August 2021 Reads

Here’s the books I read in August…

The Moon Belongs to Everyone: Making Theatre with 7:84 by Elizabeth MacLennan

An interesting insight into a theatre group that has always fascinated me, Scotland’s 7:84, launched by husband and wife team John McGrath and Elizabeth MacLennan. Some curious omissions, nothing on John Mackenzie’s Play for Today adaptation of The Cheviot, The Stag and the Black, Black Oil for example, and some details are overly dwelt upon, but it’s a vital document to read about the demise of the dream of political theatre and the spirit of those involved, warts and all, is readily apparent and celebrated.

Rating 4/5

A Spectacle of Dust by Pete Postlethwaite

It was good to revisit this, one of the most authentic, matter of fact autobiographies I’ve ever read. Postlethwaite, knowing death was on the horizon, chose to tell his story exactly as it is – though I suspect even without the question of mortality, he’d have still been as honest. It’s the mark of the man himself.

Rating 4/5

Not a Game for Girls by Benjamin Peel

Being from St Helens and interested in women’s football, I’ve read many a book about the famous Dick, Kerr’s Ladies team. This play by Benjamin Peel, son of the actor Edward, however manages to capture the essence of what it must have been like for the likes of St Helens’ girls Lily Parr and Alice Woods. It’s fun and inspiring and I’d love to see it live.

Rating 4/5

Communicating Across Dementia by Stephen Miller

An insightful little book that has been helping me refashion and rebuild the way I speak to my father as the illness gets a greater hold.

Rating 4/5

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

I’d heard so many things about this. So many good things, so many bad things. I decided to read it just to decide for myself. As a son of a mining community I don’t feel as offended as some reviewers have expressed, many of whom take the most notorious scenes purely out of context. The feeling that Bain has, of being an outsider in such a hard world, is one I definitely identified with. Though I am not gay like Bain is, I too faced the jeers of ‘poof’ and worse from contemporaries for possessing manners and emotional empathy. Stuart writes very well and it’s definitely a book I’d recommend to others.

Rating 5/5

Number of books read so far: 39

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