Wednesday 17 June 2020

Stories & Shout Outs #30

I'm feeling rather blah today. 

It's my day off work and we should be heading off to lunch with friends, but their daughter has come down with a cold - tested for Covid and not positive - but in this new world we all live it, it's enough to put a lunch date on hold for a week.

I spent last night down a Twitter dark hole when I tried to research the furore around J K Rowling. I deliberately curate my twitter account to only included bookish people, so I forget how hateful some people (or bots) can be on social media platforms. I learnt nothing edifying and still feel dirty this morning.

So I need some bookish solace to cleanse my soul! And I need it now!

What I'm Reading:
  • Rodham: A Novel | Curtis Sittenfeld (fascinating but now finding the political manoeuvrings dull as we near the end.)
  • Humankind | Rutger Bregman (nice to be reminded that human beings generally err on the side of kindness. Not always easy to remember that at the moment.)
  • Homeland Elegies: A Novel | Ayad Akhtar (I have no idea where this is going, but loving the ride so far!)
  • The Fire This Time | Jesmyn Ward (it was time to read this book that has been lingering on my TBR pile for too long.)
  • War and Peace | Tolstoy (chapter-a-day readalong that has fallen off the rails a little. A rainy day today & a cancelled lunch date, may mean that I catch up this afternoon.)
  • The Parisian | Isabella Hammad (started reading this in March, but put it aside as Covid lockdown started. I was enjoying it, but it required concentration....)

New to the Pile:
  • Mammoth | Chris Flynn (looks quirky and unusual.)
  • Griffith Review 68 Getting On (my last GR took me 6 months to read all the articles. I wonder how long this one will take?)
  • The Plague | Albert Camus (for all the obvious reasons!)
  • Love in the Time of Cholera | Gabriel Garcia Marquez (ditto!)

Read, but not Reviewed:
  • 7 Steps to Get Your Child Reading | Louise Park

Cover Lover:
  • Is it bad that I want to read a book based entirely on the cover?

  • I started The Golden Bough Readalong with Jean and Cleo in the hope I would finally finish the edition I've had lurking on my bookshelves for a couple of decades now. But alas! The first chapter defeated me. I just couldn't work up enough interest in the 'dodgy anthropology' as Jean has so delightfully tagged her most recent recap posts. I admire her tenacity.

Latest Find:
  • The Great | series stars Elle Fanning as Catherine, Nicholas Hoult, Phoebe Fox, Adam Godley, Gwilym Lee, Charity Wakefield, Douglas Hodge and Sacha Shawan.
    • "the wildly comedic rise of Catherine the Nothing to Catherine the Great, in a genre-bending, anti-historical ride through 18th Century Russia."
    • What a hoot! Three episodes in and I'm hooked. Huzzah

Keeping an Eye On:
  • Rather excited to hear that Kazuo Ishiguro has a new book coming out next year - Klara and the Sun.
  • The Miles Franklin Award is announcing their shortlist via Youtube at 4pm today.
  • The winner of this year's Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction is Christine Dwyer Hickey with her book The Narrow Land.
    • The Judges of the Prize said:
    It’s a risky business, portraying the marriage of two artists, particularly when both the marriage and the art have already been picked over by biographers and art historians. Christine Dwyer Hickey has embraced the risk and created a masterpiece. In The Narrow Land, she reaches into the guts of the marriage of Jo and Edward Hopper and into the heart of the creative impulse itself. And more, much more. Quietly, inexorably, and with pinpoint perception, our winner has brought to dramatic life not just the Hoppers’ intimate eruptions but the tensions and complexities in those around them, from two young boys scarred by war to the transient summer crowd at Cape Cod, and though this forensic lens we glimpse the upheavals that were to shake all Americans in the post-war world. With the pull of a shifting sea, The Narrow Land drew the judges back again and again, each reading richer than the one before.’

Shout Outs:
  • Tamara is once again hosting her very elegant, very enticing Paris in July. Sign up here and share the badge. I have a couple of Maigret's to while away a grey winter's day and a new French cookbook with which to experiment!
  • Coco Chanel | "Elegance is when the inside is as beautiful as the outside."


  1. I just reviewed Rodham over at my blog and thought there were some hits and misses ... and I didn't care much for the story, surprising! Still I wish she were president by a long shot! Thx for the Ishiguro news ... that's great to know.

    1. I finished Rodham last night, & like you, I'm not sure how to best review the hit & miss aspects of the story. But it was a fun ride!

  2. Of course you are supposed to read books BECAUSE Of their covers. Yes, yes, indeed. :)

  3. That is a very cool looking cover for Mammoth. I'll be curious what you think.

    I saw about the new Ishiguro novel as well. That is very fun news.

    I haven't given up on The Golden Bough! but I haven't made any progress either...

    1. I was like that for a couple of weeks with the Bough as well Reese. I then gave it one more go, one grey, rainy w/e, with a block of chocolate and a cup of tea. No I'm just happy to sit back and read about what the rest of you think about it!

  4. A great variety of books here. I am also thinking of reading The Plague and In the Time of Cholera. Suitable these days. I have read The Stranger and 100 Years of Solitude. It would be good to see if the other two books are similar or quite different.

    1. I've certainly heard how different Cholera is compared to Solitude. Solitude is an extraordinary read, but not easy.


This blog has now moved to Wordpress.
Please visit This Reading Life to comment.

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.