Friday, December 24, 2010

Abducted by This Year Will Be Different

I want to begin my blog this week by saying Merry Christmas to all my followers!
I am sitting here in my apartment next to my beautiful Christmas tree, with my stockings hung by my bookshelves, drinking my warm East African coffee (it is a (RED) product featured at Starbucks that my big sister Stephanie got me for my birthday! Thanks sis!!!) out of my snowflake coffee mug (gift from Ame, Thanks Ame!!!) and watching the Christmas episode of Glee!

One of the other things I have done this week to prepare for Christmas was I reading Maeve Binchy’s collection of short stories all centered around the holiday titled This Year Will Be Different.

As I have said before (and will say again many many times) I love Maeve Binchy. So I was really excited to read this book for Christmas. And Even more excited when my younger sis, Lindsey got it for me, thanks sis!!!

Each story was on average around 10 pages long, and reading this book helped remind me what a great art being able to tell a good short story is. I mean when you think about it, being able to bring your audience into a world were they immediately feel invested in the characters and want to see them through their struggles in only a few paragraphs is really really difficult!

I was a little disappointed in the first few stories because they were just… blah. They weren’t emotional or sentimental or warm fuzzy feeling at all. Then right around the fourth story titled “The Hard Core” they started to get better.

But in typical Binchy fashion, she had me crying more then once.

One of the stories titled “Season of Fuss” was about a woman who always stressed out at Christmas to the point where it drives her kids (all of whom are grown and out of the house) crazy. But as the story unfolds you learn that at the age of 60 this woman has been a widow for 12 years and stressing out over all the little details at Christmas is what helps distract her from her grief.

A good friend of mine lost her husband in October, he had been sick for a while and fought his disease with strength that others will spend their entire lives praying for. I feel for my friend immensely and reading this story made me think of her. I was crying (rather noisily) at my office while reading the parts where the woman remembered her husband.

That is Binchy’s thing though you know!?! All her stories are just these simple tales about peoples every day lives and the reality of them can be as heartbreaking as they can be uplifting.

Another story was titled “Typical Irish Christmas” which made me tear up a bit, pretty much for the same reason as described above, but it also left me with this unshakable urge to move to Ireland more then anything else I have ever read. I don’t really know why because it isn’t about what you would think it is going to be about. But I can’t explain it, while reading it I was overcome with this urge to get to the airport and on a plain as soon as possible! First I’ll need to get some money saved up, but once I do, I am out of here.

I wonder if Bono would have a room he could let me rent out?

The other story that I really liked in this collection was one called “The Christmas Baramundi” which is about a girl and guy who meet at a fish market in Sydney on Christmas day when they ask for the same baramundi. They go for coffee and agree to meet for lunch three days later. The girl goes home to her friends and spends her three days filled with these fantasy about who this guy is. Because for some reason neither of them actually asked the other if they were married or had families or whatever. I could relate to the girl because I often project my own fantasies and impressions onto the guys I meet and develop crushes on.

Over all I would say that the Binchy’s collection of short stories started out blah, got better through the middle, and then ended with blah again. But I’m still glad I read it and will continue to read more Binchy through out the year. In fact I already have 4 books of hers on my To Be Read In 2011 list so you will for sure be hearing more about her work in the future from me.

By the way, Glee’s Christmas episode just ended, and again I’m crying! I really do cry way to easily.


Unknown said...

I bawled at the end of Glee Xmas too, so it's not just you. However on Binchey books... I'll have to take your word for it. :)

Merry Christmas!

Kate @Midnight Book Girl said...

I re-read This Year Will Be Different too. I love Binchy's short stories, she has such a gift. And if you think you're moving to Ireland without me (and I guess Aaron too), then forget it! And Glee made me cry too. I'm always emotional at the holidays anyways, so I make no apologies for it. Miss you, dear friend!

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