BLOG Gwen Davies

NWR Issue 96

Summer Reading 2012

My summer reading was, first of all purely for pleasure, Alice Munro, Carried Away. Then, in connection with work, since I'm interviewing Jon Gower for NWR in Aberystwyth this November on writing in two languages, Y Storïwr to see whether I agreed with this year's Book of the Year judges who gave him the top prize in Welsh. Also read his new English story collection, Too Cold for Snow, packaged complete with a puff by Richard Ford! Then Candy Neubert, for pleasure and on the word-of-mouth recommendation of Seren's Penny Thomas, and Mary-Ann Constantine reviewing in the new autumn NWR: both Candy's short novels, Foreign Bodies and (her latest) Big Low Tide. In preparation for my Penfro Bookfest talk with Lucy Gough and family on Saturday 15 September, I've just read two of Lucy's radio plays, 'The Red Room' and 'Crossing the Bar'. Icescapes, the Brontës, a farting nun, wit and beautiful imagery - what more would you desire? I can't remember the last time I read a playscript, but it was good to limber up as next on my list (counting as September swotty reading rather than beach-fare, I fear) is Brenda Chamberlain's play The Protagonists, set in the Greek Colonels' Coup era, in preparation for a talk with the play's editor Damian Walford Davies on 11 October at Aberystwyth's first town book festival, organised by Ceredigion and Aberystwyth University's Hugh Owen libraries. My final summer book was borrowed from work and was more for education than pure joy, since French philosophy, while being my mother's specialism, is not a regular pastime for me: Pascale Bruckner's Perpetual Euphoria, On the Duty to be Happy. Bruckner suggests we all forget about trying to be happy and improving ourselves as though we were on some treadmill, and rather just embrace it if it happens to fall in our lap (or not!). The word Bruckner uses most? Insouciance: don't worry if you had to look it up!


previous blog: Wales Book of the Year: 2009
next blog: Promising Starts


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