WWWednesdaysSouth African authors

Reading Horizons: Episode 3

Reading Horizons, 2  May 2018

Currently reading

The Whale Caller by Zakes Mda

This is a book I picked up on my holiday late last year in South Africa when I asked a bookshop owner for recommendations of South African authors. This one appealed (shall I be corny and say it ‘called’ to me?) because it’s set in a coastal town called Hermanus that I had visited on my first holiday in South Africa in 2003. It’s famous as the place where migrating whales come closest to the shore. Except that they didn’t when we were there….. Maybe we should have gone in search of the whale caller who is the main character in this book since he has developed a special rapport with one whale. It’s a strange book – I’m not sure yet whether I like it or not….

Recently Finished

Irish Migrants in Modern Wales by Paul O’Leary

This is a departure from my usual reading matter. I’ve been reading it for background to my current passion for discovering the roots of my Irish great great grandparents. I know they were living in County Limerick but how they got from there to the iron manufacturing town of Rhymney in Wales is a mystery. I’ve been trying to get some insights via this book.  It’s many years since I last read an academic book on history so it was slow going at times.

Reading next

I’m so hopeless at this. Despite saying last week that I might choose Love by Hanne Ørstavik  or a Virago Modern Classic I did neither when the moment came. There are however a few books that need to be on my shortlist as contenders for the ‘reading next’ choice…

I’ve just taken delivery of two books by Elizabeth Jolley in time for a week focused on her work that Lisa at ANZLitLovers is hosting in June.  I’ve bought Miss Peabody’s Inheritance and The Sugar Mother  (the links take you to Lisa’s reviews). The Elizabeth Jolley page is here 

The same week will be the June meeting of a book club I’ve rejoined. We’re going to be reading Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor, an author about whom I know nothing. Anyone read this and can tell me what to expect??

Reading Horizons is linked to WWWednesday, a meme  hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It involves answering 3 questions:

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?


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 “Reading Horizons: Episode 3

  • The whale caller sounds interesting and intimidating at the same time. This is not the book I would pick up myself, but hope you have enjoyed it)))

  • I haven’t read Wise Blood but I have read some of O’Connor’s short stories (A Good Man is Hard to Find is one of her most famous/anthologized). I wouldn’t let the mysticism/religious aspects steer you away because she is a great writer and her themes don’t get in the way (at least not from what I remember reading). I looked into The Whale Caller and it sounds like a book I would’ve bought for the cover and then not liked very much. How did it end up for you?

    • Well the Whale Caller was quite odd, there were times when I did wonder why I was reading it but the ending was poignant

  • Your research into your family background sounds fascinating Karen. You’ll have to give us an update.

    • I do get carried away with it sometimes and hours go by before I realise I haven’t moved an inch off the seat

  • Enjoy your books! Thanks for sharing. They are new to me, but I’m curious about The Whale Caller.

  • Haha I couldn’t have resisted either ;-). I’m not fond of book covers where the name of the author is bigger than the title but that’s just me :-). I hope it ends in a satisfying way at least. Happy reading!

    • You know I have never thought of that aspect of the covers. Now you will have be scouring my shelves for examples

      • Haha, I’ve seen it a few times that the name of the author is bigger than the title and it grates me every time so it’s just one of those no’s for me 🙂

  • I’m so glad I’m not the only one who plans to read certain titles and then completely changes their mind in no time at all….

  • Wise Blood is verrry intense, lots of mystic/religious themes and grotesques (O’Connor’s trademark traits, really.) I quite enjoyed it.

    • Oh no, mysticism and me don’t make for happy partners …..I wonder if I can skip this club meeting

      • I mean…it’s quite violent mysticism (does that make things better, or worse?!)

    • its time I followed through on my oft-repeated comment that I need to read more Australian authors 🙂

  • The last book I finished reading was Joyce Mansour’s poetry collection “Screams” which is some very intense stuff about physical sensations.

    I’m presenting rotating reading a collection of Ted Chiang’s SF short stories “Stories of Your Life and Others” which includes the story the movie “Arrival” was based on; some of the most intelligent and well written SF today, and “Fantasyland” a pop history book, about Americans have always been a little crazy, and “The Tale of Genji,” the classic Japanese novel written by a woman in their feudal period about a young, handsome playboy who gets away with everything he does (so far) because he was high born, handsome, and talented.

    Next up? I have a collection of Henrick Ibsen plays on my shelf.

    • Ibsen is wonderful generally but Peer Gynt I find hard to appreciate

  • Wise Blood is on my TBR but I haven’t read it, so all I can tell you about it is that a couple of people recommended it to me when I was looking for possible contenders for the Great American Novel. I look forward to hearing what you think of it!


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