Book Recommendation: Love in a Wych Elm by HE Bates
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Book: This book was such a surprise. Admittedly, when I picked up Love in a Wych Elm & Other Stories while I was in Dublin I was looking forward to reading Pygmalion more. I was hunting for Pygmalion after learning more about it in the Dublin Writer's Museum and everything else I picked up was just what caught my eye that moment.
Now, many months after my trip, I've picked it up and hitting myself for not reading it sooner. Having never heard of HE Bates, buying the compilation was a bit risky, but I was intrigued by the notion of "a snapshot of England (and to some extent a Europe) that is no more," mentioned on the back. Fortunately it delivered that and much more.
Love in a Wych Elm is a compilation of Bate's short stories, but I hesitate to call them that. Technically speaking I suppose they are short stories, but reading them they feel much more like snapshots of moments. Instead of a tale you get moment in a character's life that's rather simple. No adventures, prophecies or profound wisdom here. I particularly admires Bates ability to write about these moments of life in a way that wasn't senselessly happy or cynical. Every story is incredibly relatable particularly emotionally.
Playlist: Where the Pages May Take You by huntuer is one of my favorites for reading or casual studying. It's a mix of instrumental and modern music and super calming. Similar to how the stories are simple and sometimes seemingly mundane, the playlist is steady and pleasant.