That Glimpse of Truth | Bookish Musings

The blurb of this book says it all: 'Profound, lyrical, shocking, wise: the short story is capable of almost anything'. And, I have to admit, the short story is a form I neglect once too often. Yet, after dipping in and out of this anthology – which boasts the '100 finest short stories – I'm stuck here asking myself why this is. In truth, I could not love the short story form more.

A Glimpse of Truth offers such a vast array of tales from a plethora of different authors – including many of my favourites, like Virginia Woolf, Kate Atkinson and Angela Carter. And it's a book which has carried me through the Autumn nights; I mean, what's better than candlelit evenings spent curled up in your bed, with the scent of chai lattes thick in the air, and the prospect of so many adventures at your fingertips? That's right: nothing.

In this 946-page collection, where one page you can be reading about a toymaker who's plagued by imperfections and the next, a complicated and intricate piece about a hunger artist, there's a charming sense of unpredictability to the collection.

[The previously mentioned short stories are two of my favourites (out of the ones I've been introduced to so far). That said, I have a soft spot Lizzie's Tiger by Angela Carter and Lord Emsworth and the Girl Friend by P.G. Wodehouse. Not to forget two incredible Halloween reads: The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe and "Oh Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad" by M.R. James.]

Whilst flicking through this collection, I also can't help but think of the word SERENDIPITY (n.) the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way. As I mentioned, each turn of the page results in a completely unpredicted tale; and, often, these tales are pleasant surprises. For me, short stories definitely evoke this sense of serendipity – they're little gifts that completely encompass the idea of 'short but sweet'.

Yet, more than anything, reading this short story collection has made me want to write. Most likely because of a) this exposure to such varied storytelling and b) the brevity of the short story is less daunting than the sheer length of a novel. So, I'll end on this note: if you need me, I'll be curled up in my bed, candlelit and scented with chai lattes, my book in one hand and my pen in the other. 

Bookish Musings are unedited* rambles about certain books – often books I love dearly. Sometimes the posts have a point, sometimes the posts don't have a point till the very end, sometimes there's no point at all… but I don't know till I've finished writing it.
*Hopefully this explains a lot about the incomprehensibility

Are you a fan of short stories? Tell me some of your favourite collections to help last the Autumn/Winter nights! I'd definitely recommend this one.

A Creative Space | A Space to Create

I write this sitting at my desk, in much the same way Cassandra Mortmain didn't – she was sitting in the kitchen sink, although I doubt I needed to say that. The point is, we all have a creative space – so my desk is Cassandra's kitchen sink (hypothetically, anyway). Virginia Woolf famously wrote "A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction"; I mention this for two reasons: a) it mostly relates to this post, and b) you can see my typewriter in the corner of the photo, and Virginia was one of the names I considered for it. I went for Sylvia (as in Plath) in the end, but it was a tight call between the aforementioned names and Margaret (as in Atwood). I say all of this because it's currently 23:09 and I haven't drank nearly enough tea to have any clue what on earth I'm typing…

And yet, I shall continue.

A place to sit, and to think, and to accidentally spill pencil sharpenings across one too many times, is an ideal I romanticise a tad too much. But, earlier on, as I was sat at this very same desk, I couldn't help but think about how much this desk looks like my desk – if you catch my drift. Everything about this desk is so blissfully, perfectly, acutely, indefinitely personal (the tea-stained and somewhat lop-sided postcards, Sylvia the typewriter, the peeping cup of tea, the cactus, the stack of books, the other stack of books, the stuffed-full-of-books bag… etc).

Almost every creative thing I do is done at this desk. This is where I blog and write and draw and channel my inner Jo March (well, okay, maybe the last is kind of a 24-hour occurrence). And so, earlier today, when I sat down at this desk, I felt this euphoric sense of freedom; perhaps I didn't know what I'd end up doing (it was this post, in the end), but because I was sitting at the place where I create, it didn't matter all that much.

Do you have this one space that you do everything and anything creative at? I'd love to know! By the way, regular bookish content will resume shortly, I just haven't had an awful lot of time of late – hence the rambling. Sorry if these aren't your cup of tea!

DISCUSSION: Would You Rather Be a Novel or a Poem?

I'm not entirely sure where this question originated from, but I saw it earlier and it piqued my interest.  For me, the answer was immediate – I would rather be a poem.

Novels have this sense of completion I simply wouldn't want. A poem is, almost always, more ambiguous. Poetry is packed full of imagery, each word loaded, and placed for a reason. Some could say poetry's short and sweet – although, the 'sweet' aspect is definitely questionable, and so is 'short' in a lot of cases. So, frankly, I can't pinpoint exactly why I'd prefer to be a poem – is it the lyrical language? The time capsule-esque packaging of emotion? – but I can say it's what I'd definitely prefer to be. I love novels, clearly, and the pleasure I get from finishing a good book is immeasurable, yet the prospect of existing as a poem is… irresistible.

Besides, is there anything better than "'Hope' is the thing with feathers - / That perches in the soul - / And sings the tune without the words - / And never stops - at all -"?

I'm incredibly interested to hear your thoughts on this: would you rather be a novel or a poem? Currently, I'm reckoning the majority will go for poem. 

BOOK HAUL: Early October

Okay, I can assure you there is a legitimate, justifiable reason for The Mime Order being photographed next to a cactus… well, maybe I'm using the word justifiable loosely there, but still. If you already know, congrats (for following me on Twitter) and if not… well, you're probably sane for not paying attention to my nonsensical ramblings. But, nonetheless, here are the books I've received so far this month… 

In all honesty, I hadn't heard about this book before Random House got in touch with me about reviewing it. It was then I did a little research about the book, only to find out it sounds utterly perfect for me. Perhaps the most interesting aspect is that the narrator is only five – I've been meaning to read a book with a young narrator ever since Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. On top of this, it was longlisted for the Bailey's Women's Prize. 

Lips Touch by Laini Taylor
In case you didn't know, I'm a huge fan of Laini Taylor. Naturally, Hodder's offer to supply me with a copy of her Gothic short story collection was a no-brainer. With short stories titled "Goblin Fruit" and  "Spicy Little Curses", I can't wait to dive into it. Plus, it's Laini Taylor: gorgeous writing is almost certainly guaranteed. 

Rooms by Lauren Oliver
Hawwa is awesome. I've been eyeing Rooms by Lauren Oliver for a while, so, naturally, when it came in the post I may have squealed a tad. Oliver's adult novel – as far as I know – revolves around a house in which the lives of the living and the dead intersect. I don't know too much else, but from the reviews I've seen, it sounds great. 

The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon
Semi-related to the picture above, when I opened the parcel containing The Mime Order, I knocked over my cactus in excitement. It's safe to say I fell in love with The Bone Season. It was simply incredible. So, naturally, I've been anticipating the sequel ever since. (Edit: I just finished it. Woah. I think I'm temporarily lost for words. So good!).

The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkein
I'm not entirely certain whether I've mentioned this before, but I'm a huge Lord of the Rings fan. So, when my mum picked up this beautiful hardback copy of The Silmarillion at our local charity shop, I was more than a little excited. Needless to say I spent a little too long staring at the map in the back (!). I really like maps, okay. 

Have you read any of these books? Do you plan to? Please tell me! NOTE: I say this a lot, but I'm super sorry about the lack of posts. I'm struggling to keep up with schoolwork, let alone blogging too!   Hopefully, I'll be able to schedule a couple of months ahead in half term (unrealistic goal, per chance?) but, for the meantime, posting may be a bit less frequent. 


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