twenties I read a fair bit of Hermann Hesse. All the main ones, The Glass Bead Game, Steppenwolf, Narcissus and Goldmund and several others. I think I re-read most of them in my thirties and, like the first time, I really only understood them as a story rather than anything deeper.

I read a few of E M Forster and George Orwell. I loved Orwell’s Keep The Aspidistra Flying – the cover evokes so many memories. There was a phase of Kingsley Amis – Take a Girl Like You, Lucky Jim, One Fat Englishman.

Continue reading “When I was younger I read…”

The New Jim Crow – Michelle Alexander

Subtitled ‘Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colourblindness’, this wonderful book describes the truly shocking level of imprisonment in the USA, brought about by the ‘war on drugs’, and of how African-Americans have been most affected. It’s an eye-opening analysis and shatters any illusions that America has a healthy political or judicial system. Is it any wonder that someone like Trump can get elected! I’ve had my eyes opened. It’s a stunning read and highly recommended.

A full review can be found in this Guardian article.

This short article “19 Actual Statistics About America’s Prison System” by Laura Dimon succinctly shows how shocking it is.

Well that was interesting

So I get to Dorking station to find there’s a points failure and no trains in or out for an unknown period. A phone app tells me there’s a bus to Leatherhead which gets me part of the way home. On the bus a couple of lads with bright-coloured hair look worse for wear as I ease past the one with the sleepy head half across the corridor. Five minutes into the journey the lad falls out of his seat managing to fall flat on his back and looking dead to the world, whilst the other lad appears to be asleep across the seat. The bus driver pulls into the next bus stop and tries to wake the two lads, one who is still out of it on the floor. He has clearly met these two before and manages to get some alertness out of them and eventually to get them off the bus – coincidentally this is their stop. The driver repeatedly warns them to be careful crossing the dual carriageway, but they are so out of it they appear unaware of the warning. The bus drove off, leaving the two lads to their fate.

Playing with manual focus

The weather has deteriorated – I think it’s even worse in the West. Playing around with manual focus on my Sony RX100 I could get the raindrops on the window pane into focus. It’s just possible to make out the the reflection of the park in the raindrops (blown-up 2nd image).

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