Sweet pea love continues.
Painting by Patrice Lorenz, a friend from the Catskills.
I started reading Gulag, but don't think I can continue. Too much sadness, horror, inhumanity. I've read and enjoyed plenty of grim books, but can't finish this one now, so I've detoured from Russia to Ireland, started a collection of stories by Maeve Brennen, which I first read about here on Jane Flanagan's blog. They are charming, and remind me how much I love short stories.
Here are some of my favorite collections. Also, Ship Fever, by Andrea Barrett, and Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahari. Those and all of the books pictured are wonderful, and continue to resonate with me long after I read them, but the ones I am most eager to re-read are Julie Hecht's, Do the Window's Open? followed by Ship Fever. According to the New York Times (so it must be true) short stories are experiencing a resurgence. I'm looking forward to reading St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, by Karen Russell.
Do you ever read short stories? Once I had a job reading slush (unsolicited) stories for a women's magazine. I lived in Brooklyn then and took the subway to the magazine office in Manhattan and picked up a carton of stories, which I carried back to the subway and home. I got paid 50 cents a story and rarely found one worth passing on to the editors. Sometimes I got frustrated that everyone thought they could be a writer, but other times found poignant the image of women across the country at their own kitchen tables, writing their stories, knowing they had something to say.