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Reading Horizons: Episode 5

Reading Horizons, 23 May 2018

Currently reading

The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies

This has been on my E-Reader for ages. I hadn’t planned to read it now but was so bored by my chosen book – G by John Berger – that I went looking for a more enjoyable alternative.

The Welsh Girl is the first novel by Peter Ho Davies. It’s set in North Wales during the final months of World War II when a German prisoner of war camp is set up near the home of farmer’s daughter Esther Evans. Turmoil ensues with Esther caught in its midst. I’ve only read about 20 pages so far so it’s too early to gauge whether this will be to my taste but the book was well received when it was published in 2007.

As for G, I don’t know whether I’ll continue to read this. I didn’t have great hopes for it but it was one of the few remaining titles on my Booker Prize project list so needed to be tackled. I’ve struggled to page 90 hoping it would get more interesting – it hasn’t… It could become the third Booker Prize title I failed to finish.

Recently Finished

The Secret River by Kate Grenville

Another novel that has been lingering on my shelves for a few years but what a joy to read.

Grenville focuses on the early white settlers in Australia and the clash of cultures between the incomers and the indigenous Aborigine population. While Grenville tells the story through the eyes of the white settler, a transported convict who wants to make a better life for himself, she shows how the conflict affects  both sides. It’s a thoughtful novel that raises questions about identity and ownership and also conveys a strong sense of time and place – of London and Australia in the early 19th century.

Reading next

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

For once I know what I am going to be reading in the next few weeks. Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie is the next book selected by the book club of which I am a member. Shortlisted for the 2018 Women’s Prize for Fiction this is a novel The Guardian describes as “A powerful exploration of the clash between society, family and faith in the modern world”. It’s apparently a re-imagining of Sophocles’ Antigone. I’m just wondering if a knowledge of Antigone would be helpful to fully appreciate this novel.


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

24 thoughts on “Reading Horizons: Episode 5

  • Judy Krueger

    I also loved The Secret River. I look forward to your review of Home Fire.

    • I haven’t even started to read it yet! I am so far behind too with my reviews….

  • Ah, good old Stratford – hope you made it into some of the Very Good second hand bookshops and charity shops. I need another trip there soon. It’s not far from here and I actually worked there for a bit, seconded to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to work on a project that included some of their rare books. If you’ve been in there, and seen their First Folio – I’VE TOUCHED IT! (with a scary security guard standing next to me).

    I want to know what other Booker Winners you’ve DNF’d, of course …

    • Unfortunately all I had time for was a quick visit to the Oxfam book shop. We were there really just for the play. I’m envious of the fact you got to touch those rare works – that would have sent shivers up my spine

  • Added all three of these to my TBR listing. Will definitely AVOID G! Upon reading the Goodreads synopsis, there’s no way I would be interested, so I believe I do understand your willingness to DNF it. 🙂

  • The Secret River is languishing on my TBR too, so I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it! I hope you enjoy Stratford too – I’ve only done day trips to it, but I’ve always thought it looks lovely. Will you be visiting the theatre?

    • The theatre tickets were really the starting point for our holiday – we knew we would be in stratford on that particular day so built in a visit to Derbyshire etc around it. Stratford is a lovely place, especially if the sun is shining and you can walk along the river. I would avoid it in the peak of summer when the tour parties are there and the streets get mega crowded

    • I’ve been to Stratford several times but never to the house. Shall save that up for the next visit

  • No need to know anything about Antigone – Home Fire’s plot stands on its own.

  • The Welsh Girl caught my eye with that beautiful cover, and the story sounds promising, too. I am also curious about Home Fire.

    Enjoy your books…and here’s MY WWW POST

  • I enjoyed the Grenville very much but have only read Ho Davies’ The Fortunes which was great but very different from The Welsh Girl by the sound of it. I’d echo Rebecca’s commenr about Home Fire.

    • Thanks Susan, I’m glad I don’t have to delve into Greek history/myth ….I always get lost in terms of who was who

  • I’d like to push Home Fire up my TBR too. enjoy your trip!

    • We’ve been blessed with some exceptionally good weather which has made the trip even more enjoyable

  • I really enjoyed the Welsh Girl, relishing the descriptions of rural life. I’ve got my eye on Home Fires too, so I look forward to reading your thoughts on it.

  • I’d like to read the Davies and Grenville books. I was vague on the details of Antigone but didn’t find a knowledge of it necessary for enjoying Home Fire.

    • Maybe I can get away with just a skim of the Wikipedia page on Antigone in that case

  • Loved the first two on your post – and the Shamsie is on my radar! Hope it’s good.


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