Posted by: Corri van de Stege | June 1, 2008

The Sunday Salon – Seachanges’ Patch


It’s a bit messy in my virtual Sunday Salon; I need to take stock.

On Friday I sent off my last and most important assignment for the Creative Writing course, having agonised over every single word of the first chapter of my novel.  It’s done now, gone, and let’s see what the outcome is.  I can now refocus on actually writing and rewriting the rest.  Strangely however I feel in a kind of limbo, I had so many ideas and so little time these last few months that it feels strange to actually be able to grab a few hours here and there to get on with the writing.  It does not work that way, it seems.


Today will be the turning point, I’ve promised myself.   First of all I’m going to tidy up this Salon, take an inventory of where I am with my reading, what I have committed to as far as challenges are concerned and how I’m getting on with those. 


I’m on my second book by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in a Time of Cholera, and I will write a review of this some time today or this week and put it up.  It’s excellent reading and different from the more gothic ‘Of Love and Other Demons’ which is an exuberant mix of myth and fiction, brought in Marquez’ own brilliant style: an ability to weave the mysterious, the down-to earth, and the supernatural into something that compels you to read on until you get to the end and then feel slightly sad you’ve actually finished it.  But more about that later when I will look at both books.  Today I will read the final 30 pages or so of Love in a Time of Cholera.

That actually means I have completed the Neustadt Challenge (see above) as I will have read three different authors.  However, I am now certain I will find some more books and authors from this list as I greatly enjoy these non-English authors who are able to conjure up the wider world, different cultures and approaches to writing.


I have not done so well with the Russian challenge: in fact I have only read one story and that’s it.  No novels, no Tolstoy or Dostoyeswki, no Anna Karenina or Crime and Punishment….  I will put one or two in my suitcase when I go on holiday in two weeks’ time.  However, I also intend to use that holiday to write!


My short stories are going well and I am greatly enjoying the discovery of so many collections and also new authors.  A collection of short stories is a great format to push into your bag and to pick up when on the way, travelling, or simply when you want to relax for a short time at the end of a long day. 


The Orange Prize authors are still around as well and this week we will find out the winner for this year.  Anne Enwright is still on my ‘to read’ list and having just glanced back at the pile on my bookshelf there are loads more.


On Sunday however, I spend time lounging over the Sunday papers.  I notice that this weekend Ali Smith’s Girl Meets Boy gets the thumbs up (I reviewed this a short time ago) as well as Joseph O’Neill’s new book Netherland.  Another way of keeping up with book reviews is of course downloading podcasts and recently I have acquired my latest gadget which is a car adaptor for my iPod: I now listen at great leisure to podcasts on Arts and Book Reviews, downloaded previously, and suddenly these utterly boring long car journeys have become more bearable.  So I listen to the NY times book reviews, BBC 4 and Radio Five Life.  I listened to O’Neill talking about his new book and to Isabelle Allende and others.  So, as well as sat navs, iPod adaptors come greatly recommended for long distance travellers!


  1. It’s nice to have time to regroup, to take inventory. I hope your Sunday is very satisfying in that regard. My what a lot of reading! and so various. Good for you. And I will definitely take your advice about the iPod adaptor for the car. Thank you!!

  2. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on Love in the Time of Cholera. I actually liked it more than 100 years of solitude. And an early congrats on finishing the neustadt challenge so quickly!

  3. El amor en los tiempos del cólera. The literal translation should be “Love in the times of Cholera”.

    I admire your tenacity, Seachanges. You live a full life doing what you like best and that’s the main reason to thank being living. Give one’s life sense is why we are born.

  4. Nice wrap up of your reading thus far…

    I too love the podcasts of short stories and author interviews. My son (who bought me my i-pod) is a bit disappointed I don’t use it to download more music and video 😉

    I have Girl Meets Boy in my queue for the Short Story Challenge.

  5. You’ve got a fabulous blog! I spent a very long time reading through your posts and reviews this morning. You’ve convinced me that I ought to read THE MASTER AND THE MARGARITA. Good luck with the writing and I will be back…

  6. Congratulations on getting the assignment off. And I know what you mean about grabbing bits of time here and there to write and what a luxury a chunk of a few hours can be. Good luck!

  7. tj: glad to have been able to give you a useful tip!
    alisia: Am working on it: have greatly enjoyed Love in a Time of Cholera -wonderful
    Jose: that makes perfect sense, there are different timespans when cholera plays havoc or is used to advantage! And thank you for your encouragement, as always very much appreciated.
    ravenous reader: like you I found I was not making much use of my iPod but now that I’ve discovered the ease of podcast recording I’m a big fan!
    lisakenney: it’s very nice to meet with you and hope to see you around: the M and M is fabulous
    fiona: thanks so much for your kind words and hope to see you again!

  8. Hi seachanges, I love your blog and I really like the idea of telling the narratives of your life in 51 stories. Checking your recommended reading I see I’ve read only 2 or 3 (really enjoyed the Desai and also McEwan’s Saturday). Lewycka is coming to the Cape Town International Book Fair so I’ll get to hear her there. I’m sure you will enjoy the Marquez.

  9. It’s about time to re-read Love in the Time of Cholera. This is probably one of my favorite reads, one that I will always return to. It’s a tapestry of the complicated human emotions: love, repression, nostalgia, sex, concupiscence, and pride.

    Russian Challenge is going till the end of the year so you have plenty of time to catch up. 🙂

  10. pete: Hi!! am visiting your blog next!
    matt: actually it is my second read as well – I don’t think I appreciated it as much the first time (too young????), it’s just great as a second read and understand the inuendo’s that much better!

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