Catching up again, desperately – these are the last in my bumper crop of thirteen books read in April (there was me thinking I’d read a lot on holiday – it was being ill that did it!). We’ve got two books loosely about the power of inheritance here, in that “How’s Your Dad?” is all about the offspring of rock stars, and in “Mr Selfridge” we see what happens when a successful man tries to keep the next generation close and control his family, leaving his entire fortune dissipated rather than being shored up for the next generations. Here we go …
Lindy Woodhead – “Shopping, Seduction and Mr Selfridge”
(3 December 2014, charity shop)
The true story of Gordon Selfridge of department store fame, the background tie-in book to the TV series (which I think is fictionalised? I’ve never seen it). Very nicely detailed on how he made his innovations in retail, including lots about his time in Chicago as well as the London times. Not hagiographical at all, sharing information about what was almost a divided personality, all control in business but indulging in numerous affairs with actresses, a lot of spending and a serious gambling habit, all of which eventually left him a sad wreck of a man, with no legacy to pass on to his seemingly workshy or extravagantly badly marrying children, ousted from the management of his own shop.
Good on the financial details, with enough information on the times and industry to round everything out and a good read, well written, edited, illustrated and referenced.
Zoe Street Howe – “How’s Your Dad? Living in the Shadow of a Rock Star Parent”
(3 September 2014, Poundland)
Written by the daughter-in-law of a rock star, this is a more serious book than I’d imagined it would be, taking a deep and detailed look at various aspects, both good and bad, of being the offspring of one. Grouped into themes such as Growing Up, School, Following in the Footsteps, it uses a mixture of direct interviews and quotations from biographies to cover a fairly wide range of sources. Some good pictures and interesting insights, although the concentration on Bob Geldof’s daughters was rather unfortunate, and probably why it ended up remaindered. I enjoyed it. though it was a meatier read than I’d expected.
I’m currently still reading my Trollope (a long way through that – what a satisfying soap opera life in Barchester is!) and the book of Iris Murdoch interviews. I’m making more time in the mornings for reading, which lets me carve out a bit of me-time, although I’ve potentially stepped up my volunteering – I’m going to try to do less work rather than give up my reading, though!