May 21, 2009

more reading non-monogamy

I'm trying to make a push on my novel manuscript right now, and adjust to the new pressures of not working (oh yes, there are pressures --- do I nap now? Or nap later?), so I'm finding I don't have too much to say. Even the reading is going slowly, though possibly this has something to do with being midway through three books at once:

Apologize, Apologize! by Elizabeth Kelly, about a dysfunctional wealthy family that pushes the boundaries on quirky. I don't want to say too much else about this book as I'm only halfway through, and much of what I want to say constitutes spoilers. And I hate spoilers, and so do you. (Or you should.)

The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai. It is taking me forever to read this, even though I really, really admire what I've read so far. I think I'm feeling reluctant because I decided I had to read it when I was trying to prepare for my Blue Metropolis panel on India and Pakistan. There's a part of me that always drags my heels with mandatory reading. What this means is that I have yet to finish a book by a so-called Indian writer, unless you count my own (which I don't).

Then there's Concluding, by Henry Green, which is the most unexpectedly riveting of the bunch. I mostly stick to contemporary fiction these days but this book fell into my hands and so far I'm loving it, though I'm keeping it strictly to bedtime reading because I kind of want to draw it out. It's set at a boarding school, and so far there are girls named Mary, Merode, Moira, and Marion (never mind Miss Marchbanks) and I can tell them all apart! This is kind of a triumph for me (and, I think, a good point in favour of Henry Green). I can't tell you the misery I suffered at Tolkein's hands with Sauron/Saruman.

Usually what happens when I'm reading too many books is that one will surge ahead, one will slowly, slowly finish, and one will completely fall to the wayside --- but I think I'm going to see all of these through.

May 19, 2009

Seen Reading

Today was my first post over at Seen Reading, hallowed website of literary voyeur, Julie Wilson. After years of spying on Montreal readers and nowhere to broadcast the news, I've happily become a contributor to the expanded site, which as of right now is featuring sightings across the country, in Nova Scotia, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver.

I'm really excited about it! I've been having so much fun. It's one thing to see the bestseller lists, and quite another to spot someone on the bus 200-pages deep into Late Nights on Air or Tess of the D'Urbervilles. So watch out, Montrealers --- I'll be watching you.

I've been checking out everyone's shoes, too. This is Montreal, after all.

May 13, 2009

National Short Story Month

Did you know that May has been declared Short Story Month? Dan Wickett at the Emerging Writers Network has been covering it with a ton of new posts every day, blogging daily about three short stories: one each from a published collection, a print periodical, and an online journal. A very impressive feat as well as a very dangerous procrastination destination for writers who are supposed to be, ahem, writing.

Along the same lines, the National Post's excellent literary blog The Afterword is doing Q & A's with short story writers this month, starting today with yours truly.

Since I've been working away on this novel lately, I've been wondering whether it actually, in general, takes longer to write a short story than a novel ---- in terms of time average time spent per sentence by published authors. Maybe the very fact that I'm contemplating this study is a sign I should get back to work..?

But seriously, what's the fastest you've ever written a (passable) short story? I'm curious. For me, it was three weeks, but most of the ones I've written have taken much, much (MUCH) longer.