This was such an enjoyable read. Rowan, the main character, is entertaining, engaging, and believable. She is the Steerswoman of the title, and her cu
This was such an enjoyable read. Rowan, the main character, is entertaining, engaging, and believable. She is the Steerswoman of the title, and her curiosity is piqued when she encounters blue jewels unlike any others she has come across in a variety of places. She wonders where they came from, and how the came to be so scattered across the world. She can't quite work it out, but as she investigates she realises that someone really doesn't want her to know.
And knowledge, the gaining and the sharing, is of utmost importance to Rowan and the other Steerswomen and Steersmen. That, and truth, are at the heart of who they are. To have people seek to hide knowledge goes against everything they believe in.
And I have to say I really enjoyed that aspect of the book. That it was all about sharing knowledge and wisdom, working together to solve problems. And that it didn't focus on rivalries and competition as a way of succeeding. That more than anything is why I enjoyed this book so much, it seems somehow a hopeful and positive view of the world. Even if it is threatened in the story.
I also really enjoyed the world building and how little things are revealed about the possible history of this world.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the relationship between Bel and Rowan, they start out as strangers, but both have a similar desire to learn about the world and that is the key foundation of their friendship. They have their differences, and certainly see the world in different terms, but what they share is enough to cement their friendship.
Overall a really great read, although this is one off Mount TBR that gets instantly replaced with the followup, The Outskirter's Secret.
In 1889, the first Official Secrets Act was passed and created offences of 'disclosure of information' and 'breach of official trust'. It limited and
In 1889, the first Official Secrets Act was passed and created offences of 'disclosure of information' and 'breach of official trust'. It limited and monitored what the public could, and should, be told. Since then, Britain's governments and civil service have been engaged in the greatest identity fraud of all time - the dishonest and manufactured creation of our understanding of the British nation, our history and our culture.
Many people are probably familiar with the phrase Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it, but what happens when you aren't allowed to know the facts of the present, let alone those of the past. How can you ever learn anything when everything is a secret?
The History Thieves is a fascinating book that looks at a culture of secrecy grew into Official Secrets Acts and laws that made everything official a secret. And all this in a country that prides itself on being open, honest, and honourable. Of course, those countries that have experienced British rule may have a different view of the country. As this book makes very clear.
It is in many ways a disturbing book to read. Not only because of the horrific things that the British State did, rape, torture, murder etc., but also because when these facts come to life and are publicised nobody seems to care. Cobain recounts cases from Kenya, Northern Ireland, and elsewhere that clearly indicate that the British state was directly involved with terrible crimes and yet no reaction, no outrage, apart from the people directly involved. It was all for the good of the country, seems to be some sort of mantra used in its defence, but I'm not one who believes in the ends justifying the means. Jack Bauer is not a hero to emulate!
I would recommend that everyone read this book. It'll open your eyes to the horrors that are not so far away from you as you may think.
It also made me think of that Star Trek episode, was it Voyager, or TNG? where the crew encounter a planet that eradicated part of its population and then covered that fact up ((I googled. The answer is Star Trek : Voyager ad the episode is Remember )). If no one is around to remember a crime did the crime take place? In case you're wondering I'd argue, hell yes, the crime took place, and part of the crime is that no one acknowledges it.
You cannot be forgiven or something when you don't try to make amends, if you don't recognise what you did as wrong, if you pretend you never did it, then you aren't really sorry. You're just ashamed, as well you should be.
The British government has a lot to be ashamed for. But I'd guess that every government has its own history it would rather not reveal. The terrible thing is that we, those who elect them, don't really seem to care either.
Beautiful and wonderful, but so, so sad. I almost had to skim read the ending because I was on the train and
Oh my god, you guys, this book is so sad!
Beautiful and wonderful, but so, so sad. I almost had to skim read the ending because I was on the train and didn't want to cry in public.
I picked it up because the cover is beautiful, and the blurb sounded interesting, and I'd read a book by Kathi Appelt before and really enjoyed it ((The Underneath)). It was an impulse read and I'm so glad I picked it up.
It tells the story of Sylvie and Jules, two sisters who are very different. But very close. Their mother died suddenly, Jules' memory of her is fading, but Sylvie remember almost everything. They're dealing with that grief and that absence when Sylvie disappears and Jules is left behind.
And then there is Senna, a little fox cub born in the woods near the Sherman property. She is drawn to Jules for some reason.
It is just a lovely book. And although it does deal with some heavy topics, death and grief, it does so in such a beautiful way. I would highly recommend this book. Especially to any fox fans out there. Just be prepared for tears.
There isn't a lot to this, but I doubt it was ever intended to by published. Still, the illustrations are amusing and it is nice to be able to finishThere isn't a lot to this, but I doubt it was ever intended to by published. Still, the illustrations are amusing and it is nice to be able to finish a work by Joyce in 5 mins :)...more
I loved this book. So much. As I read I found so much to quote, I didn't stop to write every bit out, but quite for quite a few I had to. It was so grI loved this book. So much. As I read I found so much to quote, I didn't stop to write every bit out, but quite for quite a few I had to. It was so great.
I initially started reading it because I had really enjoyed Nocturnal Animals, and that film was based on this book. The film is also fascinating and intriguing in its own way, but the book... this book is just wonderful.
Susan is our main narrator. She receives a book from her ex-husband, Edward, and over the course of three nights she reads it. The book is a thriller, a family driving to Maine are run off the road, and violent terrible things happen. Edward's book is all about that event, and the fall out from it. Susan's story is all about the act of reading that book, but also the memories that thinking about her ex bring up. And her feelings about her current life.
Have I said yet that I loved it?
Okay, I suppose I have, but I really did. It is just such an interesting book, it really makes you think. And I loved the way Susan thought about the book she was reading, the act of reading itself is central to her story. Books about books! what could be better?
I loved Susan's feelings about books, how she was hesitant sometimes to start one, because books require an investment, time and thought. And by the time you finish a book you have been to different places, been different people, forced to think differently. Susan worries that "she could be a different person by the time she’s through". How perfect is that? She's also very aware of the author as author. How Edward is guiding the reader's expectations. How everything that happens in a story happens because of the author. And I love that she appreciates that fact. Authors need to be aware that they have created that entire universe, and so when they populate their book with horrible things and horrible people they don't get to say "but sure reality is like that" because a book is not reality. It is a totally fabricated story and the author needs to be aware of that ((obviously non-fiction books are not a complete fabrication, but at the the same time the author is choosing to write about a specific topic with a specific slant. Nothing is completely objective)). I also really identified with Susan's acknowledgement that we read stories that often depend on bad things happening to the characters. "how much her pleasure depends on his distress.".
I've already written almost 500 words ((thank you automatic wordpress word count)) and I haven't even touched on the depiction of women and violence against women!
Because, and slight spoiler alert here, but its covered in many blurbs so I'm not going to hide it, Edward's book features the kidnapping, rape, and murder of two women. Laura and Helen, the wife and daughter of Tony Hastings. Tony is the main protagonist of Nocturnal Animals, the book within Tony and Susan
On one level it is a fairly standard thriller, but on the other hand Tony is a clear example of a man who is motivated and driven by things that happen to "his women". Laura and Helen are clear examples of fridged women, they are there to be hurt and murdered, in order to create Tony's story. And along the way Tony reveals that he wants revenge because he wants those who hurt him ((him!)) to be punished in order to realise that they can't get away with that, they cannot do that to him. It centres the entire tragedy on him, as so many of these stories do, the women are props. There to display that he is a man.
And I read that story as quite explicitly calling out that as wrong. Others may not read the book in the same way. Perhaps Wright is as guilty as Edward here?
But as well as that story there is also Susan's story. Her life with Edward, and after him, with Arnold.
It is an examination of the roles people play in relationships. In her relationship with Edward Susan was the one who initiated a lot of things. But at the same time she was expected to support Edward, to give up her own dreams in order to work and support him financially as he lived the life of a "writer". She was also expected to critique his work, but when she did so honestly she was punished ((emotionally)) and accused of not being supportive enough. Of no understanding how hard it was to be a writer. Later, in her life with Arnold she finds herself once again subsumed into the supporting role. He has the prestigious career, she is determined to be supportive and loyal after what happened in her first marriage, she will not leave again, and so she becomes wife and mother without a life outside the home. Expected always to go along with things, to not raise objections, to not be "difficult".
There is also this idea throughout the novel that Tony's story, the book Edward wrote, is some sort of revenge. Revenge for Susan leaving him in the first place. And that, to me, is a perfect indictment of Edward as a person. He is equating a relationship ending with rape and murder. How self centred and arrogant is that!
I've probably forgotten half of what I meant to say about this book, but I've said more than enough I reckon. Give this book a go, and then come back and let me know what you thought.