This Sunday Salon today has/is a very mixed bag. I want to say something about writing postcards, something about books I’ve read and still need to review, something about what’s on my reading shelf, and….. etc.
Let’s start with the postcards, that’s a kind of writing, if only the address and a message to whoever you are sending it to. Yesterday I realised how miserably I have failed (again) these last months to simply send ‘Happy Birthday Cards’ on time or at all to a large number of people who are part of my (extended) family or my friends. In the past I have had birthday calendars, which had everyone’s birthday on it, then they got lost somehow in moves, or simply because I never got round to hanging them up; then, to aid my memory, I had this Microsoft calendar on one of my computers in which I had noted everyone’s birthday but that computer got replaced and somehow or other I never copied the dates. Most recently, a year ago or so, I bought this wonderful little ‘Birthday Book’ (something like one of those pocket writer’s notebooks) and once more I tried to transcribe all the birthdays that I could remember. I’ve still got it, it’s in the dining room, quite obvious. Only, I rarely think about picking it up and checking it….. So here then is an apology to all those who may just read my blog once in a while and who haven’t had a birthday card:HAPPY BIRTHDAY. This definitely includes my eldest brother and his wife, two lovely nieces (one of whom does read my blog: so here you go, I haven’t forgotten, just forgot to send the card!), and for today my eldest sister (I will ring you and will post the card today, promise!).
So, that makes me feel better, a public apology to all and the message that I love you dearly, only have too much on my mind most of the time – and then, you all live so far away!
On to today’s reading business – a little while ago I promised a review of Rose Tremain’s The Road Home, which I greatly enjoyed and will have to be added to my Orange Prize Reading List. Only, there is this great review in today’s New York Book Review by Liesl Schillinger. I shall think about writing my own review. I would probably only repeat what is written here, although, when I review books I try not to give away too much as far as the story goes – this one seems to give it to you lock stock and barrel. It’s definitely worth reading, because Tremain knows how to write well and keeps you involved with Lev, you’re there, you agonise with him.
I am working on my review of Coetzee’s Disgrace, it’s more or less written, I’ve just got to get it onto the blog now
And reading? Well, I’ve got a number of books on the go, a short story here and another one there. I also started Soldiers of Salamis by Javier Cercas, but found myself distracted when in the initial pages there is an immediate reference to the battle of Salamis and I picked up Tales of Ancient Persia, which is a collection of stories retold from the Shah-Nama of Firdausi by Barbara Leonie Picard in the Oxford Myths and Legends Series.
The battle of Salamis was the battle in which the Persians were defeated by the Greeks and was the beginning of the defeat of Ancient Persia. However, I love the stories of the pre-islamic kings and heroes in ancient Persia, which are recounted so nicely in this little book.
Now it’s back to Cercas though. The Battle of Salamis is not at all about this ancient battle, but about the Spanish Civil War and the execution by firing squad of fifty prominent Natinalist prisoners. Not surprising then that I got distracted by the title, is it? I am curious why the book has this title. I’ll let you know once I’ve read it!
As I said, this has become a mixed bag of reading and writing. The best thing is that I managed to add a satisfactory chunk to my novel this week, on top of the reading. Next week is less promising though as I shall have to make another journey to Wales, but it’s only going to be for one night. Bliss. But today and tomorrow I’m going to have to write a presentation… Creative? Mmm I’ll think about it.
The best reading stuff on Sunday is in the Sunday papers and this week again, Brian Appleyard has an excellent piece – this time it’s on John Berger, a one time winner of the Booker prize for his novel G and once more on the longlist for Man Booker Prize with his book From A to X, which I haven’t read but sounds interesting and is now on my tbr list.
Enjoy your Sunday!