Reading Horizons: Episode 12

Reading Horizons, 24 October 2018

What are you currently reading?

South Riding

During a recent bout of  “squaring away” (otherwise known as a “tidy up”) I found my copy of Winifred Holtby’s best known novel: South Riding.  It’s set in the world of her upbringing in Yorkshire in which she creates a fictional rural community struggling with the effects of the depression.

Into this community steps a new headmistress with a vision of making changes and putting her school on the map. She needs to win over some of the most powerful local figures including a gentleman farmer whose world is falling apart, Mrs Beddows, the first alderman of the district and Councillor Snaith, a cunning and manipulative fellow  member of the council.

So far this is proving to be a marvellous and engrossing tale.

What did you recently finish reading?

The Mars RoomThe only 2018 Booker contender I managed to read this year was The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner. The title comes from the name of a strip joint where Romy Hall, a young single mother once worked. Now she is in a women’s correctional facility in California, serving two life sentences for murder. The novel, written in an unforgettable, direct voice, is an unflinching indictment of the prison system. It’s not a book that you can really say you ‘enjoy’.

What do you think you’ll read next?


Usually I find this a difficult question to answer because I don’t like planning ahead. But on this occasion, it couldn’t been easier.  As soon as I heard about Michael Ondaatje’s new novel Warlight, I put in my reservation at the library. It’s just become available but such is the interest from other readers, there’s no chance of renewing the loan. So my default this is my next read though I can honestly say I’m being pushed into this choice.


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

16 thoughts on “Reading Horizons: Episode 12

  • Judy Krueger

    I went on vacation to Zion National Park last Wednesday so reading went by the wayside. I had started Go Went Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck and will finish that soon. It started off in what I thought might be too much of a cerebral tone but what I read last night got me hooked.

    • Zion is a wonderful place – whats the weather like there this time of the year? We were there in August/early Sept and it was beautiful

  • I only read Running in the Family, by Ondaatje, and I was far from being impressed

  • My commute audio is The Wife by Meg Wolitzer. There’s one I’m supposed to review that puts me to sleep so will remain nameless. A true crime set in Kenya’s Happy Valley called White Mischief. A few others lying around. South Riding and her others have been on my to read list for years.

    • I think there was a film made from that Kenyan episode – it was quite good from what I remember. I tried to get something else by Holtby on a trip to Hay this week but drew a complete blank

  • I’ve been tempted by The Mars Room but I don’t know if I’m in the mood for a book that I won’t enjoy!

  • I loved South riding – a marvellous book! I’m useless at predicting what I’ll read next – you can almost take it for granted that if I say one book by the time comes to choose what to read I’ll pick something else.

    • Me too Margaret. It’s why I’ve stopped doing challenges where you have to make a list of books and then read them.I liked making the list but then the minute I had finished it my enthusiasm waned.

  • I’m reading a collection of Dashiell Hammett fiction, “The Forsyte Saga,” and “The Mill on the Floss.”

    • I’ve never read the Forsyte Saga – though have seen both adaptations. Is it well written?

      • It grows on you as you get to know the characters, and parts of it are very well written and wise in perception.

        • thanks Paul, I shall think about adding this to my list to read

  • I’m just coming to the end of Slav Sisters, an outstanding collection of short works by female Russian writers of the 20th century. Not quite sure where I’ll go next! 🙂

    • One thing I’m pretty confident of is that your next choice will be one I’ve never heard of. You seem to discover so many new-to-me authors

  • I am reading Little Man Little Man by James Baldwin and Yoran Cazac. This book tells the story of a 4 year old boy’s experiences in Harlem. It really puts into words how he feels and thinks about his world around him.

    I just finished The Trial and Other Stories by Ifeoma Okoye Short stories about women in present day Nigeria, how in spite of all the laws that control them, that take away their power as women, mothers, and human beings, these admirable women use ingenuity, intelligence and hard work to hold on to their money, their children, their dignity.

    I plan to read The Blacker the Berry by Wallace Thurman

    • That Nigerian collection sounds interesting. The country seems to produce a lot of good authors


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