Well, 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?