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What’s on your nightstand – May

I somehow missed the date for this month’s WOYN. We’re still in May, though, and I thought I could add in a quick line telling you what I’ve been reading this very busy, busy month.

So. I finished Lit by Mary Karr. My God. What a writer. What a book. Its unflinching honesty,  gut-wrenching descriptions of her life as an alcoholic and her life-long struggles with her mother make compelling reading. It’s been a long time since I loved a book (or a writer) so much. I hope to read a lot more by Karr by the time December comes around.

Then, I read A Thousand Country Roads by Robert James Waller, which is a sequel to the best-selling Bridges of Madison County. I read Bridges a long, long time ago and I loved it (speaks volumes for my age then, and my lack of discrimination). I finished that book (Bridges) in a few hours, devouring it like cake. I was hoping for some of that with this sequel. Sadly, I was very disappointed. The book got rave reviews but it was so corny, so…filmi…to use a Bollywood expression. A lot of the book was irritating -  Waller’s constant use of the full name of the main character throughout the book, as if the reader was an idiot who couldn’t remember it, got to me. The ‘surprise’ ending that the dust-jacket promised was revealed soon after the book began. I finished this one quickly, too, but that’s probably because I skipped the long rambling paragraphs of prose that spoke of old souls and lost souls and god-knows-what-else but added nothing to the story itself. I was disappointed. You can tell, can’t you?

Finally, I was able to give much-deserved time to Yearnings, a collection of poems by Abha Iyengar. Abha is a very versatile and talented writer. This is the first time I’ve read her verse and it is lovely. This book is sensuous, sultry, full of “strange stirrings”. I rather liked ‘Where love has gone’ which reminded me of regrets, of things said and done, of words leaving the mouth irretrievably. “That’s not what I meant at all” is always a whisper at the end of an argument.  I also really liked  ‘Raktjaba (Hibiscus)’, ‘Arch’, ‘As the Light Dies’ (which could be fodder for a short story…). ‘Everything Natural’ brought a chuckle (“Early morning smells / of cottage cheese underarms /and smoked tongues..), as did ‘Wait’ (“Don’t grope for the easy things”). Abha has a new flash-fiction collection out called ‘Flash Bites’. Read more about it here.

The rest of my time has gone by reading essays for my Motherwords class. It’s been a delight.

I’m currently reading Virginia Woolf’s ‘A Room of one’s own’. Love it.

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