The Sunday Salon: Reading heavy & serious stuff

Happy Sunday, everyone!  It’s been a beautiful autumn weekend, so mild and sunny that I don’t even mind it getting dark so much earlier.  Well, maybe I do, just a bit.

Yesterday something unusual happened:  I had nearly a whole day to myself.  The rest of the family was off fulfilling obligations, and while I had a few things that had to get done, I also had time to enjoy the quiet.  I spent some of that time reading, of course!  My current book is A Dry White Season, by Andre Brink.  It’s set in 1970s apartheid South Africa, during a period of significant unrest and violence in the townships.  When a black man is found dead in prison, his white friend challenges the official “suicide” ruling and finds himself embroiled in a sticky situation he doesn’t fully understand.  It’s very good, and I suspect was a bit of an exposé in its time.

Earlier in the week I finished Emma Donoghue’s Room, and loved it just as much as I thought I would (read my review).   Room was shortlisted for this year’s Booker Prize, and I enjoyed it so much more than the winner!

What’s next?  I haven’t decided yet, but the likely contenders are:

  • To Mervas, by Elisabeth Rynell — translated from Swedish, and reviewed in Belletrista
  • Breaking Night, by Liz Murray — a memoir I received through LibraryThing Early Reviewers

Neither of these are light, fluffy reads, but I’m OK with that.  I’m kind of in the mood for more “serious” fare at the moment.

Where is your reading taking you this week?

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Read more from The Sunday Salon here.

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11 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: Reading heavy & serious stuff

  1. I have those periods of serious reading as well. At the moment I read mostly classics although I do need an occasion “lighter read” in between..

    The book of apartheid South Africa sounds really interesting!

    • Iris, it is quite good and I think it’s considered a bit of a classic. It’s on the 2008 version of the “1001 Books You Must Read Before you Die” list (I haven’t checked the 2010 version). The main character gets caught up in a situation when one of his black friends is imprisoned, dies, and it’s declared suicide but he’s pretty sure it wasn’t. Definitely not light reading, but pretty gripping.

    • Ah yes Jill, I love commitment-free Saturdays! We’ve done OK with that in recent years but when my girls were small, we usually had swimming lessons and/or gymnastics and/or soccer … etc. and a break in the action was always welcome. Hope you are enjoying it!

  2. I’m in a reading slump at the moment so am a tad envious at you not only reading but reading serious fare. Love that feeling of tightening up the brain folds and giving it a bit of a workout.

    • You know Tui, I think I also gravitate towards “serious stuff” when colder weather sets in. Or at least I find it easier to pay attention to it. My summer reading doesn’t exactly tend to fluff, but I mix it up a bit more.

  3. I just requested a nonfic book by a South African (I think it’s about the Truth & Reconciliation Committee: it’ll be the second one of those I’ve read!), so I’m extra curious about this novel. Can’t wait to see your final thoughts! 🙂

    I don’t mind reading books that are serious in a ‘make me work’ kind of way back to back, but if the subject matter is one that I find really hard to handle (like human trafficking, rape, genocide, etc.), then I make sure I have a lighter book that I know will make me feel happy waiting in the wings.

    • Eva, while I’m on a “serious book” jag at the moment, I agree sometimes it can be a bit much. It’s good to have some chick lit or mysteries handy for those occasions! I can see where I might be ready for something lighter come December.

      • For me, I tend to turn to authors like Trollope or Austen or Collins (or a classic mystery) to make me happy again! They’re my comfort reads. 🙂

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