Mrs Grant, our Safety and Environment Manager, was the next person to write to me, telling of the book she read during our Christmas break. She read the début novel of writer Geoffrey Gudgion, Saxon’s Bane, and says:
“I read ‘Saxon’s Bane’, by Geoffrey Gudgion. He is a local author who came and spoke at our WI, although I sadly missed his visit! I loved the book. It seemed to have everything: historical interest, village politics, suspense, death, adventure and mystery, with the themes of good vs evil, the Church vs paganism and even a bit of a love story running through it. I always think the best way to judge a book is whether you actually care about the characters and if you find yourself wondering what they are doing whilst you are not reading the book. Geoffrey Gudgion has achieved this: when I finished Saxon’s Bane I felt I knew them so well I wanted to go and find the fictional village and have a drink and chat with them all.”
I like the way Mrs Grant talks of the way in which she views a book, and then subsequently was able to put her ideas into practice with this one. A good endorsement, I think. In a later message, she told me that this wouldn’t usually have fitted with her preferred reading style or genre,which should encourage us all to break out of our comfort zone once in a while, something which we are always advising students to do!
Mr Petty, our Head of Sixth Form, was the next reader to write to me. He had just finished Stephen Graubard’s book The Presidents : the transformation of the American Presidency from Theodore Roosevelt to Barack Obama. This book was published in 2009, when the author was 85. Mr Petty says this about it:
“Over the holidays I very much enjoyed re-reading ‘The Presidents: the Transformation of the American Presidency from Theodore Roosevelt to Barack Obama’ by Stephen Graubard. I thought it was a good time to remind myself of some of the brilliant, bold, brave, and frankly bonkers people who have occupied the White House, and this is a masterful book with which to do this. This wonderful survey – there around 40 pages on each featured President – reminds one how there are limits to how far each President can change the USA, but also brought to mind how greatly I had under-appreciated two presidents in particular. They are not exactly unsung heroes, but Theodore Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson are simply fascinating figures who knew what they wanted, and were unlikely to be thwarted in their very different ambitions. I’d heartily recommend this work, even if one simply dips in to it to read about one or two presidents.”
After reading this review, I immediately ordered a copy and sent it to my daughter who is studying American politics as a module of her first degree at Birmingham University. We have been much more interested in the politics of the USA since our visit to Washington DC last summer, and enjoyed visiting the fantastic museums as well as Capitol Hill and the Library of Congress. We were fortunate enough to attend a session in the House of Represenatives, which brought everything so much more alive for us.