September Snapshot

Day 1 of a new month and it’s time to take a snapshot of what I’m reading, listening to and watching.


I’m in the closing stages of History of the Rain by Niall Williams which was long listed for this year’s Man Booker Prize. I enjoyed most of it, particularly the humourous reflections of its narrator Ruth Swain on the history of her eccentric family. At 19 years old she’s confined to bed by an unnamed blood disorder. Her attic room is filled with thousands of books once owned by her poet father. Through them Ruth tells his story and her own.

Next on my list to read is The Good Earth by Pearl S Buck, an author of Chinese origin whose work I’ve not experienced until now. The Good Earth, the first in a trilogy about family life in a Chinese village was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1932 and influenced Buck’s award of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1938.

Listening .

On the iPod is Elizabeth of York by Alison Weir. The Wars of the Roses period and the Tudor dynasty were staple topics on my school and college curricula but Elizabeth ( wife of one king, mother to another and grandmother to three monarchs) only got a small walk on part. Weir’s biography published in 2013 helps redress the balance.


I’m not watching anything much at the moment since all the hotel can offer its visitors who want English language programmes is the tedious BBC World  and the equally tedious CNN. Neither of these I find satisfying because they spend no more than about two minutes on a story before moving to the next. You get about five stories in the segment and then the next before we get some trailers for upcoming programmes and the  weather everywhere in the world except where you are at that precise moment. Then the whole cycle starts again as if they don’t believe that viewers can retain info for longer than 10 minutes. It’s rather like having a meal made entirely of appetisers.



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 September 1, 2014, in Sunday Salon and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. momssmallvictories

    I didn’t know that The Good Earth was part of a trilogy, it is one I would like to read Good luck with your reading for our Travel the World in Books Readathon.

  2. I read Elizabeth of York by Alison Weir last year. I hope your enjoying it 🙂

  3. The Good Earth was a powerful, can’t-put-it-down read for me when I first read it in high school. Hope you are enjoying it, too.

  4. I know that I have History of the Rain somewhere on my kindle and I should really look it out asap. Apart rom anything else it is shortlisting time next week and if it doesn’t make the cut it will slip from my consciousness yet again. Do you think it merits inclusion?

    • I don’t have much to compare it with since I have read only one other title from the long list (The Lives of Others) but I’d say it could make the shortlist but won’t win.

  5. I don’t remember much about The Good Earth, but I remember it was required reading in high school! I hope you enjoy it.

  6. I read the Good Earth such a long time ago; I remember loving it. I think it was the first time I read such a long novel and felt addicted to it. Gosh, I might want to reread it.

    • I have really warmed to this farmer who sees no value in getting wealthy just to buy clothes etc when with the same money you can buy land and grow things to feed people. I have a feeling though that he is. It going to get a smooth ride

  7. I’m reading indigo a German novel

  8. I’m also reading History of the Rain. I hope to be through it this week. I need to pick up my pace a bit. Love being inspired by the Man Booker prize lists. Wishing right now that I had several rainy days inside to just read. Great cover here for the rain book; it’s raining books. I’ve also ordered the new David Mitchell book once it comes out here sometime this month.

    • I just saw that book cover. It’s clever but I wonder why the US publishers decided the illustration of the salmon swimming in the water wasn’t the right one for the market.

We're all friends here. Come and join the conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: