Nov 15 tbrTwo books by … men. And that’s it, really – they don’t go together except, I suppose, for being read out of the main TBR sequence. Will that do? One is the final book in a series I’ve been reading and enjoying all year, the other is a novelisation of a software and procedural process that went round my husband’s office and ended up in my slightly bewildered hands (can hands be bewildered? You know what I mean).

John Galsworthy – “Over the River”


And so we reach the third book of the third trilogy of the Forsyte Saga, which I’ve been re-reading all year. The first six books were a third read, and these last three were only a second read – and I have to say that I’ve found this last set of books extremely enjoyable, and a high point to end the series.

Having dealt with Hubert in the first book and his sister Dinny in the second, the third book concentrates on the third Charwell sibling, Clare who has run away from an unspecifiedly dreadful marriage. Unfortunately, she picked up an admirer, the sweet Tony Croom, on the boat home, and while her husband might have been content to let her go, he’s not passing her on to another man without a fight. She seems quite passive and not to be able to manage without a man in her life – unlike the wonderful and resourceful Dinny, who’s fighting to forget Wilfred, the love of her life, but avoiding further entanglements, and passes between London and the country home, unwilling to discuss the details of her marriage and hoping it will just all fade way.

Uncle and Aunt Mont try to help, of course, as do the other uncles, and good old Fleur has a few straight things to say on the matter, but basically the divorce court looms, still a terrible thing in the 1930s and not at all the thing for such families. Dinny takes on the project with gusto, although she is thrown into contact with Dornford, the rather lovely MP who Clare works for and who has a soft spot for Dinny that it seems will never be reciprocated, because Dinny will not go over the river of her great love and try for something of a “normal” life.

The delightful addition of very, very young Roger the lawyer with a twinkly side and of course the marvellous Aunt Em make the book gallop along, and we finish our journey through decades of Forsyte in unputdownable and fine fashion.

Heaven-Ali finished the Forsyte Saga readalong, too – here’s her review of this one.

This book would suit … I suppose it would stand alone, but why not read the whole lot??

The Phoenix ProjectGene Kim, Kevin Behr and George Spafford – “The Phoenix Project”

(December, loaned from Matthew’s work)

A  novelised learning tool about DevOps and IT which has gone around my husband’s work and came to me for a read (Matthew read it on audiobook). It seemed a bit boring at first, as it’s definitely a learning tool rather than an actual novel like a Coupland or Nicholson Baker book set in an office, but it became weirdly compelling, as long as you remembered that it wasn’t supposed to be obeying the rules of a real novel, but more of a case study. We follow the hero as he’s promoted above his comfort level and comes across a peculiar guru who wants him to think about how IT is like a factory, or the “four types of work” or the “first, second and third ways”. I originally thought it was just about Agile, but they seem to be already implementing Agile principles. Oh, dear – I’m not selling this to you, am I!

Some aspects did grate a bit as an editor – for example introducing quirks and observations of one character that you would expect to have some kind of bearing on the plot or relationships, and I could tell that it was written by multiple authors. I did learn some interesting information about the traditional relationships between Development and Operations, and thought this must be valid because the stuff about the relationships between Sales and Operations, which I’m more familiar with, was correct. I also learned about how people can form blockages in systems when they are too indispensible, which I recognised from jobs I’ve had in the past.

So, an oddly interesting book which I’m sure could help the departments it’s written about, if not one that you would necessarily pick up for fun.

This book would suit … people in IT who want to streamline their operations. People who want to understand their friends in IT departments or work environments as a whole

I'm reading or have read THREE of these!

I’m reading or have read THREE of these!

Currently reading … well, I’m whizzing through the TBR now! I’ve got Omid Djalili’s autobiography read and the review coming up, and I’m reading “You’ve Got To Be Careful in the Land of the Free” (amazing – a candidate for the Top 10 of the year, and that’s why I write my Top 10 of the year on 1 January of the next year!) and … Ken Livingstone is also off the shelf and into my hands (so to speak). Hooray!

Are you getting some Christmas reading in? I do hope so!