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text 2020-07-14 19:03
Reading progress update: I've read 21%.
Peace Talks - Jim Butcher

The Dresden Files are behaving like London Buses. I've waited six years since I read 'Skin Game' and now we have two books coming along almost together: 'Peace Talks' published today and 'Battle Ground' scheduled for the end of September.

 

I'm only at the set up of 'Peace Talks' but I'm already remembering why I loved these books. I'm glad I won't have to wait more than a few weeks for the next one.

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text 2020-07-14 10:49
Reading progress update: I've listened 370 out of 533 minutes.
Fingerprints Of Previous Owners - Rebecca Entel,Ron Butler,Cherise Boothe,Robin Miles

This is beautifully written but very hard to take. I've just been through a chapter that finally gives a view (albeit an owners view) of plantation life. The details of the way in which the slaves were treated, punished, used, sold are not new to me but this book makes them real. It's the difference between reading a map and walking the land.

 

Take this in, what it means, what the wealthy English did, for decades, to hundreds of thousands of people, and tell me again that we need a statue to Colston in Bristol.

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text 2020-07-13 09:43
Reading progress update: I've listened 318 out of 533 minutes.
Fingerprints Of Previous Owners - Rebecca Entel,Ron Butler,Cherise Boothe,Robin Miles

This is astonishingly powerful.

There are things called 'Bench Stories' between the chapters of the main narrative. Each has an islander sitting on a bench, telling a story from his or her life to a stranger (we don't know who but it's fun to guess). They're basically short stories with a common context and they are so intense. I'd buy the book for them alone.

There's one where a man explains why he walks the island wearing an old sock with a worn violin hanging on his back. It is human, so full of remembered love and pain and present courage that it hurts.

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text 2020-07-08 10:47
Reading progress update: I've listened 72 out of 533 minutes. Then there's this:
Fingerprints Of Previous Owners - Rebecca Entel,Ron Butler,Cherise Boothe,Robin Miles

Tourists are welcomed to the island by maids, dressed in white sheets as 'natives':

 

'Christine and I ducked our heads to remove strands of plastic beads and handed them to the tourists in exchange for pennies. I could see in their eyes the expectation of gratitude. Pennies, not worth stooping to the ground for back at their homes, were transformed through some sort of island alchemy. The alchemy of poverty.'

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text 2020-07-08 10:12
Reading progress update: I've listened 72 out of 533 minutes
Fingerprints Of Previous Owners - Rebecca Entel,Ron Butler,Cherise Boothe,Robin Miles

I've always shied away from resort holidays offering me the opportunity to 'experience' the 'real' local culture because it sounds like a con that disrespects the tourists and the locals and locks both into a Disney Land dynamic where 'the locals' are as authentic as Mickey Mouse.

 

This book gives me a view of how a resort works that re-inforces my prejudices:

 

Event Management at the resort curates the presentation of a fictional island and fictional islanders to the tourists, creating a narrative around 'Natives' welcoming Columbus when the islanders are all descendants of African slaves and the original islanders were long ago sent to die working in silver mines.

 

Here's how our main character, Myrna, describes her work at the resort: 

 

'My ID tag said nothing but "Maid" but it was also my job to be silent and visible only when the tourists wanted to see me. "At work2 meant not just a place or a time. A being. A not being.'

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