What I've been reading pt 2
Everyone who writes tells you that reading more is the best thing you can do. I've continued taking books to work with me and squeezing in a few chapters in my lunch hour, balancing a spoon full of soup in one hand and turning pages with the other. I'm currently slogging through Naomi Klein's 'The Shock Doctrine', which is very political and packed with details I need time to mull over, so progress is slow. Here's what I've been reading over the past wee while.
The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson
I only picked this up because Mike, the slowest reader you can imagine, powered through it within a few days and kept reading me snippets aloud. If you like Louis Theroux documentaries, this book has an air of that; Ronson follows a trail that begins when he ends up visiting someone in Broadmoor prison, a jail for the insane. The guy he visits pretended he was mad during his court case and now he's stuck there. Ronson finds out what it means to be a psychopath, and meets some along the way...
The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
The evening I found out Carrie Fisher had died, I happened to be wearing a tshirt with her on it. She has been my role model and hero since I was six years old and saw Star Wars for the first time. My wonderful friend Sian gave me the book when I came to visit in September and I basically inhaled it, I read it so quickly.
It's a mixture of Fisher's teenage diaries she kept when filming Star Wars, and her reflecting back on the affair she had with Harrison Ford on the set. As someone who was extremely loud, abrasive and brutally honest with a 'don't give a fuck' attitude, it reassured me that her diaries were strikingly similar to mine at that age (but written much more articulately). The new Star Wars film comes out in a few weeks and I hope it will give me some closure; I feel like I get more upset about losing her rather than less.
This Book is Gay by James Dawson
A practical guide to everything LGBT. If you've read my 'Amost Bisexual' post, you'll know I maybe could have done with having this book in my life about 15 years ago. Give to the gay nephew in your life this Christmas.
Britain and the Slave Trade by Steve Martin
Slavery is something I've wanted to find out more about, ever since I learned that the Museum of Modern Art in Glasgow was originally the house of a slave owner. This book was a great start and really easy to read, like a high school text book and I finally understand the scale of slavery, its mechanics, and why the UK shouldn't feel too high and mighty about abolishing it first.
Billy by Pamela Stephenson
Billy Connolly is the unofficial King of Scotland; I don't know anyone who hasn't felt like they would pass out from laughing at his comedy. His wife Pamela has a PhD in Psychology and decided to write his biography. It turns out his sense of humour was borne from an horrific upbringing of poverty, neglect and abuse. My mum always used to say, "Don't be a victim of what happens to you - turn it into something positive, like Billy!" A must-read biography.
Sex Object by Jessica Valenti
Jessica's book has been sitting in my Amazon wishlist for a while, and I picked it at random when I decided I had a tenner to spare last month. I was already familiar with Valenti's writing for the Guardian and the book didn't disappoint. It's written in just the kind of first-person prose I can sink into and she talks about all the micro-aggressions women face every day just going about their business, as well as the more serious abuses. I will read this again.