Autumn always feels like a good time of the year to linger over a book, absorbing each word and phrase, then sitting around with friends, enjoying savory appetizers and sipping on tea (or another heartening beverage), and just talking, talking, talking. The plot of the selected book weaving in and out of the conversation, which takes many interesting turns. It seems that the best books are the ones that leave you a little uneasy, the unsettling parts coming back to you when you least expect it. Like on your commute home, or as you fall asleep at night. At times you wish it would just end already, but later, when it does finally end, you flip through the pages again and wish that it had not yet ended.
I’m reading Alice Munro’s collection of short stories, Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage. After she won the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature, I finally decided it was time to jump onto that bandwagon. The stories, as I expected, are delicately crafted. Each word and phrase fits and flows perfectly. The characters are vivid and deep, despite the stories being short and compact. I will not review the collection here, as its’ been reviewed numerous times already, but I will say that language is everything in Munro’s stories. Complex characters juxtaposed to simple settings (mostly rural parts of Canada) do keep your attention. Its a slower read, but especially poignant for aspiring writers. Munro has a way with words and really gets inside her characters, especially the women, who surprise and incite. And if you feel like you’re losing interest, the story just ends and another begins.
Aside from this, here are some of the books I’ve added to my queue as I make my way towards winter, I hope they’re good for curling up with a cup of tea:
1. The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
2. The Shadow of the Crescent Moon by Fatima Bhutto
3. Someone: A Novel by Alice McDermott
4. The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan
5. A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
And a couple of good ones I recently read: The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler (I wouldn’t be surprised if this one comes to a theatre near you soon…)