Posted by: Corri van de Stege | June 15, 2008

The Sunday Salon – Seachanges’ Patch


Books for my suitcase. 

As you can see, I’ve got quite a pile of books, not for today’s reading I hasten to add.  I’ve got to decide what to put in my suitcase.  I think I’ve whittled it down to around ten, but there’s no way of course that I will manage ten books in a fortnight, especially not as I intend to do some writing as well.  And what about a bit of snoozing in the sun and a bit of swimming?  No, I won’t manage ten, so I have to cull a few more from the list.

So here is my long list:

Tim Winton – Breath

Murakami – After Dark

Moshin Hamid – The reluctant fundamentalist

Margaret Atwood – The Penelopiad (one in the series of myths -seems quite suitable for destination Greece somehow?)

Michael Cunningham – The Hours (after having seen the movie and read some of your very favourable comments I really want to read the book) and accompanying this Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway (because of her long sentences: I want to remind myself how she does this).

Joseph O’Neill – Netherland (great review on World Book Club podcast; and the main character is Dutch and it’s supposedly one of the better post 9/11 books)

Dostoyevsky – Crime and Punishment (part of the Russian reading challenge – I’ve got to make a start on this, don’t I?)

John Gardner – The Art of Fiction (I love dipping into this every so often, at random, and it’s become one of those books that I have around wherever I go)

Raymond Khoury – The Sanctuary (listened to this being reviewed on one of the podcasts and whereas it was recommended by some as a great read on the beach and in the airport, someone else rejected it as so very bad, but he sounded perhaps just a bit snobbish about literature?  Only one way to find out: read the book)

At the moment I’m reading Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse 5.  This was mentioned in responses to one of Fiona’s posts when she asked about writing synchronous stories.  I am also interested in parallel stories in particular because that is what I am writing, a parallel or rather two stories that come together towards the end.  Or a past and a present, or… well you know what I mean.  I love Graham Swift’s The Light of Day and the way he develops his story, moving backwards and forwards in time, until by the end you have the full picture.  It is great writing.   I want to see how Kurt Vonnegut does this, although the story is so very bleak and I am not sure that I like this book as much as I liked Graham Swift’s.

By the end of the day I should have decided which of these books I actually put in my suitcase.   So I shall take you on a mystery tour, revealing through postings what I took in the end and what I’ve been reading.  How about that?

Today ‘s Sunday Times Culture review has another interesting commentary by Bryan Appleyard on the Richard and Judy Book Club on TV and the extraordinary influence this programme has on the making (or breaking) of new book titles.  ‘The hit-making power of the Richard & Judy Book Club has shaken publishing to the core.  And about time too.’  is the heading.  This programme has taken the reading of books out of the literary snob’s area and into the real enjoyment of reading, Appleby says.  So far the mystery of how to sell decent books has consistently eluded publishers and booksellers, and the R&J Book Club has cracked it for now.  The programme will actually move away from Channel 4 to UKTV and the question now is whether this will reduce their power (that of the editor, Ross and the show).  Whatever happens ‘for the moment, daytime television, in the form of motherly Judy and wild-eyed Richard has saved the book from the qualms and snobbery of the bien-pensants.  It is hard not to laugh and obligatory applaud.’  Excellent article this is and something to think about when you are out there trying to get something published, AND marketed.

Leaves me to say that I hope to keep in touch via my laptop, as long as I can find wireless somewhere for an hour or so, otherwise I shall be in the hands of the greek gods: I’m going to Crete.

Wishing you all  a wonderful Sunday Reading, while I continue packing my case (must leave some space for my notebooks, clothes, and other essentials as well).



  1. Diverse list of books. Maybe you want to check out An Island Away by Daniel Putkowski. It’s an Amazon exclusive right now. Very interesting. About the “flip side of Paradise,” Aruba.

  2. I would most definitely recommend The Hours. It’s very involving and a relatively quick read for something of such high quality (in my opinion…cerebral and affecting without being too tedious). After Dark is another goodie. Very involving and a quick read.

  3. I hope you won’t cut The Dostoevksy! A gripping read if there ever was one. Have a marvelous time…and yes, do a bit of sunning and swimming along with all the reading and writing! Bon Voyage!

  4. There’s another vote here for the Cnningham and also for the Winton. Have you read his book ‘The Riders’? One of my all time favourites.

  5. Take along The Hours and After Dark. Pick a Gaiman, if you can.

    SS 1: Books read/received
    SS 2: Book Shopping

  6. The Hours and Mrs. Dalloway together would be a great combo for traveling, so here’s another vote! The Atwood is a good choice given your vacation location too.

    Have a fabulous trip; I will travel vicariously, green with envy.

  7. Sounds like the perfect holiday.
    Have fun x

  8. If you like parallel stories that keep an eye out for the book I am reviewing this week-The Collector Of worlds
    This week’s post

  9. Preston Sinclair – will do
    Andi: they’re in the suitcase
    Fiona – I’ve decided to listen to your advice: it’s in!
    Ann Darton- I have not read The Riders but have added it to my list of wannabees…
    gautami: will check Gaiman when I return…
    Terri: they’re all in. Thanks for your recommendation
    Caroline: I will do.. Thanks for stopping by
    John: I’ve visited and I’ve made a note, it sounds a great book. Thanks for alerting me to this

  10. Sounds like you’ve got a tough list to choose from. I go through the same thing when I travel. I recently went to Aruba for a week and brought 10 books or so with me. Way more then I needed (or actually read) but I had a tough time getting down to what I did. Good thing it was a carribean island and shorts didn’t take up much room in the suitcase! Good luck with narrowing down your list and have a great vacation! =)

  11. Have a wonderful holiday! I have the same struggle deciding which books to take every time I travel. Part of the probelm is that I can never say precisely what I’ll be in the mood to read, so it’s not as simple as bringing enough material to last the holiday. There must be options! Winton’s “Breath” is high up on my TBR pile. I’m looking forward to hearing what you think of that one when you get to it.

  12. Gail/Irish: Crete is hot too I gather, so yes, definitely shorts. I’m packed now.

    Kate: yes, that’s the dilemma: I may so want to read something that I have left behind. Moods are so important and must be indulged in on holdays especially.

    I will try and keep in touch, but it all depends on the access to wireless – the laptop is packed for writing anyway.

  13. You’ll have to let me know how the Penelopiad goes for you. i started it, liked it, but haven’t finished it. I wish you better luck.

  14. You’ve probably already left, but I hope you took The Hours…I’m going to re-read it in combination with Mrs. Dalloway too.

    The Richard and Judy show sounds so terrific! I’ll have to see if I can get it on the internet.

    Have a very marvelous time in Crete! How lucky you are 🙂

  15. Andi – just starting on it! The Greek environment helps the setting…
    Ravenous reader: Yes, I did take the hours as well as Mrs Dalloway… Next on the list 🙂

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