I received a copy of Robert Harris’ latest work, Conclave, as a Christmas present from my sister. I included mention of Robert Harris in the post I created to mark myfifth anniversary as a blogger, the title of which was borrowed from the second volume of his trilogy about Marcus Tullius Cicero. I also mentioned the possibility of reviewing Imperatorm the third volume in the Cicero trilogy, in a couple of other posts but did not actually do so (it is a splendid finale to the trilogy btw).
A BOOK ABOUT CHOOSING A NEW POPE?
The whole of Conclave is devoted to telling the story of the election of a new pope. The scene is set with the announcement of the death of the old pope. To be elected a two-thirds majority, and it often takes several votes for a front runner to emerge. This being a novel, there are of course some extra twists. Four people in total are front runners at various stages of the process but do not win. Two of these people have their chances spoilt when details of past transgressions are revealed to the assembled cardinals, a third makes a speech which effectively rules him out and the fourth is hoping someone else gets elected. At the end a newly appointed cardinal who had gained one vote in the first ballot is elected at the eighth ballot (while I do not know of anyone in real life winning after getting only one vote in the first ballot, Cardinal Wojtila got very few votes in the first ballot of the second Conclave of 1978).
The winner then has to accept the office and choose a papal name. In this case he goes for Innocent, a papal name that has been used 13 times before but not in the last three centuries. There is of course a vast range of possible papal names – very few of those previously used would be unacceptable, while a choice of a previously unused name could also work. There are two papal names I do not see being claimed any time soon however: Pius XIII because of the character of Pius XII, and Peter II because of the sheer hubris involved in choosing that name (although Steve Berry in The Third Secret has someone choose the name Peter II, and yes that person does then come to a sticky end).
Although all the action takes place within the confines of the world’s smallest independent country, the book never flags or lacks interest. An excellent novel and one I heartily recommend.
The special significance of lustrum in the sense of a five-year period to aspiblog is that today is the fifth anniversary of aspiblog. To view the post that started it all on May 10th 2011 click here.
There are many approaches to blogging. Some blogs deal almost entirely in original content, some blogs are devoted principally to sharing stuff created by others, and some like this one are a mixture of the two. I create new posts such as this when I feel I have stuff to write about and/or enough good pictures to warrant creating a post to share them.
SHARING ON A BLOG
Sharing can be done in various ways. There is the “Links” section was has been a frequent feature of this blog, which enables one to share lots of stuff in a single post. Other wordpress posts can be reblogged, and some other posts not on wordpress allow one the option of ‘pressing’ a link on to a wordpress blog (I have a ‘press this’ tool for my wordpress hosted London transport themed website www.londontu.be to enable me to post links to interesting and appropriate articles). This morning I used the press this button on Richard Murphy’s Tax Research UK blog to post a link to a piece of his speculating on the prospect of Mr Osborne being reshuffled into obscurity on June 24th and took some screen shots along the way to illustrate the process:
MAIN THEMES OF THE BLOG
This blog features many things, but there are several recurring themes:
Autism – I am #actuallyautistic, and although the Asperger’s Support Group that I ran for some time ultimately became a casualty of Tory funding cuts I am now on the branch committee of NAS West Norfolk.
Photography – I am a very keen photographer and invariably share pictures in my posts.
Politics – I am politically very active and I follow many political blogs/ websites.
Cricket – I am a huge fan of cricket and particularly during the summer months I will frequently have things to say about the game.
I spent yesterday listening to commentary of the fascinating match between Somerset and Warwickshire. While elsewhere in the country vast numbers of runs were being racked up this match was low scoring, and the better for it. The big scoring that has been such a feature of this early season is partly due to a daft playing condition introduced into the county championship whereby the visiting side can dispense with the toss if they wish to bowl first. This has resulted in a succession of pitches on which batsmen can fill their boots. There is no logic to such a playing condition – if you want to absolutely ensure that home teams cannot prepare pitches to suit themselves simply get rid of the toss altogether and award choice of innings to the visitors, although I would personally stick to having a toss for innings. If, as currently seems likely, Somerset win, they will owe it in large part to Peter Trego who in a low scoring game has amassed 94 and 51.
I heard while listening to that commentary yesterday that there are going be matches played between the North and South to give the best county players a chance to play in matches of higher standard than normal county games, taking place in the UAE in March, before the MCC v Champion County match, which I think is an excellent idea.
My next two links are both related and concern a subject close to my heart: libraries. Libraries in many parts of the country are facing cuts, and one of the areas affected is Lancashire. A campaign is running to save their libraries, and they have recently created a bit of a stir by telling their MP to stay out of it, such is their (entirely justified) lack of trust in the individual concerned. Two links for you: