Posted by: Corri van de Stege | July 20, 2008

The Sunday Salon – more books to be read….

Yesterday the postman rang and delivered a fairly large parcel with books, ordered from Amazone.  I had decided that my wishlist, compiled out of the tbr list of books that I had not got on my shelf, was becoming too long and I could not actually remember why some of them were on there.  I read recommendations on other blogs, and add them to my list when I like the sound of them, or because they seem to relate to what I am writing about.  So I simply levered some from the wishlist to an order and hopla, there they are.  So it was a bit like christmas and the following books are now added to my physical tbr pile – some of you may recognise your own recommendations…:

  • Women of Algiers in their Apartment – Assia Djebar ;
  • LIghthousekeeping – Jeanette Winterson  (a myth book)
  • The Road Home – Rose Tremain (of course, this one needs to be added to my Orange Fiction challenge as the winner of this year’s Orange Prize for Fiction)
  • In a Glass Darkly – Sheridan le Fanu (who told me to read this??)
  • Olive Kitteridge – Elizabeth Strout (don’t know where that comes from either)
  • The Helmet of Horror – Victor Pelevin (This is the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, one of the series on myths – I  don’t usually read straightforward horror stories)
  • Weight – Jeannette Winterson (another one in the myth series – this is the Myth of Atlas and Heracles)
  • A Farsi Phrasebook (reference material for my writing…)
  • Where Three Roads Meet – Salley Vickers (another one in the myth series).

I picked up the last one, Salley Vickers’ Where Three Roads Meet yesterday afternoon and read it straight through.  I felt it was a bit thin, also a bit far fetched?  Talking to Freud about the Oedipus complex?  Interesting concept though… I’ll write something about it this week.

I read quite a bit this week actually, in between being busy travelling and writing briefing papers for work.  Apart from the Salley Vickers’ one I also read Jonathan Coe’s The Rain Before it Falls, which I liked and will review, as well as Sadie Jones The Outcast, which, I’m afraid to say, I did not really like much.   It’s too slow, too removed from its characters even if it tries to paint a  picture of the fifties and what it was like to grow up in a very stifling, stiff family environment, where children are not to be heard, and preferably not seen either and the man on the whole is the dominant force in family life.  I liked the concept, but I skipped pages because I became impatient.  Never a good sign, I suppose!  And this book was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, so I guess I can count it to my reading challenge, even if I did not like it.

Well, a lot of reading and not much writing and I can feel a depression setting in as far as writing is concerned.  Perhaps the Write on Wednesday will keep me on track? 

Finally, a nice review in the Sunday Times on Haruki Murakami, whose writing I like very much (Ten things you need to know about Haruki Murakami).  He is depicted as cult writer, which he is, is hugely influential in that for example the plot and style of Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation were partly inspired by Murakami’s novels, he used to run a jazz club and if you’ve read any of his books that you know that there are countless references to music scattered through his stories and books, and, the review says, he is a romantic.  Well, that makes me feel all good about him.

So, what am I reading now?

I’ve started Kate Atkinson’s One Good Turn , and like what I’ve read so far.  So this book will keep me going nicely, a bit today and more during the week when I will be away and on the roads again for three nights running.  I think it’s a good one to have in my overnight bag.  Are you surprised I don’t do much writing?!

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Responses

  1. Thanks for the recos! … Will bookmark this and return when I run out of reading 🙂 …

  2. My, you’ve got quite a stack of reading in front of you! Travel time is good reading time for me, but only if the book isn’t too “weighty,” in subject matter or physical size!

    Travel time is not conducive to writing, however, except for the barest of blog posting.

    BTW, I might have recommended Olive Kitterdege. I thought it as excellent.

  3. I almost get a mad-scientist-rubbing-his-hands-together-mwaaa-aaaa-aa feeling when a box of books is delivered to my door. I think the parcel delivery folks get a kick out of the sheer glee on my face. This bibliophilia is silly, isn’t it? I’ve got more books than I could read in TWO lifetimes…and I’m STILL ordering more…

  4. Mental mist: nice to meet you… always handy to have a list somewhere.
    Ravenous Reader: perhaps I’ll just stack them somewhere for my retirement? 🙂 You must have written a raving review of OK, will let you know in due course what I think. And travelling and writing? No, the two don’t mix, unless you can stay somewhere for weeks….
    Cliff Burns: I think my postman feels alsmost as excited as I do when he sees my face (it’s usually a ‘he’…). I know, this book mania is like being on drugs…:)

  5. Oh how lovely, you’re going to read the Djebar! That might prompt me to do a post on her writing, which I’ve liked for a long time. I also have the Jonathan Coe on my shelves, and the Salley Vickers, so will be interested to read your thoughts on both of those. Oh and also the Atkinson. What a great haul of books.

  6. Great pile of books!

    Happy reading!

    Here is my SS post

  7. I loved the Atkinson. have you read the previous one in the series, ‘Case Histories’? There is a third due out in August.

  8. ah litlove, yes it was you, thank you so much for pointing me to Djebar. I am fascinated by the whole list of books she has written. Do you read them in French?
    gautami: thank you! I’m going over to your post in a minute…
    Ann Darnton: I love Atkinson’s writing and will get hold of her new one when it comes out… Yes, I did read Case Histories, a long time ago now.

  9. Great list of stuff I’ve never heard of (I seem to be highly American in my reading – a fact I’d like to remedy), so thank you. .

  10. Haruki Murakami is popping up everywhere lately. Probably because his memoir is soon coming out in English, but I would like to believe it is a sign from the gods that it’s about time I pick up one of his books again.

  11. I second Andi’s comment – wow, I need to get out and about more in my reading…thanks for new titles to add to my own list…!

  12. My wishlist is similarly out of control, despite the fact I regularly buy stacks of books.

    I’ll be interested to hear about The Road Home and Jeanette Winterson’s books, as I mean to read both one of these days.

    I’m a fan of Kate Atkinson and am looking forward to reading her third Jackson Brodie book. And I think I might be responsilbe for the In a glass darkly reccomendation.

  13. Oh I haven’t heard of the Vickers before, I usually quite like her stuff. Sounds slightly strange though..

  14. Andi – hi and thanks for the comment
    Alisia – yes I’ve got some more on the shelf by Murakami, he’s an interesting writer
    oh – very dangerous these long lists… but great seeing you agan
    Sarah – yes you are the link! I’ve just reread your review and must get on this book soon now, I can read it as separate stories which is great..
    Michelle: it’s one in the series of myths, perhaps I just wasn’t in the mood for Oedipus?

  15. After reading the above, and the other posts that I missed during my absence, an idea occurred to me that wouldn’t it be that so much reading is affecting your ability to write?

    Influence by other writers may affect one’s own thoughts and divert them from the real urge to write. One needs independence, absolute mental independence, to write.-

    Sorry if I sound patronising. As you may know it isn’t my way.

    I feel good reading you again, Seachanges.

  16. Jose: yes, it does affect my ability to write, you are so right and I am often using either reading or blogging as an excuse for not writing…. because I simply haven’t got the energy to think ‘creatively’ after a day’s work. I know, I should be more disciplined. It’s good to see you back – hope all’s well. And this is posted from the depths of Wales where I have very limited access to anything (but even so even less time to write or even read!). Back in the real world by the end of the week!

  17. Wow, lots of great books! I’d have trouble writing myself. I feel like there’s never enough time in the day to do both.

    PS: Tag, you’re it


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