celticman's blog

Dick Lehr (2019) Nothing But The Truth.

The cover is a give-away: ‘A Father Behind Bars/A Daughter Determined to Free Him.’ Obviously I hadn’t been paying attention. I thought the narrator was a young black man. In the Author’s Note, Dick Lehr tells the reader the facts. ‘Nothing But the Truth has its origins in one of Boston’s most notorious murders—the shooting of twelve-year-old Tiffany Moore on a hot summer night in 1988. Tiffany was seated on a blue mailbox in Roxbury, swinging...

Big Oil v the World, BBC iPlayer, Editor Ella Newton,Director Jane McMullen, and Series Producer Dan Edge.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p0cgqlv1/big-oil-v-the-world-series-1-1-denial https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p0cgqlv7/big-oil-v-the-world-series-1-2-doubt https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p0cgqlvk/big-oil-v-the-world-series-1-3-delay Your children are going to die. Here’s why. ‘We must not only go to zero emissions , we must actually remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere ’ (italics around text are Peter Wadhams (2016) A...

Andrew Miller (2011) Pure.

1785, before the emptying of The Bastille, The Great Terror and La Guillotine will separate the heads of the aristocracy from their bodies Jean-Baptiste Baratte is given a simple task by a Minister to empty a cemetery, Les Innocents. It lies in the centre of Paris. The putrefying dead are causing such a stink it might even affect the health of the Sun King, Louis XIV at his palace in Versailles. ‘The palace is full of mirrors. Living here it...

Viet Thanh Nguyen (2015) The Sympathizer

The Washington Post called Viet Thanh Nguyen’s novel ‘a classic of war fiction’. The New York Times a ‘tour de force’. Yes and Yes. The narrator has written a confession. Looked out at the shore of himself. And decided there was nothing to see. What fuelled him wasn’t nihilism, but idealism. But that too was a lie. Something he was adept at. Being the bastard son of a priest. At fourteen, his Vietnamese peasant mother became the French father’s...

Eric Holthaus (2020) The Future Earth: A Radical Vision For What’s Possible in the Age of Warming.

Eric Holthaus is a meteorologist and he wanted to do something about global warming. He wrote a book and finished it November 2019. Here is some advice he gives: ‘The key to writing a good book is to write a bad book and then fix it.’ I like that. The key to writing a book is firstly to finish it. Then to fix it. Holthaus managed that. He’s an optimist. ‘In 2035’, for example, he suggests, ‘global emissions finally started to sharply decline—...

Unsympathetic.

A woman of ninety-six died. I don’t need to tell you she was old. In another life she’d have made a decent teacher of French and English, who sometimes rapped your knuckles. But we acted in concert as if it was a surprise, with the odd bum notes. My worry was that football would be cancelled and I’d miss Rangers getting stuffed for the third time in a just over a week. As a destitute person—of the no dogs, no coloured and no Irish—I’m aware rich...

Frankie Boyle (2022) Meantime.

Frankie Boyle is a Scottish comedian. No Mean City . Meantime. The Scottish bit suggests that there is an outside chance he might be funny. But after comedian, I need to write, allegedly. Everybody in Glasgow thinks they are a comedian. In fact, that’s often a reason for a square-go: ‘You think yer a comedian, pal?’ Everybody in Glasgow also thinks they’re a writer, including me. The proof is in the booze and also in the number of copies sold...

Panorama: The Billion Pound Savings Scandal, BBC 1, BBC iPlayer, Directed by Andrew Thompson and Luke Mendham.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m001b7jh/panorama-the-billionpound-savings-scandal Britain is the money-laundering capital of the world. An estimated billion pounds is lost every year to companies that go bust, create ‘anonymous’ limited accounts, disappear or hide their wealth in tax havens in former British colonies. Panorama follows one company, Blackmore Bonds and other subsidiaries to an address in Gibraltar. Blackmore as a limited...

Lullaby, BBC 4, BBC iPlayer, Writer Leila Slimani, Director Lucie Borleteau.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m0018364/lullaby Leila Slimani brings the screen her international bestselling novel Lullaby , directed by Lucie Borleteau. Another case of preferring the film to the novel. I read about half the book, or more, before I stopped reading. I knew what was going to happen and didn’t particularly like any of the characters. I’ve nothing against books about nannies. Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre is a classic, none...

Midnight’s Children, BBC 4, BBC iPlayer, writer and narrator Salman Rushdie, director Deepa Metha.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b03n1svn/midnights-children I like films, but I love books, but I don’t love Salman Rushdie’s books. I read about the first fifty pages of Midnight’s Children and didn’t go any further. But I enjoyed the film. It’s a simplified version of the book, and being quite simple that’s the version for me. I get the same kind of thing with Shakespeare. It’s not something I’d read for pleasure. And when you get to a...

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