Today is the launch day of Tales from Elsewhere, a collection of short stories which includes Hanuman, one of mine. Naturally I am excited that one of my stories has finally made it into print, especially as it’s probably the best one I have written to date. Beyond that, though, the anthology has a special place in my heart because it was conceived as the result of a wonderful weekend in the idyllic British countryside with a number of writerly friends. Prior to that weekend most of us had been only online acquaintances, but the stories we shared and the fun we had (trampolining and ghost stories, anyone?) ensured we would forever after share a special bond. Some of us are published, some of us not, but all have been part of a Facebook group for quite some years now, following each other’s progress and offering words of consolation and encouragement. It feels somehow fitting that the existence of our group has now taken a physical form, even if it only represents a handful of the fabulously talented folk who comprise the group as a whole. So anyway, that’s it really. A little yay to coax my writerly ambitions out of hiding and prod them back onto the path to success. If anyone is interested in buying a copy they can do so here. We also have a Facebook page and blog!
My Kindle is telling me I’m 79% through reading my latest book, May We Be Forgiven, by A.M.Holmes. In truth, it feels like I’ve been reading it for months rather than the couple of weeks it has actually been. Why have I persevered if I’m not devouring in the way I know I would be if I really enjoyed it? For the following five reasons:
1. Guilt – Nobody likes a quitter, least of all me, so how can I abandon a book just because it doesn’t quite so perfectly suit my tastes as the one that came before it (and, er, the one before that)? It’s not fair on the book! Or the writer! Right?
2. Worry – That perhaps this book is more intelligent than my feeble mind is able to cope with (it did, after all, win a women’s fiction prize in 2013, so it must be good, right?). It is, therefore, imperative that I press on and broaden my mind! I cannot be defeated by a piece of literature that will, forever more, mock me from the dark recesses of my mind…
3. Hope – What if this story has so much more to give? If I give up now I might miss out on the best bit! A cunning twist, perhaps? (I do love a cunning twist).
4. Indifference – If I hated this book, as in really hated it for some such reason as I found the subject matter offensive, or a main character unbearable, it would be far easier to give up on it. But whilst I can’t say the story or any of the characters particularly move me, nor do they disgust or appall me. I don’t hate reading this book, I just don’t particularly look forward to it either.
5. Loyalty – I did devour her 2006 book, This Book Will Save Your Life, and so I fairly reasoned I’d enjoy this one too. At what stage do I accept she might just be a one-hit wonder where my reading taste’s concerned?
In short, it’s a dilemma of the first order. May you be forgiven, A.M.Holmes? At this stage I’m afraid the jury’s still out.