Friday, 13 February 2015

Books and a Film

I am not supposed to be buying any more books, I am running out of room and when a new one turns up another has to go, I also want to support my local Library van, they have sold off the land the original Library stood on and have cut the mobile unit down to one hour every fortnight. This too will disappear if no one uses it, but then who will use it between 1045 and 1145 every second Monday, not including holidays when it doesn’t arrive at all. Despite these good intentions I have bought several new books over the past couple of weeks. First up the one I am reading now; Snow and Steel.
This is a strange military history, the battle does not begin until at least halfway through the book and it seemed a bit disjointed to me, I did not get that sense of ‘shock and awe’ when the Germans did attack. And although there are maps, like many of the troops, I felt lost trying to work out where people were. Having said that, the analysis of why the Germans attacked at the end of 1944 and the state of their forces, along with the potted biographies of the commanders and main personalities, is superb. The author is a battlefield guide, and this comes through in the book as he goes off at a tangent and describes a helmet or bullet clip found on the battlefield, or gives you a potted history of an area. It is an interesting book and an easy read.

In the book locker is “Operation Sealion” a new interpretation of the possible invasion of Britain and what it meant for both us and the Germans.

Then another delve into the Dark Ages with “Ceawlin: The man who created England”, personally even with what little I know, I think this is pushing it a bit far, but I shall approach it with an open mind. So far my reading of the Dark Ages has left me, well, in the Dark.

 Up until several years ago I was an avid reader of the Sunday Times, the best part of which was the book reviews in ‘The Culture’, these inspired me to read a broad range of books but when they got Nancy Del Olio to write a column I thought this was a dumbing down too far for me. I have now taken out a subscription to ‘The Spectator’ and it has some very interesting book reviews, a small list of which I am gathering even as I type. The first try out is “Went the Day Well” about Waterloo, if this is a success I may have to find more room and more money.

Last is a recipe book, I do not watch much on television these days, but now and again to pass some time I find myself looking at “Diners, Drive In’s and Dives”, it is hosted by an over the top ‘celebrity’ chef. If you get past the ridiculous white hair and annoying patter, the food served in these American restaurants makes me want to catch the next flight out, something I might do next year if any of them are close to a Civil War battlefield.

Now for a movie, if you get a chance to watch Nightcrawler then put your prejudices aside and let it grow on you. Within the first ten minutes I was ready to switch off as I could not empathise with the main character and found him disturbing at best, certainly unlikeable. He doesn’t get any better but the movie is superb. Jake Gyllenhaal playes the odious Lou Bloom, a modern product who wants to become a successful video news person(?), someone who films accidents etc. on the streets at night and sells the end result to TV news stations. The story is such that I cannot say much about it without ruining your enjoyment, but I will say, do not miss this.

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