2019: Projected Reading List

2019 will be a great year. Self can feel it in her bones.

First, she’ll start the year trying to read Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle series. If she makes it through just three or four of the series, she’ll be happy.

It will be the year she gets back to reading Jeanette Winterson: Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal.

She’s going to try re-reading If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler, by Italo Calvino.

Then she’s going to work her way through The Guardian’s Best Books of 2018 list. Which includes:

Almost everything Sarah Waters recommends: National Service, by Richard Vinen; In Our Mad and Furious City, by Guy Gunaratne; The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter; The Vet’s Daughter, a 1959 novel by Barbara Comyn; Swann’s Way by Proust; and (a re-read of) Anna Karenina, by Tolstoy.

Self’s reading list in 2019 will still lean heavy towards fiction. Here’s a partial list from The Guardian’s Best Books of 2018. All the authors are new to self, except for Liz Nugent and Pat Barker.

FICTION:

Ghost Wall, by Sarah Moss; Milkman, by Anna Burns; The Silence of the Girls, by Pat Barker; Melmoth, by Sarah Perry; Red Birds, by Mohammed Hanif; Friday Black, by Kwame Adjei-Brenyah; West, by Carys Davies; Sight, by Jessie Greengrass; Everything Under, by Daisy Johnson; There There by Tommy Orange; Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday; Brother, by Canadian David Chariandy; All the Lives We Never Lived, by Anuradha Roy; Convenience Store Woman, by Sayaka Murata; Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, by Olga Tokarczuk; Normal People, by Sally Rooney; The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock, by Hermes Gowar; Washington Black, by Esi Edugyan; The Western Wind, by Samantha Harvey; Now We Shall Be Entirely Free, by Andrew Miller; Painter to the King, by Amy Sackville; Murmur, by Will Eaves.

CRIME:

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, by Stuart Turton; The Stranger Diaries, by Elly Griffiths; November Road, by Lou Berney; Brothers in Blood, by Amer Anwar; Lullaby by Leila Slimani; Skin Deep, by Liz Nugent (who I’ve actually met); Fear, by Dirk Kurbjuweit; London Rules, by Mick Herron; Thirteen, by Steve Cavanagh; Tombland by CJ Sansom; The House on Vesper Sands, by Paraic O’Donnell, and The Vogue, by Eoin McNamee.

Many, many more.

Stay tuned.

2nd Post On Self’s Last Sunday in London

Self is madly reading all the issues of The Guardian she bought in the last week. She thinks she’s making great progress: she’s now on Friday’s Guardian (30 November).

Her attention was caught by a list of The 20 Most Influential Films.

Rather than simply copy out the entire list, self will tell you that the # 1 Most Influential Film of All Time is The Wizard of Oz (1939).

The Second Most Influential Film of All Time is Star Wars (1977).

Third is Psycho (1960).

Fourth is King Kong (1933).

Fifth is 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Citizen Kane (1941) is just # 7.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) is # 10.

Casablanca (1942) is # 11.

The Godfather (1972) is # 13.

Jaws (1975) — what a surprise! — is #14.

Dr. Strangelove (1964) is # 18.

Gone With the Wind (1939) which self was never into, is # 19.

Stay tuned.

What Has Happened to Oleg Sentsov?

In two years, Trump has arranged two of the most bizarre summits in the world:

  • with Kim Jong Un, a brutal dictator, who he made seem, according to The Economist (10 June 2018) “warm, jovial, and eminently reasonable.” The Economist maintains Kim Jong Un “ought to be at The Hague.”
  • with Putin in Helsinki, a “one-on-one” which offered Putin “the chance to be seen as a global statesman, an equal with the President of the United States, the leader of a country whose participation was needed to solve just about every pressing world problem.” (Joshua Yaffa in The New Yorker, 16 July 2018)

In the meantime, what has happened to Oleg Sentsov, who was jailed as a “terrorist” for “protesting against Vladimir Putin’s illegal annexation of Crimea and the war Russia’s president unleashed in eastern Ukraine four years ago” (The Economist, 10 June 2018)? No one knows. Here’s the latest article self found about him; it was almost a month ago, in The Guardian.

Trump instead calls for Russia to be allowed back into the G7, which expelled it “for the seizure of Crimea.” According to Trump, that “happened a while ago.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“Blood, Romps, and Lashings”: The Guardian Review of VERSAILLES, Season 1

Self is watching Versailles Season 2. She is so happy the series was renewed! It has proved extremely addictive.

The Guardian: With ladies in milky baths, ocular torture and piles of flesh, Versailles returns for more pre-revolution rumbustiousness (Shouldn’t that be rambunctiousness? Whatever). But is there depth beneath the bling?

Where were we then in Versailles, which returns for a second series? The palace is still under construction, and 1,000 workers have died so far. Versailles was clearly the Qatar of its day, and those gold gates are very Gulf State chic, no?

The writer is Sam Wollaston.

Self bows to your wicked wit, Sir. She bows.

From her visit to Versailles, May 2017:

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Versailles, 28 May 2017: It was too bloody hot.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

The Guardian’s 100 Best Nonfiction Books of All Time

There is very little overlap been self’s reading list and the 100 Best Nonfiction Books of All Time by The Guardian.

Below, books on The Guardian’s list that self has read:

2. The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion

5. Dreams From My Father, by Barack Obama

9. Dispatches, by Michael Herr

15. The Double Helix, by James D. Watson

20. Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson

23. The Elements of Style, by William Strunk and EB White

33. The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child-care, by Dr. Benjamin Spock

42. Testament of Youth, by Vera Brittain (for a course on the Literature of World War I, taught by Prof. Albert Guerard at Stanford)

44. Goodbye to All That, by Robert Graves (for a course on the Literature of World War I, taught by Prof. Albert Guerard at Stanford)

65. Roget’s Thesaurus

83. A History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, by Edward Gibbon

92. The Diary of Samuel Pepys by Samuel Pepys, via Claire Tomalin’s excellent biography of Pepys’ life

Sentence of the Day: Sian Cain, The Guardian

As an antidote to the extremely respectful commentary The Economist has been according POTUS (which drives self crazy, she just might discontinue her subscription), here is The Guardian which really knows how to do satire:

The nicest thing anyone can say about US Vice President Mike Pence — a man who vigorously opposed marriage inequality and looks like an Action Man assembled from Play-Doh and cold cuts — is that he knows how to name a pet.

— from Vice-President Mike Pence disappears down the rabbit hole, by The Guardian’s Sian Cain, 20 March 2018

Turnout: England, 8 June 2017

The “youthquake” was a key component of Corbyn’s 10-point advance in Labour’s share of the vote — exceeding even Tony Blair’s nine-pont gain in his first 1997 landslide. No official data exists for the scale of this but an NME-led exit poll suggests turnout among under-35s rose by 12 points to 56% compared with 2015. The survey said nearly two-thirds of younger voters backed Labour, with Brexit their main concern.

— Alan Travis, The Guardian, Saturday, 10 June 2017

HERITAGE: “My” Globe, Last Night

  • This week, share a photo that channels a living tradition, whether it’s your own or someone else’s.

— Ben Huberman, The Daily Post

This is her second post on HERITAGE. She deleted the first one, pictures of the Imperial War Museum. For the first time in forever, that post got 0 likes, go figure.

Self watched (last night) a kickass production of Twelfth Night, directed by Emma Rice, who’s departing the Globe after just two years at the helm. As a tribute to Ms. Rice (who famously told the Guardian two years ago: “Being childlike is underrated. It takes commitment.”) Self thinks this would be an appropriate time to share why she loves the experience of watching a play at the Globe, so much:

It’s so London. And London is a city absolutely buzzing with energy. Especially at night. Every year since her first Globe play (2014’s bloody Titus Andronicus), she watches at least one play at the Globe.

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Last Night: Heading home in a cab after watching “Twelfth Night”

At intermission, she heads straight for the wharf. This is the view:

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The Thames, Seen From Behind the Globe

It is an essential part of her Globe theatre-going experience.

Self still remembers her first sight (up close) of the Millenium Bridge. Her jaw dropped. She had no idea — no idea — that London had become this cool place. That was the moment when self fell in love, really fell in love with the city:

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The Millenium Bridge connects the South Bank to Saint Paul’s.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“Getting Kicked in the Teeth”: Elizabeth Warren

Warren is on the Left? So sayeth The Guardian in a feature on Elizabeth Warren (2 May 2017)

  • For many on the US left, Elizabeth Warren embodies best of Sanders and Clinton.
  • With Sanders still a leading vice and centrist politics around the world in retreat, it might be tempting for Democrats to turn left.

Stop doing that, Guardian! Stop labeling our politicians.

  • Warren: I think left/right is less and less an accurate description of the political landscape.
  • Warren: GDP, unemployment, no longer reflect the lived experiences of most Americans. And the lived experiences of most Americans is that they are being left behind in this economy.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Danger!: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 3 May 2017

Signage, Cork:

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How will Brexit impact Ireland? No one knows for sure.

What’s next for America?

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Reading The Guardian, March 2017

As luck would have it, self began reading The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, by Edward Gibbon:

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Self’s reading of THE DECLINE AND FALL gave self all sorts of premonitions.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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