#FridayReads 2020-11-13 ‘To Say Nothing Of The Dog’ and ‘Dear Life’

I’m reading books by two very talented women this week: Connie Willis’ ‘To Say Nothing Of The Dog’, a humorous novel about time travelling historians from a future Oxford and Alice Munro’s ‘Dear Life’ a collection of short stories about those moments when the boundaries of our everyday lives become redrawn

‘To Say Nothing Of The Dog’ by Connie Willis (1998)

Connie Willis is one of my favourite Science Fiction writers. She’s one of the best known American Science Fiction writers and in her long career, she has won a record-breaking eleven Hugo Awards and seven Nebula Awards. What I love most about her work is her ability to write stories that deal with huge ideas and still keep them human and filled with humour.

I recently re-read ‘Bellwether’, a sort of science fiction fairy tale about how science works, after a gap of more than twenty years and it was even better than I’d remembered, full of gentle, wise wit that made me smile and sometimes laugh out loud.

I read my first Connie Willis book, her Nebula Award-winning ‘Doomsday Book’ about time-travelling historians from a future Oxford University England during the black death back in 1993. I’d never read anything like it. I was hooked at once.

When Connie Willis returned to her time travelling historians, six years later, I read it eagerly and was delighted with the humour of the story.

I’m re-reading it now, after a gap of twenty years, as a buddy read and I’m looking forward to hearing what everyone thinks of it.

If you’re looking for a stocking-filler for Christmas, take a look at Connie Willis’ short story collection ‘A Lot Like Christmas’. It’s on my Christmas reading list this year.

‘Dear Life’ by Alice Munro (2012)

Alice Munro is probably Canada’s most famous writer of short stories I find them breathtaking. She writes with accuracy and empathy about ordinary people whose lives are changing or coming into perspective. Her stories move effortlessly backwards and forwards in time, unspooling the lives and personalities of her characters in a way that I find mesmerising. When I look at her stories, I feel like I’m watching a bird take flight, I can see it and admire it but I have no idea how I would do it myself.

Alice Munro won the Noble Prize for Literature in 2013, so I thought I’d take a look at ‘Dear Life’ the collection of short stories that she published in 2012.

I’ve already read the first story in the collection ‘To Reach Japan’. If the rest are as good as that, I’ll be very happy.

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