Posted by: Corri van de Stege | July 6, 2008

The Sunday Salon – Taking Stock

Time to take stock, the last few weeks have been blissfully removed from day to day reality with non-stop reading and writing and enjoying myself.    Days have passed too quickly.   The last three days have been difficult trying to get back into a rhythm, a routine again and only last night did I manage to pick up my writing and add around 700 words.  I’ve decided that my best routine is writing first thing in the morning, but that does not work when you have a job waiting for you first thing in the morning as well.

I am quite happy with the number of books I’ve managed to read these last few weeks and am aware I still have to write some reviews.  However, they’ve all been excellent books:

Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland I reviewed here, I talked about Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway and about Michael Cunningham’s The Hours here  and here (I do think the two should be read in sequence), I’ve reviewed  Haruki Murakami’s After Dark here and did a short review of Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad here.  I partly reviewed Dostoyevski’s Crime and Punishment here as well but I need to do a more extensive review, also in the light of the Russian Reading Challenge, to which this will count.

And so what’s in the Salon today?  I’ve started Moshin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, which was still left in my suitcase, unread.   And on my return from my holidays  I had a package from Becca at Bookstack with Carole O’Malley Gaunt’s Hungry Hill, a memoir.  Thank you Becca, and thank you for the dedication!  I will read this with great pleasure, especially as I enjoy ‘lifewriting’, as you know.

 I’m also reading the Sunday Times Book Reviews and I’ve got the new copy (Issue 38 ) of Mslexia (for women who write), which as usual has some wonderful new writing and poetry.    In addition there is a very interesting article about the future of e-publishing and the suggestion that writers must take advantage of this new technology and that this market will increase, whether we, as readers or as writers,  like it or not.  ‘New formats also offer the savvy author the chance to be published without using the traditional publishing route.  The key word here is – take a deep breath – disintermediarisation: the interruption of the more usual means of supply, e.g. buying books from Amazon instead of bookshops.’   And yes, we all know that authors now have their own websites (not to forget blogs) and writers communicate with their readers directly.

This article headed Big Audio-Visual Dynamity?  is full of interesting suggestions about the future of writing and publishing and the changes that are taking place.  I will have another look at it today.

Last week some of us wrote about how we felt about that ‘inner editor’ who admonishes us of our paltry ability to write and how we approach that.   A devoted reader notes Anne Enright’s piece Author Author in yesterday’s Guardian: ‘The thing you have written is a piece of shit.  Can I say this louder? And then repeat it really, really quietly? The thing you have just written is a piece of shit.’  But sometimes you think that ‘[it] is the best thing that has ever been written, it is a truly wonderful thing.  Alright it’s a piece of shit, but it’s the best piece of shit I’ve ever seen.  It is both wonderful, and, yes, you are right, truly awful.’

I could not say it better!  J  Worth reading if you have space in your Sunday Salon.



  1. I’ll have to get that Enright article, and I’ll be eager to read more of your reviews.

    I also have to write in the morning – most days at least – because if I don’t I’m full of other people’s voices. Plus, I’m usually tired at the end of the day, and that’s not when I write best. But, then, I am fortunate to have a job that doesn’t start till a bit later in the day most of the time so . . .

  2. I’ll be checking into the Enright articles, as well as the magazine you mentioned. Sounds like good reading for a Sunday.

    I like to write first thing in the morning too, but that darn day job makes it quite difficult sometimes!

    I hope you enjoy Hungry Hill 🙂

  3. Thanks for sharing the Enright piece. I just checked it out and will be looking at a little more closely after church this morning.

  4. Your reading vacation sounds fabulous. I hope your transition back to the work world isn’t too traumatic.

    I’ll be looking for the Enright piece too.

  5. Andi: yes, work gets in the way terribly, doesn’t it? Lucky you to be able to start work a bit later!
    Becca: well, yes, but it pays the mortgate and adds books to the bookshelves as well 🙂
    unfinished person: it’s a great read
    terri: hi, yes the reading was fantastic and reality has struck, as it inevitably does…

  6. That looks like an impressive (and varied) book selection you’ve been enjoying. And it’s an interesting point about the changing writing and publishing world. That’s great if more people get published (and read). I’m also starting to like Anne Enright the more I hear about her – thanks for the link.

  7. […] @ 51stories pointed me to this piece by Anne Enright from The Guardian on what your writing really is when you […]

  8. I agree, first thing in the morning is the best writing time. As a stay-at-home mom, I don’t have “the job” waiting for me, just kids to get off to school… unfortunately, with it being summer break, that’s not a-happenin’! Summer school starts on Tuesday, so hopefully I can get back into the habit for a few weeks again.

    Also, I’ve been reading Jane Austen, and I wouldn’t dare writing my stuff under her influence! Have to read some Evanovich and Coben to get back on track. (not saying there’s anything WRONG with Jane, just I don’t want to write like her.)

  9. Plant a tree, sire a child, write a book are the three things a man must of need do in his life. It is the latter that I lack and my eldest son is insisting I must write a book on psychology. He believes I am capable of writing it but my inner self resists and tells me a book on psychology is not something so easily to cook.

    Humans are different individually but very common collectively, so these two traits are really hard to unite or, for that matter, separate.

    I must apologise for referring to man only in my opening paragraph, but I am of the opinion that the world and its inhabitants are not looked upon equally by women and men, the balance leaning on the women’s side because of their cleaner and clearer perception of things worldly and spiritual.

    Don’t be afraid, the book would be in Spanish. LOL

  10. couchtrip: yes, this e-publishing opens up new worlds, doesn’t it? Not sure whether I’ll be downloading my books in the near future though: I just love that feel of paper and being to underline… I know, a bad habit!
    The koolaidmom: lucky you, whole days to write and yes, it’s strange how books that you currently read can influence your style, whether you want to or not.
    Jose: I’m sure it would be translated into English! there’s another job for someone. Good luck with the writing although a book on psychology is a bit daunting, I agree 🙂

  11. Thank you for transferring that optimism, Seachanges.

  12. […] @ 51stories pointed me to this piece by Anne Enright from The Guardian on what your writing really is when you […]

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