Shiny facts

tsundokuI’ve commented before that I have a jackdaw mind: I love shiny facts, and will follow the hint of one for miles through books and around the internet, until I can get my beak on it and carry it away into the recesses of my overstuffed memory.

It might amuse you to know the books and videos currently feeding this obsession (mostly Georgian and British focused, but a few reaching into other places and other eras):

Taste: Kate Colquhuon

Smallpox, Syphilis and Salvation: Sheryl Pearson

The Enlightened Economy: Joel Mokyr

The Silk Roads: A New History of the World: Peter Frankopan

The Secret History of Georgian London: Dan Gruikshank

Crown and Country (TV series on DVD): Edward Windsor as narrator

Ultimate Rome: Empire Without Limit (TV series): Mary Beard as narrator

The Story of China (TV series): Michael Wood as narrator

I’m intending to read (and have on my bedside table):

Redcoats Against Napoleon: Carole Divall

Europe under Napoleon: Michael Broers

In these Times: Living in Britain through Napoleon’s Wars: Jenny Uglow

(Bit of a theme, there)

The Fortune Hunter: Peter James Bowman

Magpie, Squirrels and Thieves: Jacqueline Yallop

The Unruly Queen: Flora Fraser

Wilful Impropriety: Edaterina Sedia

Unquiet Lives: Marriage and Marriage Breakdown in England: Joanne Bailey




Nothing is inconsequential

Jackdaw mindElizabeth Boyle writes on synchronicity in the writing process; something I’m experiencing every day as I write Farewell to Kindness, and pieces go ‘click’.

…in writing, it is often a sort of synchronicity of pieces: a treasure exhibit, a line from a biography, and a literature degree that left me with a profound love of myths. None of them are truly connected, but they all came together for this story. I have come to believe that nothing in life is inconsequential. It all has value eventually. Just keep your eyes and imagination open.

At last, my jackdaw mind is finding a use for all those shiny facts and snippets.