Last week (thanks to the spark of an idea from Ex Libris) I made the decision to turn my Sundays into a rotation of reading short stories, then essays, then poetry, etc.
I rarely read short stories, even though I love them and sometimes write them myself. This is a great opportunity to reacquaint myself with the genre. So last night and today I've read:
- From The Sun literary magazine: "Especially Roosevelt" by Chad Simpson, a sweet story about a disturbed 6 year old foster child who witnessed more in his little life than anyone should, especially a child. (If you don't know this magazine, I encourage you to check it out - always filled with wonderful writing: essays, stories, poetry and a section for readers to contribute short essays about a chosen subject.)
- From Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri: "A Temporary Matter" and "When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine." I've heard about this book for quite some time and had some misconceptions about it - first, I thought the author was male, and second, I thought it was a novel. Everyone raved about it, though, and so far that part is spot on. These two stories were tender and touching. Relationships through the lens of loss and fear. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of these stories.
- From The Portable Dorothy Parker: "Song of the Shirt, 1941" and "From the Diary of a New York Lady." Oh Dorothy -- she must have had a permanent dent in her cheek where her tongue resided. I confess, I haven't read much of her work, just bits and pieces over the years, but I have always loved everything I've read. This is a library book and I think I'll hang onto it as long as I can and dip into it - especially when I need a good laugh or a biting social commentary. ~~I don't know much about being a millionaire, but I bet I'd be darling at it.~~ One of my favorite DP quotes.
- From Best American Short Stories 1999: "In the Kindergarten" by Ha Jin (originally published in Five Points). Still reading.
I haven't made as much progress with War and Peace as I'd hoped. The danger of supplemental reading with a monster book like this is that I get so into the other book that I reach for it first and War and Peace languishes on the shelf. This week it's been Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. It's my first Ishiguro book, and now I know what all the fuss is about. He's brilliant. I won't even reveal what the story is about, because part of the wonderfulness of reading it is peeling the layers of onion -- he teases the story out so slowly and carefully and masterfully. The Remains of the Day will be following shortly - I've heard it's even better.
I hope you're enjoying spring where you are (or autumn, in the case of Down Under). In Portland it's been pretty wild the last few days, like it can't decide what season to be. We've had rain, snow, hail, wind, thunder, freezing temps and warm sun - and that was just the first few hours yesterday! See you next Sunday (I will be late to the party, returning from a weekend retreat).