in which I wrap up September

(1) Things which I have read and enjoyed

I finished reading Michel Faber’s Book of Strange New Things, which I then wrote about a bunch. I didn’t love it, but I’m glad to have read it.

Then I read the new Patrick Ness, The Rest of Us Just Live Here, which was a blast. Not quite as richly rewarding as More than This (his last), but still deeply enjoyable.

I read Murakami’s first novel, Hear the Wind Sing, but haven’t made it onto Pinball yet. It’s so very identifiably Murakami in many ways, and yet not yet fully developed. It’s a nice back-read, while we wait on his next novel. I was distracted by reading Jeanette Winterson’s Why be Happy when you could be Normal for book club. I really enjoyed the way it represented the disjointedness and distractedness of memory - especially as a person who remembers lots of things by what I was reading at the time.

(2) Things which I have watched and enjoyed

Amazingly, I saw three films which I would happily watch again.

  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, which had no business being as charming as it was. There’s clearly something in the water in Pittsburgh that creates quirky teenage coming of age stories - Wonder Boys,Adventureland, Perks of Being a Wallflower and now this.

  • Ricki and the Flash, which was huge amounts of fun as well as being nicely, honestly, messy. I’d go see Meryl Streep’s bar band.

  • The Martian - yay, Ridley Scott made a good, fun film out of a good fun book! I enjoyed it immensely, and am still singing along to Starman.

I also saw the English National Ballet’s Lest we Forget at Sadler’s Wells, which was just as good second time around, especially Russell Maliphant’s powerful Second Breath, which remains my favourite of the three.

And most importantly, I saw Yo-Yo Ma play Bach’s Complete Cello Suites at the BBC Proms, which was just an incredible, never-to-be-repeated experience. He played the cello for nearly three hours, with only the briefest of pauses - though there was a moment at the end of the fifth suite where he paused for so long before lowering his bow that I think the audience panicked that the effort had killed him. You hear the music in an entirely different way when you can’t do anything else while listening. It was intense.

(3) Things which I wrote that I’m fond of…

Just a couple of pieces thinking about The Book of Strange New Things, thinking about what it would mean to do mission to an alien race and about writing about Christians.

(4) A photo from the month gone by

We moved from summer:


to Autumn:


(5) In the pile for October

have a ‘bonus’ Booker-related book club, so I’m reading Satin Island by Tom McCarthy and The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma. We’ve also got The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie for regular book club. I’m also planning on picking up the new Rainbow Rowell (Carry On), because I loved Eleanor and Park and Fangirl, and the new Margaret Atwood, because Margaret Atwood is important to me.

At the cinema, I'm looking forward to Crimson Peak, SPECTRE, and Sufragette.

if you can't find the funny in history, you're doing it wrong

on the subject of The Book of Strange New Things

on the subject of The Book of Strange New Things