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!