The books I got using my company’s gift cards are definitely on the dark side. The first one I got, a few weeks ago, is French and a recent release (unusual for me, if you follow this blog): “D’autres vies que la mienne” [Other lives than my own], by Emmanuel Carrère, a writer who has a reputation for being narcissist and realist (he writes about real and dark events and about his own life). It’s disturbing and quite a difficult read: within a year, he has witnessed death of 2 close people: a child who died in the 2004 tsunami while Carrère was in holidays in Asia, and his sister-in-law who died of cancer. The parents’ child and his brother-in-law both “asked” him to write their stories, so he reconstructs the lives of both families and the events with surgical precision. It’s heart-wrenching and not at all complacent.
On Saturday morning, I bought 2 more new books from my little bookshop nearby (that accepts big brand gift cards): The Road, by Cormac McCarty, because of the good feedback it got throughout the lit-blog world; and Gomorrha, by Roberto Saviano, a non-fiction book about the Naples mafia that reads like a gripping novel but gets even more horrific as you realize it’s true and personal. As I usually read several books in parallel, I plan to select optimistic, or cheerful (but not too pollyannaish) novels to re-balance this downright black series. Suggestions are welcome!
On Saturday afternoon, I had a strange misadventure at the library, when I discovered 5 unknown books on my personal card… Oops! Apparently a computer glitch had made it possible to register on my account books that went to another user (last time I went, there was indeed a system breakdown). I was really stressed out, because if the unknown user decided not to return the books, I would have to pay for all 5 of them, as I was unable to prove I didn’t have them myself. The librarian decided to extend the loan for another 2 weeks and hope for the best… I checked almost everyday from then on, and yesterday night the 5 books had disappeared from my account!
And to finish this glorious Saturday, I went to the writing group again! Our usual host, David, was not there (I guess he had some Halloween activity), but we had a female, Californian, motherly figure instead (a friend of his) to replace him, and the meeting was rather crazy. We heard hilarious pieces and obscure poems, stories with a Vietnam colonel in drag, and a lesbian pirate attacking Walmart (people are usually a little nervous about showing their pieces around and this one succeeded in relaxing the general atmosphere!). The writer of the lesbian pirate adventure offered each of us a queer audio-book on CD and a piece of chocolate. French people don’t celebrate Halloween, so the American expats in the room were a bit home-sick and ready for any kind of banter. Once again, I wrote nothing at all, but it was great!