The true university these days is a collection of books.
-Thomas Carlyle

Sunday, 24 January 2010


While I am currently in the middle of 3 books (see further down on my sidebar) there were still a number of things that have happened recently that I need to tell you about.

Firstly, my course Writing America, that I was due to start next week, has been cancelled due to low numbers of subscribers, which is disappointing. This has altered my current reading because I was ploughing my way through Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell in time for the start. Now there is less rush I have started The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale as well, and I can plod through Gone with the Wind at my leisure.

I have not read The Road by Cormac McCarthy but I went to see the movie 10 days ago and I was blown away by it. It has been on my mind a lot since then for lots of reasons, the imagery, the acting, but also the relationship between Man and Boy. Also the what ifs...what if that happened, how would I deal with it,. Would I even want to survive? The whole realism of the story hit me hard with its possibilities, in a good way, got me thinking and talking to others who have seen it. It has been a hot topic of debate in my place of work. It is not a film I would recommend to everyone, it has a lot of disturbing images in it and is very bleak and some might say depressing. However, as much as I found it incredibly sad and moving, I picked up on the threads of hope throughout. One of the most memorable and thought provoking films I have seen in ages.

The day after watching the movie The Road was my day off and I had book tokens to use from Christmas so I made a beeline for Waterstones with the expression of a child let loose in a toyshop. Probably because The Road was on my mind (although I did not feel compelled at this point to read Cormac McCarthy's book - too raw in my mind!) there was a distinct theme behind my choices, because I came out with Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and Blindness by Jose Saramago. The former being about a futuristic society where all is not as it seems, and the latter about the breakdown of society when the majority of the population are suddenly struck blind (and currently being made into a movie). I love book tokens!

During my post Looking back and looking forward at the beginning of the year I totally neglected to list the books that I got for Christmas and during December...

Survivor by Chuck Palhniuk

The Other Hand by Chris Cleave

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

One World - A Global Anthology of Short Stories published by New Internationalist

Caught by the River - A Collection of Words on Water

Lastly, in the absence of the hugely successful Richard and Judy Book Club on British TV, January has seen the start of a new TV programme on More 4, called simply The TV Book Club. I have watched the first one out of curiosity because it has been in the press quite a bit this week, and thought it was quite interesting with a good mix of familiar faces discussing the chosen book. The website is pretty good too because it gives you an extract from each book during the series so you can sample them and decide in advance if you want to read any of them. It remains to be seen whether this TV show can have the same effect on book sales as Richard and Judy did. Click the link to read an article in The Independent about the whole thing.

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