Archive of July 2009

Tue 14 Jul

Reading or not!

Readers or random visitors might notice there have been less writings here of late.  At first this did not mean there was any less reading on my part, it was largely due to my new job with community technology.  Lately though I have actually been reading less, and not because of any shortage of quality writing which I wished to read.  I guess it is just the way life goes sometimes.

In any case the most recent choice of my library book group was "Fascination", a collection of short stories by William Boyd (writer).  I am thoroughly enjoying the collection, which seem to have a common theme of sexual obsession or misbehaviour.  Needless to say it is the leading men who are shown in the worst light, by and large and there is plenty of sexism in the work.  There also seems to be an interesting subplot connected with brain damage and similar dysfunction.  The stories are a varied bunch exhibiting many forms of writing, as one of the group members commented sometimes it feels a little as if the author is "showing off".  I'm still enjoying them thoroughly though even though I had only read the first three when the group met yesterday, and I'm also happy to say that I made a modest saving by purchasing the book online for my ereader, which was also more convenient and has enabled me to carry them around with me more easily too.  Ideally the library should have had enough copies, but sadly that seems a rare event with our more interesting and contemporary choices.

The previous selection was a contrasting work by Carol Shields whom I mistakenly believed to be a Canadian (apparently she was actually American).  Arguable the choice is one of her best known works, The Stone Diaries.  This book I failed to finish entirely despite renewing it three or four times.  Someday I shall return to it because it is a fantastic read.  I had not realised it was a book I had not read, thinking I had already enjoyed all her works, this made it feel really special.  Another interesting fetaure of the book is that it includes a set of illustrations and one is never entirely certain if one is reading a work of fiction or not.  During book group I found that it really is fictional and the photographs are of Carol Shields own family and suchlike, included with their permission.  Parts of the book take the form of diary entries, btu this does not spoil the narrative flow in the least as it charts the life of Daisy Goodwill.  One of the unforgettable images in the book is the one where as a newly wed her husband, somewhat intoxicated, sits at a window in France on the first evening of their honeymoon.  He suddenly sneezes and, without any pause, falls from the window to his death.  She never talks of this except to her best friend years later, and even then she does not tell how she reclined on the bed for a further minute or two before moving and allowing things to continue.

I found the character of her father fascinating, he was a man who lived a life with many changes, from his beginnings as a mason to his later success as a magnate and businessman supplying quarried limestone across America.  I guess this is partly where the books title comes from.  It's possible I shall return to make a brief blog entry on this work whenever I finish it, but that may not be for some time.

Since it is the summer the next months meeting is one where we shall have a poetry selection, each member bringing several to read and discuss.  I guess this time reading will nto be a problem, so I have another month to finish the short stories.  I am hoping that going forwards I shall not allow a dry patch in my reading to cause a further bearth of Blog entires.  The next one may well be something on a Spiritual theme, which I have not made for a while, or perhaps drama if I can get to the theatre.  In any case, I enjoy making these posts and should hope the intervals between them are days or weeks rather than months in future.  So watch this space for developments.

I know aalready my chosen poems for the month shall be by Gerard Manley Hopkins because he is the favourite poet for the woman I love.  Perhaps this time she will chose to pass comment too!