Turning my attention back to the Reading Challenge that was whole purpose of this blog, I have been scanning the remaining Landing Eight titles to decide what will come next. My choice will be to read L.P. Hartley’s The Go-Between (Penguin) as a complete contrast to The Periodic Table. In common with many people I suspect, I have known the famous first line to this novel for years without ever having read the book. Well, now is the time to put that lack of experience finally to rights. That is, after I have finished a couple of other books that are floating around, procrastination being my modus operandi (she confesses sadly).
At present, I am reading My Mother’s Story: The Locust and the Bird by Hanan Al-Shaykh, a completely engrossing Lebanese memoir. The book is a trade paperback title that I grabbed from a bargain section some while ago because the lovely title (and the stylish woman on the jacket) appealed to me. A quick mention also for the memoir, The Storyteller’s Daughter by journalist Saira Shah; in which Shah tells of her attempts to come to terms with, and understand her Afghan heritage. She has had some truly close shaves during several years of conflict in Afghanistan, which are un-nerving even to read.
A wonderful thread running through the book is that of the stories passed down the generations of the family. At one point Shah quotes her father comparing stories to dried onions. He told her that stories are ‘like dried experience. They aren’t the original experience but they are more than nothing at all’. The stories have a purpose in helping to explain and deal with life’s experiences as they come along. I have written a little about the importance of stories and storytellers in a previous post (April) so this aspect of the book was of particular interest to me.
Now, your starter for ten: tell me about your favourite storyteller…
As I am sure many people know, the nice folks running the Grafton Media Blog Awards Ireland have recently announced the shortlists. This blog has been shortlisted in the ‘Best Newcomer’ category, which is very exciting for me. A big ‘Thank You’ is due to the organisers (Amanda Webb, Lorna Sixsmith and Beatrice Whelan) for selecting the Landing Bookshelves for inclusion on the list. I put my head in the sand after the nomination went in and tried not to think too optimistically about the awards, so it was particularly cheering to find that I had got this far. I will be firmly crossing fingers (and maybe toes too) ahead of the Finalists announcement (29th September). However, the crossing fingers part may make typing tricky so perhaps I will simply try to visualise crossed fingers and see how that works. Actually, page turning would be awkward as well and I definitely do not need any obstacles on the reading front either.
So, it’s back to The Go-Between for me…