Lunchtime is reading time for many of us. I used to spend my midday break with my current print/eBook or my audiobook, but lately I've gotten more pleasure out of shorter pieces.
Each day I pick a story or an article that I can start and finish before I turn back to my computer for an afternoon of editing. I've been sampling many kinds of short pieces, such as short stories, essays, magazine articles, and poems.
Here's a look at some of the shorts I've read lately.
From Diane Cook's Man v. Nature (Harper, 2014, 9780062333100): "Moving On" is about a very young woman whose husband died from a unnamed disease. In this future world, widows and widowers are not allowed to live alone; instead, they are taken to shelters, where they are taught to forget the dead while they wait for someone to choose to marry them (kind of like adoption). It's a strange reality, and the story makes you think about freedom, love, loneliness, and grief. My understanding is that most of the stories in Man v. Nature are equally dark, but I'm intrigued enough to read more.
In bed I imagine my husband lying beside me. . . . I have to picture him dissolving into the air like in a science-fiction movie, vaporized to another planet, grainy muted, then gone. The sheet holds his shape for a moment before deflating to the bed. I practice not feeling a thing.The February 23, 2015 issue of The New Yorker had a great personal history piece by Mary Norris, comma queen and copyeditor extraordinaire. In "Holy Writ" Norris talks about how she came to work for the magazine, ending up in the editing department. I love her description of the job that has also been my own career (though I've never edited for a magazine). Perhaps it's an essay only an editor can love, but I can relate to Norris's zigzagging path that led her to become the wielder of a red pencil. She also talks about her interactions with some well-known authors. Read it for yourself by following the link.
One of the things I like about my job is that it draws on the entire person: not just your knowledge of grammar and punctuation and usage and foreign languages and literature but also your experience of travel, gardening, shipping, singing, plumbing, Catholicism, Midwesternism, mozzarella, the A train, New Jersey. And in turn it feeds you more experience.Although Katherine Hall Page has written a popular and award-winning mystery series (more than twenty books long), I have never read any of her Faith Fairchild novels. Her 2014 collection Small Plates (William Morrow, 9780062310798) contains short mystery stories, and the one I read featured Faith helping a woman who was a member of her husband's congregation. "The Ghost of Winthrop" was a light read that was as much about the characters as it was about the mystery. Despite the word ghost in the title, this is not a scary story, though it does involve a death and an inheritance. I'm looking forward to more lunchtime Faith Fairchild stories.
There was another reason for [Prudence Winthrop's] ashen color and the way the woman's hands were gripping the edge of the pew--so hard her knuckles were deathly white. It wasn't grief. It was fear. . . . And Faith intended to find out why.Finally, I am on a never-ending quest to declutter my house and found an article at Becoming Minimalist with some good advice. There were several methods outlined in "10 Creative Ways to Declutter Your Home" that I might be able to adopt. While I don't think I'll use any of these ideas exactly as they are described, I can see how some of them could be adapted to my needs. For example, I like the Four-Box Method, which entails categorizing each item as trash, give away, keep, or relocate. There are a couple of suggestions for clearing out your closet, if that's one of your goals. Click on the link to see if any of the decluttering tricks speak to you.