I am jealous of people who can devour novels while managing busy lives. I struggle. It’s one of the reasons I favour the short story – it’s a quick fix, the double espresso of literature.
Novels are a relationship. They demand commitment. That’s a big ask when life is going past in a blur. My solution is saving novels for bus and train journeys where I’m guaranteed time alone to familiarise myself with the landscape of the story. That’s the courtship stage. After that, I choose whether this is a relationship through which I’ll shilly shally – there are, shamefully, always a dozen half-read novels abandoned around our house – or if it’s one worth going for broke.
This weekend, a trip to Brighton. I’m taking the train so I can start Donna Tartt’s award-winning tome, The Goldfinch. The opening is so moreish, I can’t wait to get stuck in. If the pleasure sustains, there’s just enough time to finish all 853 pages before the inaugural meeting of Tricycle Readers!
I imagine our group will attract a number of voracious readers, but there’ll also be members wanting to get back into the habit, or to build confidence with the written word: what is the writer doing here, and why? The short stories we analyse will be a waking shot – a double espresso. The dynamic of the group however, will develop over time like a novel. Are you ready for an exciting courtship?