Tag Archives: Fleur Beale

Bored now

Right, doing this has officially become a chore, so I’m out.

No no, hold your tears – you’ll make it sound rehearsed…

As a last act of vanity, a sentence or three about the books I’m currently spreading myself across:

Book The Sixty-Seventh

What Am I Doing Here by Bruce Chatwin, a collection of Chatwin’s essays and short pieces written at various times throughout his life. Readable, and he certainly got up to a bit in his lifetime, but so far it has left me cold.

Book The Sixty-Eighth

The Complete Short Stories of Saki, the definitive collection of HH Munro, an author the students put me onto years ago and who by rights should occupy the same place in the cultural landscape as PG Wodehouse if it wasn’t for the premature patriotism-related death he suffered.

Book The Sixty-Ninth

The David Icke Guide To The Global Conspiracy And How To Stop It. Icke is crazier than a shithouse rat, but this – basically the Rosetta Stone of conspiracy theories where he ties together every left-of-centre idea into one overarching plot to kill us all – is sort of like comfort reading for me. I can read chapter after chapter without getting bored. Although admittedly it does start to drag slightly when he starts using entire chapters to list members of the American military-industrial complex and the numerous secret societies they’ve belonged to…

Book The Seventieth

The Eerie Silence by Paul Davies. A look at the history of SETI with a digression into the theory of alien life. So far, a lot of fun.

Book The Seventy-First

I Am Not Esther, by Fleur Beale. Studying this one with the Year 9s again. I like the stuff I get to teach religious children with this text, but my thoughts on it are summed up entirely here.

Book The Seventy-Second

The Carbon Diaries by Saci Lloyd, a future history, in diary form, about a sudden global-warming-related weather shift causing the UK to cut its carbon emissions overnight by eighty percent. Readable; I might teach it if we get a set of them – I can get all preachy and hippy, and expand the woeful ignorance my students have about this subject (I’m reading this basically because the other week I had a conversation with some of my fifteen-year-olds where it transpired that they didn’t know what global warming was. At all.) and I’ll probably read the sequel that’s sitting around the library, but nothing to get too excited over.

Book The Seventy-Third

Impulse by Ellen Hopkins, the story of three disparate individuals who find each other after attempting suicide. I like this story better than Hopkins’ other stories I’ve read recently – it’s been almost twenty-years since I read Go Ask Alice, and while such stories can be fun, I’m sort of bored with sordid tales of teenage drug abuse. Teenagers cutting themselves or taking too many pills on the other hand never gets boring. I guess it’s because I just like the idea of teenagers getting hurt… That having been said, both Crank and Glass had more poetic tricks in their narratives which made them interesting reading experiences. Impulse is more straightforward in its narrative, which isn’t bad, but is somewhat of a letdown given the potential inherent in the subject matter for the sort of double meanings which with Hopkins laced her first two books.

Right, that’s me for the time being. Cheers to the three or four people who read this, because it’s always nice to pretend there’s a purpose to doing all of this nonsense.

End transmission.

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Book The Sevety-Eighth

I Am Not Esther by Fleur Beale

Kirby’s mother disappears, leaving her to live with an uncle whom she never knew existed; an uncle who is a member of a strict religious community where Kirby’s personal freedoms are curtailed to the extent that she has to change her name to the more Biblical ‘Esther’.

This is an alright book, but nothing special. I quite like teaching it to Year 9s at my Catholic school, as it gets them thinking about religion in a way that most of them never have before, but that’s the only reason I reread it this year.

This is probably not going to satisfy you if you’re an adult, but if the concept sounds interesting, I suggest you check out Beale’s non-fiction Sins of the Father.

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Book The Fifty-Sixth

Sins of the Father by Fleur Beale

The true story of the Cooperite sect, New Zealand’s favourite cult.

This is a very one-sided story, as Beale gets almost all of her information from Phil Cooper, the “wayward” son of cult leader Neville Cooper aka Hopeful Christian. Not, of course, that there was an alternative – the Cooperites keep very much to themselves, and refused all requests to give their side of the story.

A solid transcription of events, and it’s nice to be reminded that this sort of thing happens here as well, and isn’t just confined to backward states in America.

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