What do disappointment, age, repeated injury, physical deterioration, last hopes, and the triumphs of rivals do to a sportsman and the narrative of his life? With so much unwritten, we can only ask, Why now? Why not wait until after the Big Three retire?
I reveled in this book because, unlike others before it, it is not fragmented, incongruent, or just a compilation of interesting facts. But rather, it reads as though Thoreau lived much more recently and the author had interviewed in-person, first-hand witnesses to his life simply because it flows from birth to death without a sense of missing information or lapses in time. On any given page you may learn about the weather that day or how late Thoreau stayed up as if it were all recorded and timestamped on videotape for the author to view and re-view.
Gill’s book is a tour de force in bringing together information about Virginia Woolf’s Pattle ancestors and the Thackeray connection; in showing the damaging patriarchal milieu out of which she fought her way, and in highlighting her use of autobiographical material in her novels.
Author Charlie R. Cross gives readers a peek into Cobain’s brief life via the singer’s unpublished journal entries, letters, drawings, and home videos. Cobain’s widow and feminist icon Courtney Love gave Cross access to the documents, which was more than helpful because the singer was notoriously for keeping notes of all of his thoughts and experiences.
Six Legs Walking is a tribute to a time-honored but sadly vanishing tradition of vigorous biology conducted principally in the habitats where creatures live. Many of this reviewer’s environmental studies students figure their future depends upon mastering the science of genetics and what an elder field biologist friend dismissively refers to as “blender science.”
I’m a military history aficionado, and the amount of information presented within this book is astonishing. I can only guess at how much research went into the preliminaries, and can see similarities to Sir John Monash’s extensive planning before the Battle of Le Hamel. I’m visualising somewhere in Mosman these large white-boards and spreadsheets travelling all around the walls of the FitzSimon’s operations-centre with countless pages of information attached to them.
A person who has experienced deep tragedy and lived to tell the story often comes to grips with profound truths along the way. Such is the case with Phan Thi. As she started her recovery, she had to endure daily baths to treat her burns. She says, “Those baths were worse than death itself. Dying is far worse than death.” As I’ve observed this with people I know in my own life, I know this is a profound truth.
There’s a graciousness and respect that underlies all of the stories in this book. Little Me creates the feeling that the reader is being taken into a very relaxed confidence, in which we get to hear the juicy backstage details as if they were being whispered to us over a cup of tea. Obviously this is a book that will be far more enjoyable for fans than for those who have never seen Matt Lucas’ work – there are a lot of references to his shows, and reading about the processes behind the shows is definitely part of the enjoyment of this gentle, self-deprecating, sometimes slapstick, but always moving memoir.
Sousa was not simply intrigued. She was invested. She deciphered the entries, sleuthed the cemetery records and censuses, and extensively researched nineteenth century women’s diaries, as evidenced in her luminous afterword on the subject. Surpassing the role of transcriber of Small’s logbook, Sousa became conservator and steward of the archive of her daily life.
I closed The Pigeon Tunnel wanting more. More behind-the-scenes confessions. More striking prose from this master of evocative description. But Cornwell knows when and how to end a tale and leaves us with an anecdote loaded with both humor and irony.