All quiet here today. Back at work, chained to the paperwork machine. Not a lot of good things for sharing; you can find the Booker long-list in the Roundup bar (Callie at Counterbalance has the post), and as others have noted, not a lot of big names, which probably will translate to "another prize for McEwan." I’ve found little to enjoy in McEwan’s writing. He doesn’t do it for me; I don’t know, too mannered, maybe? I don’t have any McEwan in front of me, so I’m shooting from the hip on this one. A mannered writer I do enjoy, now, officially, is A.S. Byatt. I was entertained by the film version of Possession; my wife started the book, but put it on hold, getting bogged down in what she reported was a whole lot more of the correspondence between writers, apparently pages upon pages of it. I hadn’t read any Byatt before last weekend, when – between books – my wife pressed Byatt’s Little Black Book of Stories on me, telling me to at least read "A Stone Woman." Which I did.
What a great one – a woman, grieving the loss of her mother, finds her body slowly turning into stone. Not just stone, but stones, wild varieties, complex combinations, her blood turning to hot molten lava. She reads about stones, trying to understand what is happening to her; she meets a man in a graveyard who works with stone, carving it, and they form – a relationship, of sorts. She doesn’t know where this will lead – will she eventually freeze into a statue, with nothing left to lubricate her joints, nothing but (sorry) rocks in her head? I’m not doing it a whole lot of justice here, but it’s just what I needed – I started off a bit irritated with it, as Byatt’s writing doesn’t really allow you to read it quickly, but once I adjusted, it was just perfect.
Now I’m into The Meat and Spirit Plan by Selah Saterstrom – so far, kind of a tepid response to this one, seems a bit like "The Diary of Adrianna Mole, Teenage Southern White Trash Who’s Actually Smarter Than You Think, Just Wait and See". Not a bad thing, just not especially riveting subject matter for me. To tell the truth, I have a little bit of a block on female narrators and female main characters. As in, I’m sitting here right now having trouble thinking of one single book (novel length) that I’ve read and enjoyed, that has a female narrator &/or main character.
Wait, here’s one: The Children’s Hospital. Loved that book.
Dodged a bullet there, I did. (Right? Please?)