Two recent reads, both books that I had high hopes for, were just not as snazzerific as I’d expected. Continue reading
On his retirement, my dad did what many new-retirees do – research the family tree. There were no surprises apart from discovering that a child was born out of wedlock, raised by his grandmother as her own, and grew up not knowing that his ‘sister’ was in fact his biological mother. On a spectrum of family scandals, it’s lightweight.
Author Eleanor Anstruther had a lot more material to work with, and the result is her fictionalised family history, A Perfect Explanation. Essentially, Anstruther’s father, Ian, was sold to his Aunt Joan for £500. The story also includes postnatal depression, Christian Science, a kidnapping, much family bitterness, a long legal battle, and a large emerald ring. Continue reading
Have you ever looked at a copy of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (commonly referred to as the ‘DSM‘)? It’s a reference book published by the American Psychiatric Association, and it is used by clinicians for diagnosing mental illness. Each ‘disorder’ is described using a number of diagnostic criteria, risk factors, cultural and gender considerations, differential diagnoses and so on. It makes for very compelling reading, as Jon Ronson discovered in his exploration of psychopathy, The Psychopath Test.
I was much crazier than I’d imagined. Maybe it was a bad idea to read DSM4 when you’re not a trained professional…
Yes, even on a good day, I could browse through the DSM and slot myself into a whole bunch of disorders (today for instance, sluggish cognitive tempo disorder, otherwise known as lack of motivation). Continue reading
Ian McEwan sure does have the corner on the middle-class-white-men-having-existential-crises market, doesn’t he?
In Machines Like Me, McEwan conjures a world not quite like the one we know. It’s the eighties in Britain – the Falklands War has been lost, Margaret Thatcher battles Tony Benn for power and Alan Turing achieves a breakthrough in artificial intelligence. Continue reading
I wasn’t planning on reading What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty – I appreciate that she writes books that smash the ‘beach reads’ category (excellent twists, funny, and light, easy reading) but they’re not really my thing. What Alice Forgot has been sitting on my Kindle for seven years and I was reminded of that when it popped up as an available audiobook in my library’s stupidly meagre audio offerings. Having just finished a dense book about the Holocaust, listening to the wonderful Caroline Lee read Moriarty was ideal. Continue reading
The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante
Lena adds more people to her list, Arseholes I Have Known.
3/5 Liked it more than the others (probably residual joy after watching My Brilliant Friend).
As part of the 20 Books of Summer reading challenge, I’m comparing the Belfast summer and Melburnian winter. The results for the day I finished this book (June 28): Belfast 15°-22° and Melbourne 13°-19°.
The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
I have a poor track record when it comes to reading thrillers. Mostly because they’re simply not thrilling – I either spend time guessing what has happened and then watching it unfold (The Girl on the Train) or thinking “This is just far-fetched stupidity” (Gone Girl). So how did the bestseller, The Wife Between Us, hold up? Very, very well. Continue reading
Because I am in #campold, a dinner party conversation I had last weekend was about colonoscopies. More specifically, the person who brought it up was talking about their anxiety – they’ve never had a colonoscopy. Neither have I*, which is probably why I gleefully suggested they should read the hilarious chapter on colonoscopies in David Sedaris’s eighth collection of essays, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls. Continue reading