Now that I’m finished with Cloud Atlas, I have picked up Colette’s My Mother’s House and Sido to fill the “fiction” slot in my reading — but I’m not really sure what this book is — fiction, memoir, fictionalized memoir? Here’s what the back cover says:
In My Mother’s House and Sido, Colette plays fictional variations on the themes of childhood, family, and, above all, her mother.
So it’s “fictional,” but based on her life. I will have to look into this question of genre more — it’s this sort of book that makes me laugh at things like the James Frey “scandal.” How can people be so naive? People fictionalize their lives all the time!
Anyway, this book has been on my mental to-be-read list for the last ten years, ever since a college professor recommended it to me because of something she saw in my writing that reminded her of Colette. This could mean that reading the book will illuminate something about my writing style — or not, since that happened one third of my life ago.
I tend to be like this with book recommendations. I love getting them (thanks very, very much to all of you who recommend things to me here!), but they usually circulate in my mind for ages before I actually get the book. Either I write them down in my little notebook or (now) on my computer file, or they stick in my brain to stay there until the time is right. I buy books based on what feels right in the moment, and sometimes it takes ten years to reach that point. But if a recommendation is from someone I like, of a book that looks good, I will usually read the thing eventually.