I was hugely honoured to be present at the Presidential residence in Podgorica on 13 July 2006, the last leg of a trip that had started in Skopje and continued through Prishtina with an exciting journey through the mountains to Montenegro itself. There were perhaps 300 guests. The mood was festive, everyone shaking hands and embracing. The moment eventually came when the guards played a fanfare, and then a young man began to sing the new/old nation's anthem, joined in the second verse by a young woman, without any other accompaniment, their voices trembling with emotion. For the first time in nine decades, Montenegro was celebrating its traditional independence day as an independent state. They didn't drop a beat, or miss a note. It was one of the most electrifying things I have ever witnessed. I don't have photographs, but I was given a souvenir first day cover.
The month started with a family trip to Antwerp to see the Sultan's Elephant, an extraordinary live action steampunk show. I got a few film shots of the elephant and the little girl in action:F celebrated his 7th birthday later in the month, and actually had a party, though my contribution was to take B on a long drive to keep her out of the way.
At the end of the month we drove as usual to Northern Ireland (Anne failing to be persuaded of the merits of Fury from the Deep), but made the tough decision to leave B in Belgium under the supervision of my mother-in-law. It actually went all right, but it was a bit sad.
I managed to read 24 books in July 2006, thanks perhaps to several long land-based trips.
Non-fiction 7 (YTD 34)
The Economist Style Guide, no author given apart from one section by John Grimond
The Age of Fallibility: Consequences of the War on Terror, by George Soros
Café Europa: Life after Communism, by Slavenka Drakulić
Hitchhiker: A Biography of Douglas Adams, by M.J. Simpson
The Belgian House of Representatives: From Revolution to Federalism, by Derek Blyth, Alistair MacLean, and Rory Watson
Under the Devil's Eye: Britain's Forgotten Army at Salonika 1915-1918, by Alan Wakefield and Simon Moody
Mr Belloc Objects To "The Outline Of History", by H.G. Wells
Non-genre 5 (YTD 12)
Eleven on Top, by Janet Evanovich
The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho
The Red Badge of Courage, by Stephen Crane
Henderson the Rain King, by Saul Bellow
The Man With Two Left Feet, and Other Stories, by P.G. Wodehouse
Sf (Non-Who) 10 (YTD 42)
Camouflage, by Joe Haldeman
The Prisoner, by Thomas M. Disch
Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
The Compleat Enchanter - The Magical Misadventures of Harold Shea, by L Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt
Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro
Galactic Patrol, by E.E. "Doc" Smith
The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson
The Mark of Ran, by Paul Kearney
The Lady of the Shroud, by Bram Stoker
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, by Douglas Adams
Doctor Who 1 (YTD 7)
Timewyrm: Exodus, by Terrance Dicks
Comics 1 (YTD 2)
Buddha, Volume 1: Kapilavastu, by Osamu Tezuka
6,500 pages (YTD 29,800)
3/24 (YTD 14/97) by women
2/24 (YTD 5/97) by PoC
The one I enjoyed most was The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson's classic horror tale, which you can get here. There were a lot of other good ones, and I guess my favourite reread was Fahrenheit 451, which you can get here. I thoroughly bounced off Galactic Patrol, but you can get it here.