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Angury

Angury's Reading & Writing Log 2019

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I have Flowers for Algernon on my ‘to-read’ list too and had heard that it’s very sad. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

 

I’m glad your writing is going so well too, that’s great! I have no doubt that you’ll have work published soon :) 

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A bit late but happy reading for this year Angury and I am very interested to know that you are writing not one but two novels! You seem to be pushing steadily ahead, good for you!

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Thanks vodkafan!

 

I have just finished reading 'A History of Capitalism according to the Jubillee Line' by John O'Farrell. It's a short fiction novel that uses a story of being trapped in the london underground to explain the idea of capitalism. It's brilliantly written and hilarious. You can easily read it in a day and I would highly recommend it to anyone who just needs a bit of a laugh (and to learn a bit about capitalism as well).

 

I've got my eyes on 'How we Think' by John Dewey which I might read next. I've got a few novels on my TBR which I've been wanting to read for a while so it's a  bit of a balancing act deciding what to read next.

 

On the other hand my writing is coming along nicely. I have just had another article accepted for publication in a journal which was a nice confidence-boost and am just finishing an article for a magazine which has an upcoming themed issue entitled 'What is the purpose of having children?' which made for some fun writing!

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A History of Capitalism According to the Jubillee Line sounds like an interesting read :).

 

Congratulations on the article acceptance!

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O'Farell's book does sound interesting, it's always good to have a bit of a laugh too!

 

Congratulations on the article publication! I'm interested to know what you wrote about the purpose of having children now!

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Well my argument was mainly against having children so may be a bit unpopular. :P 

 

I just finished reading Becoming by Michelle Obama. I'm not one for autobiographies and even less enthusiastic about celebrities but I came across an interview with Michelle and became drawn in to what she was saying about life as a woman/ethnic minority/from a poor background and the constant question through life of "am I good enough?" 

 

This is exactly what her autobiography covers. It's not an advertisement of her glamorous life in the White House or her celeb friends - it's a very touching and personal book about what it means to grow up being loved and fighting the stereotypes from others and ourselves. I think a lot of us can empathise with her.

 

My next to-read is Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. I actually have no idea what it's about - it just came up on my Instagram feed and the reviews are overwhelmingly positive so I thought I'd see what all the hassle was about. :P 

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On 19/05/2019 at 10:31 AM, Angury said:

Well my argument was mainly against having children so may be a bit unpopular. :P

 

Intrigued. If we don't have children, what happens to the species? (Which admittedly might be a good thing from the planet's point of view!).

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There have been a few times lately I have wondered why I had children!

If they could just go from 12 straight to 20 and miss out the teenage part.....:unsure:

Edited by vodkafan

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On 5/21/2019 at 3:44 PM, willoyd said:

 

Intrigued. If we don't have children, what happens to the species? (Which admittedly might be a good thing from the planet's point of view!).

 

As you've said, at the moment it would be better if we adopted/fostered children who have no family of their own rather than have children ourselves.

 

I basically argue that the purpose of having children for (some) people is to have meaning in their lives and is a selfish act (which is not a bad thing!) but that you can find meaning in your life in other ways as well. 

 

 

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I think this would be a good subject for the debate section :lol:

 

Michelle Obama's autobiography sounds interesting. Like you, I don't usually read autobiographies and have little interest in celebrities, but it sounds like it deals with a lot of interesting topics and is genuinely reflective (rather than being a list of 'look what I did and who I  met' which is how I imagine most celebrity autobiographies).

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On 25/05/2019 at 11:49 AM, Angury said:

I basically argue that the purpose of having children for (some) people is to have meaning in their lives and is a selfish act (which is not a bad thing!) but that you can find meaning in your life in other ways as well.

 

That's why Richard Dawkins entitled his book 'The Selfish Gene' - life (as a general term) is all about transmission of genes.  Absolutely agree there can be meaning in life for people in other ways as well - but surely that's not an argument against having children, rather an alternative?

 

Quote

As you've said, at the moment it would be better if we adopted/fostered children who have no family of their own rather than have children ourselves.

.

Not quite what I said, although do agree that adopting or fostering can certainly be a thoroughly worthy (and meaningful) thing to do.

 

Quote

I think this would be a good subject for the debate section

:lol:

It's an interestingly provocative idea (in the best sense) - certainly had me thinking!

Edited by willoyd

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On 5/26/2019 at 9:13 PM, willoyd said:

 

That's why Richard Dawkins entitled his book 'The Selfish Gene' - life (as a general term) is all about transmission of genes.  Absolutely agree there can be meaning in life for people in other ways as well - but surely that's not an argument against having children, rather an alternative?

 

.

Not quite what I said, although do agree that adopting or fostering can certainly be a thoroughly worthy (and meaningful) thing to do.

 

It's an interestingly provocative idea (in the best sense) - certainly had me thinking!

 

Apologies, I didn't clarify the context. The article was for a question entitled "What is the purpose of children?"

 

So I wasn't arguing against having children, I was talking/writing about their purpose in modern society, which from my PoV is to give meaning to our lives, but that meaning can come from a lot of different places and as more people receive these opportunities we have less children. That was the gist of the argument anyway.

 

I have now added a new author to be favourites list - James Baldwin. Not sure if any of you guys have heard of/read his work, he seems to be quite well-known. I came across his book "Giovanni's Room' in Waterstones. To be honest the two main things that struck out were

 

1. How short it looked (I was travelling at the time)

2. The cover:

 

image.png.d889b8318e3cfda95552b38bd74bd5d3.png

 

How can that not attract your attention? :P I'm a sucker for book covers.

 

Anyway, I read it during my train journey and was hooked. I've never had such a quick journey before. The writing is eloquent without being overly detailed and the characters are vivid. I found Baldwin was particularly good at iliciting emotions from the reader; despite such a short book you become very involved in the story. The novel is a tribute to the power of words imo.

 

After this first date with Baldwin I picked up 'Go Tell it on the Mountain' which is one of his more popular books. Again, the writing is exquisite and I've underlined several sentences that are unique and create such a vivid image in your head. The plot reminds me of The Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck and I can see why it's such a famous book.

 

Anyway, I had initially moved on to 'A Tree Grows in Brooklyn' by Betty Smith which is a book that has been on my TBR list for a long, long time but then came across this:

 

image.png.fac676bbfaa16172a7dc5dcb9c331189.png

 

 

I don't read self-help books but one of the Youtubers who I follow recommended it. He said that it motivated him to go from being a typical university student to taking the leap and sharing his creative work online. I think this is a fear many people identify with, and despite the advantages of the Internet it is daunting to open your work to others. 

 

So I'm in between two books at the moment which is what I normally do anyway. I often have certain 'reading moods' - for example, I might have a day where I feel like reading a story and will turn to Smith's novel and other times where I feel like I can't concentrate on a plot and want to read something in non-fiction. 

 

Not everyone seems to read multiple books on the go though - would love to hear what other people do!

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12 hours ago, Angury said:

Apologies, I didn't clarify the context. The article was for a question entitled "What is the purpose of children?"....

 

I don't want to clog up your book thread with extending discussion, so won't (!), but as I said it's an interesting one.  I can certainly see where you're coming from, and I suspect don't disagree with much of it - more a case of exploring slightly differing interpretations and perspectives. 

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I haven't heard of James Baldwin but I agree that is a great, eye-catching cover!

 

I've actually never read a self help book, how are you finding that one? Is it easy to dip into?

 

I don't usually like to read more than one book at the same time but when I do they have to be very different books. So, for example, I could be reading a fantasy novel and a book of modernist short stories, or a thriller with a non fiction book. I feel like I would end up blending the stories in my imagination if they were too similar.

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I'm the same Hayley, I have one book for commuting, which is usually lighter (both literally and in subject) and another for bedtime reading, and I try to make sure they're from very different genres, or at least different settings ie one present day and one historical.  I did once have 2 books from the same genre on the go and as you say, they started to merge into one!  Thought it was just me that had that feeling.

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On 6/9/2019 at 9:03 PM, Hayley said:

I haven't heard of James Baldwin but I agree that is a great, eye-catching cover!

 

I've actually never read a self help book, how are you finding that one? Is it easy to dip into?

 

I found it very helpful actually. It took me about an hour to read, is written in a very simple style and offers examples to give you an idea of how to put the authors ideas into practice. 

 

I was very much in a rut when I started reading that book and it was exactly what I needed to get me started again. I think self-help books can be useful if you know what you're looking for and can put things into practice. I find it's very easy to sit and scroll through motivation posters without actually getting on and doing anything. :P 

 

Anyway, I'm quite surprised at the amount of books I've managed to read so far this year. I've been trying to make a habit of reading just before I go to bed and it seems to have helped. 

 

I am currently reading The overstory by Richard Powers. Not sure if you guys recognise the author but he is new to me and made me realise how many fantastic writers there are out there whose works have received multiple awards but are still not known to the general public. 

 

Richard Powers has indeed won multiple awards for his books and it seems he deserves them whole heartedly. I really like his writing style; it is imaginative and detailed without being too thorough. I am half way through The Overstory and have already bought two more of his books to read next: The Echo Maker and Orfeo.

 

My writing is also picking up, thanks in part to Kleo's self-help book. I had quite an intense night shift last week and had to deal with a couple of dying patients. One of them really stayed with me so I decided to do a bit of creative writing practice:

 

https://www.angury.co.uk/the-night-shift/

 

I am also currently writing an essay for an Essay Competition on the theme of Sexuality. I have decided to write mine on Paedophilia. I've only just gotten an idea of its structure so will spend the next few weeks (hopefully) writing. The deadline isn't until August though so I should be fine.

 

Also, we have finally started to have some nice weather here in Devon - here comes the summer!

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Hi Angury, I put a comment on your blog. So sad about the old lady. I was a bit surprised that you were able to come to that understanding about her medication, but I guess you can't force a patient to take treatment they don't want.

Paedophilia? You don't shy away from difficult subjects, do you? 

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I've left a comment on your blog too :).

Good luck with your essay!

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Thanks both - it's always nice to receive feedback on writing. I am moving to London this August and really hope to join a writing group. The more I write the more I realise how important it is to share your ideas and writing pieces.

 

I finished a book called An Introduction to Psychotherapy by Anthony Batemen two days ago. It's a well-known book to both psychiatry & psychology trainees. It's written in simple language (which can be difficult to do in this area!) and gives a good historical basis to psychotherapy and how it is relevant to the modern day.

 

I am starting my psychiatry training in August so wanted to have a basic idea of psychotherapy and how my communication with my patients can be used in the best way possible. 

 

I am now just about to start reading Orfeo by Richard Powers after falling in love with his recent novel, The Overstory which won the 2019 Man Booker Prize.

 

I'm also aiming to write a short reflective piece (possibly creative) based on a 'taster week' I did last week where I shadowed psychiatrists working in a prison, custody and in a forensics unit. It was a very thought-provoking experience and really made me question the types of prejudices that I have about the criminal justice system and criminals in general. 

 

Speaking of which, I would love to hear everyone's thoughts on this recent BBC Article:

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/stories-48885846

 

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On 7/7/2019 at 10:28 PM, willoyd said:

 

 

 

No thoughts? Overwhelmed that such a scheme can exist and prisoners can be treated like human beings? ;) 

 

I finished reading Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. This book has been on my TBR list for years. I was walking through Waterstones with a friend a few weeks ago and kept coming across this book. We both agreed it was a book we were interested in reading yet never got round to.. and I thought, I'm going to go home and read this book right now! Little did I know that it would be take me a long while to finish it..

 

To be honest I am a bit surprised at how popular this book is because it's a tough read. Kahneman explains concepts well and links them to everyday life in a way that you can use the knowledge after you've finished the chapter, but it is pretty dense. You're not reading a story or any sort of plot. - you're reading about studies and how Kahneman was able to learn and grow from these.

 

It is definitely an interesting book and one that you can learn a lot from. I am glad that I read it but I would be hesitant to recommend it to everyone because I know a lot of people would give up quite easily (including myself if I had read this last year instead of now). 

 

I am now just about to start reading Ducks, Newburysport by Lucy Ellmann which has been shortlisted for the 2019 Booker Prize. Out of all the books on the list, this is the one that I've read the most fascinating reviews about - it sounds unique. It is also over 1000 pages long. But I will keep this thread updated with my thoughts (alongside my writing goals) as I make my way through it.

 

Would be interested in hearing if anyone has read/planning to read any of the other shortlisted books for the prize. I have my eye on quite a few..

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Oops, I missed your original post about the article! I just read it. It's definitely an interesting one, with a lot of potential discussion points. It's hard to compare the Norwegian system to the UK one without knowing things like the comparative budgets and crime rates. It says at one point, for example, that England and Wales lock up almost 140 people per 100,000 of the population, compared to 63 per 100,000 of the population in Norway. It doesn't explain though whether that's because there's a higher crime rate in England and Wales, or whether you're more likely to be imprisoned for a crime here. Do they have more alternative punishments in Norway, maybe? Or does it suggest we're too quick to imprison as a punishment?

The much better training for prison staff in Norway sounds great. It would definitely be nice if they could fund that here. Not that I imagine for a second that they would...

The question of whether the prison is 'too cushy' is an interesting one. On one hand, the punishment (the lack of freedom) is still there, no matter how nice they make the prison inside. It's obvious from the article that at least some of the prisoners thrive in that environment and that they may genuinely be able to leave with the skills to begin new and successful lives for themselves. I think the problem is, a lot of people don't want someone who's murdered another person to have a happy ending. To leave prison with a whole set of qualifications (ones that other people would possibly have to pay a lot of money to get) and start new lives, when they have irreversibly taken the life of someone else, and damaged those of the people who loved them forever. And it's probably hard, if not impossible, to remove that emotional response even in the face of the obvious benefits of reform. Essentially I think some people feel that they need to know the criminal is suffering and it's harder to picture that suffering in a comfortable environment. 

I was also surprised that there are no life sentences in Norway. It does make me wonder how it feels to be a victim, or the family of a victim, after that maximum 21 year sentence, knowing that every 5 years from now on that person might be released. I wonder whether they do get much recurring crime. I can't imagine that they do, otherwise they surely would have changed that system.

 

This is a little bit off topic but I found it really weird that the picture of the prison cell in that article is exactly the same as my room in my first year at university. Literally the only difference is that the bed was under the cork board and the desk opposite it. The wardrobe, where the bathroom is, even the type of wood are exactly the same. 

 

I hope you enjoy Ducks, Newburyport, it does sound good so fingers crossed! I'm definitely going to be reading Margaret Atwood's The Testaments but (as I think I said before) I want to re-read The Handmaid's Tale first, to make sure I don't miss anything!

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On 08/09/2019 at 12:43 PM, Angury said:

 

No thoughts? Overwhelmed that such a scheme can exist and prisoners can be treated like human beings? ;) 

 

Odd - I can't even remember intending to reply, so not sure what happened there.  However, rereading the article again (I certainly read it at the time), this seems just a reflection the short termism that is so rife in the UK - we never invest for the long term, always seem to go for the cheapest short-term patch, which in the long term is actually the most expensive, and least effective.  Latest on this theme: we're way behind other similarly wealthy countries in cancer survival rates.  Why?  Because we don't screen sufficiently early or comprehensively.  Why? Because we don't invest in good quality health (anybody for walking/cycling/public transport infrastructure? 1 in 5 year 6 primary children clinically obese; ....), but try to patch it up afterwards through the NHS. Etc etc.  Just one example of the British disease of knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing.  Big hobby-horse!!

 

 

Quote

Would be interested in hearing if anyone has read/planning to read any of the other shortlisted books for the prize. I have my eye on quite a few..

 

Once upon a time, but lost interest around the time they started including American writers (Pulitzer is more interesting in that respect).  Criteria may have changed at the same time, as not finishing far too many (one or two barely started!).

 

Edited by willoyd

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Exercise is key here Willoyd.

I refer to child obesity.

Less TV and join a gym I say.

As for the subject of rehabilitation of offenders, again... exhaust them and they won't be arranging drug deals from  mental hospital wards at night.

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