in which I wrap up… november

(1) Things which I have read and enjoyed
I thought I wasn’t going to get to anything read owing to a vvvvv busy work month with two trips, and yet I achieved five novels. Go me! Admittedly, one of them, Slade House by David Mitchell I ate up in two evenings, and if I hadn’t had to go to work (and wasn’t scared of nightmares) it would have been a ‘let’s stay up till 3am and finish it’ occasion. It was deliiiiiightful creepy and tightly wound. Moar David Mitchell plase.

I also read:
The new Andrei Makine, A Woman Loved, which being Andrei Makine was about Russia, history and memory, this time centred on Catherine the Great. Not his very best, but minor Makine is still a lovely read.
The Cadence of Grass – Thomas McGuane, a modern western, which was not what I was expecting at all. It took a while to get into it, but I think I ended up getting what he was trying to do. I’m still not sure whether or not I enjoyed it though.
Silence by Shusako Endo, a historical novel about Catholic missionaries to Japan in the time when it was closed to the outside world (and soon to be Martin Scorsese film). I really liked it: it’s an intriguing look at the stresses of trying to do something that you think is existentially important, and wondering what’s going on ‘behind the scenes’ as it were. The most interesting question it threw up for me was in the discussion between the two missionaries about how the concept of God translates between cultures – and whether or how much that matters in ‘being a Christian’.
All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr, which is probably one of the most talked up novels of the past year. It was incredibly readable, which 500+ pages slipping by butter, and very enjoyable – but it was simply very good, not great. Which is not a bad thing – and I wasn’t even particularly disappointed by it. Would recommend.

(2) Things which I have watched and enjoyed
I saw The End of the Tour and Spy on flights. I want to watch The End of the Tour again when not on a plane to see how it holds up.
At the cinema I saw The Lady in the Van, which was charming. I am a big fan of things that feature Alex Jennings and of playing ‘Spot the History Boy’. I also managed to find time to see Steve Jobs on a Dad-Daughter night out, and enjoyed it very very much. Sorkin’s still a fabulous writer. I think I would like to see it in the theatre sometime. Though I’m not sure it actually needed to be about a really real person.

(3) Things which I wrote
The only post here between all the travel was a short piece on The End of the Tour.
But at work we launched a new blog where I’ll be writing about theology and biblical perspectives on development work. My favourites from this last month were having the chance to interview Elaine Storkey about her new book, Scars Across Humanity, and this piece about a campaign happening in a community in Brazil that I visited last week.

(4) A photo from the month gone by
I’ve been learning about curating social media streams… Instagram makes work trips look like holidays, because conferences and late night email sessions do not photograph well, so you get beautiful scenery in lunch breaks and the couple of days I manage to grab as TOIL or weekends. In the meantime, my twitter is a stream of conference related tweets (with occasion breaks to squeak about Hamilton, which is still eating my brain…)

Anyway, here are a couple of shots from Istanbul and Brazil…

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(5) In the pile for December
Carol by Patricia Highsmith for London Bookclub (and at the cinema). The new Margaret Atwood. John D. Caputo’s The Weakness of God for a little light advent reading. I’m reading Marilynne Robinson’s new essay collection, The Givenness of Things.
I’m going to take myself to see the new Star Warts at the cinema and hopefully also In the Heart of the Sea because I like seafwaring moveis, and Guys and Dolls at the theatre – oh, and I’m going to see my oldest friend performing in the Quadrille finals in the Horse of the Year Show, which apparently involves Wizard of Oz costumes…

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