Humans have a thing called a learning bias. No matter how wise a saying is, we are much more apt to accept it as true if we trust the source. Not only that, but we're fascinated by ultimate truths that spur us into action.
Sometimes, we need a bit of help when it comes to choosing our next book especially as there's such a great selection of children's titles available these days. So, if you're aged between 11-13 and looking for inspiration, why not let yourself be guided by some of the choices from Ballymun library children's book club?
As the evenings grow dark and wind grows chill, your body may be craving to snuggle down, eat crisps and drink hot chocolate and your reading radar may wish to fall in with your body and crave a comfort read. The Danes have a cultural phenomenon for this reaction to oncoming winter and they call it Hygge, which literally translates as “to give courage, comfort and joy”.
“ Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. It seemed to me I stood by the iron gate leading to the drive and for a while I could not enter, for the way was barred to me”
So begins this dark, suspenseful novel. From the beginning we are drawn through the iron gates of Manderley and down the drive towards this great house. We accompany the young heroine who is never given a name other than the second Mrs De Winter. Through her eyes we see the world of the first Mrs De Winter, the beautiful and accomplished Rebecca.
‘For the sake of your sanity, pray it isn’t true!’ (‘Legend of Hell House’ film poster tagline) Working from home may have its benefits – no commute, ‘walking to work’ in the local park, actual tea and lunch breaks away from the desk, heating and ventilation to order.
A recipe for disaster - Kingsley Amis versus Joe Wicks
Much loved writer Kingsley Amis, author of Lucky Jim, The Green Man and The Alteration certainly was ‘yer man’ for the booze. A belief that the societal benefits and profound joy of alcohol greatly outweighed the personal disasters that the gargle may precipitate, informed his life and writing.
‘Put your pants on, Chief!’. Hollywood hates Hippies. Misogyny, sexual exploitation, violence against women and empty hedonism are synonymous with Hippies in films such as Skidoo (1968), Medium Cool (1969), Forrest Gump (1994) and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019). The apogee of vitriol towards the Hippy movement however, is Don Siegel’s Coogan’s Bluff (1968) - a maverick Sheriff's Deputy, Walt Coogan (Clint Eastwood) is sent to New York City to extradite convicted murderer Jimmy Ringerman (Don Stroud). New York is an appalling landscape of violence and disease, its denizens driven mad by America’ murderous foreign policies - a civilization lost, unloved, and uncared for.The maniacal violence of the Metropolis is manifested in the character of Ringerman - a Hippy cult leader deranged by LSD and corrupted by power. Using the ‘far out’ argot and symbolism of the counterculture, his Svengali power over his Hippy followers is absolute: his docile and obedient ‘family’ are weaponised to serve their master’s deviant urges. One year after the release of Coogan’s Bluff, the Manson Family carried out perhaps the most infamous, bizarre and perverted murders in Post-War American history. Siegel’s preternatural depiction of the manipulation of a susceptible corps of the bewildered by an evil and ambitious charlatan is the auteur’s diagnosis of a psychotic superpower, where violence begets violence.The seemingly ad-hoc and indiscriminate violence of the Hippie is at odds with the sectarian and laconic violence of Coogan. Eastwood’s character embodies the etiquette of the ‘Old West’, the individualism of justice where Coogan is judge, jury and executioner. The outsourcing of Justice to the private realm foreshadows Harry Callaghan in Siegel’s Dirty Harry (1971) - the Criminal Justice system that fails to protect women and the most vulnerable leads Callaghan to vigilantism to exterminate the child murderer Scorpio (Andrew Robinson).There is a distinct political ambiguity in Siegel’s canon of work: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) is seen as both a parable of the dangers of Soviet style Communism and a critique of Red Scare McCarthyism; Coogan’s Bluff and Dirty Harry are casually portrayed as a ballad to the facistic values of the unreconstructed American cop, or are Coogan and Callaghan the sword and the shield of the weak and vulnerable in a dystopian United States of America?Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Coogan’s Bluff, and Dirty Harry, are available to borrow on DVD from Dublin City Libraries. Submitted by Tom in Drumcondra Library.