I am not always sure that recording a video is quicker than writing a review, but this was more like improvisation based on bullet points. So, if you can bear me looking just about everywhere except for the camera, this is a good way to talk about four books which were very enjoyable, but about which I don’t have enough to say for a really comprehensive review. Or, to be honest, am also too busy to sit down and think about more comprehensively and coherently.
The books are (in order):
Catherine Fox: Angels and Men, set in Durham in the 1990s
Abir Mukherjee: A Necessary Evil, set in India in 1920
E.C.R. Lorac: These Names Make Clues, set in 1936 London
Bella Ellis: The Vanished Bride, set in Haworth in 1845.
I was delighted and honoured to have one piece of flash fiction accepted by The Bangor Literary Journal. Issue 15 is being launched today and available for free download.
You can read my piece alongside many high-quality poems and flashes, as well as admire the art work right here. In the meantime (although I cannot bear to watch myself on playback), you can watch me struggling to look the camera in the eye as I read ‘Hypersensitive’, an almost true story.
It’s been three months since I last attempted to vlog, and this time I’ve learnt to use some video editing software. Alas, it’s still a vertical learning curve for me, so it took me far longer than mere writing of a blog post would have done. Plus the result is somewhat overenthusiastic cutting and transitioning, while my rough and ready make-up less appearance is explained by a migraine. Luckily, I am not vain at all in my old age! And too time-poor to make another, better version of the video! All of you regular readers and lovely bloggers get a bit of a mention here, as it’s thanks to you that I am spending ALL my money on books.
Another quick review of Gunnar Staalesen’s Wolves in the Dark set in Norway, Mary Anna Barbey’s Swiss Trafic set in Switzerland, and Leila Aboulela’s The Translator set in Aberdeen and Sudan. Common themes: human trafficking, dark underside of apparently very civilised societies and an outsider’s gaze at mainstream culture in a particular country.
The pile of books to be reviewed was threatening to fall from my ‘filing cabinet’ (aka armchair), so I am resorting once more to quick video reviews. These all have a rather sombre theme running through them, but are heartily recommended – for when you are of a cheery disposition to handle them. I’ve tried to add a festive mood nevertheless with some tinsel!
I am so busy with my two new jobs that I haven’t had time to write any reviews, so I have taken what is laughingly known as the ‘easy way out’ by filming myself talking about some books I have recently read and ones I am currently reading. 5 crime novels, one Israeli apartment block in Tel Aviv, an Argentinian in France and a sweeping Hungarian family saga. Pretty much par for the course…
[I should stop apologising for my awkwardness while filming – static camera and a very movable person do not mix well.]
Although perhaps not quite at the level of the end of this quote from metaphysical poet Thomas Traherne: ‘… inexpressibly rare and delightful and beautiful’.
Yes, I am pushing out my little sailing-boat to new, unexplored shores. New job, new timetable, new way of presenting my book haul and a meeting with one of my living heroines: Herta Müller.
I thought I might save some time if I present my book haul in a one-take video and upload that on You Tube. I’m not quite convinced yet that it will be a time-saver, but perhaps this will get faster as I become more familiar with the settings. I rather cringe, though, when I see and hear myself speaking. Plus, my anonymity is gone now!
Here is the link to the video. Let me know if you have any problems viewing it.
I’m off to catch the train to see Herta Müller at the British Library and will write more about it when I get back.