As you know I’ve been wondering in which direction my blogging is going and focused mostly on posting reviews and some posts promoting works by some of the authors I know and love. I thought it was time to catch up on some of the things I’ve been doing, in case you’re wondering what’s going on.
I’m still dividing up my time between Spain (Barcelona) and the UK (Penistone). If you’ve been following my blog (perhaps even my older blog) for a while, you’ll remember that my father died a couple of years ago and my mother, who’d never had any serious health problems, had a heart attack last year and although she’s much recovered, she’s not as well as she was. As I’m an only child and have no other family (I’m pretty much a free agent and these days most of my work is online), there does not seem to be any point in trying to keep up with two places and the stress of always worrying about not being where one should be. If my circumstances don’t change dramatically in the next few months, in Spring next year I’ll put my house up for sale and go support my mother (well, it’s mutual support, really) back in Barcelona. So, if you know of anybody interested in a semi in Penistone, let me know.
You’ll remember I’ve been volunteering at a local radio station, Penistone FM. To tell you the truth, that was one of the reasons that kept me coming back. I had a weekly programme on Thursdays from 1 to 3 pm and it was a great way to hear about local news, meet new people (both at the radio station and through calls and messages), and I must say I learned a great deal about time management (oh, you have to finish on time for the news, no matter what!). I had been thinking for a while that it was not fair to have such long gaps when I wasn’t there and contributing to everybody’s efforts (as the station is solely run by volunteers). It was recently decided that all volunteers will need to contribute more features regularly, something I wouldn’t be able to do as I spend long periods away. As there are also costs involved that will require paying a fee, and, as I’ve said above, I’m looking at leaving the UK in the next few months, I’ve resigned from the station. I love the radio (both as a listener and as a presenter) and I’ll try and become involved in Barcelona if I can (I know there is a radio station in Sants, the neighbourhood where I grew up, so you never know…).
You might remember this sculpture:
Guess what I found at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park!
A few months ago I told you about another project I’d joined. In the summer (June, to be precise), I became an instructor at the University of the People. You can check my original post here. You’ll be pleased to know that all involved (I and my students) survived the first course (English Composition 0101) and I’m teaching the same course again, with more students under my wing this time. What was the experience like? Fantastic. I had students from all over: from Japan to Egypt, Italy to Afghanistan, and there were quite a few occasions when conversations and exchanges got ‘lost in translation’. Yes, there was plagiarism, panic when the exam arrived, but most of the students did well and I hope they’ll do even better in their future studies. If you know of anybody who might be interested, as a student or as a teacher, please, spread the word!
If you follow my reviews, you’ll know I’ve been trying to catch up and read some of the books that had made it into the ManBooker Prize Longlist. Well, the shortlist is out.
This is it:
The 2017 shortlist of six novels is:
Title Author (nationality) (imprint)
4321 by Paul Auster (US) (Faber & Faber)
History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund (US) (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (UK-Pakistan) (Hamish Hamilton)
Elmet by Fiona Mozley (UK) (JM Originals)
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (US) (Bloomsbury Publishing)
Autumn by Ali Smith (UK) (Hamish Hamilton)
Of those, the only one I had read and loved was Exit West (in case you missed my review, you can check it here) but I have somehow acquired Paul Auster’s 4321 since and I’ll do my best to read it before the actual Prize is announced. If you’ve read any of the others, let me know.
And, before I go, I’m house and pet sitting at the moment for a talented and generous author I think many of you must know, Christoph Fischer (I’ve just beta read one of his novels, and although I know it will be a while yet, if you love cozy mysteries and Eurovision, get ready for it!)
Christoph and his partner Ryan were very kind and invited me to their gorgeous wedding. It was in Carmarthen Registry Office, light, fun, and full of people happy to join these two men who always make everybody who meets them feel welcome.
I could not help but share a few pictures of the happy couple…
And, this video dedicated to them. I’m sure nobody who attended their wedding will ever listen to this song in the same way again:
Thanks very much to Ryan and Christoph for inviting me to their wedding, to Greta, Wilma, and Dora (their three dogs) for putting up with me, thanks to all of you for reading, and remember to like, share, comment, and click! And don’t worry, I’ll keep the reviews coming!