26 recommends

I recommend the film The trial of the Chicago 7 on Netflix which is based on the infamous 1969 trial of seven defendants charged by the USA federal government for conspiracy and other charges related to anti-Vietnam War protests. It’s a story we all need to know, as it focuses on our right to protest as it is about justice, which makes it incredibly relevant today.

– Sana Iqbal

I’d like to recommend a great book to every 26 member: The Bookseller’s Tale by Martin Latham. Martin is the manager of Waterstone’s in Canterbury and a true book lover. And he’s also a keen observer of other book lovers. Loved this quote from the book: “I have seen this in thirty years of bookselling: customers stroking a book’s cover, peeking under the jacket, surreptitiously closing their eyes to smell the valley of pages – this sometimes accompanied by a quiet moan of pleasure- hugging it after purchase, and even giving it a little kiss.”

– Paul White

I can’t recommend this book enough – A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders 

A very entertaining read, as well as being a fantastic series of lesson in how stories ‘work’, and a warm introduction to the Russian writers, and their world.

– Rebecca Thomas

I’m currently reading Piranesi by Susanna Clarke. I loved Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. This is very different, dreamlike, strange but utterly absorbing. Beautifully written too. I’m watching Shtisel on Netflix, a drama about Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem. Its characters are filling my thoughts and dreams like real people.

– Roger Morris

This looks interesting. Rickie Lee Jones’ autobiography. After all, she’s a better lyricist and arranger than Bruce ‘The Boss of Boring’ Springsteen and a host of other mediocre American men. A lengthy Guardian interview about the book is here.

…and while we’re at The Grauniad, I have read the pocket-sized Last Drink to LA: Confessions of an AA Survivor by John Sutherland. Although neither well-titled nor with a ‘good’ cover, there’s a 19-year-old excerpt from it here.

My tuppence worth:

As erudite as might be expected from a professor of modern English Literature, this is nonetheless an easy one-day read. In the first 50 pages Sutherland magisterially dispatches the WASP cultures’ unhealthy obsessions with alcohol. The pages are splattered with celebrities dying of liver failure and drunken misadventure. In the next 20 he moves on to critique the unresolved interplay between governments, health services and self-help movements with an interesting look at the paradox that is the continuing success of Alcoholics Anonymous. Sutherland’s own history of drinking and recovery (in Los Angeles, hence the title) is recounted with considerable economy in 30 pages, but his final five-page coda sounds a visceral warning note condemning current insensitivity to the all-too-predictable outcomes of drink, drugs, subcultural peer pressure, US gun law and teenage confusion. It is all the more remarkable for being delicately told. Twenty years later he would be obliged to include ‘social media’ into that unhealthy mix.

– Ben Archer

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