One of the wonderful things about getting older is that I no longer feel I have to finish books if I'm not enjoying them. I don't have the time left to waste! And libraries make it even easier as books are free!! Isn't that incredible? When I think about libraries I am so grateful.
But anyway, back to my recent choices. As you may have guessed the first one I didn't finish reading.
Sweet Desserts by Lucy Ellmann.
Winner of the Guardian Fiction Prize, it's written in a style I didn't enjoy so gave up fairly quickly.
The Rise and Fall of the Queen of Suburbia by Sarah May.
I got to the end of this but after every few pages I considered giving up. I'm not sure why I didn't really. It's also called a black-hearted soap opera, and looks in details at the lives of the residents of one close in the 80s. Not one happy character, not even one who wants to be happy. A miserable ending to a miserable story.
A Celibate Season by Carol Shields and Blanche Howard.
"An original collaboration between two award-winning writers," and as one is a poet I was a little unsure whether this might be too literary for me to read last thing at night. It wasn't; it was an absolute delight.
It's written in the form of letters between a husband, Chas, and wife, confusingly Jock for Joycelyn, when Jock, a lawyer, takes on a 9-month contract to work in Ottawa on a Royal commission on women and poverty while Chas, an unemployed architect, is left in Vancouver to play house-husband.
If I'd written this yesterday afternoon before I finished the book I'd have had nothing but praise for it; as it is I felt there was one bit at the end that didn't ring true, but, on the whole, I would have been happy for it to go on and on. (It's quite a short book.)
I was so involved that I found myself saying, 'Oh no, do you think you should say that?' at various times to one or both of the writers. 'That's going to be misinterpreted,' or 'that sounds a little demeaning.'
Also recommended is This is Life by Dan Rhodes.
A young French art student in Paris finds herself in charge of a stranger's baby for a week while across the city a run-down cinema used for erotic films is being prepared to host an art exhibition that involves the naked artist living in public view for a period during which he collects every bit of, well, anything that comes out of his body.
It sounds peculiar but again this book is a delight. Gay in the old sense and Parisian and light. If I think of Sweet Desserts it would be as a big grey cloud; This is Life is blue sky with occasional wisps of cotton wool clouds.