My stacks for this month are works-in-progress. Because even though we are two weeks into October now, my inner calendar is still hovering near the beginning of September.
So, part of me still thinks that I will have more time to read more of the books that I’d dreamed of covering in this year’s Diversiverse event (you can spot some of the same volumes in this enthusiastic post).
Whereas, the logical part of me realises that they have not been finished in time for them to be included in the event (of course that doesn’t change my commitment to reading them, only the timeline).
In September, I was reading a lot of skinny books, so I am looking to fall into longer tales now.
Which is not to say that I’m not reading short stories this month, for my Alistair MacLeod weekly reading continues (I slipped into this following my completion of Alice Munro’s stories, but I haven’t been writing about the stories in Island).
They are absolutely beautiful stories. You have probably heard that before. There is something almost hypnotic about his prose style, and even though they are often melancholy, the crafting in them elevates the reading experience to another level of appreciation, beyond the sadness.
Several of these books have been hanging about on the bedside table, untouched for days at a time. This is partly because my enthusiasm doesn’t necessarly match the available reading hours in my days, but it’s also partly because this time of year whispers of multiple reading projects even though my attention span isn’t cooperating.
So, for instance, I did read and reread all of the Courtney Crumrin graphic novels in recent weeks, but I have only read the first two pages of the new Margaret Atwood novel. This is how it goes sometimes, right? (This is also because it felt like I had nightmares all night after beginning the Atwood novel, whereas the night things in Naifeh’s series didn’t once keep me up.)
One of the books in which I have been half-heartedly dabbling, but which I can now properly attend to, is Madeleine Stern’s biography of Louisa May Alcott.
She is not one of my favourite writers, but I did reread Little Women and Good Wives a couple of summers ago (my girlhood copy of Little Women had included both volumes, unbeknownst to me) and then I read on, with Little Men and Jo’s Boys, which were fresh-reads for me.
There were so many things about the series which I hadn’t observed in the same way as a girl; Jo’s character challenged all the right things for the younger-me, but the older-me wanted her to be more of a rebel.
While I forgive the traditional choices of the characters in L.M. Montgomery’s novels, because I reread them so many times as a girl and throughout my life, I wanted more from Jo March than she was built to give (same with the other little and not-so-little women in the series).
So I stumbled into this biography because of Madeleine Stern (via her Old Books, Rare Friends), but what an interesting approach to biography. It reads like a novel, with Louy’s daily life unfolding complete with sensory experiences and fully sketched scenes from even her youngest years.
Yet, this is not fiction, for Stern has spent a lifetime researching this writer’s life and work. It is the work of a scholar, but written in a novelistic style. When I pulled this book into my stack, I’d left another biography (of Edna St. Vincent Millay, more conventionally styled) and an unabridged writer’s journal (Sylvia Plath’s) on the shelf. In my mind, I was expecting something near-academic in tone. This was an unexpected discovery, but I’m looking forward to reading on.
As for the others in this month’s stacks, some may return to the shelves until another reading mood strikes, but I’m sure there is some good reading ahead nonetheless.
What about you? How are your stacks this month? Anything you are thinking of setting aside for another time? Anything you have been inspired to squish into the mix?