Book Reviews

A week of distractions

So many things going on this week.   Just keeping up with the progress of Team GB, Phelps and all the other men and women with unpronounceable names in lycra, is a challenge. There’s always something interesting just about to happen or a new drama unfolding.

On the home front my own domestic drama came to an end last night.  Twelfth Night ended its run  after 12 performances which means domestic normality will once again return to my house. I’ve been sharing it, not with Jeff but with his alter ego Sir Toby Belch for the last 3 months, trying to be patient as I hear Jeff rehearse his lines over and over. And sometimes getting roped into acting out all the other parts. But watching the final performance last night, it was clear how all the dedication to detail and the hours of rehearsal had come together.  Even the rain held off to bring the Everyman Open Air Festival 2012 to a close for this year. 

All of which meant I haven’t made that much progress with Bringing Up the Bodies – the only 2012 Man Booker longlisted novel it seems I’ll get around to reading before the shortlist is announced late September. The more I read of it though, the more I appreciate that this is meant to be taken slowly. It’s tempting to just keep reading but when I’ve hurried it, I’ve missed a lot of the subtleties. So I’ve decided to savour the moment instead of rushing to the end.

As a complete contrast, I’ve also started reading Saraswati Park by Anjali Joseph. There are some books that you only have to read two or three pages to know you’re in for a delightful experience. This is one of them. It’s set in Bombay (I seem to be reading a lot of novels set in India this year) and i the story of Ashish, a 19-year-old who goes to live with his uncle Mohan and aunt Lakshmi in Saraswati Park, a sleepy part of the city, so that he can repeat his final year in college. Mohan earns his money by writing letters and filling in official forms for those who cannot write. His days are spent  at a table outside a busy post office but his real passion is literature and and his dream is to one day write his own book.

It’s the first published novel by Joseph and won her critical acclaim as well as a few prizes. Her second novel Another Country came out last month. She’s tipped as ‘one to watch’ .


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

7 thoughts on “A week of distractions

  • Team GB has been distracting me from reading too! Still, it’s nice to have a little national pride once in a while. Saraswati Park sounds really interesting.

    • I was flabbergasted to see you read 16 books in a month – I would be lucky to read 6 I think. But the I see from your blog that you are retired. The penny dropped! I’m following you now…..

  • Living with Toby Belch can’t have been the easiest of situations. I love Twelfth Night. We have a production at Stratford this season but I haven’t caught up with it yet. I’m glad your husband’s went well.

    • If it’s the production that my mother went to see recently, you are in for a treat (assuming tickets are still available – when I tried there were very few).

    • wonderful photos on your site Deb and some very inspiring stories. How do the mini libraries work exactly – can anyone participate or do they have to have a key to open the door? how do you stop the stock being stolen or damaged?


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