Sunday Salon

Snapshot October 2015

Autumn leavesOctober 1 saw me on a business trip to Germany. Here’s a snapshot of what I was doing on that day.


Unusually for me I had three novels on the go on this date. Reading two simultaneously is something I can manage if they are very different genres/styles but I’ve never before had three in progress.

After a run of novels with rather dark subjects I was in need of some lighter fare. Since I don’t tend to enjoy comedy in novels, “lighter fare” for me usually means crime fiction. I had Silence of the Sea by the Icelandic author Yrsa Sigurdardottiron my TBR from Christmas last year which I thought I’d better read before this year’s festive event (otherwise I’ll get challenged why I want more books as gifts when I haven’t read the ones I got last time etc etc). It’s not as good as the review in the Sunday Times suggested it would be but it fitted the need at the time. More than half way through the novel, I realised that my library edition of the Booker shortlisted title The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma couldn’t be renewed so I switched to that one. But then at short notice I was asked to take this trip to Germany and didn’t want to lug a hard cover book with me. Which is how I ended up taking my Kindle and reading The Dictator’s Last Night by Yasmina Khadra, an advance copy via NetGalley and publication date is coming up fast.


I finished All the Light we Cannot See last week eventually. It only really perked up for me in the last quarter. I haven’t started anything new yet, just catching up on some podcasts. For my next audiobook I’m torn between Can you Forgive Her by Anthony Trollope and The Human Factor by Graham Greene. I’m a Greene fan and this is one I’ve not come across before. On the other hand I also like Trollope… Hm too many decisions.


Knowing I’d be restricted in the choice of English language TV challenges I armed myself for my trip with a DVD from Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads series. No matter how many times I’ve seen these dramatised monologues I still love them. This time I indulged in one of my favourites: A Cream Cracker Under the Settee in which Thora Bird turns in a stunning performance as the 79-year-old Dora who falls while trying to do a spot of dusting. Alone and injured she worries that the only place left for her is a care home which she considers abhorrent. She decides she would rather die on her own in pain than live in a place where everyone is expected to sing “I’m H.A.P.P.Y. I’m H.A.P.P.Y”. Simply sublime.


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

11 thoughts on “Snapshot October 2015

  • Thank you for reminding me how much I love ‘Talking Heads’; my personal favourite will always be Julie Walters in ‘Her Big Chance’

    • its so well handled that you laugh at her innocence but can’t help feel sorry for her too

  • Sounds like a busy reading start to the month! Hope you get some down time.

    • at least in the winter the grass isn’t crying out to be cut or the weeds pulled so in theory I should have some spare time

  • Oh, I feel for Dora…and I would love seeing that video!

    My son and DIL recently visited here, and it was great to listen as they went on and on about how they so enjoyed my numerous channels; they are hard pressed to find much on TV, so they download lots of movies.

    My son has been living in Europe since the mid-nineties, and loves it there, despite some of the issues with TV, etc. And, of course, he met his lovely wife in Prague.

    • It’s a box set Laurel which I’m sure you could get over your way

  • I prefer to read only one book at a time, but when I’m in the middle of a bigger book, I sometimes pick up something shorter to read on the side. As you said, it’s easier if the books are in different genres, for example fiction and non-fiction or short stories and genre fiction. Although, more often than not, I end up getting so engrossed in one book that I stop reading the other.
    Rushing to read the books you were given as presents before the next festivity comes around is something I do as well. Good that you mentioned it, because I still have a few titles that I should probably read before Christmas comes around!
    Speaking of Alan Bennett, are you excited about The Lady in the Van?

    • I was looking for the release date of Lady in the Van only yesterday – it’s due out in November apparently. The stage show was superb so it will be interesting to see Maggie Smith reprise that role

  • Did you hear the Radio 4 programme, ‘The Reunion’ when it went back to the Talking Heads series? I’m not sure if it will still be available on I-Player, but it would be worth while seeking it out. Bennet, as always, was magnificent.

    • I didn’t know about that programme Alex – will have to delve into iPlayer.


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: