Sunday Salon: April snapshot

sundaysalonI enjoy those photography projects where you take a picture of the same location on the same day every month or year. So I thought I’d copy the idea and do a snapshot of what I’m reading etc on the first Sunday of each month.

So  here goes with the first one…..

Reading
I have two books on the go at the moment: Keri Hulmes The Bone People which I’m reading as part of my Booker Prize project and Mary Ann Shaffer’s The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  The latter is the next selection for our book club.  I can see why it’s hugely popular and parts of it are enjoyable. I’m learning a lot about the impact of World War 2 on the Guernsey islanders that I didn’t know before but overall the book isn’t grabbing me much.

Watching

I’m playing catch up with the BBC series The Plantagenets. The first program was about the origins of the dynasty and how they grew to be rulers of a huge swathe of land from Scotland, through England and as far as the middle of France. In between laying the foundations of the British justice system and taking off for the Holy Land on crusades,they seem to have spent much of their lives fighting each other. Talk about dysfunctional families! It’s a fascinating series – you can still watch the first three episodes on BBC I Player.

Listening
For years I listened to the radio news programs on my commute to work. But I stopped that when the interviewers became more interested in their own voices than in what their interviewees had to say. So I’ve switched to podcasts and audiobooks instead. After a spate of Peter James crime fiction featuring Superintendent Roy Grace, I’ve now moved onto Christabel Kent’s A Time of Mourning which is set in Florence and just has me wishing I was strolling in those piazzas right now. I’ve also caught up with some of my favorite podcasts like The Readers. 

Learning

Future Learn is running a MOOC course on Shakespeare and his world. I’ve taken about five of these MOOC courses either through Future Learn or Coursera and found the quality is very mixed. This is one of the best I’ve done so far. It’s a collaboration between the University of Warwick and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stra􏰐ord‐Upon‐Avon and looks at the plays from a historicist perspective. We’ve covered his interest in classical stories and in war for example, reading a different play each week. This week’s featured play The Merchant of Venice discussed the theme of money and trade and how Venice could represent the way London was emerging as the centre of a global trading nation.  Next week we move onto the historical plays in the Henry cycle.

 

About BookerTalk

After a day at the coal face of corporate communications, what better way to wind down than by sticking my nose into a good book. My tastes are eclectic. I find it easier to say what kind of books I don't especially like - gothic, science fiction and science fantasy do absolutely nothing for me. It doesn't mean I will never read them, because I am trying to broaden my reading horizons - that's the idea behind my challenge to read books from each country touched by the Equator or the Prime Meridian. Regardless of the author or country, the acid test of a good book for me is whether the characters are engaging, the plot realistic and the setting evocative. If I make it to 100 pages then I know I'll finish it.

Posted on April 6, 2014, in Sunday Salon and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I love podcasts like reader books on nightstand there is a couple from translation fans but current favourite is one playing old radio detective shows from 50’s

  2. I’ve heard a lot about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society but haven’t read it yet. I was never able to read two books at the same time – at least of the same genre – the characters seem to get muddled in my mind, haha!

  3. That Shakespeare class sounds fascinating!

  4. It’s the one thing I miss about no longer having a long commute – I used to listen to loads of audiobooks. If I try to listen to them in the house, I promptly fall asleep (I think it must be a throwback to bedtime stories), but fortunately that doesn’t happen in the car! I’m very impressed at the thought of reading a Shakespeare play each week…

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