In which I wrap up October

(1) Things which I have read and enjoyed.
A slowish month, but what I did read was exceptionally good.

First was Margaret Atwood’s Hag-Seed, her retelling of The Tempest, which is hugely enjoyable and entertaining and a very clever twist on the original. I also got the chance to go and hear her in conversation at the Southbank Centre. HIGHLIGHT.

Second was Madeleine Thien’s Do Not Say we Have Nothing, which was our book club book for Booker Prize month. I loved loved loved it. It’s one of those wonderful books that tells a great story really well, but that also has a huge amount ticking away underneath for you to enjoy if you want to dig into it. As a classical music nerd I had a ball thinking about the way Thien was using the different pieces she had chosen.

I also finished reading Rowan Williams’ Being Disciples which is a lovely little book to spend some time with. I missed some church with migraines, so I read this in place of sermons.

(2) Things which I have watched and enjoyed
I made it to the cinema a whole once, but it was to see The Queen of Katwe which is so wonderful you don’t need to have seen anything else. (Though I was sad to miss Deepwater Horizon). Katwe is a great treat, though, a great story, wonderfully made, and a film about Africa thoroughly lacking in do-gooding westerners saving the day, for which HURRAH.

I did spend several hours watching Luke Cage on Netflix, and enjoyed it immensely – though I think the first half of the season was better htan the second half. And – finally – I have started watching Gilmore Girls. I think I would have loved it to bits if I had watched it at the time: watching it now, I merely like it a lot.

I also made it to the ballet for the first time this season to see La fille mal gardée, which is always a joy. I don’t think you could not enjoy a ballet that features a clog dancing pantomime dame and a toy pony.

(3) Things which I wrote
I wrote two pieces thing about Islamic Exceptionalismone on the book’s presentation of Christianity and one on its focus on the state.

(4) A photo from the month gone by
I spent a long weekend in Avignon with some friends. This kind of thing was a strong feature of the holiday.

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(5) In the pile for November
I’m currently reading The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng, which I’m loving, and is helping me get over the fact that Do Not Say we Have Nothing broke me for reading fiction for a while. I’m also reading The Good Immigrant essay collection and Geoff Dyer’s The Missing of the Somme. November’s book club choice is The Door, by Magda Szabo. Obviously I’ll be going to see Fantastic Beasts and where to find them at the cinema. I’m quite excited to see something new in this universe.

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