I tend to be reading about 10 books at once, which does nothing for my attention span. In December, I am often wallowing in nostalgia and go back to my childhood favourites, the things that still feel Christmassy to me: Agatha Christie’s “The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding,” C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising. All of them take place over the holidays, so seem fitting. I also usually reread The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, probably because I got them as Christmas presents when I was 11, and I like to revisit them every couple of years: a sort of time travel.
I’m also reading the first book in the young adult “Arthur” trilogy, The Seeing Stone by Kevin Crossley-Holland, which I expected to be a tired rehashing of Arthurian themes but is in fact a beautifully written, intelligent and thoughtful examination of the subject matter. It’s always difficult to read something set in the far past (like the 13th century) and not feel enraged over things like the racism and misogyny of the times. However, Crossley-Holland never makes the reader complicit—those incidents are looked at through the lens of a teenage boy who is troubled by what he sees. I’ve been staying up too late to read the book: always a good sign.
“However, Crossley-Holland never makes the reader complicit—those incidents are looked at through the lens of a teenage boy who is troubled by what he sees.”
The mishmash of other books I’m reading right now:
- Rekindling the Sacred Fire: Métis Ancestry and Anishinaabe Spirituality – Chantal Fiola (I picked this up because it sounded interesting)
- Aspects of Sinhala Folklore – J.B. Disanayaka (my father’s side of the family is from Sri Lanka, and I’m working on a book that involves folklore from there, so I’m brushing up on my childhood memories)
- The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories – Ernest Hemingway (whatever else you can say about Hemingway, he still remains an incredible craftsman of the short story form)
- Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing – Anya von Bremzen (my mother’s side of the family is from the Baltics, and I bought her a copy of this book for her birthday, and she loved it so much, I had to get myself one)
- 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act – Bob Joseph (I had heard about this book before now and wanted to read it, and it’s also part of a course I’m taking on Reconciliation)
- Big Sky – Kate Atkinson (I’m a huge fan of her Jackson Brodie novels)
I suspect I should concentrate on one and read in a more linear fashion rather than dipping in and out of books, but old habits are hard to break!
Sandra Kasturi has had work published in CNQ, Amazing Stories, Prairie Fire, CV2, among others. Her two poetry collections are: The Animal Bridegroom and Come Late to the Love of Birds.