Thursday, 26 May 2011

Been a bit busy

Look what I made!!

So, I'll be doing my best to get back up to speed on the reading front, particularly as I'd only just begun my Orange prize shortlist challenge when this happened - but for now, bear with me.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Is it wrong to wish I was Marilynne Robinson?

The day before yesterday I read 29 Housekeeping, which was her first novel (you may recall my raving about Home and Gilead last year) and it actually induced in me a semi-drugged state of bliss and peace. How can anyone possibly write so accurately about everything, and in such a way that absolutely exactly you know what she means and you're right there with her?

I could just write out the whole book (and wish I had) but to give you a tiny sample, the narrator talking about her older sister's dislike for "fanciful" clothes and accessories:

"She was of the common persuasion. Time that had not come yet - an anomaly in itself - had the fiercest reality for her. It was a hard wind in her face; if she had made the world, every tree would be bent, every stone weathered, every bough stripped by that steady and contrary wind. Lucille saw in everything its potential for invidious change. She wanted worsted mittens, brown oxfords, red rubber boots. Ruffles wilted, sequins fell, satin was impossible to clean."
That's nearly half way through the book and you can tell already no good is going to happen.

As for my gestation project, I'll meekly take advice about reading. I've reason to believe the goblin's planning to inviegle his way to an early entrance one way or another, so am going for not being too ambitious (though finishing AK and   swimming through a whole Irving might keep me quiet for a while).

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Still no pictures, but...

..I am now a free-er woman than I have been for a while and will be for longer.

At 37 weeks today the goblin is officially cooked but now has a five week window to make an appearance. Since my maternity leave has also started this weekend, it's become very clear to me that I could turn myself into a proper madperson by thinking it could be any day now, so instead I'm seeking a five-week project, one that's going to take plenty of effort and concentration and that I'll be wanting to complete enough that I'll barely think at all about when B-day might happen.
Perhaps, I thought, I'll just try to read a book a day for five weeks, thus making up in advance for any deficit in my reading time over the next few months. This isn't quite ruled out, but at the same time it's not really projecty enough. I could try and write the rest of my own novel - that's a good goal, but a bit too ambitious? Maybe a short story a week (but this doesn't sound big enough, not that I'm saying they're easy to write or write well, but there's not enough structure to it, not when most of the fibres of me are howling to pop, and demanding that I just concentrate on trying to discern signs that I might).
There's still knitting to do, though again this doesn't on its own consume enough attention. I will, of course, get entirely on top of all of my life-admin, and will be emailing all the people I don't email enough, and writing on my blog with a bit more commitment, and so on, but still they're not quite demanding enough. Do we think it's possible that I've not sufficiently bought into the idea that it's honestly going to be weeks and weeks more, and so am holding off just in case it's tomorrow?

Since I'm going to be good about keeping the blog up to date, I can supply it now with just a list of books, knowing that in due course I'll say a bit more about them.
21 Fat is a feminist issue (Orbach) - what a book. I don't know how I got to this stage of life without having read it.
22 Nurtureshock (Po Bronson) - quite a disappointment after how very much I loved his books about work and family. This was cobbled together science, with nowhere near enough added.
23 Toast (Nigel Slater) - I've been meaning to read it for a long time and was fairly sure I'd enjoy it. I did, though not like I enjoy reading his actual cookbooks.
24 Effective birth preparation (Maggie Howell) - like hypnobirthing, only a hundred times more convincing (to me) - this and the CD are regularly sending me into a zenlike state, now all I need to do is maintain it for the birth
25 Childbirth without fear (Grantly Dick-Read) - this is the classic of its genre and was originally written in the sixties, I think - in places it's horribly dated but in many others so very sensible and convincing that it's easy to overlook its faults. Both of these two would be books I'd recommend to anyone, though of course I'll tell you afterwards whether they turned out to be right.
26 Whatever you love (Louise Doughty) - I've been wanting to read something by her for a long time because I own, and mean to implement, her A novel in a year and was drawn to something about how she wrote in that. It may be enough to say that I got this from the library in the middle of today and finished it a couple of hours ago - I mean, not a classic of literature but such a read, and so believable. I'll be seeking to read more of her.
27 (in progress) Untold stories (Alan Bennett) - I'll say more about this when I'm done with it, though as it's my bedside book and regularly gets bumped by whatever else is interesting me, it may be a while.
28 (also in progress) Anna Karenina. This may suggest to you (rightly) that I finished War and Peace, which will get a post of its own in due course; what you can't tell from my simply listing its name is that I am enjoying it perhaps even more than I enjoyed W&P. I'm about half way through so might even finish it this year...

There are three more pieces of modern fiction in my library bag, all of which I was truly delighted to find on my trip today; I'm also keeping an eye out at thebookpeople to see if they do an Orange shortlist collection again this year since I'd actually have time to try it.

What's that I hear being suggested from the crowd? Perhaps that with all this reading I may not really need a project at all...?