I’ve rarely been so late for reviewing books. Some of them because it’s difficult for me to sort my opinion out, some of them because I want to do them justice and that calls for some research, some of them because I wanted to tackle the first ones before… I still want to stick to my own rule of “1 book – 1 review”, but I’m afraid it’s going to be short. Or so I say, because every time I want to stick to “just a few impressions”, all of a sudden I grow lyrical. Call me inconsistent, I won’t deny it. So I’m going to list them here, just to give you a little preview of what’s to come (sooner or later):
- Emmanuel Carrère, D’autres vies que la mienne (other lives than my own)
- Sarah Paretsky Ed., A Woman’s Eye
- Joyce Caroll Oates, The Female of the Species
- Barbara Vine, The Birthday Present
- and of course, Chekhov’s Sakhalin Island, for which I have plenty of scribbled notes in my notebook and a book dotted with red sticky bookmarks.
- Qiu Qiaolong, The Red Mandarin Dress
Well, well, no pressure at all. Intoxicated by bullet points, I’m going to list my other circumstances that may act like good excuses:
- There is right now a snow storm in downtown Paris. Yes it’s true, just 10 days after I told Danielle there is never any snow in Paris. Needless to say, public transportation, authorities and drivers are not ready. We are advised to stay indoor. To which I would readily comply, if I only could.
- I’m really behind on xmas presents (it’s not only book reviews, you see). And my family are coming to celebrate early. As in: this very weekend. Oy.
- You may not be conscious of that, but I’m totally voiceless. Result of a cold that quickly found a home in my throat. You don’t want to know the greenish details. I’m not even able to answer the phone.
- On top of the snow storm, and for now 8 days, there is a train strike on the main RER line in Paris. Just happens to be the line I (like 1.5 million people here) need to take to go to work every day. Perhaps my voiceless state has something to do with waiting 30 minutes in the cold for a crowded train. Just perhaps.
- And on top of everything, I have a bad hair day. Like everyday since about Dec. 1. Imagine a stack of hay (a messy one, and electric because of the cold). I badly need to go to the hairdresser’s, but because of the snow, the strike, and the pressing need for presents, I may just postpone that one, even though it has a direct impact on my mood.
I know, you didn’t come to this blog for this. The program is strictly “writing and reading”. But the writing chapter is not glorious. There has been quite a few inspiring posts around on dealing with doubts, rejections, heartbreaks and closure on “abandoned” stories. Nova, Jade and Bloglily are so talented, better than me poorly paraphrasing them, please go read their posts first. I found myself very moved by them. It’s been a long time since I wrote a paragraph in one of my many half-completed stories. I have serious doubts that I will ever finish them. Some days I think (I fool myself?) that I’m okay with that. Some days I feel that I’m being unfair to these pretty babies, that were looking infinitely more rewarding than a [insert profanity] management letter or financial statement. I’m thinking about setting up a private page on this blog (protected by a password that I would give to blog-friends upon request), to serve as a depository for abandoned stories, or other bits and pieces of writing, so that their fate would be a bit better than just lingering in a virtual drawer. Reader, what say you?