Friday, July 8, 2011

Speaking with the Angel

(Edited) By Nick Hornby

Two Things I Liked About Speaking with the Angels:
1. Colin Firth as a writer
2. Story from Prime Minister’s perspective

Speaking with the Angel is a collection of short stories by prominent modern authors (mostly British, including good old Helen Fielding of Bridget Jones fame) edited by British novelist Nick Hornby. I picked it up at a gigantic book sale held by Half-Price Books for only $1. I consider reading to be one of the best ways to practice writing (the best being, of course, actually writing), so I thought that perhaps reading some short stories would spark some inspiration for writing my own. Whether or not that succeeded remains to be seen…

I have mixed feelings about this book. I started out liking it – there were several nice stories, such as one about a Prime Minister who through a series of small decisions accidentally ends up running away from his security escort and creating a dubious situation – but somewhere around the halfway point they dissolved into everything that so often annoys me about short story writing. Why is it that, when they sit down to write a short story, writers feel the need to resort to filthy language, vulgarity, and shock value in order to produce something “significant” or “powerful” that will leave an impression on the reader? Wouldn’t it be more impressive to accomplish those things without resorting to crudeness? That tendency to be crude in order to be edgy or incisive or whatever just disappoints me and makes me lose all respect for the writer and what they’re trying to accomplish.

It was interesting to read something written by Colin Firth, though.

Books Read This Year: 56
Top 100 Progress: 46/100

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