This week I finally finished The Bees by Laline Paull. Although I really enjoyed the book, I did take a break mid-way through when I got stung by a bee. I was stinging for days afterwards and just couldn’t face reading a book about bees.
I’ve also been continuing with my short story reading. Raymond Carver’s What we talk about when we talk about love is a wonderful collection. It’s set in the mid-West among the lonely men and women who drink, fish and play cards to ease the passing of time. The stories are superb. I read one and then another and then another. I can’t put them down, but I don’t want to finish them just yet. I want to take my time and think about each one. This collection really does deserve time and attention.
The danger when you’ve been reading Raymond Carver’s stories is that anything else falls short. I read Cecelia Ahern’s story, ‘Next Stop: A Table for Two’. I enjoyed it, but it was predictable and the ending bothered me. I’m not going to spoil it because it’s worth a read, but I felt Ahern told the reader too much. I knew what was happening without having to be told. That ruined it for me.
I also read ‘Faith and Hope Go Shopping’ from Joanne Harris’ first short story collection, Jigs & Reels. This story is set in a nursing home. My grandmother is currently staying temporarily in an old folks home and it’s really upset me how the elderly are treated like children. I’d started writing my own short story based on my grandmother’s experience, so I was really interested to read Joanne Harris’ story which was also inspired by visits to her grandmother.
When I heard about the tragic death of Marina Keegan, who died when she was 22 years-old, I really wanted to read her work. She had ambitions to become a writer. Her parents, friends and Yale tutors have now published a collection of essays and stories in The Opposite of Loneliness. I’ve only just started reading this collection, but I’ve already started writing a blog post about it. I’ll be publishing it very soon.
Finally, my novel of the week was Emma Healey’s Elizabeth is Missing, which hooked me from the start. I’ll be finishing it this week.
I’ve been working on three short stories, which are all at various stages of development. One is at the planning stage, another at the first-draft stage and the final one is almost finished. I’ve also been plodding on with my children’s book. This week I am throwing myself into the writing of my children’s book. If I finish it by June 30th my friend says he will take me out for a meal. If I don’t succeed, I’ll have to pay. That’s the deal.
Only one book this week and that’s Alastair Campbell’s Winners: And How They Succeed which I blogged about during the week.
I would love to know what you’ve all been reading.