Posted by: Corri van de Stege | December 31, 2009

And so the year draws to a close

Christmas is over, everyone’s left and the house is empty, tidied and back in its usual state, ready for 2010 and all that’s coming.  Even the snow has completely disappeared in this part of the world.  Granddaughter has gathered all her Christmas presents and packed them in her new suitcase, a wheelly affair, blue with an orange handle to pull it along.  She crammed  it full with books, plenty of them, a puzzle, a lego set, a tinkerbell doll with fairy wings, ‘klapperschuhe’ (these are very special shoes, flat, with soles that will make a tap-tap noise on the parquet and tiles throughout the house) in gold, purple and black.  At last she has her own and no longer needs to raid my cupboards for flatties that will create the kind of racket she delights in.  She also stowed away her dvd’s of Snow White, and ‘Dive Ollie Dive’ (very ‘educational’, my son grumbles), and a Tinkerbell.  Once in the airport she never looked back, just pulled the case along purposefully: she is on her own journey.  I wish I was five!

The shelves in my room are creaking even more it seems, doubled up with books, and still there are some that I have not yet reviewed.  Quickly then, here we go with a last fling for this year:

Attica Locke’s Black Water Rising is a first novel with a recommendation by James Ellroy on the cover.  Yes, it is a good read, that is until I got to the end and became confused about the plot, who were the villains and why?  It all seemed too complicated, I did not understand the era, there’s some America based oil scandal with government buying up and stacking away a glut for times when there won’t be any.  I was not quite clear why some people were corrupt, what they’d actually done, how the money was made and why Jay needed to be helped out of the way when he refuses to shut up and go away having stumbled across a murder.  This is America in the 60s and 70s when the black movement is still being suppressed, and Jay has come out of it all scarred and in fear of being hounded down.  Well worth reading, have a go, perhaps I was too distracted, did not pay enough attention and so lost it…

This brings me to a podcast I listened to recently (while pumping away on an exercise bike at the gym), one of the World Book Club ones, an interview with James Ellroy.   He’s being asked questions by listeners, who are either in a room in Broadcasting House in London from which this is being broadcast, or who have sent e-mails in prior to the broadcast.  The questions related mainly to Ellroy’s book American Tabloid.  I haven’t read this, but having listened to the podcast, it definitely is on my urgent tbr list.  It is a novel set in the Kennedy era, and is about the brothers’ involvement with the mafia.  It sounded absolutely fascinating.  Has any of you read this?  If so, did you like it?

And so on to what I’m going to read in 2010.  No, this is not going to be a list full of intentions with 10 books here and 5 there all relating to a theme.  I’m not going to join one of the lists that tend to be sent around this time of the year.  I have a much vaguer intention which is that I want to read more non-fiction, essays, or those current affairs books that I never get round to somehow.  Mind you, I cannot imagine that I give up reading novels: they’re just too good to have with you when on the road or for just before nodding off to sleep…

Whatever your intentions, I wish you all a happy 2010 with lots of reading time.  Cheers.



  1. Best wishes for the new year seachanges!

    I’ve read neither book you’ve mentioned, but listened to the same podcast and have bookmarked American Tabloid as a a result.

  2. I’ll be interested to hear your opinion on American Tabloid when you get to it (although not read it myself). Glad you had such a festive Xmas and happy reading in 2010!

  3. Sarah – and to you. I like these World Book Club podcasts, don’t you?
    Pete – American Tabloid is somewhere on the top of my list, although I haven’t got a copy (yet)!

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