Sunday Salon | 17 November

Suddenly (or so it seems to me at least) we are in the middle of November and I am starting to think of all things Christmas. This includes the wishlists that the Book God and I exchange – a simple idea that’s worked very well for the 25 years we’ve lived together. We each agree a number of gifts (almost always books, but sometimes music or movies), then exchange lists containing at least three times that number of suggestions. That way, we always get something that we want but we don’t know exactly what that will be.

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

This approach has two consequences (a) a book buying ban from, oh, around about now and (b) a Boxing Day online shopping spree for things we (OK, I) have asked for but didn’t get and now realise are absolutely must-haves.

But this hasn’t stopped the flow of new books coming into the Bride’s home in November. Let’s check them out, shall we?

The Pre-Orders

  • The Pursuit of William Abbey by Claire North – I love Claire and was lucky wnought to meet her at a reading on the publication of Touch which she kindly signed for me, and wher we all agreed that Roger Zelazny was a genius. Her newest novel is set in South Africa in the 1880s and involves a curse…..
  • Who Loses, Who Wins by Kenneth Rose – the second volume of his journals, this covers the period from 1979 and the election of That Woman, to Rose’s own death in 2014.
  • Delayed Rays of a Star by Amanda Lee Koe – an author new to me, but any novel set in the 1920s using a photograph of Marlene Dietrich, Anna May Wong and Leni Riefenstahl in one frame at a party in Berlin has me intrigued

The Impulse Buys

  • Laughter at the Academy by Seanan McGuire – the collected short stories of the author who also writes as Mira Grant, these cover “airy tale forest to gloomy gothic moor, from gleaming epidemiologist’s lab to the sandy shores of Neverland
  • Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver – “When strangers take part in a series of group suicides, everything suggests that a cult is to blame. How do you stop a cult when nobody knows they are a member?
  • The Vagina Bible by Dr Jen Gunter – I follow Dr Gunter on Twitter and very much enjoy the way she debunks some of the myths around reproductive health pushed by celebrities (my hard stare is directed at you, Gwyneth Paltrow) and gives sound advice to women of all ages. She gets a lot of stick online and I wanted to buy her book not only to support her but to learn things. Even at my advanced age.
  • Don’t Think a Single Thought by Diana Cambridge – “1960s New York, and Emma Bowden seems to have it all – a glamorous Manhattan apartment, a loving husband, and a successful writing career. But while Emma and her husband Jonathan are on vacation at the Hamptons, a child drowns in the sea, and suspicion falls on Emma.

I’ve done very little reading this week but have been listening to podcasts instead, particularly Jensen & Holes: Murder Squad. Yes, it’s tru crime, however did you guess?

Also of note this week was my first chance to attend a technical rhearsal at Sadlers Wells. The Dorrance Dance Company was performing – they use tap in a very modern and at times astonishing way and I had a great time. They are very much worth looking out for.

So, that’s my week. Hope you guys are all doing well and will see you in my next post (spoiler – I will go on at length about Doctor Sleep!)

Sunday Salon | 24 March

Somehow I managed to miss posting last week, and also nearly missed this week, but here we are with a round-up of what I’ve been up to since my last Sunday Salon post (which is here if you need a refresher – I know I did!)

Books read since my last post; I’ll be blogging about all of these in the near future:

  • Death in the Air by Kate Winkler Dawson. I have thoughts about this book, which was not entirely successful IMHO.
  • Bad Blood by John Carreryou. A really fascinating examination of the creation and downfall of the Silicon Valley start-up Theranos.
  • Smallbone Deceased by Michael Gilbert. Another classic crime re-published by the British Library, I absolutely loved it.

New books – there a lot of these, so many that a separate haul post will be going up here tomorrow.

I’m (still) currently reading Global Crisis and Sisters in Law, both mentioned here before and I haven’t made progress on either, likewise Broken Things. I have started two other books this week:

  • Redbreast by Jo Nesbo – I thought I should go back to the beginning or thereabouts having read The Snowman last year. Early days yet. This will contribute to my climb of Mont Blanc
  • L’art de la Liste by Dominique Loreau, because I love lists and books about organising even though I apparently can’t get my act together to post on a regular schedule 😀

Other stuff:

I’ve been out and about quite a lot in the past two weeks. We went to see Rebus: Long Shadows, a play by Ian Rankin and Rona Munro which was very enjoyable, especially as it starred Ron Donnachie, and excellent and underrated Scottish actor.

I was invited to Christopher Fowler’s book launch for the new Bryant & May but was unwell so sadly couldn’t make it 😦

The BFI Flare film festival launched at the end of the week and I was lucky enough to get tickets to see Vita & Virginia, directed by Chanya Button. I’ll write about that separately also, but worth saying that if you are at all interested in Virginia Woolf, Vita Sackville-West and/or the Bloomsbury Group in general you won’t want to miss this when it hits cinemas here in the UK in July. I loved it.

And finally I trotted off to Sadler’s Wells to see the Mark Morris Dance Group perform Pepperland, inspired by the Beatles music. So colourful and exciting, with an excellent band, live singer and – squee – a theremin. I love theremin.

Anyway that’s this past fortnight all caught up. Will have more to report next week, but in the meantime enjoy your reading!