Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas story review--Connie Willis' "Newsletter"

Just read this one--the perfect story to read around Christmas. The title refers to those holiday newsletters people send out and which irritate some people. My relatives never do; I'm lucky if I get a signature on the card, but anyway. The story is about an alien invasion which turns out to be surprisingly first. Like all Willis' stories, its artistry is invisible. Her situations are so quotidian, her characters are everyday people, everything seems so ordinary, and then she hits you with her magic. She is the one author I wish I could write like, if that's a sentence!
This story is collected in her latest book _The Winds of Marble Arch and Other Stories_.

Don't miss "Daisy, in the Sun," "Chance" (my favorite short story of all time, I think!), "A Letter From the Clearys," "The Last of the Winnebagos" and of course, "Firewatch." She also writes novels: _Bellwether_ is a humorous favorite and _Domesday Book_ is unforgettable and heart-wrenching.

New Year, new blog

I began this as a book review blog but decided to add other content. I'm going to attempt to blog as if no one is reading (a pretty safe bet) because so much of what I read on the internet is so self-conscious or blandly journalistic. I don't want this to be a "dear diary" type of blog either because frankly, the only people who ever wrote interesting diaries are all dead. Ditto for letters. My writing has been doubly cursed by my being both a journalism major and an English literature major at some point; it's difficult to shake off the inner editor/critic. I'm also not of the generation that can write "enough" as "enuf," without wincing internally so I can't do anything about my antiquated spelling. I LIKE the fact that English has non-phonetic spelling. That's one of the things that makes it the endearing, logic-defying, perverse language that it is. I'm also fluent in Spanish, which makes much more sense, but I've never loved it like I love the English language.