Good morning to you, munchkins of Blogland! I have a bit of a mixed bag today – firstly, Mad Martha will present you with two haiku reviews for some great books we’ve encountered recently, and then I’ll provide you with this month’s Fi50 prompt, so you can all get working over the weekend on your micro-narratives.
Well, after a spate of middle grade and young adult ARCs, we shelf denizens have spent a little bit of time reacquainting ourselves with big people’s books. Today’s first offering, Green Vanilla Tea by Marie Williams is a highly readable memoir in which the author reflects on experiencing the journey toward her husband Dominic’s terminal illness, alongside their two teenage sons. Green Vanilla Tea recounts the experiences of this young family before, during and after Dominic’s diagnosis with early onset dementia and motor neurone disease in his early forties. William’s memoir charts the confusing and sometimes frightening incidents pre-diagnosis, through the everyday struggles of caring for a young man in rapid decline, and the difficult decisions she faced around finding suitable end-of-life care for her husband. One would expect the subject matter of this book to be harrowing and deeply depressing, but William’s honest reflections and use of humour lift the book out of that mire and result in a life-affirming and ultimately hopeful read that we highly recommend. And we also give bonus points for being an Australian book.
Mad Martha’s haiku for this one is based on her favourite anecdote in the book…
Wife losing life’s love
asks, “How would you like your tea?”
Perplexed. “In a cup”
And while on the subject of hopeful, uplifting narratives, I recently discovered that shelf-favourite Alexander McCall Smith has released as an e-book The Slice of No. 1 Celebration Storybook: Fifteen Years with Mma Ramotswe, to celebrate this milestone of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. As great fans of this series (that was introduced to us through the inspired gifting of a very insightful friend of the shelf!) we simply had to purchase this, despite it’s e-format.
The book is quite miniscule and contains two short stories with all the old favourite characters – nothing ground-breaking here, but certainly a happy addition to the series for long-time fans. I’ve recently seen some reviews for the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, panning the books because there simply isn’t enough mystery or crime-solving going on in their pages. I can’t help but feel those people have missed the point of the books. For my money, the books are about relationships, pure and simple; and how we can recognise and affirm each other’s humanity (or creaturely-ness as it were, depending on your origin) in the most mundane of encounters. If you haven’t ever picked up one of these books, start at the beginning when you’re in the mood for something light and relaxing.
Pride of Botswana
reaches jubilant milestone
And finally, a reminder that the monthly Fiction in 50 (Fi50) Flash Fiction Challenge is on again starting next week from the 23rd of September!
….the prompt for this month is…
So pick up your pen, stylus, keyboard or pointy finger and create a piece of fiction in 50 words or less, then post a link so we can all enjoy your efforts. It doesn’t have to be good, it doesn’t even have to be insightful or serious, but it does have to be MICRO-SIZED!
For more information and a slightly more detailed explanation of the challenge and its requirements, click on the button above, or the appropriate page in this blog’s header. Hope you will all join in!
Until next time,
Bruce and Mad Martha
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