It was a week of careful thinking every time we thought about leaving the house. Should we go to our naturalist club meeting? The museum board meeting? Lunch with family? Is it going to be okay to volunteer at the open house at the wildlife refuge? A visit to the grocery store was surprising---no toilet paper and no soap. Every day was a new list of closings, including our library conference in Houston. A stressful week.
I hope to read more fiction in 2020. I ordered three fiction books from BOTM this month: Topics of Conversation, Writers & Lovers, and Rules of Civility. I read two of them this week.
I eagerly started Topics of Conversation first. It sounded wonderfully promising, filled with conversations between women. My expectations were dashed. By the third chapter, I wanted to close the book and set it out in my Little Free Library for another reader. Yes, as advertised, the book is full of conversations between women, but I would say the conversations are actually monologues. And the monologues go on and on, a sentence continuing on for pages, with the only interruption being tiny breaks where the women sip their glasses of wine. The conversations are not only long, but they are about nothing, with no point, and (this is probably the killer thing for me) absolutely no humor. Grim. Rambling. Pointless.
Fortunately for my attempt at reading more fiction in 2020, I found Writers & Lovers to be a better experience.
Whew. The life of a wanna-be writer is not exactly what you may be imagining. Lily King tells it like-it-is in this story of Casey Peabody, a woman in her early 30s, working to complete her first novel after six long years of work. Casey is deeply in debt from college, her boyfriend has broken up with her, she is working a difficult job as a waitress, and her mother has just died.
Despite all the troubles of her life, Casey is a wise narrator, finding humor in the situations in which she finds herself, and sharing life-truths she has discovered, especially those about writing. Here is Casey, delivering a speech about writing to an audience of young people:
'All problems with writing and performing come from fear. Fear of exposure, fear of weakness, fear of lack of talent, fear of looking like a fool for trying, for even thinking you could write in the first place. It's all fear....(O)ur biggest fear is public speaking. What I am doing right now. And when people are asked to identify which kind of public speaking they are most afraid of, they check the improvisation box. So improvisation is the number-one fear in America. Forget a nuclear winter or an eight point nine earthquake or another Hitler. It's improv. Which is funny, because aren't we just improvising all day long? Isn't our whole life just one long improvisation? What are we so scared of?'
All the things I love in reading fiction are in this book.
I'm reading two fiction books right now: Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy and Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. I'm also listening to Tom Hanks' beautiful reading of The Dutch House. Of course, I'm still reading a chapter-a-day in War and Peace.
I shared my time at a wonderful bookshop this week in a post, A Visit to The Red Wheelbarrow in Paris.
I also shared My Favorite Stories About Memorable Authors I Met.
I spent a lot of time outdoors this week, working at a county park on a pollinator bed, and talking to visitors about snakes and alligators and birds and butterflies at the wildlife refuge. You can't get the coronavirus outdoors, can you? I don't really know, but it seems a little less likely.
How was your week?
What are you doing during this stressful time?
I'm glad you found your way to the Sunday Salon. There are no real requirements for linking up at Sunday Salon. Sunday Salon is simply a place to link up and to share what we have been doing during the week. Sunday Salon is a great way to visit other blogs and join in conversations.
Some of the things we often talk about at the Sunday Salon:
- What was your week like?
- Read any good books? Tell us about them.
- What other bookish things did you do?
- What else is going on in your life?
Other places where you may like to link up over the weekend are below. Click on the picture to visit the site.
My linkup for Sunday Salon is below.