Bed Side Table

I haven’t been reading much over the last couple of weeks. Nights are the only time I have to read (uninterrupted) and I have been too tired to commit to long nights, fully immersed.  So I have slowly been working my way through Arnold Zable, ‘Scraps of Heaven’ and ‘The Letters of Ernest Hemingway, Volume 1: 1907-1922’, (Ed. Sandra Spanier).

I am a big fan of Arnold Zable. Reading ‘Café Scheherazade’ was boarding on a spiritual experience for me. His words are haunting and beautiful. He takes you on a journey gently but persuasively. You have little choice but to follow his words. Needless to say, I had high hopes for ‘Scraps of Heaven’. It is not letting me down.

scraps of heaven

Reading ‘The Letters of Ernest Hemingway’ is the ultimate in decadence. These are a collection of his private letters to his parents, his siblings and friends. They are revealing and delightful. They also demonstrate that Hemingway had a way with words from very early on.

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I have also recently read:

‘An Ice-cream War’ by William Boyd. Loved it. Boyd is quickly become a favourite author.

‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry’ by Rachel Joyce. Nice, easy read (although, it did make me cry, so not completely ‘easy’).

‘Surprised By Oxford’, by Carolyn Weber.  I’m not sure what to say about this. I had really high expectations (never a good thing) and the girl can write, but…it just didn’t gel with me. I was disappointed but I’m not sure why. I obviously need more time to think about it.

 

And in fun news…

I have the all-important, highly coveted, ultimate privilege of choosing our next book club read! We have a very democratic system of choosing our books and it is always fun to be the one responsible for the next month’s short list. We only read Popular Penguins and each month someone picks 3 possibilities and then we vote on which of the 3 we want to read.  Recently we have also been running with a theme for each month. For example, last month’s theme was ‘Lesser Known Works’ and included ‘Summer Crossing’ by Truman Capote, ‘Hard Times’ by Charles Dickens and ‘Keep the Aspidistra Flying’ by George Orwell.  Capote won.

I have been thinking about themes and have come up with a couple of possibilities.  Theme options, so far, are: ‘Cat didn’t know’, ‘Obligated’ and ‘Let’s do it to it’ (a not so veiled reference to ‘Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip’). Thoughts?

Here is your chance to influences what we read!

on my bedside table

If there is one thing my Book Club knows about me, it is that I do not like short stories.

And that I can’t read books about children being hurt or lost. And that I don’t like goats cheese. And that I have issues with Jane Eyre. And that John Steinbeck floats my boat. And that dytstopian novels confuse and annoy me.

Ok, so I guess they know more than one thing. But high on that list is that typically I don’t like short stories.   Which is why this book was such a surprise.

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A lovely, unexpected, delightful surprise.  John Cheever! Who knew? Cheever manages, in most of the 63 (!) short stories, to engage you immediately and decisively.  On the surface you could assume that the book is about a host of middle class, cocktail drinking conservatives – but it’s not. It is raw and gritty and Cheever does not shy away from the realities of depression, alcoholism, death and dysfunction. He is insightful and funny, profound and tragic.

This little treasure is also on my bed side table.

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I am trying to read a little each night. It is like the sweetest honey. Pure and good.

From The Book of Hours – “Be content, be content. We are the Body of Christ. We have found Him, He has found us. We are in Him, He is in us. There is nothing further to look for, except for the deepening of this life we already possess. Be content”.

I am also reading ‘To the Lighthouse’ by Virginia Woolf (for Book Club) and I am waiting on my friend to finish ‘Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art” by Madeleine L’Engle to hear her thoughts (I’m guessing that they are going to be very good thoughts).

My Book Depository wish list has gotten out of control…again.  But my birthday is coming up…!

‘Writing down the bones’ by Natalie Goldberg, ‘Pursing Justice’ by Ken Wytsma and ‘The Bellwether Revivals’ by Benjamin Wood are all about to be popped in my shopping basket, handed over to AJ to be wrapped and given back to me with a birthday card attached!

What else should be on my wish list?

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