The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Although I’ve read all of Anne Tyler’s books I make sure I go back to them as often as I can just to soak up all those characters that she fills her pages with.
I’ve just re-read The Tin Can Tree. Here is what I learnt this time round.
- That you can let the reader know all about a person’s thoughts without the other characters having a clue what they are thinking or even what they are about to do.
- Show the change of season by what clothes the characters decide to put on in the morning.
- The importance of food to a novel. What the characters choose to eat, how they eat and what they don’t want to put in their mouths.
- How you can show so much about a character from what they collect.
- The way a conversation can move from comfortable to irritable to conflict in just a few short paragraphs. Anne Tyler also shows so well how a tiny disagreement can just be a cover for something much more significant.
- Lastly how you can show a character’s worries by what keeps him or her awake at night and of course what they dream about.
I can’t resist one more photograph.
These daffodils were grown in Cornwall. They remind me of the lemon curd ice-cream that I make in the summer.
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Tiny Sunbirds Far Away by Christie Watson
Jill by Philip Larkin
It was a strange month of books. The first two were chosen by my book group. A Thousand Splendid Suns I had read before and I was happy to read again. I’d forgotten what a hard story it is to read, how the two main women are given no reprieve. I moved straight onto Tiny Sunbirds which was equally tough. Both of these novels are so good because you get carried along with the characters, the portrayals are intimate and moving. My favourite character in Tiny Sunbirds was Celestine, the second wife of the narrators grandmother, larger than life in every possible way.
I have always wondered how you are meant to find a word in a dictionary if you are not sure how to spell it. My daughter has never been keen on dictionaries. I also remember hours of dictionary homework; searching for long words, writing out their meaning and then having to draw an accompanying picture. When the sun was shining it seemed like torture.
Kenton Library was built in the 1930s; a geometric modern building with a flat roof, a rectangular tower, brown bricks and glass windows. As a child I remember the look and smell of the African Marigolds that marched around the beds outside.
Inside was a circular issue desk that I worked my way around as I grew taller. Eventually I could peer over the top so that I was able to pass my books and my green library card to the librarian. They were stamped so fast it was as though I was watching the Grand National.
A day in the life of a smiling woman by Margaret Drabble
The best short story collection I have read to date. So good I have had to order it as this copy was from the library. I felt as if I had read a novel after I had finished each story.
What the Dickens? is going to be printed for the first time in December. You can order a copy from Amazon or download onto a Kindle.
Made good use of Bridget Whelan article Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid to write a new story called Waiting for You. Bridget’s article can be found in What the Dickens, Issue 6, the Pumpkin edition.