Saturday 14 February 2015

Stuck-in-a-Book's Weekend Miscellany

Hope you're all having a fantastic day! I'm actually writing this on Thursday, in astonishing preparation, so who knows quite what I'll be doing on Saturday... I've got my fingers crossed for a sunny day and a nice lie-in. And a walk to the post office to pick up some parcels. It's all go at Stuck-in-a-Book Towers.

1.) The link - is to the Folio Prize shortlist. Now, I've not read any of them - I know, pearl-grabs of surprise all round - but I had read a surprising FOUR of the 80-strong longlist:

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi
Lila by Marilynne Robinson
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
Virginia Woolf in Manhattan by Maggie Gee

All of these were excellent, but none made the shortlist. And I find it very difficult to believe that any of the shortlisted authors could be better than Marilynne Robinson... but, again, I haven't read them, so this is wildly uninformed.

2.) The blog post - is on the hitherto-unknown-to-me Farnham Street blog. It's a job application letter by Eudora Welty to the New Yorker. It's glorious. I love her more than ever. (Are any of her novels outright comic? Please say yes, someone.)

3.) The book - I have to tip my hat to the good people/person who arranged the window display in Blackwell's in Oxford. How did I not know that there was another biography of Tove Jansson available? I love Boel Westin's (which I reviewed for Shiny New Books) but hadn't realised that Tove Jansson: Work and Love by Tuula Karjalainen also existed. It was published in 2013 in Finnish, and this translation by David McDuff was published last year. And it's such a beautiful book. So beautiful. Now the question is: do I wait a while so that I forget some of the details from Westin's book, or do I dive straight in?


  1. I couldn't agree more that 'Lila' should be on the Folio Prize shortlist. - and win, too! I feel even more annoyed with the judges because they've shortlisted a Rachel Cusk book which if it's anything like her previous books doesn't even deserve the adjective 'literary'.
    I love your comments on Eudora Welty; I'm just reading 'What there is to say we have said ' which if you don't know it is a volume of the letters between her and William Maxwell (two of my favourite authors) who on the evidence of their correspondence are two of the nicest people I can never hope to meet.

    1. I had high hopes for the Folio Prize (and I suppose perhaps still should) but overlooking Lila is criminal!
      And I do indeed know that book - and have read it, no less! I read it because I love William Maxwell, and it was my introduction to Eudora Welty.

  2. I thought 'Delta Wedding' was hilarious, and her short story 'Why I Live at the P.O.' is one of the finniest things I've ever read. Disclaimer: I come from a crazy, dysfunctional Southern family like those she writes about, so maybe I find it funnier than someone else would. But I can tell you, her characters are not over-the-top Southern Gothic caricatures; they are very realistic and I'm related to people just like them.

  3. Welty's short story, Why I Live at the P.O. is the funniest thing I ever read. If possible, read it aloud with a deep American Southern accent.


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