One important point I missed last month: the departure of my German intern E and her replacement with American C, recently moved to Brussels with her Austrian diplomat husband. E is currently in Ukraine, montoring the ceasefire for the OSCE, after several years working for a humanitarian relief agency in DR Congo, South Sudan, Gaza/Palestine and other places. I remember taking them both to a very boozy reception hosted by the Welsh government, at which the late great Rhodri Morgan came over and chatted to us, very knowledgeably, about Somaliland. (He announced his retirement a few days later.) I had a nice picture of the three of us at the reception, but E prefers not to be seen, so this is me and C.
At the end of October, I travelled for the first time to South Sudan, or Southern Sudan as it then was, setting off on the evening of the 30th on an Ethiopian flights that stopped off in Paris before taking me overnight to Addis Ababa; the flight was uncomfortable and I spent the morning looking dazedly out of the window in the airport before my connection to Juba. Clémence Pinaud, whose cheerful book War and Genocide in South Sudan comes out next month, collected me at the airport and delivered me to the hotel where I think I slept for about 18 hours and woke up in November.
On the cultural front, I started my rewatch of Old Who. (Well, I started that in September too, but the first write-up was this month.)
I read 21 books in September 2009.
Non-fiction 6 (YTD 84)
An Empire of Plants, by Toby and Will Musgrove
Doctor Who: A Celebration, by Peter Haining
The Dissolution of the Religious Orders in Ireland under Henry VIII, by Brendan Bradshaw
The Meaning of Tingo, by Adam Jacot de Boinot
In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
Elizabeth the Great, by Elizabeth Jenkins
Non-genre 4 (YTD 51)
Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver
The Corrections, by Jonathan Franzen
Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë
SF 7 (YTD 71)
Witches Abroad, by Terry Pratchett
The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny vol 2: Power & Light
Labyrinth, by Kate Mosse
Year's Best SF 6, edited by David G. Hartwell
To Your Scattered Bodies Go, by Philip José Farmer
White Crow, by Mary Gentle
Year's Best SF 7, edited by David G. Hartwell
Doctor Who 4 (YTD 60)
King of Terror, by Keith Topping
Imperial Moon, by Christopher Bulis
Superior Beings, by Nick Walters
Doctor Who - Slipback, by Eric Saward
Total page count ~8,200 (YTD ~88,900)
6 (YTD 60/305) by women (Jenkins, Hurston, Kingsolver, Brontë, Mosse, Gentle)
1 (YTD 16/305) by PoC (Naipaul)
The best of these was Brendan Bradshaw's detailed study of the Dissolution in Ireland, which you can get here (at a price). Several very disappointing books, the worst being Eric Saward's novelisation of the radio play Slipback, one of the worst Doctor Who books ever, though you can get it here. The Corrections did not live up to its hype; you can get it here. And To Your Scattered Bodies Go turned out on rereading to have been visited by the suck fairy; you can get it here.