In which I will keep track of books I read in 2009
Magic for Beginners – Kelly Link: Les gave me this collection of short stories for Christmas, and it was a great thing to read while I was on vacation in Toronto, the snow falling, comfy in my pyjamas. I think there is something extra-special about reading surreal, fantasyish stories over Christmas (last year it was the Phillip Pullman His Dark Materials trilogy, which was coincidentally also a present from Lesley!). Kelly Link’s writing could be described as fantasy: there are stories about enchanted handbags (you step into the bag and disappear into another realm), haunted houses, people who inherit telephone booths from their dead relatives, etc. Her writing is fresh, quirky and hip, without being as annoying as all of those adjectives might lead you to believe. I still find myself flipping through it for inspiration as I write.
Bonjour Tristesse – Françoise Sagan: Sagan wrote this novel when she was only eighteen and that air of super-confident, slightly petulant adolescence infuses the book. It’s a slim enough volume that I read most of it on subway trips around Toronto and I loved getting lost in the world of beaches in the South of France, beautiful and sly French ladies and handsome and clueless French men. It’s the kind of book that makes you wish you looked good in a Jean Seberg haircut and a stripey shirt, that you could smoke cigarettes all sexy, have a part in killing someone, atone for it, and study philosophy like it was all totally natural, whatever, c’est la vie.