latter making me have to take a day off work. And it's only July 2nd, the day the tourists ascend like locusts onto the Island. Happy, beer guzzling locusts. Anyways, I'm getting a massage later on tonight, and I hope that means I can work tomorrow morning. It's gonna be crazy.
The only chores I could do around the house were one-handed, which mostly meant taking up our garlic and peeling it and fixing hubby one-handed lunch. I might attempt some one-handed cleaning later on today. It has been perfect for lazing around reading though.
While I already told you about two of the themes I'd love to do a Book Report on, I'm actually gonna start on a slightly different tangent, though one that's very season appropriate: Summer Short Stories. Last summer was a particularly hectic one for us, and I ended up reading mostly short stories, instead of the usual heavy tomes that embody summer vacations (not that I'm ever gonna have a summer vacation again, America sucks that way).
Short stories are perfect for a busy time, because you can devour an entire one in a short time, and not be left hanging for a conclusion when other chores call. Having your breakfast on a picnic blanket in the sun, laying on your belly and polishing off a good short story, can almost lul you into thinking you don't have to go work, or weed the garden today. So that in mind here's my pick of the litter, some of which you may have heard about here already, still all perfect for the hazy, lazy days of summer:
(as you may know I kind of dislike the movie, but this cover is wonderfully pulp)
Way to start with the exception. Technically, Breakfast At Tiffany's itself is a novella, but at least the copy I have also features a three of his finest short stories, including my favorite The Diamond Guitar. House Of Flowers is also dih-va-ne, dahling. When it comes to this form, Capote is the master, turning out prose so eloquent it makes you weak in the knees.
Here it comes, the inevitable Lauren Groff-collection. No but seriously, while I find delicate, edible birds a little uneven, most of the stories are wonderful, unexpected and understated, and just sentimental and sincere enough that your hear will be broken. This collection contains the already classic Groff-stories Lucky Chow Fun, L Debard and Aliette, as well as my personal favorite, Watershed. In all honesty, I almost prefer her stories to her novel. She can be a little flowery, and the shorter form forces Groff to focus her considerable talent.
Not the End of the World by Kate Atkinson is, in my humble opinion, a near perfect collection of short stories, so close to perfect, in fact that it contains some of the finest (again, imho) short stories I personally have ever read. All the stories intertwine, but the two stories that end and begin the collection, are leave-you-breathless amazing, as is The Cat Lover. Read this collection and weep.
I have mentioned Julie Orringer's How To Breath Underwater here before, but I'd like to emphasize again, that if you have ever been an adolescent, this collection is pitch perfect exploration of many of the phases of that time in our lives. There's a story in it, Note To Sixth-Grade Self, that is so true that it's almost impossibly painful to read.
A lot of short stories of the resent years seem like the literary equivalent of mumblecore cinema (thank you New Yorker for explaining to us these microscopic cultural phenomenon that only effect the tiny island you hail from. And just to clarify things, no, it's not the centre of the Universe.), with it's emotional detachment, and preoccupation with the quirky, the personal, not the making sweeping universal statements at all. The main literary ambassadors of this style, which I have to say I much dislike both in film and books, are Miranda July (who's works I by definition loath, sorry) and (makes barf noises) Tao Lin. (I'm getting off topic here, aren't I. Barf noises and all...)
Joining these two over-appreciated mumblecore authors is a prodigious talent named Laura Van Der Berg, who's story collection, while obnoxiously vague in places, is also truly mesmerizing in others. Reading her story Where We Must Be one cannot help but wonder whether this is a generation unable to commit to anything, or anyone other than their ever shifting sense of self. Still there is a luminousness to these well-crafted tales that makes them well-worth reading, perhaps inspiring hope that some day soon, Ms. Van Der Berg will try her hand at portraying a world more tangible and less detached. What The World Will Look Like When All The Water Leaves us is a perfectly ethereal summer read, it is weightless as a cloud, and light as a warm breeze.
From mumblecore to masterpiece, there is not a single flaw, or weak piece, in Tove Jansson's The Summer Book, and in spite the book's laconic tone, it is anything but disengaged. Great emotions are played out on Jansson's small stage, an island named Haru, in the Gulf of Finland.
Based on Jansson's mother and niece, just as Fair Play was based on herself and her partner, Jansson is a master of mundane, inserting every day events with magic and wonder. Short stories, or not, this is the one, true summer book for every summer.
Your intrepid reporter retires to read her book signed by the author, in her marvelous Missa-dress. Hope you get to do the same. And what are your book recommendations for this summer?