Monday, September 5, 2011

My book list: august 2011

I was chatting to a stranger a few weeks ago, making polite conversation while we were waiting for our respective partners. I had a book with me and we got to talking about reading, and he lamented that he loved to read but couldn't find the time to do much of it.  And he asked me if I read a lot, and of course I said yes, quite a lot. Where do you find the time he wanted to know.  And without thinking about it, without knowing it was the answer, I said 'I make it a priority'.
And that's the trick. I make reading a priority. And I hear you say, if only it were that easy. And I know it's not. But in my world, living alone and without small people needing my attention, or people of any size really, just an annoying cat at meal times, I can do it. And the reality is, I would be lost without the pleasure of reading. Completely lost.
I read eight books this month...I'm pleased about that. The reading frequency dropped off for a while there as I let other less important things get in the way. You'll notice that there are more non-fiction than usual and that many of them are about writing. I'm trying to learn as much as I's not easy! I've also been doing an online creative writing course with the Sydney Writers' Centre so writing has pretty much consumed me lately. Here's the list:
Writing down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg - non fiction
On Writing by Stephen King - autobiography
The Sweet Poison Quit Plan by David Gillespie - non fiction
Short Circuit: a guide to the art of the short story edited by Vanessa Gebbie
Living Oprah by Robyn Okrant - non-fiction/journal
Shooting the Fox - short stories by Marion Halligan
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield - novel (for Book Club)
The Pigeon by Patrick Suskind - novella
It's hard to choose a favourite this month because I've read all sorts of books for all sorts of different reasons (I'll let you know about the sugar quitting in a few's not a pretty story I'm sad to say!), but if I were to recommend a book to you, the prize would go to....
...maybe that's because it was the only novel I read, or perhaps I liked it because it's about a writer...two in fact :) Margaret Lea is the narrator, a book lover, and part time biographer who works in her father's bookstore and lives a solitary life defined by an event in her past. She is contacted by Vida Winter, an ageing, ailing and famous author who wants Margaret to record her autobiography before she dies. Vida tells story upon story before the truth is finally revealed. I think you might like it. And you lovely people, what's your latest good read?


  1. I used to read sooooo much more in my single days and pre-blogging days too. A bit sad really. I think I managed one book last month, but this is not helped by being on such a tight budget that my only option is to read books I already own. Not very exciting.
    I do love reading recommendations from other people, so thank you :)

  2. I'm so pleased that you shared this anecdote Kerry.
    I've let other things nudge out my love of reading over the last five months and I've noticed a shift in my elemental 'self'.
    You've given me the spark to go the library today and choose some great reads to bring back my sparkle.

    Love this segment & always enjoy your insights and recommendations.
    Happy day Lovely,

    xx Felicity

  3. I used to be a voracious reader. These days not so much with reno and little folk ebbing away my time. My Mum has told me it's just a stage and books will become part of life again.Big people books. You've inspired me to 'make it a priority'. Really it's about going to bed early; with a book. Simple.

  4. I used to read ALL the time. That's all I did. Now I can't read anything because of children, study etc. And textbooks etc don't count as pleasurable reading.

    I just received a few books for my birthday and I can't wait to get into them, but I just finished Graham Greens's 'The Power and The Glory' and it took me about six-months to finish.

    I'm particular about books, and wish there was some service which would send you books (to your taste specifications) once a month ... that'd get me reading.

    One of the blogs I follow recommended 'The Elegance of The Hedgehog' by Muriel Barbery as a good book. Have you read that?

  5. I kind of feel guilty because I don't read as much as I ought. And precisely for the reason you mentioned - I don't make it a priority. Love the different mix you've been reading.
    At the moment I'm reading Swallow the Air by Tara June Winch. And so far it's a delight. xx

  6. I try to read a book a way of doing this is not to watch favourite thing to read in the bathtub....

  7. Hmmm, a timely reminder, Kerry - thank you! Reading has dropped down the priority ladder, but it's something I love (tho it took me years to recover from the skim/speed reading habits of an English Lit student!)
    Most recently read Michael Tolliver Lives by Armistead Maupin, a kind of follow on, years after, from his Tales of the City series. I LOVE his writing, in fact he might be one of very few authors whose catalogue I've read in its entirety!
    Thanks for the 'nudge' ... x

  8. I'm just so pleased that I know someone like you Kerry. I can stand in the bookshop for hours, reading the backs of the books and trying to make up my mind which one to buy. You have taken all of the guess work out of choosing a book so, keep the recommendations coming !! Are we still within the hundred days or can we buy books !! XXXX

  9. I find I actively change when I'm reading a book. I resent anyone and everyone that interupts me, not conducive for family life. Oh well, I'll keep having a bath every second night with a glass of bubbles and a book (which I almost never drop in the water...)

  10. Oh i'm not a reader, i'd rather be sewing, you can read to me while i sew?? love Posie

  11. A nudge is a great way of putting it - just what I needed too. I try to read every night before switching off the light, and sometimes I can't remember what I read the night before so have to do it all again the next night. Hence a magazine is often the easiest option. But there is nothing quite like losing oneself in a great book - I feel a trip to the library coming on... xx

  12. Hi Kerry
    Hello, I'm a new reader of your blog - and I really love it! I subscribed via atom so have recently read back over quite a few posts.
    You must love reading Marion Halligan given that she is from Newcastle and lives in Canberra (via France) - and writes about both. I certainly love the Newcastle connection. And the 6 degrees of separation - from your blog I ended up at PPMJs and realised that she lives in my old house...... Lovely.
    Then when I looked back through your 'before and after' posts, it seems that I now live in a (temporary) house remarkably like yours - only still at the before stage!
    Looking forward to following you.


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