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Writing excerpts from books I’m reading

Book sales are my ruin. Every time I go into one, I come out loaded with dozens of paperbacks and hardcovers. Here are some excerpts from the books that have made it this week from my sale-shopping pile to my reading shelf:

“In the last days of my marriage, Opal was just reaching the stage where she recognized my face. I’d approach her crib, and she’d crow “Ah!” and start wriggling all over and holding out her arms to be picked up. Then they left me. When I walked into the apartment after that, there wasn’t just an absence of sound; there seemed to be an antisound–a kind of, like, hole in the air.”

Anne Tyler, A Patchwork Planet


“The cherry blossom tree we planted for Colman’s first birthday waves behind the curtains. I noticed the roots of it today, clawing their way towards the house. The roots like long arthritic fingers, crooked and damaged. I might have to get it dug up before it topples the house. I check the brand new locks. Who would have ever thought that I’d be changing the locks to keep out my son?”

Jackie Kay, Trumpet

“The grapes have withered on the vine. What should be plump and firm, resisting the touch to give itself in the mouth, is spongy and blistered. Not this year the pleasure of rolling blue grapes between finger and thumb juicing my palm with musk. Even the wasps avoid the thin brown dribble. Even the wasps this year. It was not always so.”

Jeanette Winterson, Written on the Body

Some of the writing in these books is almost giving me writer’s block. I keep reminding myself that they got there after years of writing, and if I keep at it, maybe some day I have half a hope.

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her forthcoming literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and will be published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

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5 Comments

  • Hasmita says:

    Hi Damyanti, came to your blog from your comment on mine. Thanks for reading. I plan to check out the books you've mentioned here. My sentiments exactly about the block and aching to write that well myself.

  • Damyanti says:

    Thankyou, Payton, it was my pleasure.

    My only fear is one day I’ll have to pass on before reading all the books I want to read.

  • Damyanti; Joyce: Isn’t language the most wonderful thing? Aren’t the infinite ways of superbly expressing our thoughts, waiting to be achieved, just exhilarating?

    Jackie Kay, Jeanette Winterson, and Anne Tyler are obviously fine wordsmiths to learn from and be inspired by. Thank you Damyanti for finding these excerpts and sharing them with us.

  • Damyanti says:

    I know, my thoughts exactly.

    Btw, posted a comment on your blog, on your music post, but it did not appear…maybe it is the new comment mode?

  • Beautiful writing. Someday….

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