The Sunday Salon – Book Notes

Another Sunday Salon post. I finished reading three books this week. That’s not as much reading as it sounds as I’d been reading two of them for what seems like ages. I’ve already written about Nigel Slater’s autobiographical Toast,  which I gobbled down. 

The other two books are Inspiration by Wayne W Dyer and The Shipping News by Annie Proulx. Inspiration is subtitled “Your Ultimate Calling“. I borrowed it from the library, partly because I’ve read other books by him and partly because of the front cover with a photograph of a butterfly. I’m glad I didn’t buy this book as I won’t want to read it again. I took a long time over it because I read short sections most mornings. It’s due back at the library next week so I read the last few chapters in one sitting, which I found quite repetitive. In fact the whole book is repetitive – inspiration is living “in-spirit”. Each chapter ends with “Some Suggestions for Putting the Ideas in This Chapter to Work for You”. I think I could probably have just read these and got a good idea of what the book is about. I don’t go along with everything Wayne Dyer advocates but there are some good things in the book, a lot of which I already know but don’t always do, such as unclutter your life, slow down, relax, meditate, turn off the television, be less judgmental of yourself as well as of others, and so on.

I’ve been reading The Shipping News on and off for weeks. Twice I thought I wouldn’t bother reading any more but in the end I did finish it. My problem with it is its style – I don’t like it. Too many fragments. Sentences without nouns, pronouns. And all those lists. But counter-balancing this are the scenes of Newfoundland; the people, the landscape, the ice, wind, snow, storms; at times I felt seasick. I’m going to write more about this in a post on its own.

I’ve started to read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and although I’ve only read a few chapters I think it’s going to be compulsive reading.

I’ve also started Admit One: a Journey into Film by Emmett James. This promises to be good with the story of his life interwined with films and its correlation to our pasts. With my current obssession with films versus books I’m looking forward to reading more. In the introduction James writes:

I am struck by one, pertinent truth (thanks to the 20/20 hindsight of adulthood). that fact is is this: that a film itself, although unalterable once the physical reel is printed and unleashed, changes continually in the reel of our memory.

I returned one book to the library this week and came home with four more. These are:

  1. Making It Up by Penelope Lively. Taking moments from her life  and asking ‘what if?’ she constructs fictions about possibilities and alternative destinies.
  2. A Splash of Red by Antonia Fraser. A Jemima Shore novel in which Jemima flat-sits for a friend , close to the British Library and receives threatening anonymous phone calls …
  3. Flaubert’s Parrot by Julian Barnes. A multiple mystery of obssession and betrayal concerning two stuffed parrots both claimed as the one Flaubert borrowed from the Museum of Rouen to sit on his desk as inspiration. I read about this in someone’s blog – I’m sorry but I can’t remember who. It sounded so funny that when I saw it on the libray display shelf I just had to borrow it.
  4. Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear. This is the fourth Maisie Dobbs Mystery. I read the first one of her books, Maisie Dobbs last November and have wanted to read more. Another lucky find that almost jumped off the shelf into my hand.

Now all I need is time to get reading.