Sunday Salon: So much stuff

The Sunday Salon

It’s been a busy week, full of bookish stuff, plus friends and family, and that work thing, so I am too tired for our weekly pub quiz and instead am sat at home watching junk TV instead of reading any of the many piles of unread books lying around. I should probably feel bad about this but I don’t.

Watermark BooksOn Tuesday I went to London and I tried really hard not to go to any bookshops while I was there after last week’s book buying. I avoided all the bookshops I know and love and instead went to the British Library to visit the Lines in the Ice exhibition (one of their smaller exhibitions but still really interesting – lots of old maps, which I love). Thankfully the place was so swarming with people visiting the Magna Carta that I didn’t even consider visiting their giftshop, which is basically a bookshop. But then when I was searching for the toilets in Kings Cross Station I stumbled across a tiny but lovely branch of the US book chain Watermark Books next door to the Harry Potter Shop. Of course, I couldn’t walk into a new bookshop find without buying anything, but I picked a couple of smaller books in the hopes of actually squeezing in reading them!

bookshop buys

The reason I was in London was for an English PEN event about the voices of asylum seekers and heard some wonderful writers and people. Predictably I bought the book that the event was based on, Asylum and Exile by Bidisha (which I’ve already read and thoroughly recommend), and I also picked up an English PEN pamphlet of writing by prisoners, The Book That Saved My Life.

exile and asylum

When I got home that night it was almost midnight and I was so tired but the next two days were lifted by my receiving awesome book parcels in the post. I got my first package of the year from my subscription to And Other Stories – not one but two lovely new books and some pretty postcards to boot.

and other stories

My second parcel was the first issue of Doll Hospital, a new literary journal on mental health. As I was a Kickstarter backer I also got a handful of pretty extras in there, but the most attractive part is the journal itself, which is already getting rave reviews. I look forward to adding my own soon!

doll hospital

And finally, to round out the literary section of the week, on Friday night we went to see the National Theatre production of War Horse. It’s an impressive show, especially the puppetry. The simple scenery complements the very complex puppets. At first the puppeteers seem very visible but it doesn’t take long for suspension of disbelief to work its magic. I haven’t read the book by Michael Morpurgo or watched the film but I knew the story and what was coming, yet it still really moved me. There were tears.

All in all, a busy but great week. How was yours?