I wasn't feeling very well yesterday, and had to come home from work to lie on the sofa, which meant that I missed the second Oxford Persephone book-group, of which I'd already missed the first. My ability to cope with stomach pain seems to be somewhat diminished when I am overtired. So I chose a little paperback book off my tbrbc that wouldn't require much effort to hold up (!), and fortunately didn't require much effort to read.
I picked up A start in life from the Oxfam bookshop a couple of weeks ago because according to the back of the book it was about a woman who's life is dominated by books. It was another book where not very much happened, and it was another book which was predominantly a coming of age story. The book starts with a memorable opening sentence: "Dr Weiss, at forty, knew that her life had been ruined by literature". From this sentence, the book goes back to Ruth's (Dr Weiss') childhood, and is predominantly a coming of age story where Ruth spends her life escaping into books - from her parents, and from her perceived inadequacies, and from her inability to find love.
It was interesting to read a book by a Booker winner the day after reading an actual Booker winner. I'm really curious now to read Hotel du Lac as although I enjoyed A start in life, I'm not convinced Brookner could produce anything as good as Holiday. I'm trying to remember if I have read anything else by her, I don't think I have, although I have been wanting to read her most recent title Strangers.
I then went on and read Caro Fraser's The trustees which was absorbing enough to stop me from being bored while my boyfriend worked, but not especially memorable (although I am a fan of her books precisely for that reason), and then looked at the pictures in the Good Housekeeping "Great Cakes" book which I recently borrowed from the library, but I didn't see anything I wanted to make. Luckily I've already got plans for this weekend :)
Anyway, something that cheered me up was a nice email from Lydia at Persephone in response to my anxious enquiry about my last Persephone book. Apparently the request for the free book hadn't shown up, but she was putting The London Child in the post for me. So hopefully you won't have to wait much longer to see my Persephone pile! Am very envious that Paperback Reader went to the shop today, and I am wondering if I can fit in a quick visit next week when I am up in London to see the stage show Calendar Girls with one of my oldest friends - it is only a 20 minute walk from the theatre according to the Transport for London website...
Mavis Gallant’s “A Recollection” (1983)
23 hours ago