Sunday, 16 October 2016

The Year of Pleasures

    I have been starting book after book without really getting involved.  Perhaps it is because of the change in season- just couldn't get interested in a book.
   A friend gave me this book and I thought it might be just right- and it was.  It's not a favourite for all, but I do enjoy Elizabeth Berg's writing.

 This particular book is about grief and new beginnings.  Betta, an author, is the protagonist who has just lost her husband to cancer (he was a psychiatrist).  They had no children, in fact no family at all.  What surprised me was that they also didn't have any close friends.  I have never known a couple who completely kept to themselves.  That whole idea was new to me and I wondered how she would manage.
   Well, she moved to a new town to start her new life.  And she did reach out to people there.
  I enjoyed the story - no great themes or wonderful language.  But I greatly enjoyed her descriptions of the ordinariness of life, such as reading about cooking while smelling something cooking. Hmmm.
   She makes a list of the things that brought her the most comfort- raspberries in cream, sparrows with cocked heads, shadows made by trees, the shouts of children at play.  It made me think  about the simple things that bring me joy- the full moon, porridge on a winter's morning, the fall colours, a drive through the country. 

Elizabeth Berg
Elizabeth Berg
   I don't think she gets enough credit for her writing.  It may not be great literature, but it reflects the joys and sorrows of daily life.  I even learned a new word - "gibbous".  You may be sure that I will use it often when the moon is past the half-way stage- a gibbous moon.
   There is a quote that my friend Terri would like: "Did you ever notice how after you look at art for a long time you come out onto the street and see only art?"

  Elizabeth Berg writes a lot about food, and she has been a waitress.  But actually she was a nurse for ten years before she started writing.  That's where she learned about human nature, human emotion, and relationships.  

  I have read eight books by Elizabeth Berg, including "Open House", which was chosen by Oprah for her book club in 2003. I am happy to know that there are many, many more books to enjoy whenever I need something light and easy to read.

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