Pue’s Recommendations for June

Juliana Adelman: Summer always makes me a bit homesick for the USA, where just about now I would be putting my coat away for the next three months.  I’ve been reading the New Yorkers which arrive at our house more than a few weeks behind, but I can recommend a slightly dated piece on the politics of history which is available online.  By Professor Jill Lepore, it’s about the Boston tea party and the current Tea Party, but has resonances for this country.  I also read a great book over one recent sunny weekend, Still life: adventures in taxidermy by Melissa Milgrom (thank you, Dad).  Ok, so it might not be your usual deck chair reading, but if you have even a slight interest in the history of natural history it is fascinating.  Lightly written but not lightweight.

Lisa-Marie Griffith:I have spent the last week working at the Dublin Writer’s Festival so my main aim this month is to get through the large pile of books I have acquired. I promised to limit myself to three this year and here are my recommendations: The first book I succumbed to is David Mitchell’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet which is about a Dutch Clerk who travels to India in 1799. There is a forum for discussion of the book here. The second book is Sarah Bakewell’s How to Live, or a Life of Montaigne in which Bakewell has taken the works of Montaigne and used them as a guide to modern living. My final book is Yann Martel’s new book Beatrice and Virgil. I loved The Life of Pi so I am curious to see if this is as good. I learned at the weekend that in order to promote literacy and encourage the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, to engage with the arts Martel is sending him a book a fortnight. Any suggestions for where we can post our?

Tina Morin: As I’m writing this, it’s lovely and sunny here and Belfast, and I have every intention of getting out there and enjoying the good weather while it lasts! I plan to bring with me Penelope Lively’s 1979 novel, Treasures of Time. Recently republished by Penguin in its Penguin Decades series, it features a history PhD named Tom Greenway, who, while not busy in the archives, spends his time worrying about his future in a field in which job security isn’t always the name of the game. So familiar!! If that gets all a bit too depressing, I’ll head over to the Ulster Museum to enjoy some of the events they have planned for Archaeology Month 2010. They have various ‘History Hunts’ and meet-and-greets with Vikings planned throughout the month, and I’m particularly looking forward to the Hidden History Walking Tours on 8, 15, 22, and 29 June.  Promising a new perspective on Belfast’s past, this tour sounds too good to miss, especially if the sun holds out!

Kevin O’Sullivan: Long days, sunshine, weekends spent getting as far from the city as possible; love it while it lasts. Not that sunny days can tear your average historian away from the usual vices. This month’s? A book: historian Tony Judt’s Ill Fares the Land, a persuasive history/state of the world call to re-evaluate our political and social priorities and re-embrace the strengths of social democracy. Two podcasts: Talking History’s recent World Cup special and the return of BBC Radio 4’s A History of the World in 100 Objects. And, finally, a blog that I’d forgotten about until a conversation last week directed me back to it: Spangly Princess, a brilliantly-titled mix of history, culture, and football written by Vanda Wilcox, an English First World War historian working in Rome.

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One Response to “Pue’s Recommendations for June”

  1. dfallon Says:

    Kevin, you’ve done it again. Spangly Princess is excellent!

    Only the historian on the football terrace could produce the following gem:

    “So someone has clumped Berlusconi in the face with a model of the Duomo in Milan, as you doubtless have seen on TV or in a paper somewhere. The greatest example of Italian Gothic, the Duomo is an almost uniquely spiky building and thus ideal for smashing people in the head with.”

    I’m planning a trip to the Ulster Museum in the next few weeks all going well. The Flights of Fancy exhibition looks fantastic, a collection of mounted birds mainly from the late nineteenth century.

    I visisted the Tower Museum in Derry last Saturday and it is most worthy of the journey too, if one is in Ulster. The exhibition on the shipwreck of La Trinidad Valencera was the highlight, one of few times I’ve felt a museum experience truly enhanced by an audio-visual and interactive aspect (I like museums old, dusty and quiet normally 😉 ) Other exhibitions, ranging from the planations of Ulster to more recent history, are also top class.

    Interesting to note a Museum refer to the Irish Civil War as an event which took place “between 1919 and 1923” too. The things we spot.

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