Shtisel

Written 17 May 2021 I have just finished series 3 of Shtisel on Netflix. Or rather, I watched series 1 and 2 last year, started watching series 3 and then my wife said after watching a couple of episodes that she’d always wished she’d watched the earlier series so we went right back to the beginning and so I watched it all the way through. Israel seems a real hotspot for producing good TV over recent years. Well, I say that and it’s my experience having watched Shtisel itself and before that Fauda, but I have to say I watch...

A Fine Balance

Written 12 May 2021 This novel is described as an epic, it is certainly sweeping and describes the interconnected lives of characters in post-Independence India. Most of the storyline is set during the time of the emergency laws of the mid-1970s and it wraps up shortly after the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984. The cast takes in Muslims and Hindus and Parsees, and it is set largely in Mumbai (the big “City on the Sea” in the novel is never named but it is clearly Mumbai).* The book is long, but as with all well written books it soon...

Fools, Frauds and Firebrands | Thinkers of the New Left

Written 3 May 2021 I had “something by Roger Scruton” on my list of books to read this year and have managed it. I’ve become more interested in Roger Scruton over the last few years and have come to see him as a thinker who touches on very important themes and deserves to be taken seriously, not least because he is at least able to articulate what a political conservative is, a task that seems to be beyond all politicians standing for notionally conservative parties. When I was growing up in the 1980s he was, with a small group of...

Progress and Poverty

I’ve finally got round to reading Progress and Poverty by Henry George, a book I’d never heard of until a few years ago. In fact, when I say read I mean that I downloaded it on my Kindle and read some of it but I’ve got through most of it using a free audiobook/podcast which I found good. I generally read in the evenings and it is not the easiest book to read, it needs concentration, there is a lot in it and it is very much a book of its time in terms of style. Background Before setting down...

The Book of Trespass

I have been interested in the history of our relationship with land for a number of years and have been searching for a good introduction to the history of enclosure in England for some time but without ever really seeing something that looked quite right. When I read a review of this book in The Guardian I immediately pre-ordered it, something I’ve never done before, and I’m very glad I did. Nick Adams has produced a lovely book that covers a huge amount of ground in a detailed and rigorous way without being dry and academic. The chapters each explore...