Posted by: Corri van de Stege | September 27, 2009

Weather forecast: Dry and chilly at night

Yes, the nights are chilly but the daytime is glorious this Sunday, with late September hazy sunshine that makes the clouds evaporate and leaves blue sky for most of the day.  A true day for chilling out after what seems a never ending merry go round of chasing deadlines, catching trains, putting my foot on the accelerator, promises to clients that it will all be done on time; late nights and long weekends of work.  So I’ve not had much opportunity, nor the will, to blog, let alone write book reviews.

It’s not as if I have not read at all, in fact I’ve read an amazing amount given the shortage of time, late at night, on busy trains when trying to do work is hopeless and when I’ve simply wanted to switch off.  Not that all the reading was equally successful.  Perhaps because I have been so preoccupied with work, it has been hard to read some books that did not ‘grab’ immediately, or that did not catch my imagination at the time.

Although Junot Diaz’s ‘The brief and wondrous life of Oscar Wao’ has had raving reviews in certain quarters, I was unable to enter the world, too removed from the innuendo’s, the references to characters and the world of a Dominican family.  I have promised myself I will try again, some other time, when I am less preoccupied with work and myself.

A book that I enjoyed for its mild but very well written story of an ageing and retired professor of linguistics who is going deaf is David Lodge’s ‘Deaf Sentence’.    David Lodge knows how to write and it is clear that going deaf is something he understands and he is able to show the reader what it is like, the bizarre situations the protagonist finds himself in and has difficulty to disentangle himself from.  Lovely book.  One of my sisters has had hearing problems for a long time now and I am much more conscious now that I need to make sure that she can hear me, not be impatient!

Something quite different is ‘The Death of a Mafia Don’ by Michele Giuttari.  I’m sure I picked this up from a recommendation in one of the Sunday reviews, but cannot now remember which paper.  Giuttari is an Italian crime writer and although the story is full of pace, and very enjoyable to read, there is a bit too much ‘narrative’, as if the author is extremely pleased that he can recount exactly what happens in real life police stations, where different parts of the service are at loggerheads.  At some points I lost the thread as to who was in charge of what and who hated who and mistrusted who…  you get the drift.  Nevertheless, it all ends ok-ish and the outcome is a real surprise.  Good for a read on the beach, or for when you are too tired to be bothered too much and simply want to be entertained without too much effort.  I did read it till the end although I must admit I did skip pages here and there, something I don’t usually do.

 I’m not sure if I mentioned having read Mary AnnShaffer & Annie Barrows ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’.  This book was a bit of a rave over the summer when I noticed many people carrying it around with them.  It’s a nice and gentle read.   The book consists entirely of letters written between the main characters, different ones, not everyone writes to the same person and it gives the authors the opportunity to approach the story from different points of view.  Very readable, well written and kept together, this is the story of a writer, Juliet Ashton who is looking for something to write, just after the second world war.  She starts a correspondence with Dawsey Adams who writes to her about a book that he has found, with her name written inside it.  This leads to Juliet trying to find out what the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was all about, during the war,  and thus the story unravels: Juliet travels to Guernsey and engages with all the members of the society.  It’s a lovely story, and has serious as well as funny moments.

I’ve bought a book on Iran (Empire of the Mind), by Michael Axworthy which seems quite apt now that the whole world is once more up in arms and accuses the country of ‘threatening the stability and security of the world’.  Brown (that is, the English Prime Minister Brown) talks about ‘shock and anger’ whilst others hint that there is a secret weapons programme somewhere. 

And then?

Well, there’s a week’s holiday in Cyprus coming up, and I should have lots of time to catch up with myself.  One more week of trying to meet deadlines and then I shall just forget about it all for a whole week.  Bliss.



  1. I am pleased you haven’t forgotten us, and I understand how you feel. Work is at times so engulfing! It almost gets to annulling your real personality, indeed.

  2. It sounds like you’ve earned your holiday!

    I’m glad you enjoyed the Guernsey book, and must try David Lodge.

  3. Jose: yes I’m still hanging in there! I think of you all constantly 🙂
    Sarah: cannot wait for it to be Friday – even my (work) laptop will be picked up and go on a general repair session to head office… bliss!

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