August included our summer holiday, and that meant lots of books could be read as we relaxed on two coasts of Scotland. Choosing just one book, from the seven I read during August, was a tough call but I have decided on Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 by Robert Kurson. This books tells the story of NASA’s daring trip in 1968 in order to beat the Russians to be first to reach the moon.
The story focuses on the three crew and their families and powerfully describes the stresses they were under and how they coped. This mission was a giant leap compared with the NASA normally incremented each successive mission and those immediately involved did not give themselves great odds on surviving.
It won’t be a spoiler to say the mission was a success and it also produced one of the most powerful photographs of all time — Earthrise — that some have argued first showed the fragility of earth and was a catalyst in the growth of environmental activism. I would also urge people to take a look at the photographs of the astronauts and their families taken during the mission by Life magazine.w
My film for this month is Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig’s marvellous movie about mother-daughter relationships. The performances from Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf as Christine “Lady Bird” and her mother are wonderful.
There has been a theme running through this month about rediscovering old favourites. My album of the month is Japan’s Tin Drum. I remember playing Japan’s single, Ghosts, from this album on juke boxes in hotels and bars back in the 1980s and listing to Japan led me to years of listening to David Sylvian’s haunting solo albums.