Sunday Salon: A Week of Discoveries

This week saw yet another attempt in our house to control the stack of books that just keeps piling up. I’m convinced that books inhabit some kind of parallel universe in which they have learned how to procreate. How else to account for the fact that some of them just keep multiplying? In the space of 30 minutes I found triple copies of Far From the Madding Crowd and Return of the Native. Doubles I can understand (husband and I probably bought a copy each before we were married) but where did the third one come from and how come neither of us thought to check if we already had it before buying it again.

Buried at the bottom of one box, I found an old edition of the Bloomsbury Good Reading Guide: What to Read Next which gives short summaries of authors (classics as well as contemporary) and highlights the titles considered to be ‘their best’. But they also have this feature that essentially says ‘if you read and enjoyed Middlemarch and want to read another novel in similar vein, try this…’ It could be useful for pointing you to authors you might not have across previously.

Other News this Week

  • Watched the announcement of the Man Booker Prize announcement with all the excitement of a child on Christmas Day. Didn’t quite punch the air when Stothard announced the winner this year is Hilary Mantel, but was delighted that was the outcome. The decision seems to have been well received except for one blogger at the Guardian by the name of Jacques Testard, who felt that the judges should have chosen  a book from a small publisher so they get a boost. In other words, the judges shouldn’t actually follow the remit of the prize and choose the best book, they should chose the most deserving cause. I don’t know who Jacques Testard is but he doesn’t show much understanding of the purpose of the prize at all. Here’s his article.
  • Finished and managed to post my review of Aravind Adiga’s White Tiger, which won the Booker in 2008. A good read for majority of the time – it was the last 50 pages that disappointed.
  • Made good progress with Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South. It was slow to get going but has cranked up in pace and tension quite considerably and am really savouring it now. It will be the first of my Classics Club that I can say I’ve read this year.

About BookerTalk

What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

Posted on October 21, 2012, in Classics Club and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. That Bloomsbury Guide sounds wonderful but maybe also rather dangerous, could lead to a lot more book multiplication! I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on Gaskell’s North and South which I also have on my Classics Club list.


    • It is a bit of a dangerous book – I’m worried I might pick up too many ideas for books when I already have shelves groaning!

      As for North and South, I’m enjoying it apart from the northern dialect which is irritating.

      Karen Heenan-Davies



  2. That Bloomsbury Guide sounds amazing – but dangerous!


    • you’re not the only one who thinks its dangerous. Maybe thats how they should market the book: Warning this is the most dangerous book you’ll read all year. Bet that would get sales up


  3. I may have to have that Bloomsbury guide!
    I loved White Tiger.


  4. I haven’t read any Mantel. What should I start with?


    • Her books are so varied in style that it’s hard to pick one that wd be typical. An Amateur Marriage is very readable but very different to anything else she’s written. On the historical fiction front then start with Wolf Hall and if you love it as much as the Booker judges did then you have a treat I store with the follow up. Sent from my iPad


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