Sunday, 17 April 2011

have i told you lately what's been on my shelf?

Last semester, I took a module in Contemporary Writing and it quickly became my favourite class by far. It was nice to read writing that wasn't so heavily scrutinised or led in some way---writing that you didn't read around or know so much about before you delved beneath its cover. And d'you know what? Some of it was really very good.

"The murdered couple, in the weeks ahead, in the newspapers, even at the funeral, would have to shoulder some of the blame themselves. Their bodies were too compliant, unprotesting, over-dramatised. Their deaths---though ugly and gratuitous---seemed even to the policemen gathered in the dunes, partly deserved."

"But surely it is the gist that matters; I am, after all, telling you a history, and in a history, as I expect you---an American---will agree, it is the thrust of one's narrative that counts, not the accuracy of one's details."

"There are so few people given us to love. I want to tell my daughters this, each time you fall in love it is important, even at nineteen. Especially at nineteen. And if you can, at nineteen, count the people you love on one hand, you will not, at forty, have run out of fingers on the other. There are so few people given us to love and they all stick."

"The fantasy never got beyond that---I didn't let it---and though the tears rolled down my face, I wasn't sobbing or out of control. I just waited a bit, then turned back to the car, to drive off to wherever it was I was supposed to be."

"The taste of it is always on her fingers, always lurking at the back of her throat. Or maybe the taste of money, or love, is just the same as the taste of catarrh."

And some of them, well, I liked some a lot more than I liked others. The Gathering and Being Dead were written with a sensitivity---a beautiful roll of thoughtful sentences; sound and emotion placed just so---that I couldn't always put my finger on quite how it was done (but it made them my favourites by quite a long way). And The Reluctant Fundamentalist certainly, most certainly, induced a lot of thought.

I just thought it would be fun to give a snippet into my bookshelf, as of late.

What have you been reading? (And if you have, indeed, read any of these---do tell? I am always, always up for literary (and not so) discussion!)

[Just in case the covers aren't clear---which I hope they are!---here's a roundup: Being Dead (Jim Crace), The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Mohsin Hamid), The Gathering (Anne Enright), Never Let Me Go (Kazuo Ishiguro), Hotel World (Ali Smith)]

1 comment:

  1. I haven't heard of these, they look great! I LOVE the excerpt from the gathering, it's so beautifully written :)