I haven’t done an incoming post for a while, but I bought a book at the weekend that I’m so looking forward to dipping into over weeks to come, then another brilliant sounding book arrived from the OUP (thanks Kirsty)…
Once I’d picked up Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone by Eduardo Galeano, translated by Mark Fried, to have a gander, that book was never going to be put down.
It’s a chronological history of the world from creation to the present day. However this book is so different – it’s told in narrative vignettes by the bystanders and observers, those behind the scenes – those normally overlooked by conventional histories. From the ass in the stable when Jesus was born to Maradona’s ‘hand of God’, history is given a different spin in around 600 little parables. The majority are less than a page long, many have just a few lines, the style simple like parables, but one thing they do have is a moral bite. One of the longer vignettes lists major companies that supplied Hitler’s regimes, another details a list of monstrosities before revealing they’re in Hieronymous Bosch’s paintings. Many of the stories are bound up in myths, legends, beliefs, faith(s) and, in a big way, man’s failings. On my first flick through, there aren’t many happy moments in this book, yet I know I will be fascinated by it, and it will spark many questions…
Then today, another book arrived, which is also a collection of vignettes. London Labour and the London Poor by Henry Mayhew originated in the 1850s as a series of articles for a Victorian London magazine. Each investigates the life of a different kind of street seller, tradesman and the criminal underclasses, with first hand accounts, interviews, observations and some great investigative journalism. This collection samples the four volumes that the original went to, together with some great original illustrations. I can tell this is going to be another great book to dip into, and being a book from the OUP, it has some great background features.
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P.S. The winner of my giveaway from last week, as picked from the hat by my daugher is – Winstonsdad. I’ll be in touch.