As you can see, I'm working my way through three big books, plus a Zola (which also takes time!), hence I've not been writing any real reviews (aside from To Kill a Mocking Bird and a description of Book I of The Faerie Queene).
Firstly, the Zola - The Conquest of Plassans. This is a book I'll be writing about in detail when I finish it, but for now - well, I like it. Of course I do, it's by Zola. But, so far, it's not quite Zola. A possible four star rating is a good rating, but all other Zolas have been given five. But, early days - I'm only about a third of the way through.
Next, The Rise of Professional Society: England since 1880. A duty read for November Autumn's Turn of the Century Salon. Very early days - just finished the first chapter and I have nothing to say.
Thirdly, The Karamazov Brothers as this translation is called. Absolutely brilliant. It's intimidatingly immense, so writing about it is going to be very hard, but once finished, I will give it a go. I'm a little less than half way through.
Finally, The Faerie Queene - you know how that's going! I wish more people would read it, though. I think it would make a brilliant group-read: I really could not have written that last post without reading other people's thoughts.
But, my reading over the weekend hasn't been anything to write home about: in fact, owing to the Julie Burchill debacle, reading came almost to a standstill yesterday. I feel, given that I tweeted a great deal about it yesterday and today, I should perhaps say a few words on here.
I hate injustice. I hate the "freedom of speech" used to trample and threaten vulnerable groups. I hate trolls; I hate to see people say hurtful things simply to get attention. And I hate Julie Burchill. Her article has since been removed, but if you haven't read it yet you can read it here. In defending Suzanne Moore (who appears to be distancing herself from the whole mess) she justifies and normalises hatred, and refuses to acknowledge or at least see that throwing about words trans women are threatened with on a daily basis is another way of saying that it is ok to use these words. It is ok for people to do this. That feminists should hate trans women, and threatening them is fine. Writers like her, and readers (and writers) like us, know the power of print, and she exploited it to defend her friend, get some pages hits in the process, and get the cash in. And, now it's been taken down, we have a Telegraph journalist criticising The Observer for removing the piece on the grounds that it "muzzled" a journalist. He said it was a "black day" for journalists, but, as I said on Twitter, it is a black day when main news amounts to two journalists defending their pals. The whole thing was utterly sickening. Trans women were trampled on yet again. Freedom of speech does not actually mean we get to say whatever we like and to hell with the consequences. Know the danger that each individual trans person faces every day of their lives, and if you have some humanity you will not use these words, and you will not sit back and watch Burchill spew her hatred.
I don't believe I have ever blogged about politics on here, but this was something I couldn't let go by. She tramples vulnerable members of society as par for the course, whether it be saying that sex workers ought to be shot for betraying women (again, understand the violence sex workers face and you'll hate Burchill as much as I do, and whatever your views are on sex work, no woman deserves violence), or the latest threat "You really won’t like us when we’re angry" (which, incidentally, as I type this I see that Telegraph journalist has felt the need to reproduce on The Telegraph's blog). What is worse is that she's getting paid for this. Like I said to Deborah Orr (a Guardian writer) - hits = ads = cash. Yes, indeed it was a black day for journalism. Only good thing to come out of it was the backlash (Valeska Matziol was particularly good on covering this on Twitter, and there are many blog posts on the subject: Roz Kaveney would be a good place to start).
And, with that, having spent much time online in the past few days, I'm heading off. I hate a 5am start tomorrow to pick up the now fixed car, although the snow makes things a little tricky. So far, there's a light covering, but we could be in for far worse. Either way, it's freezing here. I'm looking forward to an early night and reading proper writers.
|The snow yesterday,|