Sunday afternoon blues

Today sees me with a touch of the blues. Instead of revelling in the blue of a summer sky I’m staring out of the conservatory windows at wall to wall grey sky and heavy rain.  So frustrating to be able to look out onto the garden and see all the jobs that need to be done and not be able to get out and do them. My lovely rose bushes look very sad and forlorn after the thunderstorm on Friday. The sweet peas need a bit of propping up so they can climb up the trellis and there are some new perennials I bought last week to fill in gaps in the borders that are still sitting in tubs awaiting planning. Sigh. Sigh and triple Sigh. I really hope this isn’t going to be another one of those wash out summers which are a specialty of dear old Blighty. That never happens in books does it? There, the summer is always perfect. Girls get to wear floaty dresses and sandals, everyone goes off for picnics by the river (such idyllic scene marred only by the discovery of the odd body or two) or linger late into the evening on their patio/terrace/lawn amidst the remnants of the barbecue.

You know, I think those people campaigning for the UK to leave the EU have missed a trick in showing the link between our membership of the EU and the crap summers of recent years. They’ve blamed every other woe to befall UK on our membership so why not rubbish summers? I bet if they were to promise warmer, sunnier times if we voted for an exit, they’d do a roaring trade.

Amid all this doom and gloom I did have one reason to be cheerful this week. Earlier in the month Kim at Reading Matters hosted a giveaway of Richard Flanagan’s back catalogue to mark the fact Vintage Publishing has just repackaged his works for UK readers. Her timing was perfect because I had only recently read his Booker prize winning novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North which bowled me over and left me wanting to read more of his work. Amazingly I won. So yesterday morning bright and early the postman greeted with this delightful package of five of his novels: Death of a River GuideThe Sound of One Hand ClappingGould’s Book of Fish: A Novel in Twelve FishThe Unknown Terrorist and Wanting.

The delivery didn’t include the plant by the way –  just the books I should emphasise. I tried taking my own picture of the collection but it wasn’t anywhere as good as the one Kim did on her post. My only dilemma now is to decide which of these titles to read first. I’m leaning towards The Sound of One Hand Clapping which Goodreads describes as “A sweeping novel of world war, migration, and the search for new beginnings in a new land…. The Sound of One Hand Clapping is about the barbarism of an old world left behind, about the harshness of a new country, and the destiny of those in a land beyond hope who seek to redeem themselves through love.”

Doesn’t that just get your heart fluttering with anticipation?

Maybe instead of just staring at the rain I should cover my windows with pictures of these books. That should deal with the fit of the blues shouldn’t it?





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 June 19, 2016, in Sunday Salon and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 29 Comments.

  1. No, it rarely happens in books I agree – unless it is to harbinger something awful and I sure hope that’s not the case with you!

    As for Flanagan, why not just start with his first and work through them? But if you wanted not to do that, I’m not sure where I’d suggest starting but I would say leaving his weakest – The unknown terrorist – until the end. (That said, I have a confession, I’ve read all but his first two so take my advice with a grain of salt!)

  2. Weather – agreed. I’ve a couple of pots of lilies that are trying to bloom but don’t seem to be able to. They’re also a lot shorter this year.

    I think I’d have to opt for One Hand Clapping, too. The title’s too intriguing and it makes me think of philosophy (I think it’s a Buddhist meditation idea?)

  3. A blue day can definitely affect one’s attitude to lots of things….but I’m glad the books cheered you up. I love your display, with the plant next to them. Thanks for sharing…and for visiting my blog.

  4. This blog made me smile – thank you! Enjoy your books!

  5. Oh my, his Narrow Road has been quietly sitting in the trunk of my car – guess I better rescue it. Your stack of books promises good reading. By the way, politics is no fun in the United States lately…

  6. I hope your weather is improving! I totally understand how you feel. It seems the nicest days of the week always fall on workdays. What a nice package of books though to console yourself with. The cover of Wanting is really stunning.

    • isn’t that true! we can be sure for awful weather in the next few days because it is when a huge music festival called Glastonbury is held and it invariably rains so much the whole place is a mud bath

  7. I remember one summer which was so bad that I noticed it in all the dramas that were filmed during it because there wasn’t a bit of sun to be had. So even on the TV it was grey. I think it was the BBC version of Room with a View – grey, grey, grey. And today’s the first day of summer apparently! But all those lovely books to look forward to.

  8. There’s little advantage of bad weather except for this one: plenty of time to read!

  9. Your EU-voting solution made me laugh – leave the EU in exchange for summers akin to something you’d expect in Spain? That sounds like a fair deal 🙂

    I’ve also only recently read Narrow Road – like you, I was completely bowled over by it. I’ve only read one other book by Flannagan – Gould’s Book of Fish. Read it many, many years ago and loved it (considering a re-read). Enjoy your book haul!

    • Gould Book of Fish must have been good for you to want to re-read it. usually i get that feeling mainly with classics rather than contemporary lit

      • More that I remember enjoying it and I liked what it was about but can’t remember the detail – Also, I saw it in the library as an audio book and thought I might listen to it this time.

  10. You are in for a treat with that collection of books!

  11. Sorry to hear you’re having a bout of the blues. No doubt, the weather and political climate and sad news has something to do with it. (We here in the US can relate.) Here’s to new books, though! They always hold the cure.

    • the one good thing here in the UK is that the electioneering is much shorter. If it went on as long as it does over your way I’d be climbing the wall half way through

  12. Sorry that your summer isn’t turning out well so far, but winning five books!?? Wooooo hoooo! Maybe reading the books will help instead of looking at pictures of them? 😉

  13. This week’s weather has been horrible hasn’t it?! Fortunately the rain held out long enough today for us to do a Father’s Day bbq for my dad and granddad. I hope the weather brightens up soon and you can get out in your garden.

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