Thursday, 19 October 2023 10:14

Southern SIG – Favourite reads of 2023

Written by Jasper Pauwels


After a spell of inactivity, Southern SIG met again on 24 August via Zoom to talk about books and a whole lot more. The modest turnout (we were three) did not prevent a good list of book recommendations and, as we discussed during the meeting, a good recommendation can provide a great answer to the burning question of what to read next.

Client trouble

But first we discussed the thorny issue of a new client who had not paid their bill on time. You could send a disgruntled email, using words like ‘notice of default’, ‘collection fees’ and ‘statutory interest’, but that might not be your best option, especially if you enjoyed the project and wanted to maintain a good business relationship. Sending a few friendly reminders along with a more rigorous follow-up on future invoices might be a viable alternative, provided that you receive payment for the overdue invoice soon. The matter did have one surprising incidental discovery: some collection agencies provide webinars and masterclasses as a way of self-promotion. Attending one of these courses could allow you to brush up your business skills and terminology knowledge on this particular subject.

Shoulder pain and what to do about it

Something else you want to avoid is a frozen shoulder. Although bad posture is not the only cause, slouching behind your laptop all day is not going to help either. As we learnt from first-hand experiences, this affliction may result in some excruciatingly painful visits to the physio over a long period of time. So, mind your posture when sitting at your desk and consider buying a standing desk, but be advised that you also should not remain standing for too long either. Life’s complicated, isn’t it?


We discussed quite a list of book recommendations, which you will find below in no particular order. Don’t worry if nothing tickles your fancy, because we have one bonus tip up our sleeves – former US president Barack Obama publishes his summer reading list every year, which includes both fiction and non-fiction. Hopefully, we have given you enough inspiration to warrant a visit to your local bookshop!

  • ‘The Seven Moons’ by Maali Almeida: a dead photographer investigates his own death in Sri Lanka in the 1980s. Winner of the 2022 Booker Prize.
  • ‘Cloud Cuckoo Land’ by Anthony Doerr, who you may know from ‘All the Light We Cannot See’: three interconnecting stories from the past, present and future.
  • ‘The Patron Saint of Second Chances’ by Christine Simon: feel-good, light reading about a tiny Italian village that tries to allure tourists by spreading a rumour that a famous movie star is now living there – which is obviously not the case!
  • ‘The Last Chairlift’ by John Irving, who you may know from ‘The World According to Garp’: a peculiar 800-page novel on transgenders in the early 1980s. Mostly interesting for Irving fans.
  • ‘Demon Copperhead’ by Barbara Kingsolver: a modern-day David Copperfield story set in the southern Appalachian Mountains of Virginia during the opioid crisis.
  • ‘Doughnut Economics’ by Kate Raworth: Oxford economist Kate Raworth explains an alternative economic model that respects the limits of what Earth can take while maintaining a basic standard of living for everybody.
  • ‘Black Cake’ by Charmaine Wilkerson: the tale of a nurse moving from the West Indies to England and later on to America. Many family secrets will unfold.
  • ‘War Light’ by Michael Ondaatje, who you may know from ‘The English Patient’: a coming-of-age novel set in London during the Blitz.
  • ‘The Casual Vacancy’ by J.K. Rowling: a page-turner about trouble in the city council.

Blog post by: Jasper Pauwels


LinkedIn: jasperpauwels  

Read 1092 times Last modified on Thursday, 19 October 2023 10:35

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