Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sunday Salon - my first.

I have joined a blogging group called the Sunday Salon, where members write on Sundays about books they have been reading, enjoying (or not), and thinking about. So this is my first post.

At the moment I have quite a few books on the go, which is unusual for me. I generally read one thing at a time, usually fiction. But I am in the research stage for my novel, and that obviously involves a lot of reading, and of different kinds of books. Anyone who is wondering what my novel is about will no doubt pick up clues from my reading matter!

I'm dividing my reading into four categories at the moment. Research, inspiration, pleasure and work (although they often intersect). For research this week it's been The Collector by Michael King (oh how handy that he also happens to be my father) about the Austrian Andreas Reishek who came to New Zealand in the 19th century to work as a taxidermist at the Canterbury Museum and left with ill-gotten Maori artefacts. It's a terrific read, and as my father's literary executor, I would like to see this book back in print as I think it will appeal to fans of good narrative non-fiction with a historical science bent.

For inspiration, I just finished Henry James' Turn of the Screw. I was interested in the unreliable narrator, and all the Gothic elements of the story, but I have to say: people have made jokes about James' verbose style (even Edith Wharton, according to her biographer Hermione Lee) but I was unprepared for how much it killed the story for me. It's not just because it was of its time - I have read and loved many, many Victorian-era novels and been gripped by them. This one could have been so much more (athough I do acknowledge some of it is brilliant).

For pleasure I am reading Anne Enright's The Gathering. I was expecting this to be a huge, heavy (in more than one sense of the word) tome, but I picked it up in a bookshop and stayed reading and could not put it down. And it's quite short and written with a light touch. I am savouring it slowly (no choice with all the other reading).

For work, I am chairing a session at the Christchurch Writers' Festival this year, so have four books to squeeze in on top of my other reading. And these four particular authors haven't been announced yet, so I can't actually tell you what they are! But I will in time.

Outside of all of that, I have read this book approximately 35 times this week.

14 comments:

Julie said...

Welcome to the Salon! The Collector sounds like something I would adore. Turn of the Screw, not so much. :)

Lesa said...

Welcome to Sunday Salon, Rachel!

And, I had to laugh looking at the book you've read 35 times this week. So, there's a little one in your life. (smile)

Have a good week, and a successful Sunday Salon.

Karen Harrington said...

Welcome, Rachael! I'm fairly new to the Salon as well. It is a great group.

Table Talk said...

Welcome to the Salon. You've made me feel very guilty because I haven't written about my reading this week, but if you read my post you will discover that reading has not been uppermost in my priorities this week. I'm also feeling rather guilty about 'The Gathering' as well. It's sitting in my to be read pile and it shouldn't be as it was a present and I should do something about it.

The Kool-Aid Mom said...

Good luck with the writing. Sounds interesting.

I read Turn of the Screw and Daisy Miller in high school, and that was a few years ago (15+), but I remember liking it. I'll have to pick it up again sometime and see how I like it now. I'm in the thick of a Jane-a-thon, then I've got to hit the ARCs and review books, but maybe sometime in the next year I could fit it in... yeah, right... I can hope, though! :-D

harrismint said...

Yes! Absolutely agree that Michael's book (and others of his) should be back in print. And ta for the heads up about the Sunday Salon.

Rachael King said...

Thanks to all the other saloners for the welcome. Now I have to dream up more posts for this week. I wonder what i will do when my ideas dry up?

SmallWorld Reads said...

Welcome to the Salon, and I totally empathize with this line: "Outside of all of that, I have read this book approximately 35 times this week." I remember those days in the not-so-distant past very well! We have moved on largely to chapter books, but I have shelves full of picture books we've read hundreds of times.

Rachael King said...

Harrismint - most of the books are still in print and I am trying to find a way to get The Collector back in also. Maori - A Photographic and Social History went out of print by accident in the Reed breakdown, but new publishers Penguin are fixing all that. Also Moko is about o be released with a new design.

Clare Dudman said...

Hi Rachael, thanks for visiting my blog - just been having a look at yours.

I'll have to get your book - looks like just the sort of thing I like...I've been interested in South America quite a bit recently - but in an area quite a bit colder than the setting of Butterflies - Patagonia...in fact it looks like our interests overlap quite a bit!

Gondal-girl said...

Hi Rachael - your Dad's books sounds great, like a movie...have been away, my nieces are big fans of that "Hairy Lairy" too...Understand the James thing, I read Turn at Uni and didn't find the language blockade, but since then have gone back and couldn't get into it...

Alis said...

Hairy McClary! (that spelling's probably not right but I'm not going back and checking!) My kids used to love those books. Generally they weren't into rhyming stories but they loved the HM from DD books. Seems such a long time ago now they're 18 and 16... Enjoy!

traveler one said...

Welcome to the Salon! I'm fairly new as well and am enjoying the chance to find new readers!

Now that I've read your little review of the Gathering I'm going out to buy it. I've put it off for a while because I thought it would be too depressing but now it sounds intriguing to me!

SmallWorld Reads said...

Welcome to the Salon!