June and July have been monsoon- like months here in Milngavie and I have spent a good deal of the time reading and writing. Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence, which I had bought over a year ago beckoned. The 728 pages was daunting but I thought I would relish reading this writer again. Around page 320 I nearly gave up and confessed to my FB friends. Couple of them made helped me pick the book up again and I’m glad I did. The ending of the book, the last chapters in particular were interesting. I was surprised that even a Nobel Lit writer could get into the rather dragging ‘ middle muddle’ in the novel. Pamuk is a wonderful writer but this book moved very slowly and I found some of the chapters repetitive. When I did give up on the book, I moved on to a short novel by Sagarika Ghose on ‘Blind Faith’ set in Goa and enjoyed reading a well written book with a feisty main protagonist. I also dipped into Jackie Kay’s ‘Reality, Reality’ a collection of short stories that made me laugh out loud at some and some made me pause and think. I have now started ‘Letters from the Great Wall’ by Jenni Daiches, a debut book by a Scottish academic and I’m enjoying her ‘double narrative’ the strand of telling her protagonist’s life in Edinburgh and weaving it with dexterity with her travels in China. A kind of pleasant book that helps with my hay fever ridden eyes.
The lit chat has been of course about the Fifty Shades trilogy. Good luck to EL James for writing something that some readers obviously want. There are always books that have won mass readership. Who are we to belittle the authors who have managed to reach out to them?
Edinburgh Book Festival season is upon us soon, in August. When I go there,I try to see and hear authors who may not visit Scotland. As always it is a great line up and I’m sure it will be a resounding success. Festivals of all types are de rigueur now.
On the writing front, the family memoir is completed, but Book 3 is in the back burner as I am indulging in writing a collection of short stories and a few poems. As a lot of my new writer friends are discovering, self publication seems to be the way to go. Some have reached a good readership publishing their work only on ebook formats and one has found it lucrative and satisfying to go for Create Space, the self publishing wing of Amazon. Book publishing is changing rapidly, like the music scene, and watching the transitory period is fascinating. It is almost like it is turning full circle as many of the famous writers in the turn of the century had self published including Dickens. Here is a short list from Google:
Remembrance of things Past, by Marcel Proust
Ulysses, by James Joyce
The Adventures of Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter
The Wealthy Barber, by David Chilton
The Bridges of Madison County
What Color is Your Parachute
In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters
The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. (and his student E. B. White)
Happy reading folks and hope the sun does come out soon, even if it causes my hay fever to get worse!