Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Less is more

I just don’t like long books, no matter how much I like the writing. That’s another reason I gave up on Alone in Berlin. I have given up reading Franzen’s Corrections three times, though I enjoyed what I read, and it is on my list of things to attempt again.

When I read Star of the Sea on my California trip, I got to the stage of thinking – “Oh come on, get on with it, you don’t need to go on and on!” I broke off and read Cannery Row as an interlude and then went back to finish the O’Connor book.

Oct 10 047

I cleared out some stuff from the attic last week, and brought down a draft of Plotting for Beginners to give to my grandchildren for drawing on the back. (The Bodleian said this was OK.) This was the draft from which Jane cut 15,000 words in one morning, so Fallada and O’Connor and Franzen are not the only ones who can get carried away and spill out words like water from a tap. It was after Jane did her drastic cut, that we found a publisher.

I like simple, pellucid prose, pithy and concise.


Vintage Reading said...

Oh I love Cannery Row and its sequel Sweet Thursday. The book I stick on is A S Byatt's Possession. Just can't get beyond the first fifty pages!

Sue Hepworth said...

Hi Nicola, I also got mired down in Possession. I looked at your blog and the books you've read and your tatse overlaps considerably with mine, and as you ask for recommendations - I recommend Homestead by Rosina Lippi. It is simply and beautifully written, interesting and touching. The first chapter is the weakest so don't be put off. Happy reading!