Monday, 5 April 2010

I have seen flowers come in stony places

There are advantages to being a slummy gardener, such as when your sunflower heads that you'd carefully been preserving for the birds collapse with the growhouse, and you don't properly clear up either them or all the soil that came out of the pots that also came down with the growhouse, then one day in nearly-spring you go outside and find sunflower seeds valiantly sprouting in the spray of soil on your back yard, and it brings almost untellable joy to the heart.
Treasure Island was pretty good though it could only be described as a boy's book.
Last night I was feeling slightly Sunday night-ish and in need of some fiction that wasn't going to tax me too much to read, so I picked up 18 Anne Enright's The Gathering, which I found won a Booker prize a couple of years back (so helps in my quest to read them all).
I don't know what to say about it, quite - I mean, it did the job of removing me from the world a bit, and kept me interested enough that I didn't want to do anything else this morning until I'd finished it, but perhaps I'm losing my appetite for modern novels a bit, just because they're just too dam' short - you've not started before you've finished. And all the trend for a really short timespan - this one covers current events of about a fortnight, though with plenty of flashbacks - means you don't quite get to develop into being interested in the characters since you're not seeing them change, only getting additional revelations from the narrator. When this works, it works gorgeously and captivatingly (should I start on again about Gilead and Home?) but when it's not quite successful it can mean the book doesn't really haul you in, and this one didn't. OK, so I cried a little at the end, but already I am over them - there's no part of me wanting to carry on thinking about any of the characters. I don't want to spoil any plot for anyone, but it's set in rural Ireland in the mid-twentieth century, and there are darkly buried secrets, so you might not find it too hard to guess what it's about.
I will spare the feelings of the reader, by the way, by promising not to write about the economics textbook that I'm wading my way through today.


  1. Mmmm, modern novels - bit like fast food, really. Tasty in its way but not satisfying like, for instance, bangers and mash or smoked haddock risotto.
    Are you a Jane Austen fan? I've just reread Emma and got a lot more out of it than I did when I was twenty......
    Is there a key to your numbering system? I've looked through your old posts, do you just enumerate as you read? Personally, I keep a reading diary, though I must say I don't enter my own personal ready meals, Georgette Heyer and Agatha Christie, it wouldn't do for posterity to know about them.....

  2. Dear anonymous, you might have it in you to conceal things from posterity, I don't. So the numbering does include everything and is meant to be in order, though I'm troubled by the fact that starting order isn't the same as finishing order, and by what to do about ones that I start and don't finish.
    Also have I *really* only read 25 books so far this year, meaning that I'll only read 75 books in the whole of 2010? How am I going to get through them all?