Monday, August 14, 2006

I hate Mondays

It's not entirely true that I hate Mondays. I only hate them when they fall on a working day like today especially when they dawn grey, overcast and generally miserable, as it did this morning.

A Monday is always a good day though whenever it falls on a Bank Holiday or Annual Leave. Then it doesn't seem so full of resignation or dullness; rather a bright beginning to a week of possibilities and perhaps adventures.

Last night I finished reading So Many Ways to Begin by Jon McGregor. Its been a long time since a book has made me cry. It's only his second novel and already I am beginning to think that he will become one of our finest authors of a good many years. There is something instinctive and intuitive about his style, the way he understands people, the intimacy he shares with his characters and the reader and the sheer ordinariness of the lives his two novels tell. Yet beyond that ordinariness there is something quite extraordinary and exquisitely sad. On many levels I connect with McGregor's writing. It is almost like seeing the world as I see it through somebody's else's eyes. I feel an instant connection to his lyrical, almost poetic style and the way he conveys the awe and wonder of the ordinary whether it be the rhythm of the city or of falling rain.

Taking a completely different tack I've now started Imperial Overstretch: George W Bush and the Hubris of Empire. This is a blatant and savage attack on the American Empire and in particular the Bush Doctrine of unilateralism and pre-emptive action. I have a degree of sympathy with the points the authors make, especially the way America has so carelessly spent the goodwill of the international community in the run up to the Iraq War and beyond. It also makes an interesting analogy about the mask that America wears, which while I do not agree with the brutal terms the authors use, has some relevance to understanding modern day America. In essence they are pointing out that the way America reflects unto itself and the way it is perceived within America is completely different to the America that the rest of the world sees.

I will stick with this book. I may find myself shaking my head vigorously in disagreement but then I do like something that challenges my views.

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