DSC_0382Well, that was a nasty hiatus and no mistake.  And I can’t promise that there won’t be any more I’m afraid because not only has there been no improvement in my condition, but at the moment things seem to be getting worse.  Please don’t anyone talk to me about Christmas goodies because I may well be joining The Bears on their permanent diet of porridge and even they get to enjoy the occasional marmalade sandwich.

Still, enough of that.  It doesn’t stop me hoping that everyone else is out there enjoying their preparations and looking forward to a few days well earned rest with lots of books and even more time to enjoy them.  I wish I could tell you that I had at least used these past weeks to get some serious reading done but my brain has been far too woolly to attempt anything other than some relatively light crime fiction.  I did think I’d found a new crime writer but while he wrote like a dream he couldn’t plot to save his life.  By the time his hero had got out of bed immediately after been blown up or shot for the third time in as many weeks I simply gave up.  There’s a limit even to my credulity and I do try and follow the Red Queen’s dictum and practise believing at least six impossible things before breakfast every morning.  I have both the new Barbara Kingsolver and the new Colm Toibin waiting for me on my shelves, but I don’t want to start them until I feel I can do them justice.

I have had one remarkable discovery, though.  A friend gave me a copy of William Faulkner’s short story, The Bear and the quality of the prose simply knocked me sideways.  I’m sure any American reader will already know this tale but Faulkner is very little read in the UK and this was the first piece of his that I had come across.  I’m torn, though, about reading any full length novel by him as I’m not certain I could take that intensity of writing in anything other than very short bursts.  Does anyone have any experience of his longer works and, if so, what would you recommend?


17 thoughts on “

  1. I’m so sorry you’ve been having a hard time! My sympathies! I’ll keep you in my thoughts.

    I’ve read three Faulkner novels, and I think Absalom, Absalom is the best of the bunch. Light in August was also very good. The Sound and the Fury is a masterpiece, but I don’t think it’s the best one to start with — it’s probably one of his most challenging books.

    1. Thanks Rebecca. You and all those in Connecticut have been in our thoughts as well. The first thing The Bears did was check that Newtown wasn’t where you lived. I’d definitely better give ‘The Sound and the Fury’ a miss for the moment, I’m not up to challenging, but I might put ‘Absalom, Absalom’ on my list. Thanks for the suggestion.

  2. Oh Alex, so sorry to hear you are still unwell. I hope you take a turn for the better very soon!

    I have read several of Faulkner’s short stories and like them very much. The novel of his I read is Light in August and it is very good.

  3. So sorry to hear that your health troubles persist. I hope the bears are taking good care of you!

    As for Faulkner, I read The Sound and the Fury in college and found it hard going. But then I read As I Lay Dying earlier this year and thought it was rather a hoot–lots of dark humor and preposterous situations.

    1. Many thanks, Teresa. The Bears are very supportive. I have a Teaching Company course that includes ‘As I Lay Dying’ so that might be a place to start as I’d have help if I did get stuck. Thanks for the recommendation.

  4. It was so nice to see your post pop up in my blog reader, I’d just been wondering how you were doing. But I’m sorry to hear that you’re still dealing with health problems. I’m trying to figure out who your new crime writer is (was 😉

    1. Lisa, a number of people have asked, so I think I’d better try a post about it. Trouble is, I’ve taken it back to the library so I’d not have a reference point. Still, I’ll see what I can do.

  5. I’m so sorry you’re not well – I’d hoped things had improved for you. I haven’t read anything by William Faulkner – he sounds a rather challenging author though. And I’m with Lisa – who is the new crime writer?

    1. Thanks Margaret, I’m afraid it’s been all down hill over the last month or so. I can see I’m going to have to do a post about my crime writing upset. I’ll see what I can do.

  6. Alex, it’s good to hear from you. I hope you’re back on form soon.

    I read Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying when I was at school and thought it was very good.

  7. I’m so sorry to hear you’re under the weather somewhat – this is such a dreadful time of year for health. If it’s any consolation, I can never eat any Christmas goodies because of my CFS diet, and really, I don’t miss them. Take the very best care of yourself (well, I’m sure the Bears will help out there), and if you fancy easy crime, see if you can get hold of any of the old Perry Mason novels by Erle Stanley Gardiner. They’ve been my crime find of the year.

    1. Thanks, Litlove. The Bears are very good, but I’m not sure they appreciate how boring porridge can become after a time. Goldilocks loved it, they keep telling me.

      I’ve never read Perry mason. I’m if the generation who watched the TV shows the first time round and loved them, but I’ve never given the books a thought. I must see what I can find.

  8. So sorry to hear your health trouble’s aren’t over! I hope at least you find some good crime fiction to keep you entertained. I am with the others- who is this mystery crime writer?

  9. Thanks for writing such a thoughtful post, especially when you’re not well. I prefer Faulkner’s short stories to his novels, so I can’t really make any strong recommendations. The latest Kingsolver is fantastic, and I’d say it requires a bit less focus than her other books because the imagery is enough to carry the message along. It might be a good choice for you even when you’re under the weather. And I think it would suit tea and marmalade sandwiches if the bears want to join you in a readalong.

    I’m really sorry things haven’t gone better for you, and am sending best wishes for greatly improved health in 2013.

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