Moral Disorder, Margaret Atwood — I'm not much for short stories, and wouldn't've searched this book out, but given me as a gift, once day it struck me as perfect commute reading. And it was. On every page something poignant or clever, or downright sad or funny, or just plain true. Most of the stories are interconnected, weaving through characters' lives over decades, and I much preferred these stories to the ones that didn't have these characters in common (though it could be said they were loosely thematically related), which just goes to show that my preference for novels over short stories extends to works with novel-like qualities and the short story in itself still has a long way to rise in my estimation.
The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Jonathan Stroud — It's very good. "Young adult" stuff. I'd dogeared some pages to quote here, but that was long ago and the desire has left me and the books are shelved. There was a mystical passage, about The Other Place, the land of the djinn and other spirit creatures, a place of a kind of oneness and nothingness of being, which was pretty mind-blowing, and I'd love to know what an 11 year old would make of it. I think Stroud knows and respects his audience: he's not afraid to use big words or complicated sentences, and he explores some very dark themes and nasty character traits.
Currently reading: The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas. I'm not quite halfway yet, but this book? This book is awesome! It's like a thousand books rolled into one. There's even vampires!
I'm trying to find time to read the following, copies of which are floating around my space:
Only Revolutions, Mark Z Danielewski
The Railway, Hamid Ismailov
The Post Birthday World, Lionel Shriver — Found brand new for $5. I don't understand why. I'm a little scared to read this actually. I expect it'll rip my heart apart.
Uncle, JP Martin — This one's Helena's, but it's still a little beyond her level of interest — it matches my level perfectly though: "the silly and skewed world of Uncle, a fabulously rich Elephant who oversees the denizens of his labyrinthine estate and fends off the attacks of his enemies, the hapless Badfort crowd."
Angel Street, Patrick Hamilton — Of course. Waiting only for the perfect day, a free day, in which my brain will be unhampered and can consider it with its full attention.
Just when I thought all was lost, I found a new vegetable peeler. I haven't actually used it for peeling vegetables yet, but it's been put to good use the last week perching on my kitchen shelf making me smile. It's sure to work divinely — I can tell by the feel of it.
(This picture was available on the internet. It is in no way meant to represent my actual kitchen workspace.)
Of the child
Things she says — has always said, but I don't think I ever noted:
Umm, I meant to write something about Helena here, but I've entirely forgotten what. Something about how much she's grown or learned. How sweet she is or strong-willed. How she's always singing. Always.
I glimpsed her future self the other day. We were at the park; I gave her warning that we'd be leaving in five. And suddenly she was someone else — herself, but older maybe. Not a fuzzy outline of a person, but for a moment firmly drawn and complete. Something in her manner and her mannerisms. Something exuding from her face and her fingerips. She walked toward me, "But, mom." No argument came. A grimace of a pause in her expression. "I don't know how to explain." But I could tell she wanted to. "I don't have the words." She jumps up onto the bench, seating herself on the tabletop. Her hair falls over her eyes; her hands palms up on her knees reaching for answers. Like a college girl. She lies back on the picnic table, flinging her legs up, resting her right ankle on her left knee. She glances at me but talks to the sky. "I don't know how to explain, mama, but it just doesn't feel that it's time to go."
That's not what I meant to write at all.