Posted by: Corri van de Stege | January 4, 2009

The Sunday Salon – and a happy New Year to all visitors

tssbadge4Nostalgia over, the Sunday papers are looking forward to a rich and culture-full 2009, with titles as This week, Culture brings you the essential guide to the year ahead (The Sunday Times) with the top 30 films of the year to come and Our critics choose the best threatre, dance and music of the year ahead and of course, lists of books to be published.  Enjoying our usual Sunday morning cappuccino in the local supermarket coffeeshop while scanning the Sunday Telegraph’s Magazine Seven (I cannot provide a link as it does not allow this without being an on-line subscriber!) I notice it has a month by month account of the literary year 2009.    I am actually reluctant to take too much notice of the books that will be published, it feels like spoiling the surprise and fun, almost like having another ‘challenge’ to work through.  I don’t really want to know exactly what is going to come, I much rather sit back and see where the days, weeks and months ahead find me, nothing too predictable, that was the straitjacket of 2008, done with.  Nevertheless, I spot some favourite authors, a new Anita Brookner novel to be expected in March, called Strangers, a collection of short stories by Chimamanda Ngozi The Thing Around Your Neck, in April, a book by A.S. Byatt The Children’s Book, in May and a Paul Auster Invisible, towards the end of 2009.  Already in January we can expect Land of Marvels by Barry Unsworth ‘a novel inspired by the doings of British scientists abroad …[which] takes an imaginative look at the origins of modern Iraq through the story of an achaelogical dig in 1914’, and this sounds interesting.  Finally, there’s also a Sarah Waters novel in May.  I am getting carried away after all…  Of course, there are many more to come, also non-fiction books.


On Saturday Jeannette Winterson in the Times mentions the Shakespeare and Company, the English bookshop in Paris, which is very opportune: this week will be my birthday and I am being treated to a three day visit to Paris and yes, I will visit the Louvres and of course the Latin Quarter which houses the English bookshop and some others, as well as literary cafes and other such delights.  I am looking forward to this treat, like a child.  We will travel by train, direct from St Pancras to the Gare du Nord – no endless security searches at airports or long waits.  We will have all the time in the world to sit back, read some books and take note.  For the occasion I have bought Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables.  I cannot promise I’ll finish it, but three hours on the train each way should provide excellent reading time.    The bookshop assistant appeared pleased with my choice, confirming that this would be the best book to have with you on a visit to Paris.  


Today, I will attempt to finish The Bastard of Istanbul, a great delight, as well as the newspapers.   Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!



  1. I envy you your upcoming trip to Paris! I’ve resolved to put some distance between myself and hype about new releases this year too … I’m afraid the publishing industry and the movie business have become too similar in my mind. The hype has less and less to do with the actual quality of what’s to come, I’m afraid.

    Annie Dillard (I’m starting to quote her — oh God, I’ve become a cult member of some sort!) commented in Living by Fiction — something to the effect that it’s only in the literary arts that we want everything before the ink has even dried (as opposed to the visual arts where the longer the artist has been dead, the more interested we are and the more important the work becomes) — and it made me realize how blurred the line between art and commerce has become.

    I’m planning to spend more time with older works — at least more than I did in 2007 and 2008. You’ve been doing that all along, so I’ll be following your fine example.

  2. Lisa – yes, that’s how I feel, hence my reluctance to even engage with the ‘what’s new in 2009’ lists, but succumbed (only slightly) when I saw some names I recognised… Like you, I’m going to read where my mood takes me and I also want to get more inspiration for my own writing and thinking.
    I feel so excited about this trip to Paris although I know it will pass like a whirlwind!
    Annie Dillard’s LIving by Fiction is unavailable at Amazon (England) at the moment, I looked her up last time you mentioned her. I will try and get a used copy once I’m back from my trip: you’ve made me curious!

  3. I’m so excited Adichie’s coming out with a new book-I’ve loved both her novels! In general, I don’t usually read books rigth when they’re released, but for favourite authors I make the effort. 😉 Have fun in Paris. 😀

  4. I have tried to e-mail you three times at your google address, and all of my e-mails have been returned as undeliverable. Thought you would want to know.


  5. Hi Eva: yes, you have to make exceptions for some authors and I do love Adichie’s writing too. Paris will be great, I’m sure: I have indulged in buying a copy of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables…
    JoAnn – I am really surprised because I do get e-mails at this address regularly – it’s . Are you using the 4 in the address? Let me know if you try this and it fails. I know my Yahoo e-mail address was cancelled as I forgot to check it regularly 😦 Hwwever, I have now re-instated that as well: but that’s got a number 28!:

  6. SC, I just want to let you know that you have been awarded the Inspiration Award – you can “retrieve” it at my blog where I’ve done a mini mini bio on why it should go in your direction!

    (Note that you do NOT have to continue the cycle of awarding – I know you have plenty to do.)
    Nevertheless, this is offered most sincerely and deservedly to you!

  7. Seachanges, many happy Paris birthday wishes to you and I hope Victor Hugo makes for good company. Just seeing the Paris guidebooks etc made me happy for you. Thanks for the scoop on the upcoming books. Adichie will be on my list.

  8. Oh: what a lovely surprise – I had a peek at your site! I will blog on this when I return: I must make time for such an honour!
    Pete: Thank you, thank you (bows…) – I’ve started the Hugo and am 10 pages or so in… as a kickstart! Off to packing my bags now…

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