Reading plans

What I’m Reading : Episode 54, September 2023

What I just finished reading

Our book club choice for this month is Trust by Hernan Diaz and for once I am not reading the final pages just minutes before our meeting on Sunday.

Diaz’s second novel earned him the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, was longlisted for the Booker Prize and became a New York Times bestseller so I started the book expecting to be wowed. It’s structured as four narratives, each telling a different versions of the story of a Wall Street businessman and his wife in the years leading up to the Great Depression. Skilfully conceived but oh boy was it dull.

Last night I abandoned one of the books on the Booker longlist for 2023 — Sebastian Barry’s Old God’s Time. The opening chapters introduced a retired policeman living a quiet, isolated life on a wild stretch of the Irish coastline. His solitude is interrupted by two young detectives who want his help with a decades-old case, a request that stirs up old memories of a past strewn with suffering and losses.

I’m not in the right frame of mind to read another novel about child abuse. Nor am I up to the stream of consciousness style at the moment so back to the library it shall go tomorrow.

What I’m reading now

I’ve now switched to one of the books that resulted from my TBR jar experiment — Nada by Carmen Laforet. It has a promising start with the arrival of an 18-year-old orphan in Barcelona where she is about to take up a scholarship at the university. She is to stay with her grandmother and assorted relatives (all of whom seem odd) in a cluttered, crumbling apartment. It’s early days yet but the beginning is promising.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic was “10 Books on My Fall TBR”, a task I embarked on with enthusiasm. I love making reading lists. But if you’ve been following this blog for a while you’ll know that it’s a rare day when I make a reading plan and manage to stick to it. So I abandoned the effort half way even it was shaping up nicely as a list not of specific books but countries I wanted to “visit” in the next few months.

I’d got as far as:

Australia: i was thinking to mark Australia Reading Month, hosted by Brona, in October with The Newspaper of Claremont Street by Elizabeth Jolley or something by Richard Flanagan

Canada: It will be the 1962 club in October so this could be my prompt to finally get around to reading Silent Spring by Rachel Carson.

France: I’m long overdue a return to. the Rougon Macquet series by Emile Zola. Next in the sequence is The Sin of Abbe Mouret though I’ve seen other readers comment that it’s a bit of. a dull book. So I might go for lighter fare in the shape of The Paris Wife by Paula McLain which focuses on the relationship between Ernest Hemingway and his first wife.

I might read all of these. I might read none. I am such a fickle reader………

What I’m Reading is in support of WWW Wednesday  hosted by Sam at Taking On a World of Words. WWW Wednesday is actually a weekly meme but I choose to do it just once a month.


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

21 thoughts on “What I’m Reading : Episode 54, September 2023

  • Always happen to follow a fickle reader. I’m attending Richard Flanagan’s launch of his newest book next month at the Theatre Royal. Should be interesting.

  • I loved Nada, but I don’t know how much of a recommendation that will be since I also loved Trust!

    • Oh well, I just posted my review of Trust and was less than flattering…..

  • Nada is excellent. You’ve probably finished it by now, but in case you haven’t, keep going! The Newspaper of Claremont Street is very good too, but then so is everything by Elizabeth Jolley. I’m not a Flanagan fan, but then I’m almost alone in that.

    • I got distracted reading some classic crime short stories so nowhere near finished Nada.

  • There should be a club for fickle readers – I’d happily join!

    • Excellent – your invite will be winging its way to you …

  • I am usually a Barry fan, but this one hasn’t appealed to me (same with Paul Lynch’s Prophet Song) for the same reasons as you. I may get to it at some point

    • I may take another look at the Sebastian Barry further down the road when hopefully I’m feeling more able to cope with the stream of consciousness.

  • Seconding Kim re Old God’s Time. My uncle gave me the Carson when I was in my early teens. It made quite an impression.

    • The Carson was recommended to me many years ago and I did get as far as reading the beginning which was impressive; it had a poetical style I wasn’t expecting

  • I recently bought Nada as it has been repackaged as a Vintage Classic in translation. I look forward to your thoughts on that one.

    I’m a longtime Sebastian Barry fan and read this one earlier in the year and thought it was excellent. BUT you do have to be in the right frame of mind for it because it does tread dark territory so I’m not surprised you returned it to the library unread.

    • I’m surprised Barry didn’t make it to the Booker shortlist, the reviews I’ve read were overwhelmingly positive. I might try something else by him because I did enjoy his style based on the 60+ pages I read

  • Jill

    I really enjoyed Nada and looking forward to what you think of it too.

    • I’m hoping to immerse myself in it tomorrow when I have to take my husband for a medical appointment which usually involves a lot of hanging around

  • *Snap!* I am a fickle reader too.
    I abandoned Old God’s Time for the exact same reason.


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