Conflict in Ukraine by Rajan Menon / Eugene Rumer – Book Review

This is a book about the events leading up to and including the Russian invasion of Crimea and the Donbas area in 2014 and doesn’t cover the 2022 invasion of the rest of Ukraine. The authors mention Zbigniew Brzezinski and his 1997 book The Grand Chessboard in which he stressed the importance of Ukraine asContinue reading “Conflict in Ukraine by Rajan Menon / Eugene Rumer – Book Review”

Byzantium – A Very Short Introduction

Number 437 in the ‘A Very Short Introduction’ series. In 324 AD the Roman Emperor Constantine defeated the last of his foes, Licinius, at sea, in the vicinity of the ancient Greek settlement of Byzantion (Latin Byzantium) on the straits of the Bosphorus. In celebration of his victory, he renamed the city Konstantinoupolis Nea RomeContinue reading “Byzantium – A Very Short Introduction”

Weasels in the Attic

This novella explores fertility, masculinity, marriage, and tropical fish in contemporary Japan. There are three interconnected scenes in the book. The connection is the narrator and one of his male friends called Saiki. The Narrator has a wife and they want to have children. In the first story, the narrator and Saiki visit a friendContinue reading “Weasels in the Attic”

Metroland by Julian Barnes

This is Julian Barnes’s first book and it’s in three parts. The first and third sections are set in Metroland – a strip of suburbia in outer London – in 1963 and 1977 respectively. The middle section is set in Paris in 1968. The first section chronicles the development of a friendship between Christopher andContinue reading “Metroland by Julian Barnes”

A very short introduction to Alexis de Tocqueville

This very short introduction allows the reader to understand the writings of Alex de Tocqueville most famously known for the two volume Democracy in America. Tocqueville travelled for 9 months in America in 1831-32 with his great friend Gustave de Beaumont. The first volume of Democracy in America appeared in 1835. This volume was aboutContinue reading “A very short introduction to Alexis de Tocqueville”

Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

This just might be the best fiction book I read in 2022. It’s utterly brilliant and yet I can’t work out why. In a way, it doesn’t matter. It combines a heroine who has wisdom in dealing with people beyond her years together with a cast of support characters who might live quite close toContinue reading “Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons”

The Masque of Anarchy by Shelley

Well better late than never for me to discover this poem about non-violent opposition to the oppressors, a message that will be taken up in increasing numbers as governments become more and more unpopular over the next year or so. This poem of 91 stanzas was written in response to the Peterloo massacre of 1819Continue reading “The Masque of Anarchy by Shelley”

This Can’t Be Happening by George Monbiot

Number 4 in the ‘Penguin Books – Green Ideas’ series, this book is a collection of speeches and essays by the investigative journalist and ‘professional troublemaker’ George Monbiot, a leading voice in the fight for climate justice. This book isn’t just about the obvious changes we have to make such as removing petrol-driven cars fromContinue reading “This Can’t Be Happening by George Monbiot”

Durham and St Cuthbert – The Cathedral

An excerpt from the book: Travels through History – North-East England The Cathedral Church of Christ, Blessed Mary the Virgin and St Cuthbert of Durham is the official name of Durham Cathedral and is the seat of the Anglican Bishop of Durham. The present cathedral was founded in 1093 and was built in just 40Continue reading “Durham and St Cuthbert – The Cathedral”