When I heard that the Costa Award for Debut novel had gone to a book written from the perspective of a teenager with mental health problems, I decided it was too close to the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night (which I didn’t care for) to be of interest. But come May 1 guess what I was reading? Yes, Nathan Filer’s Costa Award winning The Shock of the Fall. Not only was I reading it, I was engrossed in it. If it hadn’t been for the fact this was the selection for the month at the book club I wouldn’t have bothered but I would then have missed a wonderful novel. It is extremely well constructed, has a strong narratorial voice and very deftly seems to weave in messages about the appalling way in which people with mental health are treated without making me feel I am being hit over the head.
I loaded up my iPod thinking I would have many hours of opportunity on holiday to enjoy some good audio books while finishing my cross stitch project. Not only didn’t I finish the cross stitch but I didn’t even get through one audio book. I’m about a third of the way through Colm Tóibín’s Nora Webster. It’s a wonderful portrait of a recently widowed mother of four living in Wexford, Ireland, trying to keep the family together while she grieves for her husband. This is not a book I want to rush through. I don’t usually care for Fiona Shaw but as a narrator she is is doing a beautiful job.
I have learned in recent weeks that I am not capable of doing a full time job, taking an active part in a local campaign group to save our library and trying to follow some on line classes. Consequently my time with Coursera’s module on Australian literature was short – the lectures I did watch were interesting so I will download and watch at a more leisurely pace in the future. I did manage to finish a short course on genealogy however so all was not lost. But I’m going to reign in my enthusiasm and not start anything new for a while.
Nothing! Too much to do on holiday to spend it stuck in front of a tv screen.