Winton Pawprints 

Winton (c.1995-2012) was our beloved shop cat and still has the last word every month in her regular column.

Granny fills Puss's Boots

Gleebooks Bookshop - Wednesday, February 03, 2016
Winton is on hols, so that voracious reader,  Sonia Lee of ‘Granny’s Good Reads’, is filling in with more recommendations from her own Summer Reading Guide!
The Knowledge Wars by Australian Nobel laureate Peter Doherty is a succinct history of scientific method since the time of Francis Bacon—with special attention given to the theory of human-induced global warming and how big business is trying to discredit it. Should be on every HSC student’s reading list.
The Orpheus Clock by Simon Goodman is an account of the author’s largely successful attempts to recover artworks stolen from two of his Dutch grandparents who perished in the Holocaust. Even though many of the objects had been deposited with the Netherlands authorities after the war, their son’s fifty-year search for them had proved futile, so after his death it fell to the author and his brothers to look for their grandparents’ pictures and the silver Orpheus Clock. The patient detective work required for this quest makes gripping reading—and the photograph of ninety-year-old Aunt Lili sitting in her mother’s favourite chair brought tears to my eyes. While perhaps not quite as stylish as Edward De Waal’s The Hare With Amber Eyes, Orpheus Clock is nevertheless a very readable account of how a family’s treasures and, more importantly, its history were rescued from oblivion. Goodman’s account of how museums, art galleries and private collectors acquired, and still acquire, such looted treasures is an eye-opener.
I loved Any Human Heart by William Boyd, and his new novel Sweet Caress is almost as good. The heroine is a photographer who starts out taking society portraits, earns notoriety by snapping low dives in Weimar Germany, becomes a photo-journalist in New York, then relocates to ’thirties London where she is beaten up by Oswald Mosley’s thugs. In 1940s France she is one of the first women war photographers and marries a war hero.  A sweeping panorama of the period (with photographs reminiscent of W. G. Sebald’s) adding verisimilitude to the text.
I must thank Janice for recommending the crime novels of Louise Penny—set in Quebec. Her latest, The Nature of the Beast is one of her best. The charm of these novels is in their setting: the village of Three Pines, the townsfolk including Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his wife Reine Marie, and the food, which always makes me half-wish that Lapérouse had colonised Australia rather than Phillip. At first I thought the story far-fetched until I discovered that it is based on fact. A rattling good read.
I’m also rereading The Mill on the Floss, prompted by Rebecca Mead’s mentioning it in a recent essay on George Eliot. I’m passing up the recent rewrite, The Mill on the Floss: in Half the Time, and making do with the good old unexpurgated original with its painfully small print. I’d forgotten how good it is: the ‘little wench’ who wishes she could have the education that is being wasted on her brother Tom, the uncomprehending parents, the grizzling aunts and, of course, the melodramatic end. Who could resist Aunt Pullet, who says to Maggie’s mother: ‘You was allays my favourite sister and we allays liked the same patterns’. Sonia

 
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