Posted by: Corri van de Stege | July 27, 2008

The Sunday Salon – in the back garden

This has been a bad week, for reading and for writing.  I left home on Monday and did not return until Friday night late, having covered about 550 miles to Wales and Warwickshire.  Not for fun, for sheer hard work!  I did a lot of writing, but that was writing up interviews, making connections for a project.  Part of the problem was that once in Wales there are communication black spots so that one day I found myself in a boardroom interviewing people all day and realised that there was neither connection to internet or e-mail, nor did my phone pick up signals.  A strange and unsettling feeling in this day and age!

So apart from posting a blog that had been pre-written I had little opportunity to keep in touch with you, myself or my blog – well, you know what I mean. 

As far as reading and writing are concerned – most of the time I was too exhausted; my brain was unprepared to either take in anything else from what it already had to cope with during the day, or to produce anything remotely creative.  So, that was the week that was. 

It’s lovely to sit in my Sunday Salon now, out in the garden, with newspapers strewn around me and feeling that you can catch up with yourself again.  It’s a very hot Sunday Salon but it reminds me of the now seemingly distant past when I was in Crete.  It’s hard to imagine that that was only three weeks ago, as work has leaped on me with a vengeance and I really have to earn my keeps again! 


I am halfway through Kate Atkinson’s One Good Turn – yes, I did manage to read a couple of pages here and there, usually before going to sleep.  However, it is not as satisfying to read books only a few pages at the time and this has been lingering now and sometimes I need to remind myself who Gloria is, and what Jackson is doing and who is the seemingly nasty guy.  Nevertheless, this is probably one of the better books to just persevere: it is well written and Atkinson knows where she wants to take you, so you’re in safe hands. 

Do you sometimes read books at such a slow pace that you forget what you are reading and who is who?  I really prefer to get on with books, live them.

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned Nick Hornby’s comments on the i-Liad (the e-reader)   .  Today’s Observer (The review section) has some more on this: I have read the future…..   with some comments in favour (e.g. by Naomi Alerdman, who won the 2006 Orange Prize for New Writers with Disobedience) and others very much against: e.g. Peter Conrad, the Observer Columnist who is the writer of Creation: Artists, Gods, and Origins.  There is a debate on this subject as well at  But, what do you think?  I can see there is a point in storing books and needing less storage space if you have an e-reader.  However, I still like the physical feel of books and just cannot imagine what it would be like not to have these shelves full of treasures…..

Happy reading today.



  1. My Sunday is kind of over! I did not read more than three pages. I was nvited for lunh at m brother’s plae and I spent most of my day playing with my 11 years old nephew!

    Any day better than reading books!

    : D

    Here is my SS post

  2. Up to a recent advert I saw I was distinctly against e-book readers but when I saw a write up on the about to be released Sony e-book reader, that did make me stop in my tracks, I like how the screen looked more like a page. But I don’t think (or I desperately hope) that the end of the paper book is nigh, I hope we as a species would miss the feel of the paper in our hands and the sight of the books lined up on our shelves. I liked how in a recent Doctor Who episode, set I think in the 51st century, they had a giant library planet still with real actual books because we as a species were still too attached to them.

  3. Glad you are getting some “down” time today and enjoying your writing with the Sunday Salon.

    I like to immerse myself in a book – preferably at about 100 pages a day. But that doesn’t always happen.

    I hate the idea of e-books. I love the textural joy of reading (the smell of the pages, the slide of the pages through my fingers, the weight of the book in my hands) too much to ever resort to reading books on line. And I find it hard to believe the physical book will ever go away (or maybe that is just my fervent hope!).

  4. yes I get days on the road when have no communication links. its strange how now we now react. I dreading when they finally sort out a wifi and phone link on trains as its almost my last chance to manage work time in my favour.

    My Blog

  5. I think ‘One Good Turn’ is a book that must be especially difficult to come to terms with just a few pages at a time, because there are so many threads that you have to keep straight in your mind. I think, if your difficult times are now over, I’d be tempted to go back and start again. I enjoyed it so much I’d hate to think you weren’t going to get full value from it.

  6. gautami tripathy: sometimes Sundays are best spent differently – glad you enjoyed a good one!
    J: like you I am very ambivalent about e-books, somehow I cannot imagine myself lolling about on a sofa or in the backgarden with an e-book, rather than the physical feel of paper AND a pencil with which I can underline or scrawl some comments…. But good for travelling, may be?
    Wendy: I managed to finish the rest of Kate Atkinson in one go, yesterday. Feels so much better. Even if it was two o’clock in the middle of the night….
    John: I find it strange to be so completely cut off on a working day, that is, otherwise it’s bliss of course!
    Ann Darton: you are so right about this. I picked it up yesterday and finished it in one go. I think I’ve managed to put it back together despite the halting start on this book. Review to follow….

  7. It wasn’t a great reading (or writing!) week for me, either. I hope things improve on both fronts for us!

    I’m never tempted by those e-book readers. I love the feel of a good book in my hands, and don’t want to see pages on the screen. Blog posts are about as much e-reading as I can handle!

  8. Becca: yes, let’s keep fingers crossed. I swore I would do the 50 words writing today, but haven’tmanaged…. And I’m with you on the e-book front – blog posts can be quite challenging 🙂

  9. It’s lovely to sit in my Sunday Salon now, out in the garden, with newspapers strewn around me and feeling that you can catch up with yourself again.

    I know the feeling. I’m glad you could sit down and relax on Sunday after such a busy week!

  10. Consider the (almost annoying) abundance of cell-phones, PDAs, blackberries, there are still dead spots anywhere these days. It feels weird doesn’t it when we are all left alone and fall out of the communication radar?

    I was on the road in California coast as well but managed to finish one book. 🙂

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