In which I look to a find of books to get me blogging again

I’ve been in a book blogging funk for the past two weeks.  It’s quite bad.  My hands and arms turn to mush and my mind goes blank when I sit in front of my laptop to write a review.  And really, I have a lot of books and short stories that I want to blog about.  I’ve been reading. Today, I’m reading The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton. I figured that I needed a change of fare after a string of heavy books, including The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna.

Yesterday, after trying and failing to write a review, I decided to go shopping for books.  I didn’t go to an actually bookshop, no.  I went shopping in my mother’s storage container.  She keeps the container at the back of her house.  I keep lots of books in boxes there.  These are books from my book-buying-crazy-days when I lived in New York City. Since I’ve never bothered to catalog what’s there, it’s always a delightful surprise to look through the stuff.  Which I do a couple of boxes at a time, to spread the joy over many occasions.  This time I also took a peek inside some of my mother’s boxes.  And here is what I found:

  • Open Secrets by Alice Munro – I love short stories and works by women writers.  So it is really amazing and something of an embarrassment that I have not read a single short story by this multi award-winning Canadian writer.  This is glaring gap in my reading.  So, how pleased am I to discover this collection?
  • The Puttermesser Papers by Cynthia Ozick explores the “disappointed” life of intelligent Jewish lawyer Ruth Puttermesser. A prompt for me to start my reading project on contemporary American women writers.
  • Muriel at Metropolitan by Miriam Tlali – this book was banned when it was first published in South Africa in 1979. It is set in a furniture and electronics store in which Muriel works as a typist.  It chronicles her views on the store’s customers.  The book was republished as Between Two Worlds (the original title) in 2004.
  • Arrival of the Snake Woman and other stories by Olive Senior – I am more familiar with Senior’s poetry and have been wanting to read her prose.  She  was awarded the 1996 Commonwealth Writers Prize for her short story collection, Summer Lightning. Caribbean fiction.
  • The Beggars’ Strike by Aminata Sow Fall –  I read this book in my teens.  It’s been on my mind lately as I want to review francophone literature written by African women.  The book coenters on a group of beggars go on strike just before a government plan to get rid of them is implemented.  It won the 1980 Grand Prix de Litterature de l’Afrique Noire and was also short-listed for the Prix Goncourt.  This edition is a Longman African Classic.  Most likely out of print.
  • Fly, Away, Peter by David Malouf – Malouf is the only Australian writer that I’ve read. I was so taken by him, of course, that I went a bought several of his books some years ago.  I thought that I’d read them all.   But I haven’t, oh jolly :).  It’s about two Aussie blokes and WWI.
  • Tirra Lirra by the River  by Jessica Anderson – I’m not kidding when I say that my heart skipped a beat when I read “Winner of the 1978 Miles Franklin Award” on the cover of this book. A shout-out to Lisa of ANZ LitLovers LitBlog: I own an Aussie classic!  Really, it’s my mother’s but finders keepers (for now).  The book details the reflections of old woman who returns to Australia after a long sojourn in London.

So, what do you make of my find?  I do hope this gets me blogging again.

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23 comments

  1. I love books by women writers too. I try to be a bit more inclusive in my reviews so that my ‘favoritism’ does not show, lol. that being said, i’ve found a few male writers that I love. Open Secrets by Alice Munro sounds interesting. I’m always curious about the idea of secrets and where that leads the characters.

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  2. Catching up … as you know I love Fly away Peter, so I say go for it. And, Tirra Lirra by the River which a couple of decades ago is also a wonderful read, and one I keep thinking I should reread though I have another of hers next to my bed so perhaps not!

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  3. i’ve never read any of these books, but i’ve adored every book by an aussie writer that i’ve managed to read, so i’m particularly interested in the Malouf. i’ll keep an eye out for your review, assuming that these lovely finds get your blogging brain cells back in gear. 🙂

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    • I looking forward to reading the stories in the collection. I hope that I’m disappointed as I would like to form a long and enjoyable reading relationship with Munro’s books :).

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  4. Wow, Mama’s container sounds like the perfect place to lose oneself in for a wondrous couple of hours. I must give you a shout when next I’m in Accra!

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    • Do give me a shout out, Mama’s container or not, when you are next in Accra. On one hand, my mum is pleased to see that her books are still there and in good condition. On the other, she is a bit alarmed at my raiding abilities. Hehe 🙂

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  5. Great finds! Funny enough I was just trying to find that book by Aminata Sow Fall! No luck yet but I’m planning on trying again if our postal strike here ever ends 🙂 (It was listed as a top ten book by African women authors… somewhere. I forget where I found the list!). All sound really interesting and I really hope they get you back blogging again – I’ve missed your fantastic reviews!

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    • Really? I’m happy to hear that you are looking for Sow Fall’s book. Let me know if you don’t find it, though. I’ve been most anxious to find and review the works of the first generations of African women writers.

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      • I’m hopeful that it will show up on one of the sites I’ve been checking Kinna 🙂 So far the cheapest copy has been almost $40. And the prices range up to over $150! Ridiculous. They really ought to reprint these books more!

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      • Yes, yes there is a huge need for that! Also, you are brilliant 🙂 Of course, I can’t get a library card until I can get time off on a work day while I am in the city instead of on the road to get my license updated to say I live here… but the library actually does have a copy of this one! When I first moved I started searching all kinds of African authors just to see and most of them seem to be Reference Only – meaning I could only read them in the library and not check them out. Frustrating, but I’ll likely end up doing it sometimes! Also, once I finish brushing up on my French maybe I can try her other untranslated works 🙂

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      • I always knew it was a bad idea not to study French! This book is so hard to find, it’s a crime. Keeping my fingers crossed for you. If I come across a second copy, I will send it to you.

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      • I actually was in French immersion until grade 7 (donc je peux parlez un petit peu de francais, mais ce n’est pas beau!)but unsurprisingly haven’t retained a ton of it. Am working on a program now to brush up on it though. I’m unsure if it will get me to the level of reading literary fiction but fingers crossed 🙂 And now that I realized the library has a copy I should be OK – thank you though!!

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  6. I hope you get your blogging desire back again! I’d like to know what you think of “Memory of Love” by Aminatta Forna. 😉

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    • I feel the tinkling of desire to blog again. Hopefully, it holds till I get to writing the review of the wonderful Memory of Love. Thanks.

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  7. There looks a few there to get the writing juices flowing Kinna ,I find one book can kickstart the passion again the most beautiful mwalk was a recent one for me ,all the best stu

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  8. I hope the trip to the container helps! Good luck! I also love to go through my own shelves to “shop” for books: I stock up at library book sales so there are always plenty of surprises for all reading moods waiting. I also have The Puttermesser Papers and always seem to mean to read it but never do.

    If you’re interested in Australian writers, I’d especially recommend Patrick White; I thought his The Eye of the Storm was very good. I’ve also enjoyed books by Tim Winton, Thomas Kenneally, and Murray Bail. I went on a bit of an Australian fiction jag back in the late ’90s!

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