Tuesday, August 30, 2005


I am sure that Margaret Atwood's aunt, who used to be in my writing circle, would be shocked and "not amused" to find herself the subject of an article in Frank magazine. Not that it said anything outrageous, just what she left to whom in her will. I'm sure her neice neither expected nor needed a bequest.

Strange & Norrell strange

I am finding Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell a very odd book but I love it. I find it humorous in the most sinuous way. The author Susanna Clarke has her tongue firmly planted in her cheek I think. I haven't tired of it as I thought I might and so have not really delved into the Jane Austen Book Club. But Strange & Norrell is 782 pages and I know I won't be able to get through it without pause.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Strange, Norrel & Austen

Well I have cast my reading lot with Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clark, a huge book but intriguing in the extreme and as a relief from that if need be The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler. Should be an interesting combination and should keep me busy well into the Fall because it will probably mean I will have to re-read some Jane Austen too and I like any excuse to do that.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

What now?

I have finished Master Georgie. I trifle disappointed in the ending but only because it wasn't happy or satisfying not because it wasn't well written. I am casting around for another book and haven't picked anything yet although I have a stack waiting. I will go through them and see what appeals.

In writing I am doing zip except my blogs....and I am doing a project for my family which is interesting: transcribing a memoir written by my great grandmother about her childhood 1874-1879 or so. Fascinating. An era and lifestyle that is so familiar ( from books) but so alien in that it is far removed from ours.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Writing drought

I have a writing circle meeting coming up on Saturday and I am absolutely uninspired. I just can't seem to be able to write anything ( except my blog entries of course!) Perhaps there has been just too much on my mind recently. I do find that I need a lot of "empty" time, thinking time, for ideas to flow. Blogging is good , it does keep me writing but it is also counter productive in some ways because it keeps me busy and away from more creative work.

I continue to read. Whether that helps my writing or not. I haven't found the kind of reading that really spurs my writing - yet, anyway. But I keep reading. I may yet find something that really "feeds" my writing urge. Right now I am almost finished Beryl Bainbridge's Master Georgie. It is a book my sister left for me, written in the voices of 3 characters and I like it. It is set in Scotland and then in the Crimean War. I had a relative who served at the battle of Sevastepol so that gives it even more interest for me.

Monday, August 08, 2005

I give up

I have been away for a week in Hades, oops I mean Ontario; it was just as hot and humid and filled with traffic as I imagine Hades to be!!!

I tried and tried to get interested in the Sons of Fortune but I just can't. So far I have managed about 11 chapters and only got that far with the book circle in mind, otherwise I wouldn't have persisted even that far. Do I really want to waste my time reading this book? I am sure it appeals to some people but I suspect it is just an attempt by Archer to pay his lawyers' bills, and I don't see that it is very well written.

So what have I read/am I reading instead? I re-read My family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell. Laugh out loud funny that is and great insight into Lawrence's character!!

What else...hmm...oh yes, I read The Sunday Philosophy Clubby Alexander McCall Smith. Nice book, not quite as charming as his No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, but easy and enjoyable. Isabel Dalhousie is a lovely quirky main character but I did feel she seemed older than her supposed age in her forties. It is worth the read just for the philosophical questions raised and has all kinds of erudite references which are a real test of and addition to one's general knowledge. I learned for example that Tycho Brahe died of a burst bladder after a bout of beer drinking. You would have to know who Tycho Brahe was to find this interesting.

Otherwise I am dipping into Bookworms a collection of writings about reading edited by Laura Furman & Elinore Standard. Just very nice little pieces by such worthies as Emily Dickenson, Flaubert, James Joyce and others less well known which you can pick and choose from, not too long, so just right for bed-time reading.
Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea;
And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
And I am Marie of Romania.
Dorothy Parker, Not So Deep as a Well (1937)