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This is very much my blog, so don't be surprised if this doesn't follow accepted patterns and norms. It is a place where I can be anonymous and honest, and I appreciate that.

It will deal with many things and new readers would do well to check out the "Story So Far" Page above this and the "New Readers" tag down there on the right. Although there's nothing too bad in here there will be adult language, so be careful. If you think this needs a greater control, please let me know. Thank you!

Thursday, 28 August 2014


I love this sort of thing. I wish I could be the subject.
Also, an older woman, because.
For my birthday I was given an Amazon voucher. I should say that I haven't managed to read too many books since about 2008, what with everything that happened, and so I have built up a vast draft of books that have been given as gifts that I simply haven't got around to reading. Bismarck, a biography; News from the Squares by Robert Llewellyn; The War that Ended the Peace by Margaret MacMillan; the whole Song of Ice and Fire series by the literary world's most notorious serial killer G. R. R. Martin to name but a few. However, with the recent change in workplace (liable to get a bit less idyllic now that I've had some atrocious results - I hope that isn't just me being shit, we'll know this time next year I guess as I take over a new subject and have my first fully taught students hitting the exams) and a relaxing holiday this year I actually read books.

Well, at least he didn't add 'the Wake'
to the title.
Three Men in a Boat I already reviewed. There was also Hereward - a thriller version of the brilliant The Wake (see the video below for why you should consider buying it!) which I have also reviewed (I think). This latter book got good in the last chapter, seriously, it took that long, and mainly it was the misogyny being peddled as historical that annoyed me. The little I know of pre-Conquest Britain tells me that women were at their most free socially until the 1990s! Seriously, most of what we in the modern world see as 'traditional' actually only dates from the bloody Victorians but even their misogyny actually comes from the Conquest. Bastards. Anyway, to therefore see anachronistically misogynistic attitudes and roles for women in pre-Conquest Britain, so Saxons, in Hereward was a little irksome. After all, the author claimed to have researched the period and, for many of his readers, this will be their only understanding of the society of the period. There was also the very moving Remains of the Day which I shan't go into here (though it is well worth a read!).

Ms Palmer, for 'tis she, who works for the UN at a high level
but still gets told to be quiet when talking about breastfeeding
and, apparently, made a Nestle executive "too nervous" when
involved in a hearing at the UN. Poor Nestle executive.

I am, if not obvious, very sarcastic.
The books that I went for were a book about food entitlement and supplementary feeding of children from Gabrielle Palmer (she wrote The Politics of Breastfeeding: when breasts are bad for business that Tilly bought for me for a birthday, easily the best birthday present she's ever got me and, possibly, anybody ever has) and a book about Stonehenge. You may have noticed that I have something of a soft-spot for Prehistory and the Neolithic in particular. Anyway, Tilly got me Hengeworld on our honeymoon and it was brilliant (by Mike Pitts) in that it was a serious archaeological study written by a scholar who had researched the stuffing out of what we actually know about the landscape and context of Stonehenge. One of the studies he cited (he was writing in 2001) was an ongoing archaeological survey (begun in 2000 and due, then, to be completed in 2010) that would shed light onto some of the possibilities raised in the book. Well, that study has been completed (2012) and has now been written up as a book. I bought that book.

So far so good.

The book cover.
The third tome I plumbed for was Caitlin Moran's How to be a Woman. I had it recommended by a friend of mine who is a big Feminist but also very, very middle-class. I then read the reviews after ordering it and am now having doubts. I do hope I don't regret buying it, because that would be sad, I've bought so few books since 2008 and I do so enjoy books generally but am a bit of a tightwad. You know how I worry about wasting money.

All of this is rather beside the point, however, because what I realised was the character of the choices that I had made here was, how to put this, hardly masculine fayre. Indeed, one may almost argue it to be feminine, if one were able to genderise books and reading choices. However, increasingly, I find that I am drawn to less stereotypically 'male' books. Mainly because stereotypically 'male' books are badly written wank fests by an author who wants to find as many ways as possible to describe blood (hint, it's crimson), spatter (hint, it's always a fountain) and sex (hint, it's tastefully left out, but the woman tends to throw herself at the main character). This is rather unsurprising given my jealousy for all things feminine generally and twisted version of respect for women and their clothing and lifestyle choices. But, nevertheless, I considered it worthy enough to talk about here. A meatier and more cerebral post for a change.

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