This is the latest post in a series I started in late 2019, anticipating the twentieth anniversary of my bookblogging which will fall in 2023. Every six-ish days, I've been revisiting a month from my recent past, noting work and family developments as well as the books I read in that month. I've found it a pleasantly cathartic process, especially in recent circumstances. If you want to look back at previous entries, they are all tagged under bookblog nostalgia.
This was the month that I changed jobs, hosting a big farewell party in my favourite local to Schuman (the 1898, since you ask) and taking a week off in between leaving the one and joining the other. This was also the month that I bought my first iPhone, and the photos I post here are therefore going to drastically improve in quality. With the job change I got a professional head shot done; not cheap, but worth it.
I had two fantastic trips to Central Europe. I spent the last weekend of my old job in Budapest, where I caught up with a surprising number of old friends and had a lovely boat trip on the Danube. This is the very first photo I took with the new phone, showing the Hungarian parliament all lit up. I do hope that Budapest has better days to come.
I also paid my respects to my favourite statue in Budapest, which has since been dismantled in a shocking act of vandalism.
The weekend between jobs, I went to a student-run conference in Ljubljana, where I was the oldest participant apart from a retired Italian diplomat. Also great fun; one of the organisers insisted on a commemorative photograph with me.
I also took the chance to meet up with my friend L, who at one point led a Dutch political party but was then in Slovenia. Her daughter V, who much later would feature in two Laibach videos, also came along for the lunch but isn't in the photo.
I have a favourite monument in Ljubljana too, the monument to the Unknown French Soldier, "mort pour notre liberté". As far as I know, it is still there.
I had one more trip that month: I spent a night and a day in London in the first week of my new job, a journey that was to become routine until the pandemic intervened.
This was also the month that I first discovered the battlefield of Neerwinden and took B there. She still likes to go and light a candle in the chapel.
Much less happily, this was the month that my tax accountants, previously a Brussels boutique firm who had been taken over earlier that year by a multinational as part of its founder's retirement plan, badly screwed up my tax return. Fortunately I caught it before the damage (which would have been very costly) was done, but I found another boutique firm, this time based in Leuven, and switched my business to them.
I read 19 books that month.
Non-fiction 4 (YTD 44)
The Strangest Man, by Graham Farmelo
Some Girls: My Life in a Harem, by Jillian Lauren
Edward Gibbon and Empire,eds. Rosamond McKitterick and Roland Quinault
Angela's Ashes, by Frank McCourt
Fiction (non-sf) 1 (YTD 37)
The Professor, by Charlotte Brontë
SF (non-Who) 9 (YTD 94)
The Hive Construct, by Alexander Maskill
Broken Monsters, by Lauren Beukes
A Kill in the Morning, by Graeme Shimmin
Wool, by Hugh Howey
Up the Walls of the World, by James Tiptree
Queen of the Tearling, by Erika Johansen
Bête, by Adam Roberts
Astra, by Naomi Foyle
The Long Mars, by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
Doctor Who 5 (YTD 52)
Divided Loyalties, by Gary Russell
The Room with No Doors, by Kate Orman
Camera Obscura, by Lloyd Rose
Silhouette, by Justin Richards
Lights Out, by Holly Black
~6,500 pages (YTD ~71,600)
10/19 (YTD 67/244) by women (Lauren, McKittrick, Brontë, Beukes, Tiptree, Johansen, Foyle, Orman, Rose, Black)
0/19 (YTD 16/244) by PoC
The best of these were Bête, by Adam Roberts, which you can get here, and The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Quantum Genius, by Graham Farmelo, which you can get here. Nothing too awful, I'm glad to say.