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What I’m Reading : Episode 38, September 2021: terrorism and injustice

Oops, September is almost at an end and I haven’t done my monthly “What I’m Reading” posts. Better get cracking before the midnight hour arrives and I’ll have been turned into a pumpkin

August has proved to be a bit of a juggling act. It’s the final month of #20booksofsummer but i got side tracked by #WomeninTranslation month and the arrival of some library reservations. I’ve read some cracking novels this month but also abandoned four.


What I just finished reading

Wilderness by B. E Jones. You’ve probably not heard of this author or novel, but I suspect that will change when a series based on the book gets to our TV screens. B. E Jones is the pseudonym of an author who lives not too far from my home in Wales but I’ve yet to meet — we were due to get together until a small matter called Covid-19 intervened. Maybe when we do finally make it she’ll be able to share more info about who is going to play her central character, a woman who takes off on a holiday around the National Parks of the USA thinking she might push her philandering husband off a canyon rim if he doesn’t pass three challenges she’s secretly set for him. Review of this to follow tomorrow.

What I’m reading now

I’m part way through one of the books that I’d originally planned to read as part of my 20booksofsummer list but I simply ran out of time. I’ve been very late to the Anne Tyler party; A Spool of Blue Thread is only the second of her books I’ve read. Shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2015, this is a saga about three generations of a fairly ordinary middle-class American family. I have the feeling nothing of great dramatic significance is going to happen but that’s OK, I’m rather enjoying the muddled, mundanity of the Whitshank family’s life in their comfortably shabby home in Baltimore.

There’s a muddle of a different kind in my other current read: the novella Dissipatio. H. G by Guido Morselli. It’s a first person narrative of a man who escapes to a mountain cave because he doesn’t like civilisation and all the problems of modern day living. When he emerges he finds that the entire human race has evaporated. He’s the last man on earth. The main narrative is easy to follow but Morselli does love multi clause sentences and digressions so I often find I’ve read several paragraphs without having understood a word.

On the iPod is an audio version of Fall and Rise by Mitchell Zuckoff, an impressively detailed narrative about the events of 9/11 and the stories of people most affected by the events of that day. Some were passengers on the fated flights, others were employees and visitors in the targeted buildings or fire crews and ambulance teams who tried to save them. The tone is jarring in places but the details about the structural defects of the Twin Towers and the lack of co-ordination between government bodies are fascinating.

Later in the month I’ll be starting a bookblogger buddy read of The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed, a novel based on the real events surrounding the wrongful imprisonment and execution of Mahmood Mattan, a Somali seaman living in Wales. Described by The Guardian as a “determined, nuanced and compassionate exposure of injustice”, this is one of the shortlisted titles for the Booker Prize this year,

If I was a sensible reader I would get a head start on some of the titles I’ve picked up for Novellas in November and Australia Reading Month. But I’m rather tempted to read The Beekeeper of Aleppo  by Christy Lefteri having seen all the comments in praise of this book when I asked whether I should keep it on my shelves of owned-but-unread novels.

As always my plans are subject to change at the last moment.

What are your reading plans for the next few weeks? If you’ve read any of the books on my “reading next” list you can help me make a decision.


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