Current Reads

Morante with Alberto Moravia at Capri in the 1...

Morante with Alberto Moravia at Capri in the 1940s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Be forewarned, this is an unusually long post, but I thought I’d share my thoughts on a couple of books. Hey, writers have to read! I’m reading two books currently, Woman of Rome : A Life of Elsa Morante by Lily Tuck and Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald. Both are really close to being finished and I’ll have to pick something new to read soon.

Fall on Your Knees is a novel and by far the most interesting of the two, albeit a bit odd. It’s a book about several generations of a family in Canada, mainly the lives of the sisters in the family. It’s a sad novel marked by tragedy upon tragedy, beginning with a thirteen year old bride. I know it’s fiction, but it is revealing about human nature…the sacrifices some are willing to make and the coldness of others.

I can’t say I really liked the book, but the author did do an amazing job writing a intensely detailed novel with a complicated plot. It’s a bit dark for my tastes and deals with some rather uncomfortable subjects including abuse.  It has some really not nice characters in it and it’s hard to get to attached to some characters, because as soon as you do, they up and die. I’m more of a lighthearted, let’s not condemn people to death kind of person.

Oh well, I’ll finish it and I can say it’s definitely something different than I’ve read in a while. It was one of those that sounded intriguing by what was written on the back cover, so I had to give it a try. It has held my interest and made me want to keep picking it up, so I can see what will happen next to the characters. It’s a page turner.

Woman of Rome is a biography about the Italian writer Elsa Morante, born 1912 and died 1985. She wrote novels and poetry, which are discussed in the book in detail. It’s taking a while for me to make my way through this book. She was an interesting writer and seems she was not afraid to voice her thoughts, often at the expense of the feelings of others, but had a rather dysfunctional family during childhood and a tragic love life.

She seems to have had a very free life for a woman. She traveled often, had a complicated marriage, and had numerous love affairs. She loved Mozart and cats. She dressed how she wanted. She was a reader and underlined favorite passages in books. She wrote her thoughts in a diary at times. She had passionate discussions with those in her life and was generous. Despite all of this, it still seems as if she was disillusioned and unhappy with life.

I think it’s taking me so long to read this book, because there is so much information. It is well researched by the author, but I get lost in many of the details about the other people that were parts of Elsa Morante’s life. There is mention of many writers, film makers, and artists in the book; which I am unfamiliar with and makes for a disconnect. I will continue to muddle my way through and finish the book regardless. This has been a very slooow page turner.

If you have a book you’ve enjoyed I’m open to suggestions and if you need a few suggestions I have a board I started on pinterest of books on my “To Read” list you may want to check out.

Power of Words

*I apologize for little different than usual post, this is more of a venting.*

Words have the power to build up or breakdown.  I read a blog post the other day, which broke my heart.  It was so tragic, I don’t even want to post the link to it here.

The blog post was a book review and the writer of the post was extremely too harsh, in my opinion, to the book author.  Some of the words used were dull and mediocre to describe the book.  This wasn’t enough of a critique, so the post writer had to go on to say they couldn’t read any more of it and how bad it was it was part of a series. 

Even without having read any of the books in the series, I could applaud the book author just for being able to complete a book.  As a fairly new writer with limited experience in rejections it could about make me hesitant to ever publicly offer any writing for critique.  I will though and look forward to feedback.

One day I or any of us may be in a situation to offer feedback on a fellow writer’s writing and I hope we offer honest constructive criticism.  At the same time I hope we are not cruel.  It takes a certain amount of bravery for someone to share their writing with others.

Life experiences with emotional and verbal abuse have also colored my opinion on this subject.  If you’re made to feel you can’t do anything right, where’s the incentive to try.  I guess I could also blame it on living in the South.  I wholeheartedly believe the wise saying many mothers have taught their children, “If you don’t have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything.”  Guess I’m heading that direction, so I’ll stop my ranting and go write.