Posted in Weekly Posts

Musing Monday (November 25)

musingmondays51

Hosted by Should Be Reading
Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…• Describe one of your reading habits.

• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).

• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!

• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.

• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!

• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

My musing today is about how our working lives are reflected in books.

Unless pressed I don’t tend to talk about what I do for a job. Why? Well I work in IP (Intellectual Property) and on the whole this isn’t a subject that people can even pretend to be interested in. Last week Rhoda Baxter visited my blog and when I looked at her blog I got stupidly excited that she too had worked in IP!  Even better Rhoda has written a romantic comedy named Patently in Love which of course, due to the job connection, instantly got added to my TBR.

Patently in Love

After her popstar boyfriend publicly humiliates her, Jane wants to start a new life away from media scrutiny. Maybe even find a new man.
Marshall wants a partnership in his patent law firm. He just has to prove he’s totally focussed on his work. No distractions. No office romance. Unless, of course, no one knows about it.
The last thing Jane needs is to have her picture splashed on the front page of a gossip magazine. To makes matters worse, the only person who could have told the paparazzi where Jane was… is Marshall. Amazon

Patently in Love

This got me to thinking about the jobs that get represented (or not) in books. Thinking back over the last few months worth of reading, police (being a lover of crime novels), teachers, doctors, farmers, hoteliers, musicians, journalists nannies are all there, but rarely someone who works in an office. Now obviously working in an office is generally not quite as interactive as working with the public, but even statistically, surely we should be more fairly represented? The most I tend to get is a passing mention of Albert Einstein who was a Patent Clerk at the UK Patent Office…

I think the problem is that working in an office is neither glamorous or perceived as being interesting despite the fact that they are populated by people and therefore a great source of characters. A couple of years ago I read a book Ladybird, ladybird by Milka Sennett, who worked for the same company as me.  This book was based in an office, and yes I could recognise some of the characters, not as named people, but certainly by the behaviour displayed daily by some of the people I interact with.

One of the reasons why I enjoyed Human Remains  by Elizabeth Haynes was it described more about her job as a Police analyst. A significant part of my job means working with and analysing data so there were clear parallels, although of course data about people is probably a little more exciting than that of patents! When I used to mentor new staff, I often likened the job we did to being a detective. When things go wrong we need to look at the evidence and timelines and build the picture of what happened along the way. I’m not sure everyone agreed with me but injecting a little imagination into your job can’t hurt!!

What does everyone else think? Is your job represented in books and do you like reading about books that represent your working life?

Ladybird Ladybird

Blurb

Is it possible to jump off the Millennium Bridge? And end it all here and now? Contemplates the 58 year old woman as the Thames streams underneath and her whole life flashes in front of her eyes. From her earliest memory of her nonna and a lonely childhood in a coastal town in Yugoslavia, to the most recent meeting with her ex-husband, with her daughter always in her mind.
Her daughter is turning eighteen but she still cannot figure out the colour of her eyes and whether the father is part of the family portrait or not. As a part of closing down her old life she is clearing out her wardrobe and planning the sale of her car and flat. She finds an old top that brings back a painful early memory of her daughter and realises that you never recover from certain things in life.
 Her mind goes back to early memories from Lovran, a tiny coastal town in what was then Yugoslavia; her great-grandmother nonna Lucija taking her to the café where her mother works all hours, meeting her father for the only time in her life, and her childhood dreams of becoming an actress.
 A lucky break in her career as the leading role of “Medea” brings her on tour to London where she meets Jason. They flirt, walk down the river bank and end up in his bedsit. This fateful meeting changes their future and she moves to London to be with him. However, their life doesn’t turn up the way they were hoping for. Amazon

Human Remains
Blurb

How well do you know your neighbours? Would you notice if they lived or died? Police analyst Annabel wouldn’t describe herself as lonely. Her work keeps her busy and the needs of her ageing mother and her cat are more than enough to fill her time when she’s on her own. But Annabel is shocked when she discovers her neighbour’s decomposing body in the house next door, and appalled to think that no one, including herself, noticed her absence. Back at work she sets out to investigate, despite her police officer colleagues’ lack of interest, and finds data showing that such cases are frighteningly common in her own home town. A chilling thriller and a hymn to all the lonely people, whose individual voices haunt the pages, Elizabeth Haynes’ new novel is a deeply disturbing and powerful thriller that preys on our darkest fears, showing how vulnerable we are when we live alone, and how easily ordinary lives can fall apart when no one is watching. Amazon

Author:

A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

11 thoughts on “Musing Monday (November 25)

  1. I get excited when I find a female character who worked in my field. Why? I am female and a pilot and we are still a big minority, around 5% of the total pilot certificates are held by women. Lack of excitement in the profession has nothing to do with not seeing female pilots represented in books.

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  2. I work at higher education – but is also a desk job – nothing glamorous. and even though there are plenty of novels set up at universities, usually the main characters are teachers / students / researchers. And even though I’m not a teacher, I can relate to those stories.
    Here’s my MM

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    1. That is probably the best scenario, something you know enough about but not something that replicates your exact job, after all I read to forget about work not to experience more of it. In my case this one book is exciting simply because it is so rare to read something set around my job…

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  3. Though I’ve chopped and changed throughout my career, probably most of my time has been in health & social care – and generally fictional representations are so wildly wrong they just bug me, so I tend to avoid them. I did once work for Chubb – the people who make the safes and locks – and I still spot every time they get mentioned in crime novels…more often than you might think (even in Sherlock Holmes, I believe).

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    1. Working for Chubb is cool, they had one of the early patents in the early nineteenth century for an unpickable lock! I agree it must be more annoying if people get things wrong about your job than in my case. After all really at the end of a long day I can manage without reading about work at home too!

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      1. Working for Chubb is extremely cool.
        I worry about getting details of people’s work wrong (which is why my first book was set in a world I know something about!). I usually end up asking someone who works in the field to beta read so that they pick up any glaring errors.
        Thanks for mentioning my book on your site. I hope you enjoy it!

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  4. Interesting! I guess there are certain jobs that most people are familiar with, so they turn up in plots more regularly. I used to be in teaching and in retail–pretty much everyone has had a teacher at some point, and has dealt with retail clerks–so those professions seem to be relatable to the average reader and are represented often (accurately or inaccurately–that’s another story!). Now I work in publishing–the average reader probably doesn’t deal too much with people in this industry–so I don’t find too many books that include my job.

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