I've been contemplating what to read over my gargantuan summer break. Finances prohibit me running amok on Amazon, buying anything that takes my fancy. I scanned the bookcases in my study this afternoon, searching for something that would fit my rather sad, reflective and quiet mood.
I noticed a whole shelf dedicated to Anne Tyler. I picked up Saint Maybe and looked at the inscription. I read it in August 1996. I remembered my Anne Tyler summer. I'd discovered a book in a second hand shop in Durham, and went on to contentedly read her whole back-catalogue in the coming weeks. I started reading in the garden at my dad's house (I was living at home at the time). His garden overlooked the most beautiful, rolling cornfield. I was still reading in Autumn, sat by the wedgewood blue Aga, a fat, tabby cat on my knee. I was 26.
So, now I'm older and have experienced more 'grown up' stuff, love, loss, family problems, disappointments and regrets. I wonder what the books will mean to me now. Anne Tyler writes so simply and beautifully about ordinary life and about relationships. It is the kind of writing that seems so guileless, graceful and seductive. I think she really does embody that truism 'less is more'.