bees in the meadow

poems and stories from the in-between

Category: books

booktalk: History of the Rain by Niall Williams

earlier this year, I read History of the Rain by Niall Williams. It whispered to me from the shelves of Barnes & Noble (a place I guiltily and frequently haunt), with its cover of dark sea-tones and its aesthetic of cozy introverted bliss.

obviously, I have fully embraced the practice of judging books by their covers, and I don’t apologize.

but this is all beside the point. it’s a wonderful book. I knew instantly it would be one of my favorites of the year. I think about it all the time, guys. all the time.

this is a slow, gentle narrative that deals with heavy, sometimes epic themes in a quiet, introverted way, so that it’s all extremely pleasurable to read, even when it’s heartbreaking. does this make sense? I don’t know. BELIEVE IT.

reading it was like falling into a world of cozy houses, rain-sodden hills, villages and attics, a great twisting river, and the scent of books.

this is a story about Ireland. a story about people. a story about sorrow and the feeling of never being good enough. a story about stories. a story about BOOKS. a story about the love in a family. a story of a young woman searching for her father and herself.

I cried. and I was so thrilled to be crying. I can’t remember the last time a book did this to me. praise the Lord.

for me, the most important thing in any novel, more than the plot, the characters, etc., is the writing. now, I want to make an important distinction here: there is a difference between “good writing” and writing that I enjoy. when I read novels for pleasure, I look for the latter. I don’t want to tell you that the writing was “good”, because there are so many kinds of good writing. I will say instead that this book was chock-full of the kind of writing I love.

I can’t even describe it. it’s narrated first-person, but it’s so lyrical and playful in the language. somehow it was both lyrical and simple. it was absolutely addictive, and the way the words were so beautifully strung together made the stories within the story so delightful to read. if this kind of writing seems appealing to you, you will adore this book.

so: if you’re into themes of Ireland, water, family and family history, sorrow met with humor, and if you are into books that celebrate stories, please go now and read History of the Rain.

I’ve since bought another book by Niall Williams, which I’m very excited to eventually read (in ten years, after I get through a few zillion of the endless armies of books I own), and I fear I shall be loyal to him forever now.

ah, the perils of books…

happy reading, friends~~

 

rae

 

 

Here you may find History of the Rain on Amazon.

GO GET IT.

 

 

between pages: current reads

hello, lovely people (she whispered timidly.)

I’m planning to do semi-regular (all ye scatter-brained nymphs out there, sympathize) Tiny Book Reviews in the upcoming months, but for now, just a little list and brief thoughts on what I’m currently reading, should any of the titles call your name.

~The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss: lyrical, cozy-dark fantasy. yes, thank you.

~Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (I’ve read it once before, but now I’m reading it at night before I go to sleep. I have deluded myself that this will mean I’m sent off to slumber with dreams of the English countryside, but so far there is no evidence of such. alas.)

~Sense and Sensibility: Shooting Script: The Screenplay and Diaries by Emma Thompson: loved the book. obsessed with the 1995 film. Emma Thompson is a goddess. the diaries are a fascinating insight into the writing and film-making process. endearing, funny, and for those of us obsessed with British actors, full of glorious side-mentions of people like Kate Winslet and Alan Rickman (*YES*). (there is a particularly satisfying moment in which Alan Rickman encounters a cat. read the book to learn more.) this is also a nighttime read, and I’ve been neglecting P&P because all I want to do is curl up with this for days. YEARS. I’ll be done with it soon. determined to drag it out.

I’ve got several random non-fiction books on the go as well, which I’m dipping in and out of:

Writing Young Adult Fiction For Dummies by Deborah Halverson

The Art of Being a Woman by Veronique Vienne (God help me, I’ve put it down and NEED to pick it up again. it’s very good. I am ashamed.)

Bullfinch’s Mythology by Thomas Bullfinch (monstrous Barnes & Noble Classics edition. deeply intimidating but lush and enticing as well. have accepted that this will be in my currently reading literally forever. yep.)

 

what are you currently reading? leave a comment, I’d love to know!

hope you’re all well,

~ rae