Sunday 23 September 2018

Stories & Shout Outs #16

I had forgotten all about my semi-regular Stories & Shout-Out meme, until a recent bout of blog-itis had me scrabbling for blog post ideas. The lovely, supportive NancyElin reminded me of this meme and a time when I used to have lazy, quiet Sunday evenings in which to write.
My Sunday evenings may no longer be quiet or conducive to writing and reflecting, but I'll give it a shot!

As many of you know, I enjoy checking out the longlists and shortlist of many literary awards. I know I will never read ALL these books, but I do like to see what is being rated by others, all around the world, as great contemporary literature.

One of the longlists I genuinely look forward to every year is the Canadian Giller Prize, partly for the pleasure of seeing some of my favourite bloggers reading and reviewing it as part of the Giller Prize Shadow jury.
I'm particularly keen to get my hands on a copy of Vi as I loved Thuy's previous two novels.

As for this year's Booker say I'm feeling meh about it is an understatement.
I have The Overstory on my TBR pile, but I don't feel very inspired at all.

However, I have been inspired by Adam @Roof Beam Reader and his Sunday Salon.
With my life the way it is at the moment, I often don't actually read it until Thursday, but I really like his views on the world and his ability to source interesting articles across a broad spectrum of topics.

Mr Books & I started a travel blog a couple of years ago on the strength of our trip to Cuba.
We'd had lots of interest and questions about how best to travel around Cuba, so thought that we could document what we had learnt.
Like most of the stuff we dream up, it was a really great idea!
But finding the time to turn it into something we could be really proud of has been a struggle.
Life has thrown so much stuff at us in the past two years, I wonder how we're both still standing sometimes.
Part of our resilience though, comes from our many wonderful, happy travel memories.
Given that longer form travel posts are not in the foreseeable future, we decided to start a photography meme (called Thursday Travels) that could keep the site active as well as remind us of many of the amazing places we've experienced.
We hope you can drop by, share a pic of your own and spread the word to other bloggers who like to travel and take photos of the world around them.

Currently Reading:

Les Miserables - chapter a day
I'm back on track with this, just in time for Hugo to wax lyrical about young love - ugh!!

Now We Shall Be Entirely Free by Andrew Miller
I loved Pure (in a love/hate kind of way) but I'm loving this one in a less complicated fashion.
It's fabulous historical fiction, not done justice by the cover or the title.

The cover is actually quite lovely up close, but it doesn't jump out, visually, on a bookshelf with lots of other bright, new releases. I'm 3/4 of the way through and have so far failed to see why this cover was chosen or why the title is relevant.

The Nice and the Good by Iris Murdoch
A mystery with a Diary of a Provincial Lady twist?

As a write this, I realise that I am seeing some connections between these two books:
  • families with unusual ideas about life and love.
  • the sea.
  • a mystery that follows us (and the main character/s) all the way through the story.
  • post traumatic war disorder.

Coming Up:

FrankenFest with Marg @Books in Bloom to combine with The Classics Club's Goth Month.

I'm contemplating joining in or instigating some kind of Moby Dick readalong next year.
August 2019 will be 200 yrs since the birth of Herman Melville
The book has 135 chapters plus epilogue.
There is also the Moby Dick Big Read podcast.
I wanted to somehow combine the two as I've heard this classic can be a difficult one to get through on one's own.

My Weekend:

One of the things keeping me busy at the moment is my garden in the mountains.
It's mostly an Australian native garden, created by the original owner.
I've spent the past few years, tidying it up and making it my own as time and weather permits.
This weekend I thoroughly weeded, pruned and replanted one small section of it.
Finishing it off with some lovely, new, sweet-smelling chipped mulch.

I'm not thinking about how many more weekends I will need to do the entire garden!


  1. I've just finished reading the Andrew Miller book and really enjoyed it. I agree with you about the cover, but I think the title might make more sense to you when you reach the end!

    1. I had hoped that might happen Helen :-)

      Glad you enjoyed it too - I want to spread the word about it, so more people give it a chance.

  2. Wondeful post...glad to read you are enjoying writing again.
    Giller Prize list...I'm trying to read it for #VCanBookChallenge
    Unfortuantely Ese Edugyan's book (..also on Man Booker shortlist)...left me
    in een mèh-mood. Good but certainly not great enough to win prizes.
    It's only an opinion....but I have aother to share: The Overstory. I read, or at least attempted to read, Richard Powers last shortisted Man Booker book 2014 "Orfeo". Some called it magnificiant and moving
    I found it confusing...perhaps due to my inability to connect with all the musical allusions. My impression of Richard Powers is someone who is profoundly aware of himself and his need to impress. That is just my take...but see where his new book takes you. If you become confused....mulled down in his 'greatness' toss it in DNF bin and move on!
    PS lovelychipped mulch!

    1. Thanks for your support as always Nancy.
      I have read the first few sentences of The Overstory and realise I will need to be in a certain type of reading mood to tackle it!

      Edugyan's book was one of the one's I thought I might have a go of my colleagues is reading it this weekend, so I will see what he says as well, before firming one way or the other.

      I'm a bit stiff and sore after a big w/e in the garden, but it was worth it I think :-)

  3. I would totally do a Moby Dick readalong!

  4. I'd be willing to sign up for a Moby Dick read-a-long for 2019! It's one of those books I've always meant to read but never have!

    1. Okay. I'll think about how to make this work for 2019....:-)

  5. I'm very unbothered about the Booker, too, but then I'm not massively one for modern novels, so ...

    Glad you're getting through The Nice and the Good well. I hope to review it today - I dropped behind with my reading schedule and then was too tired over the weekend to wade through my forest of post-it tabs!

    Love your garden, by the way!

    1. I'm hoping to finish it (the book that is - the garden is a much longer project!) over the coming week with a review next week.

      I think that's why I'm finding the Booker (& many other awards & prizes) a bit meh lately. My love of classics and historical fiction has ramped up a notch or three lately, so unless the book has a great historical element to it, I'm not likely to pick it up (which is why the new Andrew Miller is working a treat).

  6. Wow... bicentennial of Herman Melville, it's the perfect time for rereading Moby Dick!
    Would be more than delighted to join a readalong. ;)

    1. Watch this space...a bit closer to the NY, that is :-)


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