Sir Bob Jones
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I read a rich variety of books. One I bowled through recently was now 65-year-old San Francisco poetess Kim Addonizio’s “Bukowski In A Sundress”.

I’m not a Bukowski fan as this uniquely American genre always strikes me as trying too hard to say aren’t I quite a lad?

That certainly applied to Addonizio’s book which is essentially a lively memoir. Its two underlying themes are first a relentless pursuit of sexual partners and second, of greater interest, despite numerous awards and fellowships, the travails of keeping her head above water financially. The accounts of travelling to small dreary mid-West universities for the fees are amusing.

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Anyway, by an amazing coincidence, from the ever-mounting to-be-read pile, the next book I picked up was 93-year-old Welsh writer Jan Morris’s “Thinking Again”, this a diary of the past year. What a contrast? But first, if you don’t already know, Jan began life as James and soon made a name as a respected travel writer and historian.

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James duly married and had five children until at the age of 46, back in 1972 suddenly decided he wasn’t a bloke, had the chop, pills and whatever and became a woman.

In a recent full page interview in the Weekend Financial Times Jan observed she had just passed the anniversary of now (by a year) living more as a woman than a man.

Asked about her inner feelings Jan made a surprising confession, namely that she feels equally a man as much as a woman.

While all of this is mildly interesting there’s another reason for raising it.

We’re living in incredibly trying times.

Reading “Thinking Again” I found incredibly therapeutic.

Jan lives with her long time partner Elizabeth, now in the early stages of dementia. Her one to one and a half pages daily diary entries, commenting on absolutely everything, from her delight in the minutiae of life in a remote Welsh village, to her love of New York, to her joy in her surroundings, and perhaps most of all, with a long and richly experienced life behind her, and the wisdom of age, of her abiding respect for kindness.

I strongly recommend this easily read book, if, as I alluded to, in these alarming times of the virus, Trump, looming economic devastation and so much more relentless bad news, you feel like a balancing input on the positive side. It will cheer you up, trust me.

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Bob Jones
Sir Robert ‘Bob’ Jones — now New Zealand’s largest private office building owner in Wellington and Auckland, and with substantial holdings in Sydney and Glasgow, totalling in excess of two billion dollars — is a property investor, author and former politician, who has written fiction as well as books on property investment, selections of his newspaper and magazine columns, and reminiscences of former prime minister Robert Muldoon. While at Victoria University of Wellington, he earned a ‘blue’ in boxing and contributed to a boxing column in the university’s newspaper Salient. A multi-millionaire, Jones earned his wealth through investments in commercial property via his company Robt. Jones Holdings Ltd. He founded and led the New Zealand Party in 1983. In 1989 he was made a Knight Bachelor in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, and in received the New Zealand 1990 Commemorative Medal.