This has been a year involving several months of travel so my reading has not been at my usual rate or even per the plans I'd made at the end of 2018. Despite that, it has been a year of lovely literary discoveries and much learning. And, if you've been following along for a while, you'll know I don't set much store in having high book-reading counts. Defeats the purpose, don't you think? What I aim to do, with all my logging and counting, is to ensure I'm reading a good balance of genres and being inclusive and diverse with my book choices. Hence the charts at the end.
July's monthly column at PopMatters featured five short stories about siblings by these fine contemporary writers: Martha Bátiz, K Anis Ahmed, Jenny Zhang, Lidudumalingani, and Kseniya Melnik. While there are certainly wonderful classics by writers like D H Lawrence, Flannery O'Connor, et al, these contemporary writers have explored finer and deeper nuances of sibling relationships using singular narrative styles and voices.
This month, we look at intimate relationships that happen later in life — older women finding love in unexpected and interesting ways. These stories avoid the usual stereotypes/tropes to show all the complexities & intensities of later-life relationships, including how society responds to them. The authors — Elizabeth Taylor, Toni Cade Bambara, Lucia Berlin, Amy Bloom, and Yiyun Li — cover a wide range of issues and themes in these stories and the women protagonists are, for the most part, strong-minded and reaching for the love (or lust) relationships they want despite what people around them say or do. We certainly need more such later-life love stories, especially stories with more diverse and unconventional relationships from all around the world. As Isaac Bashevis Singer had once said: "The novelists never told us that in love, as in other matters, the young are just beginners and that the art of loving matures with age and experience."