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Summer Reading

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Wednesday, 30 Mar 2022, 11:27

So in between art attacks I was reading a lot over the summer. I finished the Tom Rob Smith Trilogy which includes Child 44, The Secret Speech and Agent 6.  I would definitely recommend them. Child 44 was made into a film, I haven’t seen it but my sons didn’t think it was up to much.

One of the local charity shops has a whole room of second hand books so I pick up most of my fiction there quite cheaply. They always get them back when I’ve finished with them, so it’s a win, win all round. I read some ‘womens’ fiction, if you’re allowed to call it that now. Anita Shreve’s, A Change in Altitude and one called Home but I cannot remember who wrote it, Trophy Child by Paula Daly, and The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan. You could rattle through them in a day or two and they won’t tax your brain too much. One of the reasons why I don’t particularly like ‘women’s’ fiction is that the central characters are always so bloody weak and drippy. And it’s all a bit ‘Oh no! Gerald is shagging the au pair again, and that’s the third time this week, whatever am I going to do? But I still love him so much!’ It hard to feel much sympathy for the characters when it usually turns out she started shagging Gerald at the Christmas party when his wife was 6 months pregnant. But they’re a cheap read and it’s probably the only way I would ever read them, I wouldn’t spend good money on them. One exception was Sail Away by Celia Imrie. I got this as part of my prize for winning the Haiku competition and really enjoyed it, so this is one I would recommend and will definitely read more of hers.

I’m not a great reader of fiction and prefer autobiography over other genres. But as I worked my way through The Gulag Archipelago, I needed a break now and again, as the brutality was quite harrowing at times and, more so, at present, as we seem to be sleep walking back into totalitarianism. Everyone should read this book, it should be on the Secondary School curriculum. It is an appalling indictment of man’s inhumanity to man and, as I’ve said before, Stalin killed no one, it was the ordinary Russians who ‘followed’ the orders of the tyrant. They estimate 14 million Russians died in World War 2 and 17 million Chinese. They estimate 65 million died under Stalin and Mao, killed by their own, murdered and starved. An appalling lesson from history that everyone should know about, but seems to have been forgotten by our glorious leaders and their minions. Ignore the lessons of history at your peril!

Other good reads were Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. The Geisha who the book was based on was not impressed with Arthur’s interpretation and wrote her own story afterwards.  I have it on the Kindle but haven’t read it yet, but I would still recommend Memoirs.

Other fictions were John Grisham’s The Appeal. I enjoyed this up to a point and it felt very relevant considering it’s themes of political and corporate corruption. There is no happy ending to this one so don’t read it if you’re feeling depressed, it just might tip you over the edge especially with ‘life’, if you could call it that, at present.

On the rest of the reading list was Wilbur Smith’s Blue Horizon, this is book 11 in a whole series about the Courtney family but I haven’t read any of the others. It was a bit of an epic and set in Africa in the early days of colonialism. I did enjoy it and will look out for the others.

John Case’s The Genesis Code was ok. I could see where it was going quite early on, part of the ending didn’t quite gel, but it was ok and worth a read, if you’re not looking for anything too taxing on the brain cells.

Since it was a bit of a Russian summer, I also read Shallow Graves in Siberia by Michael Krupe. This took me back to autobiography. He was a Polish national and this is the story of how he ended up in the gulags and managed to escape both them, and the Jesuits, eventually ending up in Britain. A happy ending for once! I would strongly recommend it. A great read and a reminder of just how amazing the human spirit can be and what we can endure and overcome.

And after all that, and to continue on the Russian theme, I was trawling through some music on Youtube and came across this stunning piece by Tchaikovsky. I’m a big fan of Tchaikovsky but I had never heard of this one, it is called Hymn of the Cherubim. It has to be the most beautiful piece of music I have ever heard and it gives me great pleasure to share it with you all today. It shows that even though we can be absolutely appalling to one another, we can also be beautiful and wonderful, and this is a demonstration of what humanity can produce when we are at our absolute best. Food for the soul that speaks to God. Turn out the lights, turn up the volume and let your soul soar to the heavens. Amen!

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky - Hymn of the Cherubim - YouTube


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Weddin

Tyrants

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Thursday, 12 May 2022, 14:06

So, what did I do in my six weeks of off? Well, I read the entire Harry Potter series, and very enjoyable they were too. I didn’t want to read anything political or anything ‘real’ and I’ve carried on reading more fiction since. I’ve just finished the excellent Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith. It is about a serial killer and is set at the end of the Stalin era in Russia. It is based on the story of the real-life serial killer, Andrei Chikatilo who murdered 56 people in Russia in the 1980’s and 90’s. I’ve also ordered the two sequels, The Secret Speech and Agent 6.

There are some statistics at the back of the book relating to Russia under Stalin that are chilling. The two that stood out for me are; it is estimated that 14.5 million people died during this time (the proletariat whom communism was supposed to free) and they would even execute children as young as 12. Absolutely brutal!

If the detail in the book is anything like it really was, the levels of paranoia and fear, it must have been hell for the citizenry. I remember in Wild Swans how people were the same under Mao, paranoid and ready to sell out their family, friends and neighbours, and how in the blink of an eye you could fall out of favour with the authorities and the dangers that brought.  The frightening thing about this is when I look around me today, I see we have learned nothing. It would take very little to turn society into that again, we are halfway there already. I’ve seen and experienced first-hand in the last year, how people who I thought had a modicum of sense and intelligence, completely caved into the fear and propaganda. I have been ostracised by family members for not taking the virus ‘seriously’. (What was I supposed to do, invite it around for dinner and talk to it?!) And the ‘covid cult’ has caused divisions that debates about Trump, global-warming and Brexit never even came close to.

I have also refused to wear a mask, (I will not be complicit in my own enslavement) something which pisses some people off. I think part of it is because it highlights their own cowardice - they don’t want to wear it but haven’t the nerve to go out without it. I tell people now I have a rare condition, it’s called CSIT, it stands for common sense and independent thinking, and believe me it’s a rare commodity around here, I just didn’t realise how rare!

The ‘covid cult’ also reminded me of the early days of the Troubles, especially Bloody Sunday, when a wave of collective insanity seemed to grip the population and which I’ve seen again this year. The change in society was palpable after Bloody Sunday, you could almost taste the anger and hate. Northern Ireland descended into darkness and fear, paranoia and brutality reigned, and every nut job with a grudge had an outlet in which to exercise it. There were also those who took advantage of the anger and the nut jobs, and used them for their own ends, financially and politically. The fear generated then still haunts NI, (they haven’t gone away you know) I see it when I post anything critical about Sinn Fein on Facebook, and it is collectively ignored.

People have remarked privately, that they thought I would be burned out or shot after my letters to the paper. I really didn’t care and knew they wouldn’t because what I have realised is that, underneath it all, Sinn Fein and the rest of them are just another bunch of cowards, who are just as corrupt as the rest and always were. If the last year has shown me anything, it is that all the ‘hard’ men around here are nothing more than a shower of gutless wonders. Pathetic!

Anyway, getting back to the books, I’m reading Carl Sagan’s Contact at the moment, (and hoping for a worm hole to open up to another galaxy!). I had started it before Lent but set it aside to read the Harry Potter’s. I will then get back to some of the heavier stuff which is starting to pile up. Next up is Solzhenitsyn’s, The Gulag Archipelago, for some real insights into life under Stalin and Nietzsche’s, Beyond Good and Evil.

It was good to take that time away from the world and switch off from all the hysteria and misery, especially when the government denies you the right to live your life. There’s another year gone which I’ll never get back. Man cannot live for work alone and neither can I.

The fear is also starting to recede and I can see people beginning to question themselves and their actions. The media are still doing their best to ramp it up, with all eyes on India, but with a bit of sunshine and people getting out and about again, the tensions are definitely easing.  Well done too, to all who turned out to march last week in London, it was great to see, especially for those of us living in the outer reaches with little or no support.

When you look back at history and read the literature, whether fictional or not, from the Roman Empire to the present day, you wonder why tyrants never learn and continue with their insane plans for world domination and human enslavement. Because, it doesn’t matter how successful they are initially, in the end, empires always fall and their leaders die, whether it’s Josef Stalin, Mao or Lord Voldemort. Could someone please tell the Rothschilds/ Rockefellers, George Soros , Henry Kissinger, Klaus Schwab, Bill Gates, the Democrats, the Zionists and Xi Jinping? It could save us all a lot of time and trouble, and spare us a lot of pain and misery.

Enslavement is not sustainable in the long term, not matter how brutal they make it. Eventually, some people tire of it and decide to fight back for freedom, to die on their feet rather than live on their knees. What is the point of a life, if you cannot live it as a free human being, especially when none of us are going to be here very long anyway!

The one factor that could have stopped Mao and Stalin was the people, if people had not complied with the orders and stood together, they could have done nothing. Because there are always more of us, than there are of them.

I watched a lecture of Dr Jordan Peterson’s recently where he talked about what a miracle it was that we existed, and how many pairs of males and females it took to successfully mate and produce a healthy child over thousands of millennium for us to be here now. Our ancestors in Europe have lived through the rise and fall of many empires, the Black Death, the Inquisition, famine, starvation, invasions and wars, and here we are cringing in fear with our face nappies, over a flu that has a 99.97% recovery rate. Just think about that for a moment then, grow a pair, take that rag off your face and man up, ffs!  

Vivir con miedo es como vivir a medias!

 


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