New Books in the Library is always presented with a stunning collection of book choices that would sit pretty well in a much bigger library than ours. It’s amazing what keeps coming into Tawa.
Last time we took away the prosaically titled this is Shakespeare by Professor Emma Smith of Oxford University. Books are always pouring out on the subject of the Bard (who, on any analysis, was quite good). Emma Smith explains why. Don’t expect a dry scholarly tome just a bang-up-to-date overview of why Shakespeare continues to be presented on stages around the World 450 years on. Plus why modern day versions set in odd locations and milieus do not undermine the playwright in any way – they just prove why he is so very great. The Prof is no snob and even quotes The Simpsons with approval. About ten pages of well-argued and fresh insight on each of the important plays.
Sight by Jessie Greengrass has been shortlisted for the grandly titled Women’s Prize for Literature. This might just be the first book that made humanity start comprehending what it really means to be a parent. Said to be an engrossing, smart and beautify written first novel that people will in time queue up for.
50 People who messed up the World by Alexander Parker looked intriguing: a thoroughly researched and pithy examination of the bad guys of our time, selected from the 20th century onwards. Idi Amin, a textbook lesson in how to ruin a country and kill all the opposition, Tony Blair, an object/abject lesson in ground zero hypocrisy and undeserved wealth creation. How to commit genocide and get away with it features, and see Mr Erdogan for modern-day application.
From the biography genre we had Letters from the Suitcase (a wartime love story by Rosheen and Cal Finnigan.) This slow burner has the capacity to truly affect the reader. Love, life, WW2, humour, friendships, exotic places, real wartime London, politics, intelligence work, having children ... all life is within these pages. Beautifully written, real letters. A delicious privilege to be able to read!
Finally an eagerly snapped-up volume was Always look on the Bright Side of Life by (Python) Eric Idle. Cleverly described as a ‘sortabiography’ it meanders from a tragic childhood to a slightly bemused later life rubbing padded shoulders with smart, dumb, overly well-known and some significant people in swinging/hanging Britain. All with Eric’s highly personalized humour style holding it up (sort of). Forget TV and get reading.