the long weekend


I starting running again last week. Planned to keep it up over the long weekend. My daily ritual, to ward off stress and keep my body strong. I’ve given up on the idea of weight loss. The idea that ‘it’ll all be better if I can just shave off this last stone’. Life comes and goes, no matter.

This weekend I took long naps and ate cinnamon cookies and read.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

OMG. Yep. This has always been presented to me as a YA book and until recently, other than Carrie Ryan, I haven’t been too well versed in that genre. In spite of my love for The Lottery, I’ve never got around to reading any of Shirley Jackson’s longer works. I bought this one (The Penguin Deluxe Classic Edition) because I loved the cover illustration by Thomas Ott. One of the most emotionally disturbing books I’ve read in a very long time…a deliciously unsettling novel about a perverse, isolated, and possibly murderous family.

The Hours by Michael Cunningham

Michael Cunningham is such a beautiful writer. He brings to mind Elizabeth Stroud, whom I adore to no end. Stroud always leaves you with such a lovely feeling, and given the subject matter of The Hours, it says a lot, I think, that Cunningham can still pull off that same sense of loveliness. Where Stroud lifts your heart, Cunningham, here, heavys it. Still, beautiful writing. Exquisite.

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

I walked away a bit unsatisfied. Aggravated. And maybe that’s the point. That’s probably exactly the point. There’s no denying McEwans’s literary chops. His brain makes my eyes bleed. A shortish novel. Maybe even a novella. Is it? The depiction of two young lovers eager to rise above the hurts and confusion of the past, and how their unexpressed misunderstandings and fears shape the rest of their lives. On Chesil Beach shows us how the entire course of a life can be changed – by a gesture not made or a word not spoken.

A Burnt-Out Case by Graham Greene

I’ll read anything written by Graham Greene – his sparse beautiful style – and I’ll love it. I like the way Piers Paul Read described Greene’s novels – genuine romans philosophiques – novels illustrating ideas. In A Burnt-Out Case, Querry, a world-famous architect, is the victim of a terrible attack of indifference: he no longer finds meaning in art or pleasure in life. Arriving anonymously at a Congo leper village, he is diagnosed as the mental equivalent of a ‘burnt-out case’, a leper who has gone through a stage of mutilation. As he loses himself in work for the lepers his disease of mind slowly approaches a cure. Until the white community discover who he is.

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