Date Archives January 2010

J.D. Salinger and phonies

The other day, I picked up a copy of The Times because of the news of J.D. Salinger’s death on the cover. I read about Catcher in the Rye and its skewering of “phonies”, and how Salinger retreated to his home in New Hampshire and ignored the world for about forty years. Then I read the rest of the paper,… Read More

“The Paperchase” by Marcel Theroux

Damien March, a bored BBC journalist on the night shift, suddenly inherits a house on an island off the coast of Cape Cod from his long-lost uncle Patrick. There is a condition, however – he must preserve the house exactly as it is. Given that his uncle was somewhat eccentric, and the house is littered with bric-a-brac (e.g. a collection… Read More

“The Unbearable Lightness of Being” by Milan Kundera

I’ve listed Milan Kundera as one of my favourite authors for a while now, but oddly I’d never read his most famous book until now. It was definitely no letdown – the same philosophical style I’ve come to expect, but sustained over a longer time and with characters that I felt closer to than in other books I’ve read by… Read More

2010 writing/reading goals

I’m a bit late to the New Year goal-setting party, but here goes. For my writing, I want to finish my second novel and get it published, and start on a third. I also want to write more short stories and submit them to magazines and contests. For my reading, I want to read a book a week. I think… Read More

Monday morning inspiration

“Freedom is acquired by conquest, not by gift. It must be pursued constantly and responsibly. Freedom is not an ideal located outside of man; nor is it an idea which becomes myth. It is rather the indispensable condition for the quest for human completion.” – Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (thanks to Georgina for drawing my attention to it)

Book review – BBC National Short Story Award 2008

This is a collection of the five shortlisted stories for the 2008 BBC National Short Story Award. It’s a prestigious competition so naturally the standard of writing in all five stories was very high, even though some were more interesting to me than others. First up was Guidelines for Measures to cope with Disgraceful and Other Events by Richard Beard…. Read More

“The Master and Margarita” by Mikhail Bulgakov

The devil is unleashed in Stalinist Moscow. The funny thing is that while the devil kills, maims and causes havoc throughout the city, he is very far from a traditional definition of evil. In fact, the character struck me as being more like an avenging angel, punishing people for various sins such as cowardice, greed, vanity or lust. There is… Read More

Holiday reading

I had a very relaxing holiday, and had time for lots of reading: Also read, but not pictured, were: Global Shift by Edmund J. Bourne Commonwealth Short Stories edited by Anna Rutherford and Donald Hannah West Indian Folk Tales retold by Philip M Sherlock Reviews to follow – I have a bit of a backlog to take care of!

UK short story magazines

Well, I’m back – finally! The snow and ice here in England delayed my return, so my four-week holiday turned into five. I am now relaxed and even a little tanned, and trying to hold onto both for as long as possible. More about my holiday later, but I wanted to start the new year by thanking Tania Hershman for… Read More