Hiroshima by John Hersey

  
Last night I finished reading this slight tome.  If you’d seen me reading it on the bus you would have thought I was just after receiving bad news, I couldn’t help but continually put my hand to my mouth, and in a way I was getting bad news.

If this was a piece of fiction it would be described as a great work of imagination but sadly it’s not fiction.  Yes, we are all aware of the fact that two nuclear bombs were dropped, one on Hiroshima and then Nagasaki.  However this is simply a fact, almost an abstract notion.  It happened and we know it was awful but we don’t know what it was like on the ground, to be going about your daily life at 8am, a bomb lands at 8:15 and if you survived your life was never the same again.

As I said it was a small read – 98 pages, but it did bring tears and heartbroken sympathy.  I don’t normally read this kind of writing but it was worth it and I think it should be recommended reading in every school across the world.  These bombs can’t be used ever again and the fact that it’s a threat that hangs over us on an ongoing basis to some degree or other is truly terrifying.

A big Thank You to Fionnuala for giving us this.

June/July ’15 Finish Reads

I’m rather pleased to say that my last three reads are actually books that I’d previously started but never finished.

The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin – I didn’t think I’d read much of this book but a bookmark still in it tells me I had actually gotten almost 100 pages into it!  However upon re-reading it I couldn’t remember anything about it at all!  On the other hand in the re-read I couldn’t understand why I didn’t finish it first time around!  I have the second book in the series on my shelf just waiting to be picked up.

My second read – previously I had only read a chapter or two of this book.  On the other hand, I’d seen the series, the film, and listened to the audiobook – so it really was time to pick up the book and read the words for myself.  Yes I’m referring to the first in the Karla Trilogy – Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré!  

The series and the film follow each other fairly closely.  The book was written in 1974 and the series was made in 1979 so period was in keeping with the book.  There was one or two small changes made – locations – that when it came to the film they too, kept the places changed – I’m not sure I understand why.  On the other hand I did enjoy the book and Alec Guinness was Smiley for me the whole way through.

Finally, I got my hands on a copy of A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr

This had come to my attention last year (or was it the year before?)  I couldn’t find it anywhere so in the end I ordered it in the library.  Unfortunately for me the mood had passed by the time I’d gotten it.  It’s a short read – 85 pages and I only got about 28 pages into it when I had to return it.  So when I saw that Penguin had just released it as a Modern Classic this summer, I knew I had to get my hands on it and try it again.  Now one habit of mine is to find out how many pages are in a book and figure out where the half way mark is.  When I did that here I spotted that the story was signed off as such, as if it were a letter.  So that was how I read it – as a letter.  I devoured it which I’m rather pleased with as I’m a slow reader.  I loved it – I loved that warm summer – slightly struggled with the phonetic accent but that wasn’t the stumbling block that it possibly was last time.

Now I think my next read will be a new purchase but I’m still not entirely sure which.

Waiting

I’m sitting up in a London Hotel bedroom.  It’s almost 07:30 and I’ve been awake since 06:00.

Breakfast will be served soon, although I still have to wait.

I’ve started to read Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and I’m using the map of London to plot Smilies first day in the book.

 

Acceptance

Yesterday Ireland said Yes to Marriage Equality.

However, it was also seen as being about acceptance.

This photo said it all for me:

Relief
Photograph by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images
Website: The Guardian

My Radio

I love listening to the radio – I have one in every room in the apartment even the smallest room!

Actually, that’s not exactly true – I did have a radio on my locker but retired it for the telly.  What I mean by that is we get the radio through the television and the signal is much, much better!  However this morning two things happened to be bring the radio back to the locker – I woke up in time to listen to Gloria on LyricFM and the remotes were over on his locker.  The radio was found, plugged in and I snuggled back down to listen.  It really was glorious!  The reception wasn’t too bad either.

Speaking of reception – I mentioned earlier that reception is better on the telly – well that’s not really worth anything if there’s no electricity!  As was the case last week.  I had just gotten off the bus when all of the house alarms started going off.  It seems that when the electricity fails you don’t get silence these days.  I do like having no electricity – it’s like an adventure!  Anyway with no telly or internets there was only the radio left!  So out came my transistor (I don’t think they can be called a tranny any more)  and the reception of BBC radio 4 was PERFECT!  We listened away ’til the lights came back and at that point all of the static electricity that was being generated completely destroyed the reception.  Now I know some will go what did you expect but it had never dawned on me before – yes, electrical weather but household, no!

Here is my old faithful –

IMG_2728 I’ve had her for too many years than I’d care to admit to!

Not My Father’s Son

This is the autobiography of Alan Cumming.  It was read by himself on BBC radio 4 recently as the book at bedtime.  For me it was a little bit past my bedtime so I got the audiobook from the library.

Can I just say WOW!

I remember watching his episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?” and thinking that’s tragic but isn’t it lovely that his grandfather was held in such high esteem…
Nobody would have guessed the turmoil he was going through while the filming of that episode.  That episode is used as the framework for the book – for him to tell us who he is – where he came from.  On twitter I said it swung from harrowing to happy – reading it, it interchanges between the Then of childhood to the Now of filming the programme.

Speaking of remembering seeing Alan on television – I saw him on The Late Late Show (RTÉ) talking about his relationship with his dad and I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say it wasn’t a happy go lucky childhood.  However listening to his lilting accent, his voice somehow protects us from his words.  You really are routing for the “Then” & “Now” Alan to come through, despite the fact that you kind of know that he has, you are so wrapped up in the story.

This story is very redemptive – by the end of it I would have loved to say to Mary Darling (his Mam) – you did a great job!  to Grant – please keep looking after him, he’s mad about you.  To Alan, Thank You!  Thank you for The HighLife, the photos, and your honesty.

If you don’t read (auto)biographies then listen to this one!

Accidental Meetings

It’s absolutely piddling out but the shopping had to be done.  The happy outcome of shopping is not loads of yummy food but I bumped into a friend I haven’t seen in years!  I’m absolutely thrilled.

So there you go – I’m a happy bunny :)