A rapid, easy read, and fascinating to read about the election through the eyes of a member of the Labor faithful. Because of McCallum's Old Guard sta...moreA rapid, easy read, and fascinating to read about the election through the eyes of a member of the Labor faithful. Because of McCallum's Old Guard status, there were of course a lot of things I didn't agree with him on, but one doesn't necessarily read books only when one agrees wholeheartedly. (I'm starting to think I may finally be able to read Marion Maddox's book God Under Howard - I think that title's right - now that Howard is out of power. It might depress me just a little less now.)
Poll Dancing suprised (but pleased) me by being more about the "phony campaign" - the interminable time we all suffered between Rudd's rise to Leader of the ALP, and the election actually being called. And to go back and look at that time was fabulous. When McCallum finished writing, the overall result was known, but individual seats - like Howard's own - were still undecided. It's one of those "time capsule" books, which can be really enjoyable. And this is.
(Now to borrow Judith Brett's Quarterly Essay on the election...)(less)
**spoiler alert** I love that Cordelia finally gets a partner in this one: I also love the development of Hattie and then Mia and Cordelia's interacti...more**spoiler alert** I love that Cordelia finally gets a partner in this one: I also love the development of Hattie and then Mia and Cordelia's interactions with them.
I'm worried, though, both about Peter, and about Jane/Kenzie. As much as I loved and adored Kenzie for driving all day to apologise for hurting Jane (*and* I loved the sort of pseudo proposal), Jane was just so uncertain... and I want to know more about that.
I'm assuming that the next book will have more about Raymond's tilt at the governorship, and about Jane/Kenzie.
And none of this has said anything about the actual plot, but with the Ellen Hart books, it's become so very much more about how much I love these characters.(less)
Brent-Dyer's only romance written for an adult audience, and her only book set in the Tyneside area of her birth. As with other non-Chalet books and c...moreBrent-Dyer's only romance written for an adult audience, and her only book set in the Tyneside area of her birth. As with other non-Chalet books and connectors set in the UK, I felt a definite sense of Oxenham in this one: moreso because of the country dancing that was part of this book.
It's unfortunate that the ending is rushed, as I would have liked the reconciliation between Jean and Kenneth (talk about Oxenham-like names!) to be better explained. But in general it's a beautiful, gentle story. The India references are highly helpful, and basically, I'm probably going to have to get my own copy of this (assuming Bettany Press still have it). Very glad I finally read it.(less)
I am really glad I decided to read this book. I’d already read the second volume, “Every Second Counts”, but when personal circumstances joined up wit...moreI am really glad I decided to read this book. I’d already read the second volume, “Every Second Counts”, but when personal circumstances joined up with a love of pro-cycling (and Lance’s second comeback to the Pro Tour) I decided it was time I got around to reading it.
Lance’s strength of will is amazing. It shines through this book so strongly, so that in points you are only wishing you could be as strong. Especially during the more harrowing episodes of diagnosis, surgery and chemo. Despite having followed cycling avidly since just after the period this book covers, I learnt a lot of things I’d previously not known: that the tumors had spread to Armstrong’s lungs and brain, overall just how amazing it is that he’s still alive; that Paul Sherwan was present at the meeting between Lance’s agent, Bill Stapleton, and the management of Cofidis.
The persona of Lance that we all get to see is strong, brash, undeniably Texan. And I understand why that annoys or puts people off. But to have that model of strength, of determination, and of using all one's abilities and living life to the fullest, I can’t see that as a bad thing. (less)
Possibly one of the most engaging Bastions I've read so far, due to the depth of the mystery on the one hand, and the intransigence of the heroine on...morePossibly one of the most engaging Bastions I've read so far, due to the depth of the mystery on the one hand, and the intransigence of the heroine on the other. I simply adore a heroine who refuses to let the hero coddle her, and in Letitia that's exactly what the reader has. She is awesome, in the true sense of the word. She refuses to let Derne, Dalziel, or any of the Bastion club overrule her, and she is as much a part of solving the puzzle as any of them.
For as much of a puzzle as there is to solve.
Of course, I'm coming at this book from the wrong angle entirely, having already read the book in which Dalziel's true identity is revealed and the traitor hunted to ground. In fact, I read that book quite some time ago. And yet, I still think this one of the most engaging Bastion Club novels of the series.
I have to admit that I really don't tend to expect much of a Laurens: an enjoyable romp, Regency-style balls and accoutrements, and a happy ending.
The Edge of Desire gave me all this, and a frolicking, rolicking mystery as a side dish. Twelve points to Stephanie Laurens!(less)
I'm actually simply assuming that this is the book I've just read, as GoodReads doesn't seem to recognise Mary S Lovell's The Mitford Girls, and this...moreI'm actually simply assuming that this is the book I've just read, as GoodReads doesn't seem to recognise Mary S Lovell's The Mitford Girls, and this is the closest thing GoodReads comes up with. (I learnt how to switch editions!)
I've wanted to read The Mitford Girls for ages. It's always looked like an interesting book, although I've never read any of Nancy's books, nor did I really know much about the sisters at all. It just looked fascinating - five (oops, six!) upper-class English women, whose names just keep on appearing when you read twentieth century British and European history. And then I read Anne de Courcey's The Viceroy's Daughters - all about the Curzon sisters, whose lives intersected quite a bit with that of Diana Mitford...
Anyway, I finally borrowed it from a friend and read it. And I'm glad I have. It's eminently readable, although the author has a tough job trying to keep track of all six sisters (especially once they start leaving home) and their parents, leading to characters essentially being in eight different places at times. Lovell tends to try to focus on one sister at a time, leading to occasional confusion (such as a reference to "Diana, Pam and Nancy all living on the Continent" when the last I was aware of, Diana and Pam were both living in Ireland - the confusion was cleared up one chapter later. It's clearly written for a UK audience: only one British peculiarity is footnoted, although there's far more than one British peculiarity in the book.
Another oddity that I noticed - Lovell was open in discussing Tom Mitford's same-sex relationships while he was at Eton, but lets through one line in a letter from Decca to her second husband, Bob Treuhaft, about her sister Pam "become[ing] a you-know-what-bian", and never expands upon it. Terribly tantilising!
Linked in beautifully to recent reads, especially The Last Season, and even The Other Queen, given that Debo marries the younger Cavendish son and ends up as Duchess of Devonshire and thus mistress of Chatsworth. And Hardwick Hall is sold by the Cavendishes during that period. (Lovell has also written a biography of Bess Hardwick that I've just discovered, and plan to borrow from the library tomorrow.)(less)
On the one hand, it really is nice to finish one of the books on my 'borrowed from other people, must read and return at some point' shelf.
On the othe...moreOn the one hand, it really is nice to finish one of the books on my 'borrowed from other people, must read and return at some point' shelf.
On the other hand, if you really really love the Olympics like I do, you may not want to read this book.
It's a great book, covering the historical moment of the Berlin Games, and giving a depth of insight to the debates around whether or not attendance at the games meant supporting Hitler, etc. Among other things, it's made me want to track down "Boycott", the book by Lisa Forrest who was the ridiculously young captain of the Australian swimming team for the 1980 Olympics, which Australia didn't boycott when a lot of other countries did. (Australia, Greece and the UK are the only countries who have sent athletes (not *quite* teams) to every Summer Games since 1896. Of course this is interesting given that Australia didn't exist in 1896 nor 1900, but we're still accorded that statistic. And yes, in case you hadn't realised, an Olympics geek is me...) Anyway. I'm not sure I'm going to be anywhere near so sympathetic towards Lisa when I read that book as I was when I heard her interviewed by Margaret Throsby back in the day. But I want to read it all the same. End digression.)
Two more connections from this book to others that I really appreciated: that to the 'Peoples Olympics' that was (sort of) held in Barcelona as an alternative to the Berlin games (it was interrupted and eventually canceled by the break out of the Spanish Civil War). There was a really fascinating chapter on that particular event. The other is the discussion of Son Ki-Jung, the Korean gold medallist in the marathon who raced under the Japanese flag because of the Japanese occupation of Korea at the time. He is still listed in all official records as 'Kitei Son' and his medal counts for the Japanese all-time medal count. The end of the book recounts that he lit the Olympic Flame in Seoul in 1988, the first Olympic Games that I watched at age 10. I remember watching the opening ceremony, although not that moment specifically. I wish I could remember it. I hope the Australian commentary noted the historical impact of the moment.
In some ways it was the final chapter that hit me hardest. As I'd been reading I'd noted with a sense of horror the number of things that are now staples of the Olympic symbolism, particularly the opening ceremony, that were introduced by the Berlin games as part of Hitler and his regime's attempts to link the Ancient Greek ideal with Germany specifically. This includes things like the torch run, the release of doves/pigeons, and the Olympic Hymn. In the final chapter the reason for this came fairly clear. Avery Brundage, the head of the US Olympic Committee at the time of Berlin was avidly anti-boycott, and became pretty pro-Hitler over the course of things. At Berlin he was elected to the IOC, and in 1952 he became President of the IOC, the predecessor to men like Juan-Antonio Samaranch and Jaques Rogge. Brundage was IOC President during the Munich games of 1972, and insisted that the 'games must go on' after the terrorist attack on the Israeli team and the botched rescue attempt that killed so many of the hostages. Guy Walters, the author of Berlin Games, has by this point built up the reader's distaste for Avery Brundage over the boycott and some of his other actions (in getting pro-Boycott, Jewish members of the IOC dumped from the IOC, amongst other things) that his actions as IOC President come as logical progression from a rather narrow-minded man. Harold Abrahams (of Chariots of Fire fame) came to regret his (eventual) support for the British team attending Berlin. Brundage never looked back.
It's a fabulous book. But if you non-ironically love the Olympic Games and what (you thought) it stands for, as I do, I'm not sure I can recommend reading this. It leaves a sour taste in the mouth; not about the book but about the Olympic movement. And I just generally don't like that. Because I want to still non-ironically love the Olympics, and I'm not sure I can any more. (less)