This is the first of the festive season series that takes a look back at some of the books featured on the blog this year.
Olive, Again is Elizabeth Strout’s latest installment in her story of Olive Kitteridge, the retired maths teacher with a sharp wit and an even sharper tongue. In this second installment, Olive adjusts to life with her second husband, while attempting to repair a connection with her son, all while negotiating the challenges of life’s ups and downs – both hers and those around her.
The first novel, Olive Kitteridge, introduced us to the character of Olive and those around her as they navigated life in small town Crosby, and its conflicts, tragedies and joys, and the endurance required to survive it all.
Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men is an astonishing new book by writer and campaigner Caroline Criado Perez. Not to make you feel bad about your sex, but the reality is that so much of what women interact with in their lives has been consciously, or unconsciously, based on the male as the standard.
Criado Perez features on Julia Gillard’s new project, A Podcast of One’s Own (see A Note on a New Podcast, below), where she discusses her feminist awakening, her campaign in 2016 to get the first woman on a UK bank note and this book and her startling research into the gender data gap.
The Broad spotted a woman reading this book on the train the other morning and her facial expressions said everything about her reaction to this book.
“From government policy and medical research, to technology, workplaces, urban planning and the media, Invisible Women reveals the biased data that excludes women.”
Who Owns History?
Have you ever visited the British museum and marvelled at all of the incredible objects from around the world. Now stop and ponder how they may have found their way into one of the world’s most famous museum. Britain’s history as a colonial power and seafaring nation is a complicated one. As an Australian, the Broad can personally vouch for this. In this new book, Who Owns History? Elgin’s Loot and the Case for Returning Plundered Treasure, renowned barrister and human rights advocate Geoffrey Robertson considers the question of what to do about the looted antiquities that fill these museums.
The Greek Parthenon, known as the Elgin Marbles, is one of the most prominent contested objects in the British museum, which it continues to refuse to return. Cultural heritage belongs to the people and justice requires that objects are returned, argues Robertson in this thought provoking and timely book. This interview with Geoffrey Robertson by Philip Adams on Late Night Live will give you an introduction to his arguments about why restitution of these objects is necessary.
The Thinking Woman
The Thinking Woman by novelist Julienne van Loon is part-memoir and part-philosophical examination of the lived experience of life and how it’s shaped by many forces. Contemplating her own experience of life, informed by her upbringing and unspoken expectations, van Loon, taps six different philosophers and writers, including Rosi Braidotti, Siri Hustvedt and Julia, to consider their notions of love, play, fear, work, wonder and friendship, reflected through her own life.
“I wanted to prompt and provoke my own readers to look at what happens when we apply philosophy to our own everyday lives,” van Loon writes in her introduction. “It can lead to a radical change of attitude to things we have come to accept.”
She I Dare Not Name
How hard is it to live alone? For some people, it’s a freedom to be themselves without needing another person in their close orbit, while for others it’s something of a torment to not have company. It can also be both in any given day or week. In her memoir She I Dare Not Name, author Donna Ward reflects on living a life with more solitude than anticipated and what it’s like to live in a world built in the shape of couples and families.
Last on the list for is Rachel Cusk’s novel Arlington Park, billed as a darkly funny look into suburbia and modern relationships. This is Cusk’s tenth novel and the memoirist and author – who has taken on motherhood, fate, satire and the not-insignificant problem of existence itself – has attracted legions of fans and detractors with her fiction and non-fiction writing.
A Note on more from the Broad
If you love books, check out all the book reviews and suggestions on the books page.
Check out one of the year big issues – cancel culture – in this post.
This post on confinement culture rounded up some of the places to find entertainment if you’re not living the full IRL life.