Fortnightly Round-Up – 10th June 2017

Well, it’s been a very quiet and uneventful fortnight… just kidding, of course! I probably got too loud and obnoxious for those who are not politically inclined, including on Twitter, but I am over it now.

General Update

What fun we had with the General Election here in the UK on the 8th of June! Faced with such a bad campaign from my own MP (known as Prime Minister Theresa May to others), I was tempted to think she didn’t want the job. Except she obviously does, because she is clinging to it by the skin of her teeth, with an alarming alliance which could start up all sorts of nasty processes again in Northern Ireland. A new election before the end of this year seems likely – hugely fatiguing for everybody, especially the voters. You begin to see the attraction of military coups, don’t you, as people start muttering about how much they crave stability…

But this is not a political blog, and on a personal level it has been a fairly quiet and contented time: half-term holidays, a birthday party for my youngest, meeting up with old friends, impromptu flower arrangements. I managed to rescue a few peonies before the storm flattened them and blew away most of their petals. I am becoming most definitely middle-aged…

Book Haul and Writing Update

Aside from the small pile of books I managed to accumulate during my trip to London, I also ordered a few second-hand books from various sources, based upon the recommendations of my fellow bloggers and Tweeters. This is where I get all of my book-buying impulses nowadays!

Roberto Bolano’s quasi-crime novel was praised by one of my fellow Crime Fiction Lover reviewers Phil Rafferty as being one of the books which got him hooked on crime. Yuri Herrera has been reviewed by Tony Malone and Stu Jallen; also, it’s about migration, so that’s three favourites right there… The British Library Crime Classics often throws up interesting little gems and this particular title Family Matters was recently reviewed by Guy Savage. Finally, I succumbed to Miles Franklin’s books following Kim Forrester‘s spirited recommendations of books on Twitter, with a particular emphasis on Australian fiction, which I have read all too little.

I can now tell you about my writing prize for poetry, although I am none the wiser if it was 2nd or 3rd (I do know it wasn’t 1st). It was the Geneva Writers Group Literary Prize, now in its fifth year. This year the judges were Karen Sullivan of Orenda Books for Fiction, Nick Barlay for Non-Fiction and Naomi Shihab Nye for Poetry. And that is the reason I am so super-excited to have won anything at all, since Naomi Shihab Nye is one of my favourite contemporary poets and also the person who single-handedly inspired me to go back to writing poetry in 2012, after a couple of decades of neglect.

Blogging Round-Up

I’m having great fun digging up some of the more obscure times from my bookshelves – it amuses my geekish nature and brings back fond memories. Over the past fortnight, I’ve looked at my Japanese collection and my small collection of hardcover books.

Two blog posts which I try to include on a monthly basis are my May Reading Summary and Six Degrees of Separation meme. This time the latter started with a book I hadn’t read, Steve Martin’s Shopgirl, so it required some acrobatics to find suitable links.

The blog post that got the most attention this past fortnight was my personal reflection on The Handmaid’s Tale and its recent TV adaptation. I was amazed, flattered and humbled by just how many people read it, talked about it, tweeted about it, including many people who had never visited my site before.  Thank you all! It completely smashed my previously modest blogging stats. I seldom get more than just over 100 visits per day (on a good day), but the day I posted that I got 776 and the blog post was viewed nearly 1000 times.

My favourite blog post to write, however, was the simple description of my very enjoyable day out in London.

For those who prefer me when I am less loquacious, however, I also posted two poems: an autumnal one and a military-inspired caper about depression. And of course I continued with my eye candy Fridays of tiny homes and sheds.

29 thoughts on “Fortnightly Round-Up – 10th June 2017”

    1. Thank you! Sadly, the peony bush has collapsed now, but I have some gorgeous roses coming out, so there’s always something to look forward to.

  1. Many congratulations on the poetry prize! Particularly gratifying to find that someone whose writing you admire also admires yours. And, yes, what a week in politics. I have everything crossed that something constructive will come out of this. Ever the optimist…

    1. Thank you – and to think that I almost didn’t take part, because I was depressed by all the recent rejections…
      As for your optimism, well, I wish I could share it…

  2. Many congratulations on the poetry prize Marina, that is really lovely news. I am sticking my head in books to try and distract myself from the current political situation if I’m honest! I must catch up with you Handmaid’s Tale post, sounds like a good one!

    1. Thank you, I’m beaming! I think I will follow your wise advice and ignore all political matters for a bit, I’m too think-skinned and it influences me too much.

  3. Some cultures live to work while others work to live. For many of us, I sometimes think, we work to afford the next batch of MUST READS! 🙂

    1. I dread to think how much money I spend every year on books, especially when things are not financially so rosy at the moment. But these were all second-hand, so… guilt averted!

      1. Yes. But think of how many cannot or do not read. It is shocking and scary. Some of them even manage to become “President” in certain circumstances and how terrifying is that. As for second-hand, that is my favorite way. Actually there is a line in a book which became a film about that. It is 84 Charing Cross Road with Judi Dench, Anthony Hopkins and Ann Bancroft and based on a true story. The author was Helene Hanpf who also wrote the TV series Ellery Queen. For the most part it is all about books, writers and booksellers.

        1. I haven’t seen the film, but I do know the book 84 Charing Cross Road, which I bought at a second-hand bookstore on Charing Cross Road of course!

  4. Congratulations on the poetry prize, Marina Sofia!! That’s wonderful! And perhaps it’s not such a bad thing to have had a quiet week, at least in your home. The outside world? That’s a different thing altogether…

  5. woot!! congrats on the poetry prize – that is awesome – and yeah – theresa may – difficult chapter – the politic landscape in the world makes me worry a bit at the moment..
    rgd. your question – i was just busy with life – too many things happening at once – didn’t have much time for writing and painting and reading – hope things will slow down soon
    happy sunday

  6. Congrats on the poetry prize and thanks for the mention. Coincidentally I recently finished The Skating Rink and will be reviewing it soon.

    1. Oh, good, look forward to seeing what you make of it! And yes, I hold you all responsible for my out-of-control book-spending habit… (severest look)

  7. Congrats on the prize! And on the peonies, my favorite! I never got around to adding my thoughts on the handmaiden post, but having travelled often in the Balkans during Communism and having many friends from those parts, it really struck a chord. Can’t decide whether to watch the series now – I’m a big Atwood fan, but I read the book so long ago, I barely remember. Maybe I should re read first?

  8. Oodles of congrats on the poetry prize, MS! Will you be charging a fee for autographs in future, or continue just to give them away?

    And congrats on your Twitterstorming. I should go look.

    On your word, I’ve ordered the Bolano from the local library. Fingers crossed I enjoy it . . .

    1. Surely not on my word alone, since I haven’t even started the Bolano yet…
      Of course I will be charging for autographs – maybe even for comments!

  9. It’s been a torrid time politically, hasn’t it? And fancy having That Woman as your MP – eek! But major congrats on the poetry prize – very well deserved. And some lovely bookish finds too! 🙂

  10. Congratulations on the poetry prize, and on the stratospheric post! It’s nice when one takes off unexpectedly, though I’ve never had one that had close to that many visitors! The election was a lot of fun, wasn’t it? Can’t wait to do it all again… *groans dismally*

  11. Congratulations on the poetry prize! And I agree that the peonies are beautiful. Wish they grew in New York City.
    And as for the elections, I sit here and enjoy seeing signs of life in Britain, especially among young people. It heartens me.
    The situation here sends me to bury my head in crime fiction imbibing some form of chocolate. The political crisis isn’t doing wonders for my waistline.
    I have two questions: What was the title of the book published in Romania that you mentioned that isn’t yet out in English?
    Also, to find your older posts, should we just keep scrolling down?
    I did not add too much to my TBR list when reading your blog posts, but now I want to go back and add some onto it.

    1. Thank you and I completely hear you about snacking like mad to keep one’s mind off political issues – I feel just the same. I wonder why I don’t get motivated to go running to let off steam instead?
      To answer your questions, I think the book you are thinking of is Spada by Bogdan Teodorescu – the political thriller, right?
      And to read older posts, you can either do a search for reviews, for example, or else you have an Archives Tab on the left hand-side and can do a search by month and year – so April 2014 for example etc.
      Sorry about adding to your TBR list, but everyone seems to be adding to mine too…

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