Whew. This past weekend's short story reading did me in a little. I love Angela Carter but I think she is best taken in smaller doses. Fireworks makes up in intensity and depth what it lacks in length. It may have been fewer than 150 pages but I think I worked for each and every one of them. I think "Souvenir of Japan" is my favorite of the bunch, but I am most intrigued by her imagery when it comes to mirrors and reflections. I suspect that some of these stories are going to stay with me a long time.
I wonder if any of her stories are included in either of the Black Water story collections that are edited by Alberto Manguel. If you like the fantastical then I highly recommend both Angela Carter and Black Water. I think I am going to look for the more mundane when it comes to short stories for the next few weeks. I've got a stack of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine issues that need attention. The April issue just hit my mailbox, so I will pick and choose amongst the stories and find something interesting to add to my New Yorker reading for next weekend.
So a little randomness to start the week of, I think.
This week's reading is going to be much like last week's as I didn't manage to finish any of the books in my piles (other than the Angela Carter story collection which wasn't in any of the piles--go figure). I am making steady progress in Geraldine Brooks's March. I had hoped to finish in time for Caroline's discussion, but hopefully will finish it very soon. I wasn't quite sure what to expect as it is a fictionalized retelling of events in the lives of fictional characters. It is about Mr. March's (of Little Women fame) experiences during the Civil War. It moves back and forth between the war and his life before it--as an itinerent salesman, meeting and falling in love with Marmee and other bits and pieces from his life before the war. I always like Brooks's writing, so I feel in capable hands. I've heard very mixed reactions from readers when it comes to her novels--she seems to be someone who is either very much liked or not at all--but I have enjoyed all the books by her I've read (and there have been three or four now--both fiction and nonfiction). So far I am getting on well with March.
I am also nearing the end of Simone St. James's An Inquiry Into Love and Death, which is a story of romantic suspense--in this case a ghost story. I didn't set out to read so many ghost stories this month, but they seem to be popping up in my reading time and time again. The James novel, however, is nothing too demanding or menacing--much more lighter fare I am happy to say. I have already been contemplating which book I will choose next for my Canadian author and have been eyeing C.S. Richardsons's The End of the Alphabet and Gabrielle Roy's Street of Riches, which is a series of linked short stories about one Quebec (Québécois?) family. I have long wanted to pick up another of her books.
Margaret Atwood is going to be in Omaha on April 13 and I am already planning the day. Doors open just after noon and I am trying to decide how long the line will be and the logistics of getting a good seat to hear her speak. I'm all tingly just thinking about it. I had wanted to read someting by her in anticipation and now is the moment to do it, I think. I am leaning towards Oryx and Crake, but maybe a reread of a favorite novel or something else as yet unread? Always a dilemma! What is your favorite Atwood novel? Mine is The Blind Assassin, but everything I have read by her I have loved to some degree. And then there is the question of which book to take to have her sign? And what do you say to someone like Margaret Atwood? I will be too tongue-tied, I'm sure, so say more than 'thank you'.
Other add-ins for this week's reading is my current 'must finish before the impending due date' library book, Valerie Martin's The Ghost of the Mary Celeste. Yes, another ghost story. And I need to spend more time with Johanna Lane's Black Lake, which was meant to be my March Irish read, so I really must get back to it this week.
A couple of other bits of news--at the end of April I will be going to Fort Worth, Texas for a library conference where I'll be taking a class from one of the catalogers at the Library of Congress. I have never been to Texas before (other than in the airport and even that a very long time ago). It will be a very busy few days there but I am hoping there might be a chance to see something--visit a museum of a botanical garden. Is it silly that I am already contemplating which books I am going to take with me? I will have two layovers in Denver (one three hours!) which is prime reading time if I can stay focused on my books.
And I have discovered that Soho Crime does a monthly book subscription (an international crime club and a teen book of the month club) much like my NYRB Classics subscription. I am a complete pushover when it comes to getting books in the mail each month. It truly helps get me through the rougher patches of life to know there is a new book just around the corner. Are you surprised to hear I have signed up? I am going to give it a go and see if I like it. I'll let you know how it goes.
It will be, as usual, a busy reading week with lots of good choices. How could I ever face a Monday without a couple three good books packed away in my tote bag?