What’s Been On My Mind This Week

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1. The shortlist for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction was announced. I have read two of the six books (The Goldfinch and Burial Rites) and have two more on my huge to-be-read pile (The Lowland and Americanah). Hopefully I’ll get round to the other two (A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing and The Undertaking) before the year is over! It was also announced last week that Donna Tartt won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction with The Goldfinch, so I’m sure the odds on her winning the Women’s Prize have shortened considerably since then.

2. Women’s Hour announced their Power List for 2014.

3. The author Sue Townsend died at the age of 68. I remember reading her books featuring Adrian Mole as well as listening to them as audiobooks, and they were probably one of my favourite series of novels when I was in my early teens.

4. I’ve written about this on this blog before, but I read a very interesting article last week about the origins of the ‘dead women trope’ on television.

5. At last I’ve managed to make a start on Andrew Solomon’s absolutely brilliant book Far From the Tree. Yes, at 700 pages plus 200 pages of notes it’s long, but it is without a doubt one of the best books I have ever read. It’s theme is the relationship between parents and their children, but in twelve chapters Solomon examines parents who look after children who are exceptional in some way, whether that’s because they’re prodigies, because they have schizophrenia or Down’s Syndrome, or because they’re gay or transgender. He forces us to ask to what extent parents should accept their children for whom they are, or how far they should go to ‘help’ their children become the best that they can be.

6. I’ve been listening to SOHN’s debut album Tremors. While the lyrics might be a little melodramatic, musically it’s a triumph, demonstrating that electronica can take you from despair to euphoria in an instant.

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Categories: On My Mind . . .

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2 replies

  1. I admire how much you’ve read. I am still trying to get myself hooked on “Goldfinch” after laboriously making my way through “Wolf Hall.”

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