0711/18th February 2023

Lily preferred do-it-yourself breakfast today.

Though she didn’t like being caught in the act.

“I don’t want to set any precedents!”


Lily may defer her seniority, but she is very responsible and endeavours to set good examples.

“Oh Lily, it’s such a very cold morning. Couldn’t I come in and get some of those kibbly things? I’ve been out all night.”

“Sorry, young fella. Dee Dee’s on the warpath. But I’ll send the woman out with your second course.”

“Ya! You better buzz off before I get out there!”


Not a cloud in sight.

Let’s say it was a refreshing morning!

(15 F / -9 C)

Last night I came to the end of my current book series.

For me, a good book is one that draws you in, gets you invested in the characters. And when I come to the end of a particularly enjoyable series, I go into a minor mourning, as if I have lost a good friend.

Sometimes, there is the hope of another book in the works, but if the author has themself departed the planet, oh dear.

Currently, I am hoping for another book from Eliot Pattison. His Bone Rattler series is about America in the time period leading up to the War of Independence.

Previously, I had read all of his Inspector Shan series about a Chinese detective who has fallen into disfavour with his government and has been imprisoned in Tibet.

Tibet has always been close to my heart and I wasn’t sure how well I would like this character or the story, but I became engrossed in it and felt real withdrawal at the end.

Shan is a heroic character, as is Duncan McCallum in the Bone Rattler series. They are painted realistically with human imperfections which, to my mind is what makes them heroic. They manage to overcome their various flaws.

What I have discovered, though, is that I can become equally invested in characters that are not heroic at all and I ask myself how this can be. Why would I care about a character that is really not nice at all?

Here’s what I mean:

The series I just finished is about an officer in the Stasi, the East German Ministry of State Security. It is said that the Stasi were worse than the Gestapo.

Why would I even want to read such stories?

After the East German political upheaval of 1989/90, the author, Max Hertzberg became a Stasi files researcher. I thought that his writing would be believable.

Absolutely not the nicest subject, I agree. But I think we do not improve ourselves by ignoring everything that is unsavoury.

There is good and there is evil but there are so many shades in between and I always think it is worthwhile to attempt understanding of our opponents. What drives them? What are they afraid of? What do they believe in and why?

The series I just read is written in the first person, almost like a journal. He states facts. He makes no appeal for sympathy or understanding, makes no excuses for what he does other than self-preservation.

Cold and un-loveable. So again, I asked myself, “why do you care?”

Perhaps, for precisely that reason.

How terribly, terribly sad for a human being to be un-loveable. Quite a large number are just that, but we all start out the same, so how do people grow to be inhuman, unfeeling, brutal even?

Of course there are infinite reasons, but in this example:

Whole generations of people exist in a state of suppression and fear. Such a situation is impossible for me to imagine because I have been blessed to never experience it. I can only try to imagine being afraid all the time of being falsely accused by someone who seeks to benefit.

Or being betrayed for committing the smallest “offense”.

What is it like to struggle every day just to exist?

Where do they find joy? Can you exist without it? Would you want to?

We who enjoy freedom take it far too much for granted.

All those books certain politicians don’t want us to read?

They should be compulsory reading. Understanding can only come with knowledge and without understanding there can be no empathy.

As never before we need empathy if our species is to survive.

8 thoughts on “Un-loveable?

  1. If you want to read work by great writer, try Donna Tartt. Her book “Goldfinch” and others will please you because she is masterfull with words.


  2. There are nasty people, nasty regimes, and nasty countries all over the world, any time in history that you care to look at. Today is no different from 200 years ago or any other time. We tend to see, and read about, a very small portion of these that are deemed newsworthy by “them”. Them, or they, can be newspapers/agencies, governments, powerful and/or wealthy people, influencers, radical groups et al. Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly difficult to determine what is fact, what are lies, and why we are being fed this constant barrage of information or disinformation. I am thankful that we do not have grandchildren and I can, therefore, selfishly not worry about the future. We reap what we sow!

  3. Amen, Carolyn! Compulsory reading of the “objectionable books” is a brilliant idea. I agree with gabychops about Donna Tartt being a gifted writer, but I believe her output is only a book per decade.
    I expect you have surely read Louise Penny’s Three Pines series…

  4. Ah, His Nibbs asks so nicely with that face! Maybe Lily should sneak out some kibbles without Dee-Dee seeing 😉. I’m just like you about a good book … sometimes I don’t even want to start reading a new book because I’m still “hanging” on to the good one I’ve finished reading! Empathy … surely doesn’t hurt to show it towards others.

Leave a Reply