What I'm Reading Now
Dr James Inglis
The story of the enigmatic Jozef Pilsudski, the founding father of modern Poland: a brilliant military leader and high-minded statesman who betrayed his own democratic vision by seizing power in a military coup.
In the story of modern Poland, no one stands taller than Jozef Pilsudski. From the age of sixteen he devoted his life to reestablishing the Polish state that had ceased to exist in 1795. Ahead of World War I, he created a clandestine military corps to fight Russia, which held most Polish territory. After the war, his dream of an independent Poland realized, he took the helm of its newly democratic political order. When he died in 1935, he was buried alongside Polish kings.
Yet Pilsudski was a complicated figure. Passionately devoted to the idea of democracy, he ceded power on constitutional terms, only to retake it a few years later in a coup when he believed his opponents aimed to dismantle the democratic system. Joshua Zimmerman’s authoritative biography examines a national hero in the thick of a changing Europe, and the legacy that still divides supporters and detractors. The Poland that Pilsudski envisioned was modern, democratic, and pluralistic. Domestically, he championed equality for Jews. Internationally, he positioned Poland as a bulwark against Bolshevism. But in 1926 he seized power violently, then ruled as a strongman for nearly a decade, imprisoning opponents and eroding legislative power.
In Zimmerman’s telling, Pilsudski’s faith in the young democracy was shattered after its first elected president was assassinated. Unnerved by Poles brutally turning on one another, the father of the nation came to doubt his fellow citizens’ democratic commitments and thereby betrayed his own. It is a legacy that dogs today’s Poland, caught on the tortured edge between self-government and authoritarianism.
Miss Meg Bone
Jane Austen teased readers with the idea of a 'heroine whom no one but myself will much like', but Emma is irresistible. 'Handsome, clever, and rich', Emma is also an 'imaginist', 'on fire with speculation and foresight'. She sees the signs of romance all around her, but thinks she will never be married.
Miss Lizzie Kennett
Frida Liu had fed and changed her toddler Harriet. She had a work deadline - an article to finish, a job hanging by a thread, a file she'd left in the office. She would go get it. Harriet would be fine. But then the neighbours heard her crying.
Soon, the state will decide that Frida is not fit to care for her daughter. That she must be re-trained. That bad mothers everywhere will be re-educated. Will their mistakes cost them everything?
The School for Good Mothers is an explosive and thrilling novel about love, perfectionism and parenthood.
Miss Lucy Kirk
One summer can change everything . . .
Ruth and Hannah are sisters. Bonded by love and friendship, they are perplexingly different characters.
Hannah is radiant, organised and hard working. Ruth is forever single and totally aimless. Together they are invincible.
Every summer they go on a budget holiday together where they bicker, laugh, fight and make up.
But this time is different. Something bad happens.
And now everything is changed forever.
This bittersweet love story is about needing someone else as much as they need you. It is an ode to our most powerful bonds, how they build us and break us, and how, when all seems lost, we can find joy in the most unexpected places.