WWW Wednesday, 1st February

It’s the middle of an awful week: world news and personal news are conspiring to keep me down, while the weather brings additional mopey-ness. So let’s run away from reality and cheer ourselves up with reading! So I’m joining in once more with the WWW Wednesday meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.


What are you currently reading?

Shirley Jackson: Novels and Stories

This is the Library of America edition which contains her two great novels The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, as well as short stories both published and unpublished. This is going to be a reading theme throughout 2017, I think, as I can only bear to read a few of her stories at a time, because she so accurately conveys the demons lurking beneath the facade of noonday respectability and polite small-talk.

clearairMechtild Bormann: To Clear the Air – for #EU27Project – Germany

Blurb: Life comes to an end, but memory is forever. A moving epitaph for a lost loved one, or the menacing taunt of a vengeful killer? When a man is found brutally murdered in the woods, those words come to haunt the small German village of Merklen. And homicide inspector Peter Böhm faces the daunting task of unraveling a mystery with deep and twisted roots—in a town where doors stay closed, people stay silent, and death may have the final word.

What did you recently finish reading?

Lisa McInerney: The Glorious Heresies

Tragi-comedy at its finest, as we see five characters trying to battle their way out of the hopelessness of their situation in down-and-out Cork post-Celtic Tiger boom. Like Trainspotting set in Ireland, you watch with horror (and occasional glee) as they make wrong choice after wrong choice. Tough, candid, occasionally shocking, yet ultimately tender.

outlineRachel Cusk: Outline

Blurb: A woman writer goes to Athens in the height of summer to teach a writing course. Though her own circumstances remain indistinct, she becomes the audience to a chain of narratives, as the people she meets tell her one after another the stories of their lives.

My verdict: Based on reviews of this, I’d been expecting something challenging, hard to read, but it was enjoyable and easy. A collection of voices, people’s stories, a bit like an anthropologist’s field notes, it was fascinating and thought-provoking. Plus, a Greek setting is always a bonus!

What do you think you’ll read next?

Kate Hamer: The Doll Funeral

Blurb: My name is Ruby. I live with Barbara and Mick. They’re not my real parents, but they tell me what to do, and what to say. I’m supposed to say that the bruises on my arms and the black eye came from falling down the stairs.
But there are things I won’t say. I won’t tell them I’m going to hunt for my real parents. I don’t say a word about Shadow, who sits on the stairs, or the Wasp Lady I saw on the way to bed.

Hamer did such an excellent job of rendering a child’s voice in The Girl in the Red Coat, that I am curious to see what she can do here.

lastsummerRicharda Huch: The Last Summer (transl. Jamie Bulloch)

Blurb: Russia at the beginning of the 20th century. To counter student unrest, the governor of St Petersburg closes the state university. Soon afterwards he arrives at his summer residence with his family and receives a death threat. His worried wife employs a young bodyguard, Lju, to protect her husband. Little does she know that Lju sides with the students – and the students are plotting an assassination.

So, although this is a German author, I am not sure this qualifies entirely for the #EU27Project in my mind, as it takes place in Russia. Still, it looks like an intriguing read as usual from Peirene Press.

So a bouquet of women writers this time round! Have you read or are you planning to read any of these? Or other books by these authors?


24 thoughts on “WWW Wednesday, 1st February”

  1. The Shirley Jackson collection sounds really interesting- there’s something about writers who can capture the underlying tension in civilised interactions! Outline sounds great too- I love Greek settings, especially if I can pretend I’m there for a while!

    1. Rachel Cusk is not wildly descriptive, so you’re not going to feel like you are a tourist experiencing Greece, but as someone who goes to Athens about once a year, I can tell you that she captures something about the place and the people very well.

  2. Sorry to hear it’s ONE OF THOSE WEEKS for you, Marina Sofia. Well, I couldn’t agree more on reading as a great way to cope with it. I see you’re planning to read The Doll Funeral. This is now the second mention of it, so perhaps it’s a sign I ought to try it…

    1. A lot of those weeks currently… still, soon after I posted this, I got a message from the tax office saying I’d be getting some money back, so there are some glimmers of good news!

  3. Second time that I’m seeing Doll Funeral today.It looks really spooky but intriguing.I hope you’ll like it.Enjoy all your books this week and I hope you feel better.Happy reading.

  4. Glad for that glimmer of good news that you’ve just had, Marina. Hope things continue in that direction for you even if the world in generally remains in chaos.

    1. Good and bad days, and sometimes one morphs into the other with just one email! Occasionally this avalanche of news is just too overwhelming, but luckily we can find refuge in books.

    1. Ah, mustn’t grumble, I’m sure it’s been a far worse week for many other people! But it does have an impact even on your reading, as you start to find it hard to concentrate, right?

  5. Enjoy Jackson I read both Hill House and Castle, enjoying both. Happy reading and thanks for participating in WWW Wednesday!

  6. I do like it when other bloggers come up with intriguing titles, which you do regularly Marina – To Clear The Air takes my fancy this week although I’m hoping to read The Doll Funeral next too.

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