VRUVRU'S BOOK REVIEWS
VruVru's favourite books
Hands up if you love reading books!
No, I mean it. Put your hands up in the air. It's good to have a stretch once in a while. So you say, the thing about books is, I don't have time to read them. Honest to god, the only time that is available to me in this world is spent sitting around and checking my twitter notifications one hundred times a day. There is no way I could fit in paper turning, actual, book reading. Okay, so what I say to that is bollocks!. Find a book you like and put your nose in it.
You can take your hands down now. Feel better? Thought so. And so here they are, reviews by VruVru. Her expertise about books and tea derives from sampling them with her daily bath. Enjoy. Don't forget to buy the book. Authors have to eat, too. And sleep in lovely four-poster beds with soft satin bedding which they can only afford if you throw them a tenner once in a while.
Anti-Social by Nick Pettigrew
A book full of insights into today's social system. Sorry for the spoiler, but it's grim. As an Anti-Social Behaviour Officer Nick runs between socially housed people with unique-yet-endlessly-repeating sets of problems and the agencies meant to deal with those kind of issues. State, landlords, police, justice system and pest control, no stone is left unturned. All this is described with dry humour and an incredible empathy. He is also very honest when it comes to his emotional response to the difficult situations he deals with. A fantastic account of real life. My favourite book right now.
Excerpt: "One statistic that comes out of the training echoes what I and other ASB officers are seeing with increasing frequency: racist attacks are on the rise. The police offices delivering the training states that in the years to come, white nationalist terrorism will completely overshadow that committed by the likes of ISIS, and that anti-terrorism policing will have to radically change its focus to try and keep up. Quite how the media and government are going to demonise a section of society that isn't brown and looks exactly like 82 percent of the population in order to sell papers or win votes is anybody's guess"
Prison - A Survival Guide by Carl Cattermole
"Put a bunk bed in your toilet and invite a random person off the street to come stay for six months and you’ll start to understand cell life.”
Why does the general population not worry about who goes to prison and why, and what really happens behind those bars? We think it doesn’t concern us, but it certainly affects society as a whole, and it’s actually a very unjust system. Once you are swallowed up by the justice and prison authorities it becomes very difficult to find fair treatment and rehabilitation is a long way off. Carl’s book is so impressive in demonstrating not only the flaws in the system, but also how anyone behind bars can find access to improvements, may they be big or small.
Carl includes statements by female and LGBT prisoners and the whole book is written with an incredible empathy and understanding of human psychology. It doesn’t matter if you’ll ever end up in prison; after reading this book you will have an insight into a part of society that is usually kept well out of sight. Finding out more about these institutions where inconvenient members of society are placed is an important life lesson.
Excerpts: “I was taken over to the first night centre but I was still hysterical and I could feel my mental health spiralling. This is when I was most vulnerable. I really did just want the ground to swallow me up - I didn’t care if I lived or died in that moments.”
“Please believe me, it does get easier: just be strong and get through the first night, first week, first month and you will look back and see how far you have come. It’s OK not to be OK, so don’t be too hard on yourself.”
Handstands in the Dark by Janey Godley
Janey is a master of storytelling. Her book is an incredible account of growing up in Glasgow in the 70s. It is also a harrowing tale of her mother’s abuse by her partner and Janey’s own experiences of abuse by her uncle. The family dynamics are crazy altogether, with violence an everyday occurrence. On top of all this Janey and her husband run a pub full of eccentric characters. How she managed to live a life so full of difficulties and not go under is just another astonishing thing about Janey. The book is a page turner and shows the writer’s love for Glasgow and its people. Wearing your heart on your sleeve in its truest form.
Excerpt: "To be married in the East End and not have kids before you were 18 was seen as a sure sign of infertility. You were expected to get married, get pregnant (not necessarily in that order), get several children, then get depressed and practise putting make-up on black eyes.”
Kleinhirn an alle von Otto Waalkes
Dieses Buch ist eine großartige Beschreibung aller Erfahrungen, die den Künstler Otto Waalkes geformt haben, und ihn im weltweiten deutschsprachigen Raum so berühmt gemacht haben. Otto mag für sein Blödeln bekannt sein, aber dahinter steckt ein kreatives Talent, das seinesgleichen sucht.
Otto huldigt in seinem Buch so ziemlich allen Komikern der deutschen Film- und Fernsehgeschichte und das fand ich so liebenswert. Besonders interessant fand ich vor allem die Freundschaft mit Loriot. Diese zwei Komiker könnten in ihrer Ausstrahlung nicht verschiedener sein, und doch ist hinter der jeweiligen Fassade ein begnadeter Künstler, der Millionen von Menschen emotional berühren und erfreuen kann.
Otto schreibt in seinem Buch, er hätte mal beim Otto-Versand gearbeitet. Das ist aber doch zu schön, um wahr zu sein, oder?
Ausschnitt: “Meine Auftritte hatten sich seit meinem Debüt in Danny’s Pan nicht wesentlich verändert. Nur das Publikum war zahlreicher geworden. Ich probierte aus, was mir Spaß machte - und was auch anderen gefiel, blieb im Programm. ... Der Aufwand war minimal: ein Mikrofon, ein paar Lautsprecherboxen, ein Verfolgerscheinwerfer, ein Hocker, eine Gitarre - mehr ging nicht in den Kleinbus, mit dem wir unterwegs waren.”
“Optimismus ist eine unsolide Basis, doch die Alternative bringt uns auch nicht weiter. Zum Pessimismus fehlte mir außerdem die Grundvoraussetzung: Erfahrung. Welche zu sammeln schien mir unumgänglich, daraus zu lernen gehört nicht zu meinen Stärken.”