It's Mother's Day and I have managed to read a little. My husband and children's main gift to me is the time to go out to lunch alone with my own mother (a rare treat), with a little alone time thrown in, so I can read.
My precious moments have been spent reading Alice Munro's collection of stories The View from Castle Rock. I really enjoyed Munro's last book, Runaway, and I'm enjoying this, too. It's different from her earlier books because it's more personal. She's writing about her ancestors, from when they lived in 18th century Scotland, through their immigrating and settling in rural Canada, and then continuing with a possibly semi-autobiographical present. Though Munro has mostly created fiction about her ancestors, there is something in the solidity of dates and details that makes the reader know without being told that these are real people.
I like Munro's melding of fact and fiction. Her writing style suits the combination. I always love Munro's characters, because they often seem to be holding something back. I wonder how Munro does this. The characters are fully realized, they are beautifully drawn, and yet there remains a mystery about them that I find appealing. Maybe that's what makes them feel so real.
Is it just me, or does the paperback cover for this book not seem to suit its subject matter?
Here's the paperback cover:
And here's the hardback cover:
I don't know, I'm not usually very cynical, but that looks like one of the most obvious marketing ploys I've ever seen! To me, the hardback cover suits the book, as the title, "The View From Castle Rock", comes from an anecdote about a father bringing a son up to Castle Rock in Edinburgh to look out over the sea and see America--though what they are really seeing is Fife, the county across the Firth of Forth, five miles away at the most. I haven't finished the book, but so far have not come across any scenes of beach-going, sunbathing women, as seen on the paperback cover. Though perhaps they are in there--I haven't finished the book yet. Maybe someone out there can enlighten me!
I've also dipped into Lynne Sharon Schwartz's Ruined by Reading: A Life in Books, which I mooched off of BookMooch. It is a memoir about the joys and pitfalls of the reading life, and though I'm only 10 pages in, I'm enjoying it immensely. I love Schwartz's use of language. And as is usual in a book about reading, I see myself in her.
She talks about not finishing books, something I only recently have learned to do:
Over the last ten years or so, I have managed not to finish certain books. With barely a twinge of conscience, I hurl down what bores me or doesn't give what I crave: ecstasy, transcendence, a thrill of mysterious connection. For, more than anything, readers are thrill-seekers, though I don't read thrillers, not the kind sold under that label, anyway. They don't thrill; only language thrills.I'm really looking forward to the rest of this book!
If you'd like to participate in the Sunday Salon, check it out here.