Sunday, 26 September 2010

Since coming back from France just over what now seems like a fortnight, but was only a week ago, I seem to have been to lots of bookish events, the first being a meeting of one of the reading groups I belong to. We discussed Carlos Ruiz Zafon's The Shadow of the Wind, a novel set in Barcelona in the years just following the Spanish Civil War. This was a re-read for me, I first read it when it was a Richard and Judy choice about 5 years ago. Most if not all of us enjoyed it, although there were many different reasons for that enjoyment. I certainly found that a re-read made the cast of characters clearer, the layout of Barcelona more evident and the plot and sub-plots more obvious and I was generally more sympathetic to the themes of loss, betrayal, love and the importance of books.

The following evening I attended an author event at Shirley Library, Southampton with Patrick Hennessy whose book , The Junior Officers' Reading Club was in the bestseller lists. The evening had been won in a competition by Penguin Books by a local reading group nad was a great success. Patrick Hennessy was a good speaker and although I haven't yet read his book, it is on my To Be Read pile. Patrick writes about his experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan while serving as an officer in the Army.

The week was finished off by a talk by Sandra Cain of Southampton Solent University on Reading the Novel held by Southampton City Libraries and aimed at reading groups in the city. It is quite a while since I've attended a lecture like this so I found her talk refreshing; it contained ideas I'm reasonably familiar with, and also some newer ones about the construction of the novel. Her passion for novels, as a reader and a writer was very heartening.

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