Snapshot of October 2014

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


I have just a few pages left to read of Ali Smith’s latest novel How to Be Both. It’s a wonderful novel because of the  innovative narrative structure — one part is the story of an early Renaissance mural artist; the second is about an inquisitive teenage girl in the present day. Some editions start with the artist, some with the teenager so readers get to have a different way of interacting with the text. My version began with the artist. At first I couldn’t see how the two stories would come together but I had underestimated Ali Smith’s talent. This is such a superb novel that I’ll be astounded beyond belief if it doesn’t win the Man Booker Prize later this month.

lookaftermomNext on my list to read is a novel I was given as a gift by a work colleague in South Korean who was excited to learn I wanted to discover a local author. So now I am going to be reading Please Look after Mom by the South Korean novelist Kyung-sook Shin. This novel, which has reached sales of more than a million copies in the country, is about woman who gets lost in the crowd at a train station in Seoul. Her selfish family of husband, two sons and two daughters who haven’t really given her much love and attention until now are forced by her disappearance to re-evaluate their lives and their relationships.


I’m making slow progress with the audio version of Elizabeth of York by Alison Weir. It’s not as easy to listen to while driving as crime fiction so I find myself having to stop and rewind frequently because I’ve lost track of who is who.


The West Wing series is one of my favourite TV programs to come out of the USA. Some of the episodes get a bit bogged down in detail that is hard to understand if you are not familiar with the American government and political system but the characters are highly watchable and there is a tremendous energy in these programs. Those guys are so constantly on the move they must easily beat the recommended 10,000  steps a day. We’re revisiting the whole series at the moment and we’re in the midst of the election campaign for the next President.  Great fun.



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 1, 2014, in Book Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. I loved Please Look After Mom as well. I’ve found that many American women hate it, because of the theme of extreme sacrifice on the part of the mother/woman. But having grown up in a traditional Asian family this book really resonated with me and pushed me to tears in recognition.

  2. Please Look After Mom is really good — hope you enjoy it!

  3. The Ali Smith isn’t my type of book, but I’m always happy to hear that someone loved a book. As for healthcare… it’s a mess and an expensive one.

  4. The Bears and I have watched The West Wing through twice and I credit it for everything I now know about the American political system. It can be very useful when the President and Congress are rowing about the budget. Thanks for reminding me about the Ali Smith. I must order it from the library.

    • I think you will enjoy the Ali Smith. As for West Wing, watching it makes me appreciate why the current administration is experiencing such a difficulty with their healthcare reforms.

  5. Look forward to your thoughts on please look after mother I loved it but couple of other bloggers I know hated it

  6. Oh, you make me want to read the Ali Smith book really badly! I put myself on the list at the library which has it on order and hardly anyone waiting for it. I fear I will soon be inundated by library book holds that appear to all be coming round for me at the same time!

  7. I haven’t read the new Ali Smith, but I would love to see her win the Booker as her other novels have been fantastic.

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