February 2021 Reads

Here’s the books I read in February….

Fibres by Frances Poet

Many believed that Covid would kill the arts. Though personally if it came to trial I’d hope the Tories were charged with joint enterprise myself. However, the arts have proved remarkably resilient and versatile during the pandemic. One of the real gems waiting to be unearthed in the plethora of isolated, socially distanced performers playing direct to nothing more than a lone camera – and in some cases just a laptop or phone camera at that – has been the BBC Scotland series Loop. Essentially a series of playlets, each edition of Loop is a stand alone monologue form drama and many are worth your while, including one entitled A Mug’s Game. Written by Frances Poet and performed by Jonathan Watson, it’s actually an excerpt from Poet’s own play Fibres which toured Scotland in 2019. Once I realised that, I knew I had to read the play. It tells the story of an married couple in their 60s who have both contracted mesothelioma – the husband from his work in the shipyards, cutting asbestos for pipe lagging, and the wife from washing his asbestos coated overalls each week of his working life. It also tells the story of their daughter, struggling to cope with the death sentence hanging over her parents and a possible relationship with a new man in her life. Poignant, heartbreaking, suitably angry but also very funny.

Rating 4/5

Kes by Barry Hines

And speaking of poignant, heartbreaking, suitably angry and very funny. What can you say about Kes? It’s as great and affecting today as it was the first time I ever picked it up as a teenager.

Rating 5/5

Cat’s Cradle: Time’s Crucible by Marc Platt

This nostalgic return to the ’90s and the New Adventures is continuing apace but can prove an expensive business. Lots of these titles are now quite rare and can go from anything from £20 upwards. I got this on eBay for £25. It’s another I remember getting from Sutton Library around its release, though I recall the ancient Gallifreyan names and concepts rather hard on my pre-pubescent brain and I’m not altogether sure I properly finished it. I have now though.

Rating 4/5

Wasted Years by John Harvey

Another re-read, but an unintentional one this time! I came quite late to the Resnick books and have, over the past few years, been sampling them in a random fashion. This is one I only read about two or three years ago, and I only realised it when I was a good few chapters in. Oh well, it made for a pleasant re-read and reminds me that I really should catch up with some of the other titles in the series more regularly.

Rating 4/5

Number of books read in 2021 so far: 9

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