Review 2010s:
Books.



Books As you know I'm not much of a reader thanks to the sheer effort it takes me to get through even a single chapter. But every year I try and so have been able to cobble together a list of ten books so as not to break the format of these decadal review posts, although I haven't managed to pin them down to a book per year so the middle of the 2010s is pretty fallow.  There are numerous older classics which I got around to this decade but here are a few items which were actually published in the past ten years [along with links as to somewhere you can buy the relevant volume].

Liverpool: Walks Through History by David Lewis

Originally published in 2004, this newer edition seemed to have few revisions which only made it more fascinating as I worked my way through its various strolls through the city as I compared the text to the new post-2008 actualities.    But as a wise local once said, "the more the world is changing, the more it stays the same."  Most of us townies probably don't know as much about the city's history as we think we do, and there were few richer experiences than walking the pathways of the old Overhead Railway [buy].

Different for Girls: A girl's own true-life adventures in pop by Louise Wener

Incredibly frank and hilarious window into the Brit Pop era from arguably one of its most undervalued proponents.  Except Wener is brutally honest about the bands limitations and why Sleeper never did manage to reach the heights of Oasis and Blur (although arguably this had as much to do with sexism within the industry as the actual quality of the records).  If you're in the mood for  "a think piece about a mid-level band struggling with their own limitations in the harsh face of stardom", this is it [buy].

Off The Telly: The Best Bits of the British TV Website 1999-2009

Seems only fair to include at least one survey of the previous decade here.  The web of the noughties feels like a very different place and here's a time capsule of the kinds of television writing which happened in the period before YouTube became the main outlet for amateur reviews.  Most of the people featured here have gone on to work for professional publications.  God, I miss writing for these guys and I've entirely forgiven the editors for no including any of my writing between these pages.  It's all archived on this blog anyway [buy].

Touched by an Angel by Jonathan Morris

Given the amount of Doctor Who I've watched, read and heard this decade, it seems unfair to keep harping on about this single story but very little of that material has had the kind of visceral effect that listening to the audiobook version of Morris's book had on me back in 2011.  It's one of those occasions when a spin-off novel transcends its form and deserves to be considered alongside the so-called more important works of the decade.  Even if reading Who novels isn't usually your sort of thing, if think you'll enjoy the Louise Wener book, you'll probably like this too [via].

The Art Museum

Although my monthly visits to London have scratched my itch for see world class masterpieces of the kind which rarely reach Liverpool, it's still a huge proposition to see some of the world's treasures and although you simply can't replace the experience of seeing a painting with a photograph and a small one at that, it's nevertheless still hugely bracing to be able to compare and contrast objects from across the world in numerous venues all on one page [via].

Scala Cinema, 1978-1993 by Jane Giles

On the face of it, this is just a working history of a repertory cinema, a record of the films it presented in its multiple venues through reproductions of its monthly fliers, of most interest to those who spent that decade and a half within its walls.  But it's also a record of a time lost, when the only way to see these films was on the big screen and sometimes through a print which was barely holding itself together as it passed through a projector.  It's also a cultural history as the Scala offered a haven for people in sub-cultures and lifestyles otherwise shunned by the rest of society [via].

William Shakespeare and Others: Collaborative Plays. Edited by Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen

Thanks to computer analysis, the authorship of plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries was in even greater flux this decade so that we've finally been able to test whether some of the plays erroneously included in the later editions of the Folio have any elements of his writing within.  This edition's discussion notes offer much detail on who actually authored the likes of Locrine and The London Prodigal and finally ties up whether Arden of Faversham should be included in the canon.  Which it should [via].

The New Oxford Shakespeare: Modern Critical Edition: The Complete Works.

This was the other approach, to take a completists view and attempt to construct a hard chronology of Shakespeare's writing, including the plays and fragments of plays that he is agreed to have written in their correct place alongside entries for his lost plays like Cardenio and Love's Labour's Won.  It also faces up to centuries of dogma about who wrote or rather rewrote some of the texts which appeared in the First Folio, a text which yes, preserved many plays which we would have lost but nevertheless had a shoddy approach to representing authorship [via].

Why I'm No Longer Talking About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

Growing up, Eddo-Lodge found that much of the teaching about black history was from a US perspective and the much of her book is about righting that oversight and providing a fulsome and detailed of the UK experience across fifty-six pages offering some balance with a tour of the international slave trade, the windrush, the 80s riots and Stephen Lawrence.  The country continues to be in the grip of structural racism with a patronising attitude to criticism because the people making the decisions have really lived the experience [via].

Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez

A monumental work which has the potential to change cultural consciousness, this is endless paragraphs and chapters of pointing out just how male-centric all aspects of society are, from the health service and research, through the world of work, right through to the devices we hold in our hands.  The author's audiobook reading was minutes of intense listening punctuated by my audible curses as I realised just how blind I'd been to even the toilet problem.  Hopefully by 2030 this will look like a quant artifact of a bygone era.  Right now, it's vital [via].

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