Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Summer Reading 2014

I have been reading short stories. I have a collection of short stories by Shirley Jackson, and her ‘momoir’, published in 1953, ‘Life Among the Savages’, pioneering this style of fun housewifely writing. It’s true. There has been lots written about mothering, but each generation forgets and writes their own. Her stories are interesting to compare how parenting has changed. She smoked. A lot. Even when in labour on the way to hospital. The children walked to school or caught the bus themselves from their first day. Boys had guns and girls had dolls. And no seat belts. Children just rolled about in the back seat. But they survived. Well the children survived; Shirley Jackson died at the age of 48. I wonder if today’s mothers’ tales will be viewed the same way I view these stories.

The collection I’m reading has been collated by Joyce Carol Oates. I’m also reading a collection of her short stories. The problem though, is that I need to take a break between each story to absorb each one and let the dust settle before setting out with another. It makes for slow reading.

In between I’m studying for my uni exam and clearing out space. Studying for an exam is not an ideal way to spend the summer holidays. I hope to never do it again.


sister outlaws said...

The kids in the past did survive - more than that - they were fine! We are always with our kids and I often reflect on how that impacts on their own decision making, responsibility, sense of adventure, imaginative play and confidence. I know I wouldn't have got up to half the things I did if my mother was around! And I'm sure there will be things that we are doing now that the future generations can't believe. "You let your kids play with your mobile phone? You used a microwave? What were you thinking??" There's bound to be something. As for Joyce Carol Oates short stories - they are intense huh? I have read a couple of her novels and loved one and not so much the other. She's so prolific.

sister outlaws said...

Oh and I've signed up for the Australian Women's Writers Challenge this year. http://australianwomenwriters.com/