Going back to books – it’s that time of year

Ruth HartleyUncategorized2 Comments

The great winter return to books, to reading, and to writing

Autumn can be a sad time. The warm sunny days are over, the evenings are closing in and another year has gone – but – I can at last hide myself away. I can write all morning, read all afternoon and spend the evenings immersed in TV dramas. Indulgence and delight lie ahead first in front of my computer, and then by the wood fire in our cosy sitting room

The Booker Prize and la rentrée littéraire 2019

The Booker Prize shortlist is out – four exciting new writers and two of my favourite – and controversial old ones. Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments and Salman Rushdie’s Quichotte are on the list. All the writers are engaged with the problems of contemporary life – Lucy Ellman experimenting with literary form in Ducks, Newburyport. I personally am keen to read Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo but the other two writers, Chigozie Obioma and Elif Shafak sound really interesting too.

Here in France, it is the time of La Rentrée Littéraire when literature is celebrated and I think of the many French writers who I love from Georges Simenon, Sartre, De Beauvoir, Dumas and Hugo, and Houellebecq – all read in translation I have to admit. Its quicker that way and I have so many books on my To-Be-Read pile. It is also the time when schools start again and its the time of year for literary prizes like the Prix Goncourt – one is even chosen by school children. It’s the time that new books are launched on the market and it’s the time for Book Festivals. I plan to participate in two book festivals this year, to launch my three new books, and you, my readers, are all invited to all of them!

Autour du Livre: The Vic en Bigorre Literary Festival

Yes – Autour du Livre may be a small and local affair but I’ll be there once again and so too, will be Nick Inman with his brilliant travel guides and Clara Villanueva with her two novels, I, Carmela and Les cheveux de la gitane and Our readers are invited to come and meet us and the many local writers, historians, and illustrators. It’s a pleasant way to spend some hours – there will be music and food and people ready to talk about reading, writing, and books. It’s fun and it deserves your support.

La Litote and Independent Bookshops

Anyone who loves to read or to write is deeply indebted to those small independent bookshops devoted to keeping books and literature alive in your local community. One of the best is La Litote run by Nathalie Curiel The delightful La Litote (A litote is when one says less and more is understood – otherwise – it’s a negative that suggests a positive) a bookshop in Vic en Bigorre has a fabulous selection of children’s books, exceptional cards, graphic novels, local and travel information and the latest French novels. This month it will also have mine on display. Nathalie is kindly going to host the launch of my new books this month. I will be posting more about my launch next time.

Here is a poem about autumn –

Autumn Morning

When the alarm’s blood curdling cry
caesars open the womb of the bed,
I am born into the darkness of night.
When uncomfortable day squints
from its perch on the western street light
I open my ears and hear the sound
of car engines shifting in the direction of work.
When the sun, reluctant with excuses,
sticks its neck out of the east
I close up my dreams and make a late start
to yet another winter.

2 Comments on “Going back to books – it’s that time of year”

    1. Ruth Hartley

      Yes indeed. It is an exciting time and a great deal of work too. I much prefer writing to promoting my books but the reason for writing is have readers and they are so important to me!
      Yes – that is my poem – what did you think of it?

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