Reading novels and short stories has been my salvation for as long as I can remember. In the past few months, I’ve struggled with travel and other family issues, and reading has once again come to the rescue.
These novels and short stories have been on my bedside table: I’ve dipped into one or the other as time and health permitted, and they have, as always, taken me away from my self, my problems, and made me care for people who do not exist.
- Pedro Paramo’: Jean Rulfo: Surrealism at its best. Vivid, lifelike characters that populate a story given to us in fits and starts, and dizzying POV shifts between the present and the past, the alive and the dead, the major characters and the minor.Nightmarish in parts, stunningly beautiful at others, this book will hold up to repeated readings.
- Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingslover: Smashing writing and characters, especially the child at the heart of it all. Some of the lines from the book still resonate.
- The Pool in the Desert by Sarah Jeannette Duncan: Gorgeous short stories, and excellent observations of the colonial life in India. The language is of the early 190s, when it was written, and the author has a fascinating life story.
- Tiger Hills by Sarita Mandanna: an epic tale with some brilliant descriptions of the Indian town of Coorg, in colonial India.
- How to be both: Ali Smith: A stunning novel. I took time to read it, re-reading bits and pieces, but if you love novels that take you away from yourself and make you think, you can’t miss this one.The novel is in two voices in two parts, both equally compelling and incredibly clever in different ways. Either part could come before or after the other, and that’s the whole point. I’m a Smith fan, but this was one of her best, really. Definitely recommended.
- Life with an Idiot by Victor Erofeyev: This is a cruel, brilliant, unputdownable collection full of the ugliest and the best of humanity, sparkling sentences, and stories that open up a whole new world. The title story is a difficult, but absolutely worthwhile read.
- Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas : A fast, pacy romance, because every once in a while I need me some light, not-very-stressful reading.
Of course, I’m also reading fabulous short stories for the Forge Literary Magazine where I’m the editor of the month. Please spread the word to any writers in your life who write short stories, flash fiction, and essays or creative non-fiction.
What novels and short stories are you reading? Would you recommend a book you read this year? Drop me the title in the comments, and I’ll look it up!