2021 August 22 · 17:52
This summer was mostly a non-fiction reading for me. Blood on the page Thomas Harding is one of the most unique and intriguing real criminal books I have come across in a long time. Photographer, writer and playwright George Bernardo Shaw, an 86-year-old Allan Chappelow, was found beaten to death at his home in Hampstede, North London, in 2006. June it took police three days to find his body buried under four feet of paper. Harding describes Chappelow’s life, the investigation into his death, and the origins of the main suspect, Chinese dissident Wang Yam. The last part of the book covers the trial of Yamo’s murder, which was the first in the history of modern Britain in the chamber – it is completely secret and the defense case is not reported in the press. Even speculation as to why the court was held in this way is still banned. Despite the obvious limitations, Harding makes good use of the available background material to create an attractive, truly strange and unique case.
Charlie Gilmour Feathering there are memoirs about birds, parents, sons and the connections between them. Until very recently, Gilmour was probably best known as the adopted son of Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour and was sentenced to 16 months in prison for violent disorders in 2010. anarchist Heathcote Williams, who left Gilmour and his mother Polly Samson when he was a baby. Gilmour’s attempts to revive the relationship at the end of Heathcote’s life came at a time when he was planning to start a family with his wife, Yana, and cared for an abandoned scarlet baby named Benzene. Feathering is an elegantly written book, and I understand why it was mentioned in several lists of the “best books of 2020” last year and compared to another great nature memoir, H, for Helen Macdonald.
Tim Marshall “Prisoners of Geography” is a book I’m going to read since 2016. I visited the Chisinau Book Festival, where there was a Marshall talk about flags, which is one of the most interesting events of the festival. There are relatively few books on geopolitics for the general reader, and this book perfectly explains how the geography of different countries, including their natural resources, climate, location, population, and borders, has a strategic impact on international relations. Donald Trump’s presidency, the Brexit referendum and the global pandemic have taken place since the Prisoners of Geography were first published in 2015, but otherwise almost all of its content is still relevant, even if it is no longer fully updated. The section on Afghanistan, for example, has been a useful background reading in the light of recent developments in the region. I look forward to reading her recent sequel, The Power of Geography.
The inheritance of Dani Shapiro is a book of remembrance about the author’s discovery in 2016 that her father was not her biological father, who sent her DNA sample to Ancestry.com. The results revealed that Shapiro was 52% Ashkenazi Jews and 48% Europeans (French, English, Irish, German), and 48% Europeans – half that cannot be explained. Her memories reflect her Jewish identity – she grew up in an Orthodox Jewish family in New Jersey – and embarrassing ethical dilemmas over privacy on these issues. Since her parents were no longer alive, finding Shapiro’s answers is not entirely easy. A casual conversation with her mother a few years ago revealed that she was started at a fertility clinic in Philadelphia. Her biological cousin also used Ancestry.com and was recognized via Facebook, which meant Shapiro was able to track down her biological father, who donated sperm while working at the clinic as a 22-year-old medical student. in the early 1960s and didn’t think about it anymore, at the time being assured that he would remain anonymous. It is not known whether any of Shapiro’s parents suspected that the clinic had mixed the sperm without their permission. Overall, I found this memoir very exciting and thought-provoking, given that millions of DNA tests have been sold in the United States, of which about 2% have discovered a “non-parental event”. This equates to potentially hundreds of thousands of people learning that their biological parents are not what they thought they were, which means there are many more of these stories.